Orkney & Scotland's Northern Coast
5 day tour

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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.

North Coast 500 - A rollercoaster road of ruined castles, pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs, and charming villages

Culloden – A sad place to visit. It’s the location of a tragic Outlander scene, and a catastrophic battle between Jacobites and Government troops.

John o'Groats - Look out to the North Sea at the island of Britain's most northerly point.


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) - Edinburgh Bus Station Pick Up, Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Finishes (approx.)
19:00 - Edinburgh Bus Station Drop Off, Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Luggage
You’re restricted to 20kg (44lbs) of luggage per person. This may consist of a small bag for onboard personal items and a larger suitcase or rucksack.
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
  • Attraction tickets may need to be purchased in advance. More information is provided in your booking confirmation e-mail
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.

You admire spectacular views and listen to a haunting story in Glencoe 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 continuing past Dunrobin Castle.

From here, you drive along 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, and cross the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago.

It’s a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where you 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 enjoy its historic winding streets in the evening.

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 and washed by waters of the North Sea and the 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 admire 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. You enjoy lunch in these beautiful surroundings before travelling through The Big Tree country of Perthshire, the Kingdom of Fife, and back to Edinburgh.

Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

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


*Please be aware that Ullapool is busy. You may need to be flexible with rooms we're able to reserve for you here. If you'd prefer to find your own accommodation for this location, please choose the 'book your own accommodation' option when you book your tour.

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 - £50 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single standard room is £40 - £70 per night.

B&B En suite

The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £45 - £65 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single en suite is £75 - £90 per night.

Hotels

Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £75 - £90 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single is £90 - £150 per night.

Hostels

Please note, we're unable to book hostels for this tour in 2021. The availability of this option will be reviewed for 2022 depending on government guidance. You may still be able to book hostels yourself if you choose to find your own accommodation for you tour.

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 48 hours for our one day tours, 15 days for two to nine day tours, and 21 days for 10+ day 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.

Can Itineraries change?

Your tour will always follow the itinerary as closely as possible. While there are ongoing coronavirus restrictions throughout the UK and Ireland, itineraries are more likely to change than usual as opening hours and capacities at many visitor attractions are reduced and subject to change. Your driver-guide will keep you up to up to date on the road, and we'll try to get in touch about any large changes prior to your departure.

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


Customer reviews



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