Undiscovered Orkney

Undiscovered Orkney

501 Views
5 Days From

$2095

$2029

Undiscovered Orkney

5 Days Starting and ending in Various pick-up points available - please contact us for details

Visiting: Scrabster, Stromness , Kirkwall, Westray, Natural Arch, Westray Heritage Trust, Noltland Castle, Island Tours of Hoy, OLD WORLD ORDER MEGALITHIC THE DWARFIE STANE, HOY, ORKNEY ISLANDS, UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN, Rackwick, Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Maeshowe, Skara Brae Prehistoric Village, Standing Stones of Stenness, Scapa, Stromness, Helmsdale

Tour operator:

Brightwater Holidays

Tour code:

BUOR

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

6 - 25

Physical rating:

Low, Light

Age range:

1-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans, Meat, Please contact Brightwater with any specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:

English

Trip Styles:

Sailing, UK tours by Coach

From: $2095 $2029 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$66

NB: Prices correct on 15-Jul-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Orkney is an archipelago of 70 islands, each with their own distinctive charm, history and natural beauty. Over the years Brightwater Holidays has explored almost every nook and cranny of Orkney, yet these beautiful islands contain many more secrets and hidden gems that need to be discovered. Based on Mainland, we will have an opportunity to visit previously unexplored areas as we discover the historic landmarks and captivating landscapes of the North and South Isles.



On the island of Westray we will relive Orkney’s Viking past as we sail the Old Norse sea routes. We will also sail across Scapa Flow to Hoy – an island of dramatic mountain scenery and seascapes that inspired the Orcadian symphonies of former resident Sir Peter Maxwell-Davies. Finally, we will explore Mainland and the sites that are collectively known as the ‘Heart of Neolithic Orkney’ – Maeshowe, the Stones of Stenness and Skara Brae.

Highlights

  • Spectacular sea cliffs of Noup Head, Westray

  • Views of the Old Man of Hoy as we sail to Scrabster

  • Orkney’s Naval history in Scapa Flow and the Lyness Naval Base

  • The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Maeshowe, Stones of Stenness and Skara Brae

  • A dram of the finest whisky at Highland Park Distillery

Places You'll See

Undiscovered Orkney

Undiscovered Orkney

Undiscovered Orkney

Undiscovered Orkney

Itinerary

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Day 1

Location: Scrabster, Stromness , Kirkwall

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Kirkwall Hotel, Orkney

Meals Included: Dinner

We depart by coach from our local departure points and travel north, stopping en route for refreshments (not included). We will continue to Scrabster in time to catch the evening Serco Northlink ferry to Stromness where dinner will be served in the restaurant on board the ‘Hamnavoe’. On arrival in Orkney we will transfer the short distance to Kirkwall where accommodation has been arranged at the comfortable Kirkwall Hotel, overlooking the harbour.

Day 2

Location: Westray, Natural Arch, Westray Heritage Trust, Noltland Castle

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Kirkwall Hotel, Orkney

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Following breakfast this morning we depart for the island of Westray, the ‘Queen of the Orkney Isles’, which is reached by ferry from the pier directly opposite the hotel, sailing along the old Viking sea route to the north, past the islands of Egilsay and Eday.

On Westray, we firstly visit The Scaun Natural Arch at Westray’s northmost point, where we should see sea birds such as the Shag, Black Guillemot and Fulmar. After a visit to the unique Quoygrew 10th century Norse site, we will visit the Kirk of St Mary in Pierowall Village. After an opportunity for lunch (not included) we shall travel to Castle O’Burrian which is known as one of the best places to see puffins in Orkney.

Finally we visit the Westray Heritage Centre, and Noltland Castle, one of the most unusual castles in Scotland and testament to a troubled period of Scottish history. It was built in the 1560s by Gilbert Balfour from Fife, who was up to his neck in the political intrigues common during the time of his sister-in-law, Mary Queen of Scots, and as a result had made some powerful enemies. Using local grey sandstone, the castle follows a typical "Z" plan layout, and with 7 ft thick walls, Balfour's castle was a stronghold in every sense of the word. The lower floors have no accessible windows that could be exploited in an assault and are peppered with gunloops - 71 in total. The main block was designed to have three storeys but was never completed.

