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Orkney , Ullapool and the Northern Highlands

Departure point:
5 Day tour
From: 9am - 7:30pm

Accommodation is payable on arrival

We offer a free accommodation booking service.

If you would like to book your own accommodation, please select 'Tour Only'.

Please select your requirements:


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2:17 MINS

*Due to Covid-19, we have paused this tour until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause*

Your 5 day small group tour of Orkney takes in the best Scotland has to offer. Visit the Orkney Islands, spend overnight at Ullapool, part of the North Coast 500, and enjoy castles, lochs and highland wildlife on your 5 day tour.

Day 1 - The journey from Edinburgh to Inverness

Starting from Edinburgh, our 5 Day Orkney and the Northern Highlands tour heads west to pick up our Glasgow passengers before moving on to Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond. After some time here admiring the beauty of the loch we travel on to Tyndrum at the south edge of Rannoch Moor for some lunch before heading to Glencoe, site of one of the most notorious mass murders in Scottish history. Enjoy a short walk and take in the atmosphere of the dramatic valley. Afterwards we move on to Fort Augustus where you will have the option to take a cruise* on the loch. After your cruise we will pause for photos of the loch-side ruins of Urquhart Castle before travelling to Inverness where we check in to our accommodation.

Day 2 - From Inverness to Orkney

We depart early from Inverness and head to the charming village of Golspie for a short break before a visit to the nearby Carn Liath, an Iron Age broch (stone tower). After spending some time exploring the broch our tour continues on for a photo stop at the Emigrants Statue that overlooks the village of Helmsdale.

Next stop will be at Gills Bay for the ferry ride across to Orkney, arriving at St Margaret’s Hope, we will then travel across the small island of Burray and on to visit the Italian Chapel*. It is named this as it was built by Italian prisoners of war during World War 2 and has since been restored. You can go inside the chapel and see the remarkable décor and artwork. An artist was amongst the prisoners of war called Domenico Chiocchetti who is responsible for the beautiful design. After spending some time here, we will journey on to Kirkwall, the largest town in Orkney where you will check in to your accommodation for the evening.

Day 3 - A full day exploring Orkney

Day 3 of our 5 Day Orkney and the Northern Highlands tour is action packed, spent exploring Neolithic World Heritage Sites. First you will visit the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Rings of Brodgar, Stone Age ceremonial stone circles.

We will then move on to Maeshowe*, an underground chambered cairn where you will have time to explore the passages and chambers before we travel to Skara Brae*.

Skara Brae is Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village, built even before the pyramids of Egypt. You can explore the village and get a glimpse into what life was like for the inhabitants 5000 years ago.

We then return to Kirkwall and check into our accommodation for the evening.

Day 4 - The trip from Orkney to Ullapool

After breakfast we depart Kirkwall for the final time and make our way to St Margaret’s Hope to take the ferry back to mainland Scotland. After arriving at Gills Bay we travel west, enjoying the beautiful views on our way to Thurso, in Caithness, the most northerly town on Scottish mainland. Here, you will have time to get some lunch and refreshments before we begin our journey along the north edge of Scotland to Smoo Cave. The route is particularly beautiful so there will be plenty of opportunities for photo stops along the way.

Smoo Cave has a 50ft high entrance and it was created through erosion from the sea as well as an underground stream that formed the inner chambers. We pause here for photos before we journey on to our accommodation in Ullapool.

Day 5 - Return to Edinburgh

The final day of our 5 day Orkney and the Northern Highlands tour begins by departing Ullapool and travelling to Culloden Battlefield*, where Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites were defeated. You will have some time here to take a walk and soak up the haunting atmosphere. Afterwards, we will take short trip to the Clava Cairns, a 4000 year old burial mound surrounded by standing stones.

The tour then continues on to the 15th century Cawdor Castle*, north east of Inverness. Explore the castle and its beautiful gardens where you can even get audio-guides which are available in several languages.

We then move on to Pitlochry for refreshments before returning to Edinburgh where our Orkney and the Northern Highlands tour concludes.

Tour Overview

Duration5 days
Total Distance754 miles
Pick upOutside Green Ensign Ewart Pub, Edinburgh at 9am
Group sizeUp to 19
Minimum ageTravellers need to be at least 5 years-old

A couple of things To know

  • Knowledgeable Driver-Guide
  • Luxury Modern air-conditioned coach
  • Small group tour
Not Included
  • Accommodation
  • Entrance to attractions
  • Food and Drink
Fantastic journey to Orkney and the north west coast!
“5 days of beautiful scenery, great history stories from driver guide Hamish, lots of wildlife, wonderful places!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the departure point?

Our 5 day Orkney, Ullapool and the Northern Highlands tour departs from outside the green Ensign Ewart pub, at 521-523 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2PE.

You can view our new departure point via the following link:

You can also find us by Edinburgh Public Transport

Check-in opens 15 minutes prior to the stated departure time and closes 5 minutes prior to the stated departure time. We recommend that all passengers arrive in this window as tours must depart on schedule.

