Orkney & the Outer Hebrides
10 day tour

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Go back in time to the prehistoric wonders of Orkney and the Outer Hebrides on this tour from Edinburgh.

Tour map

Highlights

UNESCO Heritage Sites
Ferry
Walks
Prehistoric Sites
Cathedrals
Lochs
Mountains
Gaelic Culture

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

Lewis and Harris - These two areas with distinct landscapes make up the biggest island in Scotland.

Callanish standing stones - This mysterious monument is even older than Stonehenge.

White sands of Luskentyre - Walk along this phenomenal beach and feel like you’re in the Scottish Maldives.

Isle of Skye - Traverse one of the world’s most stunning islands, with beautiful views around every corner.

Eilean Donan Castle - An iconic and gorgeous 13th-century castle that once warded off Viking invasions.


Your journey


Are you curious about wild places? Interested in how prehistoric civilisations thrived in barren islands? Do you desire to escape the toils of city life?

If this sounds familiar, then this is the tour for you.

Because it travels from Edinburgh to the most northern, remote, and enchanting places of Scotland.

You’ll see emerald blue shores and cream-white beaches in Lewis and Harris. You’ll be entranced by the vivid tales of prehistoric history in the Orkney Archipelago. And you’ll be blown away by the sheer geological wonders of the Isle of Skye.

It’s an unforgettable chance to escape to the wild and beautiful north of Scotland.


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
  • This tour combines two of our trips. This means you swap your bus and guide during the journey
  • 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.

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

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

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

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

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 two nights.

You will say goodbye to this group here, and will be collected by your new guide and group on the morning of day six.

Day 5

  • Discover the tranquil Highland way of life
  • Admire the beauty of the Summer Isles on a boat trip

You have a free day in Ullapool before you join your new driver-guide and companions. This picturesque fishing town is surrounded by stunning mountains and is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts.

If you want to spot seals, dolphins, porpoises, numerous sea birds and eagles, you can go on a cruise around the Summer Isles.

Alternatively, you can head up Claypool hill for an easy two-hour walk offering wonderful views over Loch Broom.

Ullapool is also a great place to relax and enjoy the Highland pace of life. You can browse the small craft boutiques, try whisky in a pub, or savour top quality seafood. And in the evening, enjoy some live music and mingle with the locals before your next leg of the journey.

Day 6

  • Travel by ferry through the Summer Isles
  • Explore a lighthouse and the rugged coastline of Lewis

Wake up, enjoy your breakfast, and look out over Loch Broom as it glistens under the morning sky. First on the agenda today is a ferry journey across the sea.

This two and a half-hour boat trip takes you through the Summer Isles to Stornoway, the main town of the Western Isles. But don’t spend your time snoozing and reading as you sail across the ocean; because if you look out to sea, you may spot dolphins and whales.

Once you’ve arrived on Lewis and Harris, you head to the North West coast. Your driver-guide will make the most of what weather you’ve been blessed with and take you through traditional crofting towns and seaside ports. You even get to see the Butt of Lewis; from the lighthouse here there’s nothing but fishes and water between you and America.

You spend the evening in Stornoway; a bustling port town and the home of Scotland’s most delicious black puddings.

Day 7

  • Step inside a traditional Scottish home at Arnol Blackhouse
  • Ponder over the mysteries of the Neolithic standing stones of Callanish

Today, you immerse yourself in the history and landscapes of this wild island.

You first head to Arnol Blackhouse. Here, you can experience what traditional farming life was like in these remote reaches without getting your hands too dirty.

A little down the road, you visit the stone fort of Dun Carloway. This structure was built before 100AD and has experienced more battles than you’ve had hot dinners. It’s a wonderful location to ponder over the vast swathes of history that have come before you.

You then travel through a landscape littered with crofting villages to one of the most famous sights of the island, the Callanish Stone Circle. This prehistoric site still mystifies archaeologists today.

The rest of your afternoon is spent in the beautiful beaches and mountains of the western side of Lewis.

You head back to Stornoway in the late afternoon.

Day 8

  • Admire the landscapes that inspired Harris Tweed
  • Cast your eyes upon the slender, blonde curves of Luskentyre beach

It’s time for something a little more dramatic. It’s time to enter the region of Harris.

Harris boasts the highest mountains in the Outer Hebrides and one of the most beautiful white-sandy beaches in Britain, Luskentyre.

The area is also famous for Harris Tweed and myths that are as strange as they are poignant.

After a morning of exploring the dramatic landscapes, you stop for lunch. Depending on the weather, we may even go for a picnic on the beach – so don’t forget to pack your sunglasses.

Your adventure continues on a ferry over the sea to Portree, the largest town in Skye and your base for the next two evenings.

Day 9

  • Set your sights on Scotland’s most dramatic landscapes on the Isle of Skye
  • Snap a famous photo of Portree’s colourful harbour front

Every horizon in Skye conceals something astoundingly beautiful.

So today, your driver-guide makes the most out of your time on this marvel-studded landscape.

You may travel to the Quiraing mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk, venture to Kilt Rock and see a gigantic waterfall, or take a boat trip to the lesser-known Loch Coruisk.

After you’ve enjoyed the sights of Skye, you have your final evening in Portree. There are plenty of fabulous seafood restaurants to celebrate a fine day of exploring.

Day 10

  • Learn how Eilean Donan Castle survived Viking invasions and 343 barrels of gunpowder
  • Discover how Glencoe earned its name, ‘the Weeping Glen’

Don’t be too sad that your trip is ending today, because there are a lot of amazing things to check out on the way back to Edinburgh.

Once you’ve crossed the Skye Bridge, you get a chance to see Eilean Donan Castle. This classic combination of a sturdy-stone fortification perched upon a loch is about as Scottish a view as you can get. Just ensure you’ve got some room left on your camera to take photos.

You then travel under Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis. The peak of this mountain is likely to be shrouded high in the clouds.

Your driver-guide may become a little emotional as you move through the valley of Glencoe. This marvellously mountainous area was the site of one of the most tragic massacres in Scottish history. The story is as unforgettable as the landscape.

The hilly views become flatter as you enter the Lowlands and travel to Edinburgh.

You arrive in the early evening.

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Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay one night in Inverness, two nights in Orkney, two nights in Ullapool, two nights in Lewis, and two nights in Portree.


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_2018.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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