In the late afternoon we return by ferry to Kirkwall where dinner will be served back at the hotel in the evening.

Day 3

Location: Island Tours of Hoy, OLD WORLD ORDER MEGALITHIC THE DWARFIE STANE, HOY, ORKNEY ISLANDS, UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN, Rackwick, Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Kirkwall Hotel, Orkney

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Following breakfast this morning we depart for the island of Hoy, the second largest island in Orkney, which is mountainous in the north and flatter and more fertile in the south. After a 45-minute ferry trip across Scapa Flow to the port at Lyness, we will travel first to the north of the island for a look at the Dwarfie Stone. This isolated block of red sandstone, some 8.5 metres long, is the only prehistoric rock-cut chambered tomb in Britain and dates from around 3000 BC. The location is stunning and, provided everyone keeps quiet for a moment, the silence is deafening! A few miles further on we reach Rackwick Bay, a fine beach of large round boulders with high cliffs at either side of the bay and a constantly changing seascape. The composer Sir Peter Maxwell-Davies lived here for a while and it would be hard not to find inspiration in this idyllic spot.

Travelling back to the southern end of the island we will learn about the more recent past with a visit to the Lyness Naval Base and Interpretation Centre, which houses an important record of the role the Royal Navy played in Orkney during both World Wars. The former pump house has been converted to provide a comprehensive series of interpretative displays, as well as being home to a fascinating outside collection of military equipment such as vehicles and guns. World War I displays include a propeller and other artefacts from HMS Hampshire, mined off Orkney in 1916 with the loss of Lord Kitchener. Guns salvaged from the German High Seas Fleet which was scuttled in Scapa Flow in 1919 form part of the display along with railway engines on tracks. There is a large photographic collection as well as objects on display inside, where you can see one of the pumps in action. A short film presentation is shown in a unique setting – inside a huge disused fuel tank. Lunch is available here (not included).

In the afternoon we will have a visit to the stone-built Martello Tower at Hackness. These two towers, constructed between 1813 and 1815, were built as protection for the Baltic convoys and were also used during WW1. We will also pay a brief visit to the Naval Cemetery, a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made in this important theatre of two world wars.

Later we return by ferry to Houton and drive back to Kirkwall where dinner will be served in the evening.

Day 4

Location: Maeshowe, Skara Brae Prehistoric Village, Standing Stones of Stenness, Scapa

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Kirkwall Hotel, Orkney

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy your full Scottish breakfast. Today we have a full day excursion of mainland Orkney visiting the many archaeological sites including Maeshowe, the finest chambered tomb in Western Europe. Built before 2700 B.C. Maeshowe was raided by Vikings in the 12th Century. It houses the largest collection of runic inscriptions to be found in any one place in the world; Skara Brae, with its new visitor centre depicting the history of this world famous monument; and the Standing Stones of Stenness, lying to the north side of the Orphir Hills.

Lunch (not included) will be available in Stromness, where there will also be an opportunity to visit the local Museum and the Pier Arts Centre. Stromness has a very long waterfront and was a supply base for the Hudson Bay Company, and the whaling fleet, whose ships filled up with fresh water from Login’s Well. More recently, Stromness is famous for being the home of George Mackay Brown, one of the great Scottish poets of the 20th century. Also, the 2004 European Marine Energy Centre (read ‘wave/tidal power’) is based in Stromness.

Later we will enjoy a taste of one of the finest whiskies in the world, at the Highland Park Distillery, which uses the same traditional methods of production as it did 200 years ago.

Dinner will be served at the hotel in the evening.

