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from £1179
The Orkney Islands have something for everyone. There's stunning coastal walking, fascinating history, World Heritage archaeological sites and beautiful scenery.

Guided Walking Holidays - The Orkney Islands

The gentle scent of salt sea air permeates the atmosphere on Orkney. The classic harbour sounds of seagulls, yachts, and fishing boats unloading all create a sense of the surrounding sea that remains with you when you walk amongst evidence of human habitation since the beginning of time. Roam the margins between sea and land, along deserted cliffs or welcoming villages, across treeless landscapes dotted with monuments to man’s interaction with these remote places. Orkney is a unique and mystical place.

We stay in the village of Stromness to take advantage of the stunning coastal walking opportunities. Our programme offers both the naturalist and historian a full and exciting week filled with visual delights.

We walk to the Kitchener Memorial, Wideford Hill burial chamber, and (subject to ferries) the Old Man of Hoy. We plan to include walking tours of Kirkwall, Stromness and Birsay, and visits to the Ring of Brodgar, RSPB sites and the Islands of Hoy, Burray and South Ronaldsay. 

Holiday Highlights

  • Experience the Ring of Brodgar and 27 standing stones.
  • Walk to the Old Man of Hoy – look out for Bonxies!
  • Visit the Italian Chapel.
  • Discover the neolithic Skara Brae.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Half board en-suite accommodation
      Return flights from Edinburgh and airport transfers.
      Local Transport
      Services of a dedicated tour leader

    Please note: Flights to and from Kirkwall can on (rare) occasion be cancelled due to inclement weather conditions, in which case it may be necessary to travel by ferry.

Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 4

  1. Day 1

    We fly to Kirkwall Airport and transfer about 35 minutes by road to Stromness and the Stromness Hotel. Dinner each evening is in the hotel restaurant. 

  2. Day 2

    Today starts with a short orientation walk to the hill, Brinkies Brae, just above Stromness to enjoy views across the town, harbour and on to the Island of Hoy, which we will visit later. After a walk through Stromness, we continue across fields to the west coast where we take a coastal trail to Warebeth beach and on to Breck Ness. Along the trail we should be able to watch one of the many local seal colonies before returning back to Stromness. Those who choose may visit the intriguing Victorian local museum. Here the Orkney relationship with the Hudson Bay Company in Northern Canada is recorded along with involvement with the Royal Navy at Scapa Flow and local artefacts.

  3. Day 3

    Birsay to Skara Brae – Subject to tide levels there could be an opportunity to visit the ‘Pictish’ island of Brough Head.  Depending on the season there is a chance of seeing Killer, Minke and Pilot whales. At Birsay there is the shell of the Earl’s Palace – built in the 1500s by a notorious Earl Robert Stewart (you can learn about the intrigue during the visit). This is followed by the most splendid of coastal walks with cliff views and a variety of bird species. The trail passes a grand memorial to Lord Kitchener and turf-roofed fishermen’s huts. A tour highlight comes at the end of the walk with a visit to Skara Brae (a World Heritage site) village that is Northern Europe’s best preserved Neolithic Village. Next to Skara Brae is Skaill House, a 1620 family home, which is now open to the public.

  4. Day 4

    Wideford Hill and Kirkwall – Now for a hill walk – taking us up Wideford Hill (225m). On the way we visit a chambered cairn and then a heathland walk and tracks descending to the Orkney capital of Kirkwall. The walk is about 4.5 miles. The St Magnus Cathedral, dating from 1137, is a must to visit. The structure is unlike that of many cathedrals and was built of red sandstone by Durham masons. Opposite the Cathedral is the Kirkwall museum where local artefacts are displayed to include the famous ‘Orkney chair’. For the radio enthusiasts there is a specialist Wireless Museum. For those wanting to experience a local dram, a visit to the Highland Park Distillery for a tour is well worthwhile. Highland Park is the most northerly distillery in Scotland.

  5. Day 5

    A short ferry boat trip to Rousay Island where a large part of the island is managed by the RSPB. We will be met by the island mini-bus and taken to Midhowe Cairn. The Cairn comprises chambers that are over 32m in length and dating from 3000BC, now preserved under a protective cover. From here we walk along the shore and past Westness – an ancient farm complex including the remains of St Mary’s 16th Century church. The next part of the day is taken with a walk over a moorland area called Trumland (managed by the RSPB) and to Knitchen Hill. From the hill top there can be fine views across to other islands in the Orkney group.

  6. Day 6

    Just a short ferry boat trip from Stromness to Moaness on Hoy to visit the second largest island in the archipelago. We will be met by a minibus and taken to view the Dwarfie Stane – cut from rock in around 3000BC. This is followed by commencing a trail from Rackwick to the most famous of sites – ‘The Old Man of Hoy’. The island of Hoy is the largest RSPB reserve and apart from puffins there could be fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills and shags to be seen in season.

  7. Day 7

    A day of visits to include some of the world famous Neolithic sites of: The Ring of Brodgar, Standing Stones of Stenness and on the banks of Loch Harray the foundations of the “Barnhouse Village”. Maes Howe, another World Heritage site, is the finest chambered cairn in Northern Europe and covers a diameter of 35m and 7m in height. Moving on to more recent times the ‘Italian Chapel’ will be visited. The chapel is a master craftsman’s structure having being made during the Second World War by Italian prisoners of war that were camped on the island. Travelling to the chapel the ‘Churchill lines’ will be passed. These are remarkable structures that along with block ships (some of which can still be seen) were designed to protect the Scapa Flow naval base. Along the route the islands of Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm,Burray and South Ronaldsay will be passed with many opportunities to view coastal birds.

  8. Day 8

    We return to the airport for our flight back to Scotland. We hope you have enjoyed your holiday and we look forward to welcoming you on another soon. 

Travel Details

Includes return flights from Edinburgh and transfers between Kirkwall airport and our hotel. Kirkwall airport is 16 miles from The Stromness Hotel.

Flights: Edinburgh – Kirkwall (about 1hr 15mins) with Logan Air.

Provisional times: Outward Depart 12.50/14.05 / Return Arrival 11.05/12.15


UK add on flights are available with British Airways. Please contact us for a quote. 


Please note that flights to and from Kirkwall can on rare occasions be cancelled due to inclement weather conditions, in which case it may be necessary to travel by ferry. The nearest ferry harbours are Stromness or Kirkwall.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

The Stromness Hotel

We stay at the very comfortable three-star Stromness Hotel in the heart of the village, overlooking the picturesque fishing harbour and Scapa Flow. The hotel has a cosy bar and lounge with views over the harbour and over 100 malt whiskies to choose from.

Accommodation is on a half board basis with breakfasts and dinners taken at the hotel. The restaurant uses a variety of locally produced high quality food and drink and breakfast includes a full Scottish option! Please note that lunches are not included on this holiday.

Bedrooms have tea and coffee making facilities, TVs and are en-suite with some rooms have baths instead of showers. Complementary Wi-Fi is also available throughout the hotel.