Day trip

From John O'Groats: Orkney Islands Day Trip

Activity provider: John O’Groats Ferries

From John O'Groats: Orkney Islands Day Trip

Activity provider: John O’Groats Ferries

From US$ 105.49 per person

Enjoy a day tour from John O'Groats to the Orkney Islands, traveling 40 minutes by ferry and via a luxury coach. Discover the highlights of Orkney and visit the Stone Age site of Skara Brae.

About this activity

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Covid-19 precautions
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Duration 1 day
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Live tour guide


  • Visit the World Heritage Island of Orkney on a day-trip from John O'Groats
  • Experience the mystical stone circle at the Ring of Brodgar
  • Marvel at the magnificent Cathedral of St Magnus and the beautiful little Italian Chapel
  • Admire the neolithic sight of Skara Brae which is older than the Pyramids
Full description

Start the tour by boarding the ferry at John O'Groats. Depart 8.45am. Take the 40-minute ferry crossing, keeping a lookout for marine wildlife including puffins and orcas on the way. When you arrive on Orkney, board a luxury coach which will be waiting for you to begin your tour of the island. As you set off, enjoy the commentary from a local guide. First, see the Churchill Barriers built during the First World War. Stop in Kirkwall which is Orkney's capital city and discover St Magnus Cathedral, shops, the museum, and the scenic harbor. 

Continue along the northern coast of Scapa Flow and admire the beautiful views of the Hoy hills. Then, arrive in Stromness, one of Britain's most picturesque towns. Stroll through the winding street, visit the museum, and find plenty of places to eat lunch.  Next, set off for the neolithic village of Skara Brae, established in around 2,500 BC and which has been hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved for thousands of years.

Follow the route onwards along a narrow tongue of land between the lochs of Harray and Stenness, making a stop at the mystical Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. Finally, board the return ferry, and make a stop at the Italian Chapel which is beautifully decorated inside 2 Nissen huts. Return to John O'Groats 6.15pm with incredible memories of your excursion.

  • Return ferry crossing
  • Bus tour
  • Entrance fee to Skara Brae (stone age village)
  • Entrance fees
  • Food and drinks
  • Entrance fee to Italian Chapel (payable on-site)
  • Tips
Not suitable for
  • Wheelchair users

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Meeting point

Go to John O'Groats Harbour to board the ferry to Orkney. The name of the ferry is MV Pentland Venture. You can use the free car park in John O'Groats on the right-hand side after entering.

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Important information

Know before you go

  • No special walking shoes are required
  • There will be numerous food, drink and toilet stop opportunities along the way
  • There is a large, free car park in John O'Groats
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.8 /5

based on 193 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money

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We had a great time on this tour which was very well organised from start to finish. Booking was simple and everything was professionally handled by the competent staff. Our coach driver was very skilled with a dry wit which kept us both informed and entertained. Overall, a great day-out which we would highly recommend to give a taster of all the great sites and towns on Orkney.

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September 25, 2022

The tour of the Orkney Islands with Warren as driver and guide was really great. However, the crossing on the so-called ferry is not for people who have problems with choppy seas. The ferry is a slightly larger and older boat. If the sea is calm, that's fine too. We had wind between 20 and 35 and it was really borderline. If we had had an alternative to the return trip, we would have definitely taken advantage of it. The faces of the other passengers showed that it wasn't just us. So if you are anxious about rough seas or prone to seasickness, you should definitely check the weather and the wind beforehand.

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August 21, 2022

We had a great day out, our young children said it was their favourite adventure of our holiday! Our main aim was to see Skara Brae but we enjoyed all of the other stops along the way. Our driver was knowledgable and interesting and the whole day was entertaining. One word of warning, try and avoid doing this trip on a Sunday, most of the shops and cafes in Kirkwall and Stromness were closed (including the Cathedral) so lunch options were limited. 

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August 20, 2022

Product ID: 305413