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Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats

star-4.5226 Reviews
John o' Groats, United Kingdom
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
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icon11 hours  (Approx.)
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
Optional gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop off
Food and drinks, unless specified
Entrance fees to Skara Brae
Entrance fees to Italian chapel

Departure Point

Unnamed Road, John o' Groats, Wick KW1 4YR, UK

Departure Time

8:30 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
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
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers
  • OPERATED BY John O'Groats Ferries

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • 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 maximum group size during Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats?
This activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats.

Traveler Photos

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


226 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 226 reviews
It was a very good tour but it could have been even better
, Aug 2021
It was a very good tour accompanied by a very good driver/guide/ knowledgable and entertaining; comfortable coach , all ran smoothly on time , interesting program. The inky think that should be improved - it was a lot if time in two towns where there was nothing much to see but definitely not enough time on the Neolithic sites . And those were the reason we come to Orkneys. The time balance should be shifted and where possible time added to enjoy sites like Ring of Brodgar. What I had was a marathon , a run through . What a pity!
Great way to see Orkney
, Jul 2021
We had a fantastic visit to the Orkney Islands, our tour guide Stuart was fantastic and full of local knowledge. It was very well organised and would thoroughly recommend.
Great day out
, Jul 2021
Great day out and a lot of history to learn. Bus driver was great and had a vast knowledge of the Island and surrounding areas. Very very interesting
An introduction to Orkney
, Jul 2021
Stuart the Guide was so informative in an amusing and engaging way. His love of the Orkneys was obvious and I am amazed he can be so enthusiastic day after day. Skara Brae was awesome but basically I enjoyed the feeling of isolation and the peace of the islands.
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
Superb day trip
, Jul 2021
Wonderful day with a very knowledgeable Stuart, be prepared to groan at his jokes though! The 5000 year old village at Skara Brae was the highlight, but hearing about WW2 scuttlings and sinkings in Scapa Flow, and the Churchill barriers was really interesting too. He kept to time amazingly well and the whole trip was very well organised.
Orkney -Something for Everyone
, Jul 2021
Darren was a fabulous tour guide! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and clear love of your island !!!!
Great day out
, Jul 2021
Great day out with lots of interesting places visited. Our guide Darren was brilliant and very knowledgeable and helpful
Great day out in orkney
, Jul 2021
Very enjoyable tour learned so much about orkney I never knew about - bus driver stewart was very knowledgeable about the island and very friendly some lovely sights and places to visit
Excellent well worth the cost
, Jul 2021
The guide was superb - answered all the questions fully. Had excellent knowledge of the island. Kept us entertained all through the trip. Nothing was too much trouble.
Well organised day trip
, Jul 2021
An excellent day trip, well organised to appeal to the general visitor. The passenger ferry runs like clockwork and the crossing takes about 40 minutes. The coach driver/guide was friendly, entertaining and knowledgeable, and the stops sensibly chosen to allow time for meals, shopping and comfort stops. Good value and an ideal family day trip.

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