Day 5

Location: Stromness, Scrabster, Helmsdale

Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and transfer to Stromness to catch the morning ferry to Scrabster. On arrival in Scrabster we will continue our homeward journey which we will break with a visit to the Timespan Museum and Arts Centre in Helmsdale, which is described as a meeting place between past, present and future. We return to our original departure points in the afternoon and evening.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

  • Services of a professional tour manager

  • Comfortable coach travel throughout

  • Meals - as per the itinerary

  • Ferry crossings

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • Drinks with Meals

  • Entrance Fees

What's Not Included

  • International Travel

  • Tipping and Gratuities

Check out our Q&As

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    No

  • Will I receive more details of the holiday before I travel?

    You will receive detailed joining instructions around 10 days prior to you departure, but you are of course welcome to contact us at any time should you have any queries.

  • What facilities do your coaches have?

    Generally, our coaches have reclining seats, air-conditioning and toilets, however this cannot always be guaranteed as sometimes we have to use smaller vehicles. Toilets are recommended for emergency use only and regular comfort stops will be made throughout your holiday while travelling around.

  • Do I have to go on the included excursions?

    Absolutely not. You are more than welcome to spend the day at your hotel or exploring independently should you wish. All we ask is that you inform your Tour Manager, so they are not left waiting for you to join the group.

  • Is there time to relax?

    Although our itineraries may seem jam-packed, boasting access to some of the most exclusive sites across the UK and beyond, a Brightwater Holiday is just that: a holiday. Each trip will counter in more than enough free-time for you to explore places at your own leisure. And with most nights and the majority of meals being included in our tour prices, you can relax in hand-picked accommodation.

  • Do I need to be an expert?

    Absolutely not! Although some of our tours are specifically focused on one thing, all you need to enjoy a Brightwater holiday is interest and bags of enthusiasm! Even on our most specialist tours, we take travellers from all skill levels, from experts to beginners.

  • How fit or active do I need to be for one of your holidays?

    You need to be able to get on and off the coach unassisted, and most – but not all – coaches have a kneel facility that lowers the front step for ease of boarding

  • Do you have self-drive holidays?

    Yes, we do – tailored to your exact requirements!

  • What’s the luggage allowance on your coaches?

    There’s no fixed limit, but we generally say one large suitcase to go in the luggage compartment and a smaller bag that you can take onto the coach with you. For flight-inclusive holidays, we include a luggage allowance of at least 20kg.

  • Where are your departure points?

    UK garden holidays generally depart from London, with additional pick-ups depending on the route of the coach, while holidays to Scotland depart from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth, with Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen sometimes included. All Eurostar holidays depart from London St. Pancras and flight-inclusive holidays depart from one or more of the main London airports, with regional flights .

  • What about the company that will be kept?

    For single travellers, those with a companion or even those travelling in a larger group, you'll find that the signature of any Brightwater Holiday is the company. You won't ever be travelling with a group of strangers, instead, you'll find yourself surrounded by like-minded people with a strong shared interest who will soon become your firm friends.

  • What is a Brightwater Holiday?

    Bursting with enthralling, educational and enlightening itineraries, a Brightwater Holiday, by its very nature, is packed with bucket-list-worthy destinations, behind the scenes passes and expert-led experiences. From creating bespoke quality garden and special interest tours for groups and individuals alike, we have made it our business to make our guests' travel dreams come true.

  • Why is there a single supplement?

    Unfortunately, single room supplements are charges that are often imposed on us as a company when we book rooms for group holidays. However, most hotels do charge less for single occupancy, and we always pass this saving on to our solo travellers in the form of a modest single supplement.

  • How much are your optional excursions?

    Prices start from as little as £20, but please contact our friendly team for questions about specific itineraries or excursions.

  • Can I pre-book my coach seats?

    Yes, you can. In the case of front seats, guests with limited mobility are given priority. Please get in touch with our friendly team to discuss any requirements you may have.

  • How to get there? Easy!

    With a Brightwater Holiday, the journey is just as important as the destination and we make getting you to your tour start point easy. From organising group flights and individual travel plans, to offering accessible local departure and pick-up points, we go out of our way to ensure that your journey is as convenient and hassle-free as it can be.

