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Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats

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John o' Groats, United Kingdom
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon10 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English


Escape the mainland for a full-day tour of the far-flung Orkney Islands from John O’Groats. Journey by ferry across the Pentland Firth to the wind-swept Orkney archipelago, bursting with postcard-perfect natural vistas and mystical landmarks. With a local guide, cruise along the Churchill Barriers to visit villages steeped in Viking mystery like 5,000-year-old Skara Brae and landmarks like the Lamb Holm Italian Chapel and St. Magnus Cathedral.
  • Day trip from John O’Groats to the Orkney Islands
  • Cross the Churchill Barriers
  • Ferry boat ride across Pentland Firth
  • Watch for seals and whales
  • Visit the villages of Stromness and Skara Brae
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Ferry crossing
English speaking guide
Transport by coach
Entrance fee to Skara Brae (stoneage village)
Optional gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop off
Food and drinks, unless specified
Entrance fee to Italian chapel
John O'Groats Harbour , Unnamed Road, John o' Groats, Wick KW1 4YR, UK

Board MV Pentland Venture (ferry) at the harbour. Last boarding 8.40am.

8:45 AM
This activity will end right where it started.
Your trip through the Orkney Islands begins in John O'Groats Harbor, where you set off by ferry in the morning across the blustery Pentland Firth to port in Burwick. After your cruise, transfer to a comfortable coach for a guided tour of remarkable local attractions.

Savor unspoiled scenery as you travel along the Churchill Barriers (the extensive island causeway system). Hug the Scapa Flow (meaning ‘bay of the long isthmus’ in Old Norse), where you may spot swooping seabirds, bobbing seals and whales. Stop in Stromness, the last port of all before the Americas, and Kirkwall to see the lovely St. Magnus Cathedral—nearly a millennia old! 

Soak up mysterious Viking history as you visit ancient monuments including prehistoric standing stones, tombs and the more than 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae. Cap your day with a stop at the famous Italian Chapel, built during WWII by Italian prisoners of war. Admire the beauty and ingenuity of the chapel, made of only basic raw materials, then re-board your coach for the ride back to port.

Your tour concludes back at John o’Groats Harbor in the evening.
Stop At:  
John O'Groats Ferries
Depart from John O'Groats on the ferry. Shortest sea crossing, only 40 mins to Orkney Islands. Look out for wildlife on the way even orcas if you are lucky and puffins. Luxury coach awaits you on Orkney. Enjoy a guided tour of the islands.
Duration: 40 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Skara Brae
An amazing 5000 year old stoneage village older than the pyramids part of Orkney's World Heritage Site. Only discovered 150 years ago. Entry payable by card at site.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
The Italian Chapel
See the beautiful Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war using basic materials.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Saint Magnus Cathedral
Visit the town of Kirkwall with its magnificent Cathedral. See also shops, harbour and museum.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Ring of Brodgar
See the mystical Ring of Brodgar, an impressive stone circle.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Standing Stones of Stenness
Small group of standing stones.
Pass By:  
Scapa Flow
Drive round Scapa Flow, home to the Grand Fleet during the wars. See the block ships as you cross the Churchill Barriers.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Sorry no dogs on tour
  • Tour returns 6.15pm to John O'Groats
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers
  • OPERATED BY John O'Groats Ferries
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the policy on sanitization during Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips

  • "There are plenty of stops along the way too, sobit breaks up the day." See review
  • "The passenger ferry runs like clockwork and the crossing takes about 40 minutes." See review


272 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 272 reviews
Non-stop Orkney.
, May 2022
Skara Brae. Stromness. The Scoop. Matt, the bus driver was excellent, informative and very entertaining
An insightful and educational tour.
, May 2022
Boat journey straight forward and exciting on return. Coach driver very knowledgeable and cracking jokes during the whole island tour. Historical sites, Neolithic and WW1 and WW2 sites very interesting. Strongly recommend the tour.
Good day out
, May 2022
The bus driver was very informative and upbeat. Certainly recommend this tour and the only negative was the weather but it is Orkney
The timings were very...
, Sep 2021
The timings were very accurate, the trip went exactly 💯 to itinerary. Our driver was brilliant with information and his knowledge of the islands history and historical detail. He was extremely pleasant, we enjoyed his banter.
Had a fantastic time,...
, Sep 2021
Had a fantastic time, made all the better with our bus driver Darren, was so knowledgeable about the local history and very entertaining ( especially with his jokes) would recommend this trip to anyone.
, Sep 2021
The trip was canceled due to bad weather. So dissappointing😭😭😭. Better this way round though, but still
icon Response from Host , Sep 2021
We are very sorry we had to cancel your Day Tour of Orkney. I can fully understand why you are disappointed. I can assure you that we don't take these decisions lightly but we have to put your safety first. It doesn't happen often - in fact this was the first time that we have cancelled all season. We try to give some degree of advance warning whenever we can but if this is not possible we announce any cancellations on Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps we will see you another time when we will can show you these wonderful islands at their best.
A perfect day out
, Sep 2021
Loved the knowledge of the driver, Stewart. Favourite part was The Italian Cathedral. Orkney is a beautiful place, extremely clean and very friendly
Lovely ferry, lovely guide, lovely trip.
, Sep 2021
The John o Groats Ferry is an utterly delightful foot passengers ferry which offers the shortest crossing for terrible sailors ( like us). A coach met us for the trip. Excellent guide in Stuart. Good quick tour of the best sites on the mainland. The ferry developed a problem so we were put on the Pentland Ferry to return, then transported back to John o Groats. No fuss, no expense incurred. One of the family who operate and own the company offered us a lift back to our hotel rather than walk back up from the harbour carrying heavy bottles of Orkney gin ( unobtainable on the mainland). What a lovely man. I recommend the trip highly.
icon Response from Host , Sep 2021
Thank you for this really kind review. I'm very pleased you enjoyed your day with us and we got you back to your hotel safe and sound. I know the man who gave you the lift and I shall pass on your comments to him - I'm sure he will be pleased. Enjoy your memories of Orkney while sipping that gin!
Great day out
, Sep 2021
Stuart was an exceptional guide - really fascinating to listen to. Loved his insight into life on the islands and great to see local celebrity pigs! Plus all the history of which Orkney is absolutely full
Interesting day trip
, Sep 2021
Very informative driver/tour guide (Darren). Enjoyed Kirkwall not so much Stromness. Enjoyed hearing about and seeing the historical sites.

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