Our multi-day tours will return to Edinburgh Waverley Station which is about a 15 minute walk from our original departure point.

Is the accommodation included in the price?

No, accommodation is not included in the tour price, as we prefer to let you choose the type of accommodation you want, depending on your budget.

The tour price includes the services of a friendly, knowledgeable and experienced Driver-Guide and transportation on one of our luxury modern air-conditioned coaches.

All accommodation is payable to the accommodation provider directly on arrival. Please note that many Bed and Breakfasts do not have card machines and do require guests to pay in cash.
Accommodation rates do vary between providers and seasons. For this reason we are only able to give you an estimated rate until a booking has been made.

Estimated rates are as follows:

  • Youth Hostel: £18.00 - £25.00 per person per night
  • B&B: £40.00 - £65.00 per person per night
  • Hotel: From £75.00+ per person per night

All hotels require credit card information in order to secure a booking. If you wish us to reserve a hotel room for you, we will contact you for your budget and credit card details.
Please note a single supplement may apply. The above accommodation rates are valid until March 2020.

Will I be charged extra for a single room?

Single supplements may be charged, especially during high season. Please contact our Reservations Team for more information

What is the difference between a Hostel, B&B and Hotel?

Hostels are budget accommodation. Many hostels have kitchen facilities where customers can prepare their own food.

B&B's are privately owned Guesthouses. Guests are given breakfast (continental or full, depending on the B&B) but cannot prepare their own food.

Hotels are the most expensive choice of accommodation. Rooms come with a full breakfast (unless stated) and guests are unable to prepare their own food.

What is the difference between ensuite, standard, twin and double rooms?

Double means one double bed which sleeps two.

Twin means two single beds, where you share a room but not a bed.

Ensuite rooms have a private bathroom/toilet/shower within the room.

Standard rooms have communal facilities that are shared with other guests.

Can I book my own accommodation?

Yes, you are free to make your own arrangements if you wish. Simply advise us at the time of booking that you will be reserving your own accommodation, and inform us at your earliest convenience of the name and address of the Guesthouse once it has been booked.

We kindly ask that your accommodation provider is located in central Inverness for the first night, in Kirkwall on the second and third night, and Ullapool on the forth night of your tour.

How much luggage can I bring?

Luggage is restricted to one medium sized suitcase per person.

For guidance: a medium sized suitcase is considered 60-69cm high and roughly 45cm in width.

Are the optional extras included?

No, optional extras are not included in the 5 day tour price.

This is to allow our guests the freedom to choose which attractions they would like to visit on the day.

Optional extras on this tour (From April 2019) are as follows:

  • Loch Ness Cruise: £11.50 adults, £7.50 children
  • Italian Chapel: £3.00 adults, £3.00 children, £3.00 students
  • Maeshowe: £6.00 adults, £4.80 concessions, £3.60 children
  • Skara Brae & Skaill House: £7.50 adults, £6.00 concessions, £4.50 children
  • Culloden Battlefield: £6.50
  • Cawdor Castle & Gardens: £12.50 adults, £11.50 concessions, £7.50 children (5 -15 years)
  • Cawdor Gardens only: £7.50, £2.50 for an audio guide (available in 7 languages)

Please note some attractions do not accept credit cards, entrance fees must be paid in cash only.

Do I need to pre-book the optional extras?

No, you don't need to worry about pre-booking any of the optional extras.

All the optional extras can be booked on the day and your Driver-Guide will advise you of how to book. We negotiate discounted rates for you, ensuring you'll always get a great deal at Scotland's top visitor attractions.

Please note that many visitor attractions and accommodation providers may not accept card payments, so please ensure you have plenty of cash with you on the day. If you have any questions about this please contact our Reservations Team on +44 (0)131 226 6066 - open 07.30 - 17.30 daily.

Is the tour in English?

Yes, all of our tours are in English.
Your tour will be taken by an experienced, knowledgeable and friendly English-speaking Driver-Guide. You'll find a digital translation of your tour through a link on your confirmation email.

Digital translations are available for this tour in the following languages:

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
What should I bring with me?

As you’ll be spending two days on and off the coach with the opportunity for walks, we recommend bringing warm and/or waterproof clothing, comfortable walking shoes and some sun-block or a hat for sunny days.

And don’t forget your camera to capture all of the lovely scenery and wildlife you’ll encounter on your tour!

Can children travel on this tour?

We welcome children over 5 years old on our tours, and children aged between 5-16yrs are eligible for the concessionary rate.

We regret we are not able to carry children under the age of 5.

How accessible are the locations?

Some of the locations may cause accessibility issues due to their geography and architecture.
If you are a wheelchair user or have restricted mobility, we would suggest downloading this helpful Access Guide by Historic Environment Scotland.

If you can’t find what you are looking for, don't worry! Just because it's not here, doesn't mean we can't do it. Have a look at our private tour page or contact us directly, and we will make it happen!