Orkney & Scotland's Northern Coast
5 day tour

  • Ring of Brodgar
  • Cairngorm National Park
  • Glencoe
  • Orkney Tours from Edinburgh
  • Kirkwall
  • Skara Brae

Escape to Scotland’s extreme Northern Coast and Orkney on this magical tour from Edinburgh.

Tour map

Highlights

UNESCO Heritage Sites
Ferry
Walks
Prehistoric Sites
Cathedrals
Lochs
Mountains

Places you explore


Orkney Isles - These beautiful islands are full of ancient history and wildlife.

Glencoe and Rannoch Moor - Be moved by the sheer beauty and tragic tales of one of Scotland’s most famous landscapes.

Loch Ness - Take a chance to spot the famous Loch Ness Monster.

Skara Brae and Ring of Brodgar - Learn how people used to live in ancient times at these prehistoric monuments.

Cairngorms National Park - Gaze in awe at Scotland’s most beautifully rounded peaks.


Your journey


The archipelago of Orkney hides many treasures: and on our five day tour, your experienced guide will ensure you find the best of them. You’ll unearth some of the most well-preserved prehistoric sites in Europe, examine a beautiful red sandstone coast, and discover the vibrant culture of remote island communities.

You’ll also have a chance to find the Loch Ness Monster, see Scotland’s beautiful north, and learn about the tragedy of Glencoe.

It’s an experience you’ll treasure for a lifetime.


Tour Details

Starts
Check-in closes at 08.15 (tour departs at 08:30) - Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Finishes (approx.)
19:00
Luggage
You’re restricted to 14kg (31lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items.
Discounts

Students, seniors over 60, and children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)

Important information
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • Tour accommodation

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Lap up the lovely Lochs as you venture north
  • Gasp as you listen to the tragic tale of Glencoe

Leave Edinburgh and head west past Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. You pass Doune Castle before stopping in the small town of Callander for a refreshment. After crossing the fault line into the magnificent Highlands, you take in the splendour of Loch Lubnaig, Loch Earn, Glen Ogle, and Glen Dochart.

Glencoe offers spectacular views before you continue north up the Great Glen to the mysterious beauty of Loch Ness.

The loch is 23 miles long and you have plenty of time to try and spot the monster.

You arrive at Inverness, where you’re dropped off at your booked accommodation. The evening is free for you to explore the 'Capital of the Highlands'.

Day 2

  • Arrive in the Capital of Orkney, Kirkwall
  • Explore mainland Scotland’s most northern scenery

It’s an early start, leaving behind the 'Capital of the Highlands', crossing over the Black Isle, and past Dunrobin Castle.

From here, you drive through the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery.

Onwards through Scotland's most northerly mainland village, John o' Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago.

It’s a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where we stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney. Here you can visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking Cathedral and its historic winding streets.

Day 3

  • Go to a site as ancient as the pyramids, Skara Brae
  • See the wild ocean clash with redstone cliffs

Today is your chance to explore this archipelago’s fertile green pastures fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic ocean.

You visit the 5,000 year old village of Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness.

You stop in Stromness, and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions. Then it’s back to Kirkwall for your second night after what is sure to be a memorable day.

Day 4

  • Stroll around the beautiful harbour town of Ullapool
  • Take a look at the stunningly located ruins of Ardvreck Castle

After a relaxed start, you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here, you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches.

You then visit the far northwest Highlands and the wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th-century ruins of Ardvreck Castle.

From here, you travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you spend your last night's stay on tour.

Day 5

  • See the ancient standing stones made famous by Outlander, Clava Cairns
  • Learn about one of the most brutal events in British history at Culloden

Leaving Ullapool behind, you take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60m down into Corrieshalloch Gorge. You then take in the beautiful Loch Glascarnoch, on the way past the 'Capital of the Highlands', Inverness.

You can visit Culloden Moor, the site of The Battle of Culloden in 1746, one of the bloodiest events in our history and the last battle to have been fought on the British mainland. Next, you take a short drive to the ancient standing stones at Clava Cairns, made famous by Diana Gabaldon in the ‘Outlander’ books.

From here, you travel through the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest, hugging the Cairngorm mountain range. Lunch will be spent in these beautiful surroundings before travelling through big tree country of Perthshire, the Kingdom of Fife, and back to Edinburgh.