  • Do I need to have travel insurance?

    Travel insurance is required for all overseas holidays and is also strongly recommended for UK holidays – primarily to protect yourself against cancellation charges should you be unable to travel.

Reviews of this operator

Trusted Customer  

Brightwater Holidays offers great value

28-Nov-2019

I would highly recommend Brightwater Holidays. It offers excellent service and value for money. This was my first tour as I normally arrange holidays myself, but this tour - which was to the gardens of Kent and Sussex - was a very pleasant change of pace.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Brightwater Holidays Customer  

My experience with Brightwater Holidays

08-Aug-2019

The tour was well managed, the sites visited were all interesting and linked to the theme of the Picts and their place in history, the hotel was comfortable and the coach journeys were well paced. I have been with Brightwater before and will certainly travel with them again

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Alan Hawkes (Google Reviewer)  

We were on the Tour...

28-Aug-2022

We were on the Tour of the Outer Hebrides. We had a great experience, in no small part due to the excellence of the tour manager and driver.

Brightwater Holidays Custome  

Wonderful experience with brilliant information

31-Jul-2019

The most important factor was an amazing guide in Alastair Walker whose knowledge and care for clients was fantastic. The whole trips are superbly organised

Feefo Trusted Reviews
David MacLennan (Google Reviewer)  

Noted a comment on taking...

23-Aug-2023

Noted a comment on taking coaches on A814 by a local person who didn't know the facts: When the A82 was blocked and the POLICE divert you onto that road you do as instructed not what a you know are tight roads but they only way to your destination as intructed by officials. We know this route is not suitable for large vehicles but the driver does as instructed by someone in authority.

Eric Webb (Google Reviewer)  

Recent (September 2023) Scottish holiday...

07-Oct-2023

Recent (September 2023) Scottish holiday not so good. Various 'issues' to do with scheduling and organisation. I'm happy to report however that - after an interval - a letter expressing disappointment brought a full response - including a generous refund. So - with fingers slightly crossed - we'll be booking with Brightwater again in due course.

Kevin Barrett (Google Reviewer)  

The recent tour in Northumberland...

30-Sep-2023

The recent tour in Northumberland turned out to be a shambles. Our South London driver took us to Newcastle, but no guide to meet us. Next day still no guide and the bus driver attempted to salvage the tour the best he could despite having no knowledge of the attractions. Fortunately one of the passengers Googled the tides for Holy Island. No holiday guide ever showed up. Coach and hotel were fine. Do these people only offer self guided tours? Take Shearings next time.

ALEXANDRA MCQUEEN (Google Reviewer)  

Been trying to get a...

17-Oct-2023

Been trying to get a reply from them for over a week. Booked Xmas tour, confirmation said pick up subject to numbers, they never said anything when booking and theyve been paid in full. Would not recommend!

Dp Green (Google Reviewer)  

I had heard this company...

20-Feb-2024

I had heard this company was a nightmare to deal with, but thought I'd give it a go. Signed up for a tour, then emailed them about how to pay off the balance. No response to 3 emails. I've never encountered a tour company that ignored questions on how to pay off a balance. Looked into other reviews and found many complaints about cancelled tours and refusals to refund deposits.

Kieran Thompson (Google Reviewer)  

Two of your tour busses...

26-Jul-2021

Two of your tour busses used the A814 from Garelochhead to Arrochar on 24th July 2021. This route is not suitable for large vehicles and your drivers should not have taken the huge coaches that way. There are clear signs at both ends of the road indicating it is not suitable for HGV's. Our car had to go off into the soft verge to allow your coaches to pass. Please amend your routes to avoid this road in future.

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Tuesday - Saturday

Aug 27, 2024 - Aug 31, 2024
$2095 $2029

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$66

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Brightwater Holidays allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform brightwater holidays, 25 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Brightwater Holidays requires a minimum deposit of 15% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of brightwater holidays charges.

    At 40 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 7 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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