Customer Reviews

10 day Orkney, North Coast, Hebrides, Skye Tour

Chip Heslip Posted on 01/10/2019

We finished our 10 day Orkney, North Coast 500, Outer Hebrides, and Skye tour on Sunday 29 October, having left on 20 September. Jodie was our first driver / guide - - she was brilliant not only very historically knowledgeable, her ebullient personality and us of stories and music made our trip feel like we were in an Oscar winning movie! Orkney was stunning. Maeshowe, Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, and Standing Stones of Stennis are mind blowing. Also great was visiting The Glupe, and the Yesnabay Rocks. The rest day in Ulapool was welcome! Not only did it give us time to do laundry, but we could absorb the atmosphere of this beautiful highland town! Our 2nd guide / driver Chris was extremely entertaining he made a great foil to Jodie. The Outer Hebrides were very interesting, if a little moonscapesque. The Butt of Lewis was incredible, but even better was Luskentyre Beach. Skye was beautiful despite the number of tourists. Thanx to Jodie and Chris as well as Rabbies for giving us a trip of a lifetime! Highest recommendation!

Fantastic tour!

robert sinclair Posted on 28/08/2019

I dont often get around to doing trip reviews, but the time we had with Rabbies really deserves recognition! We did the Orkney and the North tour in July, 2019. Our guide was Seana -who was truly an encyclopedia of knowledge! She managed a group of 15 perfectly and everything was clockwork. My family was a group of six, including two children. We easily loaded in Edinburgh and away we went. Met the rest of the group further along and everyone clicked. We were never bored or at a loss for things to do or see. Stops were balanced out really well, with lots of interesting things to explore. Seana had so much insight into the area. It was like having a history professor in the bus with us!! The B+B option was nice, as places were comfortable with easy walks into the downtowns. My mother put it perfectly -never has she been anywhere with such spectacular vistas at every turn. We will surely return! Thanks Seana and Rabbies!

Magical tour

Kathleen Hewson Posted on 29/07/2019

Just back from this tour with Keith Fraser as the driver. Had a great time and saw some amazing things.The mix of nationalities on the tour was good. We learned lots of history, sang some songs and shared meals not to mention the odd joke. Yes Keith the old ones are the best. The best thing was the sunrise on Wednesday morning I have never seen colours so vivid at 4.15 am. I spent a good hour just sitting on Kirwall harbour being entranced. A really good trip with a good mix of venues. Thanks Keith.

Awe-Inspiring 10 Day Scottish Adventure!

Donna Steve Struck Posted on 01/07/2019

We recently returned from our 10 day Orkney, Hebrides ( Skye) tour (6/12/19-6/21/19) and thoroughly enjoyed our awe-inspiring Scottish adventure with Rabbies! Both of our tour guides (Nick for first half, Michael for second half) were personable, interesting, informative and fun and enhanced our experience. This 10 day tour (two separate 5 day tours) allowed us to see the most scenic and remote sections of Scotland in pure comfort while learning so much about Scottish history and folklore. The stories told by Nick and Michael and the Scottish and other themed music they played were wonderful, and both Nick and Michael seem to genuinely love their Rabbies career and their enthusiasm was appreciated . A special thank you to Michael for making our wedding anniversary day so special by playing us a handpicked romantic song, and for his gift. There were so many highlights on this 10 day tour .... Skara Brae on Orkney, the beautiful and adventurous NC 500 drive from John OGroats to picturesque Ullapool, the scenic Butt of Lewis and Luskentyre Beach on Harris, the Quaraing on Skye .... just to name a few. And the joyful bonus surprises like the visit to the sheep farm on Skye. We highly recommend Rabbies Tours and will be singing your praises to everyone we know. The trip of a lifetime ... BRAVO!

Amazing tour with Sharon clanPaddy

Nicole Eberl Posted on 23/05/2019

We had originally booked the Islay Tour with friends. Unfortunately one of our friends had an accident and couldnt start the tour. We were very sad and didnt want to go to Islay alone and so I wrote a desperate e-mail to the Rabbis booking team. As always (it was our 5th Rabbies Tour) there was a quick response that our friends would get 90 of the cost refunded and we could be rebooked to another tour. So we landed on Orkney. It was great, everything was very well organized and despite the bad weather Sharon did everything to make sure we enjoyed the tour. With her humorous, powerful nature and her impressive, broad knowledge she made the tour a wonderful experience. Once Rabbies - always Rabbies!

Amazing tour with Sharon clanPaddy

Nicole Eberl Posted on 23/05/2019

We had originally booked the Islay Tour with friends. Unfortunately onw of our friends had an accident and couldnt start the tour. We were very sad and didnt want to go to Islay alone and so I wrote a desperate e-mail to the Rabbis booking team. As always (it was our 5th Rabbies Tour) there was a quick response that our friends would get 90 of the cost refunded and we could be rebooked to another tour. So we landed on Orkney. It was great, everything was very well organized and despite the bad weather Sharon did everything to make sure we enjoyed the tour. With her humorous, powerful nature and her impressive, broad knowledge she made the tour a wonderful experience. Once Rabbies - always Rabbies!

Scotland highlands

Suzanne Battis Posted on 27/09/2018

Last month we did a 5 day Scotland Highland and Orkney Island tour, we had a great time. The scenery was amazing the B Bs were great. Michael was our guide and bus driver, he was easy going and made the tour enjoyable for everyone. This was our first Rabbies tour, we then went to Ireland and did a day tour, and if I return back to the UK we certainly would do another tour.

Awesome Driver/Escorts/Information Specialists!

Marjorie Purdy Posted on 21/09/2018

We were actually on the 9 day Mull, Iona, Skye and Orkney Tour (2 combined). Both Ross and Aaron were awesome drivers/information specialists! So much history to absorb and stories to remember. This was indeed the vacation of a lifetime and hopefully I will be able to revisit the iconic spots that left an impression or at least come back and trace more of family history. Thank you for such an amazing journey through the past, present and future. Food for thought .... 2 hours at Culloden was too short ) Slainte!

Tour Experience

Catherine and Barry Mitchell Posted on 23/06/2018

We toured Northern Scotland and the Orkneys with Michael as our tour guide/driver. Being Scottish he gave us great insight into Scottish history and current affairs. Based on the interests of the group he was able to modify the itinerary to take in different locations or give us a bit more time at a favourite spot. He was very good at making sure that everyone was looked after, even when it was for dinner.

Isobel macrae Posted on 07/06/2018

A trip I will never forget amazing scenery lovely accommodation booked by Rabbie’s and our driver /tour guide Chris was brilliant. Very helpful, polite,funny,great story teller and his knowledge of the land and it’s history is outstanding.

Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay two nights in Kirkwall, Orkney with a night in Inverness and Ullapool before and after.


How does the accommodation work?

Your tour excludes accommodation; but when you book, you can ask us to reserve local accommodation for you, or you can choose to reserve your own accommodation in the overnight locations.


I want Rabbie’s to book my accommodation, what happens now?

Once you've booked your tour, we'll reserve all your accommodation, and your driver will drop you off with your hosts. You’ll pay your accommodation directly. Most don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.


What if I want to change my accommodation booking with Rabbie’s?

Plans can change, so we let you alter your accommodation choices for free within the first 48 hours of booking. After this time, amendments aren't guaranteed and carry a surcharge. Please contact rooms@rabbies.com if you have any questions.


I booked my own accommodation is there anything I need to do?

You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central.


What if I cancel my tour at short notice?

You may be liable for the cost of your first nights’ accommodation for each separate accommodation booked. If you cancel less than three days before departure, you may be liable for all your accommodation costs.


What are the accommodation types?

We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre. We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard. The prices below are for guidance only.

B&B (Bed and Breakfast) Standard

The toilet and showering facilities are shared with at least one other room in the house, and the price includes breakfast. The cost is £35 - £40 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single standard room is £40 - £60 per night.

B&B En suite

The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £45 - £60 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single en suite is £60 - £80 per night.

Hotels

Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £70 - £85 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single is £85 - £130 per night.

Hostels

A hostel consists of dormitory rooms with 4 to 16 bunk beds. The bathroom facilities are a short distance from the dorm room. Kitchen facilities are equipped so you can make your own meals. The cost based on dorm beds is £19 - £27 per person per night.

Please note that SYHA hostels only offer same gender dorms. Some independent hostels will offer mixed rooms (males and females together).


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, you can read our FAQs, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, or email rooms@rabbies.com.


FAQs

Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

The UK and Ireland's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure, we only pick up from our central meeting points. What's more is leaving the city using the most direct route also reduces the carbon footprint of our tours.

Is there parking close to the departure point?

We don't recommend bringing your car into the centre of our departure cities. It can be hard to find parking, and there are excellent public transportation services.

When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.

What happens if I'm late or miss the tour?

If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies.

What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of three days for our one day tours, and 21 days for longer tours. If cancelled outside this period, we'll give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this period, refunds are at our discretion. Click here to view full terms and conditions.

What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.

Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable 16-seat mini-coaches have huge windows. So, you'll always get a good view.

Are there toilets on the bus?

Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.

How do you cater for people with accessibility needs?

We aim to accommodate everyone. To read more information on how we do this, click here to go to our accessibility guide.

Do you take children on your tours?

We regret we don't carry children under the age of five on our scheduled tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.

How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy Britain and Ireland. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of time to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.

Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.

Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to. We stop in small towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.

Should I tip the driver-guide?

Let's be honest, our driver-guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.

What about travel insurance?

We advise you take out travel insurance.

What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you chose to let us reserve your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we become bankrupt. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com , or check out our full FAQs .

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities



BTA_2017.png Green Tourism Award Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 TC_2018_WHITE_LL_R-112x105.png queens-award.png Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars
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