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Orkney Islands

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

  • Orkney Islands

  • 7 nights
  • Half Board
  • Coast & Islands

    Landscape

    Wildlife & Nature

  • Apr

    May

    Jun

    Aug

    Sep

  • Average group size: 12-14

Moderate

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Walking grade

Grade 4

This is a Grade 4 moderate holiday which includes full day walks at a moderate pace. Some of the walks are at the top of the grade especially in poor weather conditions so please bear this in mind. The guided walks will vary between inland and coastal walking. Some of the coastal walks involve many short ascents and descents, however, the views make it worthwhile.

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Classic Collection

Thoughtfully designed, meticulously planned, carefully graded, and expertly guided walking tours and hiking holidays along well-loved and off-the-beaten-track footpaths.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Visit the Neolithic henge and stone circle of the Ring of Brodgar.
  • Experience the Neolithic village of Skara Brae.
  • Visit the Italian Chapel built by Italian POWs.
  • Walk to the Old Man of Hoy looking out for Bonxies on the way.
  • Free time to explore Orkney capital city, Kirkwall and St. Magnus Cathedral.
  • Marvel at the carved rock Dwarfie Stane on Hoy.
  • Catch the sun over the Stones of Stenness.

Welcome to the captivating isles of Orkney, where history meets natural splendour, and ancient wonders await your exploration. Nestled amidst this enchanting archipelago lies the picturesque town of Stromness. 

During our week we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Skara Brae. This remarkably preserved Neolithic village reveals the daily lives of our ancient ancestors. The Ring of Brodgar, standing proudly in a perfect circle, these ancient stones exude an enigmatic presence. 

Venturing out we visit Hoy where nature's rugged beauty takes centre stage. Explore the majestic cliffs home to soaring sea birds and breath taking vistas. From the village of Birsay immerse yourself in coastal serenity. Wander along the shores, where the North Sea meets the Atlantic, and experience the peaceful solitude of this hidden gem. Discover the Brough of Birsay, an uninhabited tidal island with ancient Norse ruins, providing a glimpse into Orkney's Viking past.

A short boat ride takes you to Rousay, the "Egypt of the North" due to its rich archaeological sites. Just across the straight lies Wyre, just a stone's throw away. Visit Cubbie Roo's Castle and the beautiful St. Mary's Chapel, all while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of this picturesque island.

Each afternoon return to the welcoming embrace of Stromness. As night falls, stroll along the harbour, where the twinkling lights mirror the stars above, and let the gentle sea breeze lull you into a state of tranquillity.

You might also be interested to know this holiday is combined with our Shetland tour; please see Orkney & Shetland Islands


  • Return flights from Edinburgh to Kirkwall
  • Airport transfers
  • En suite three-star hotel accommodation on a half board basis
  • All local transport required for the itinerary by private coach and ferry boats (to the islands you visit)
  • Entrances to Skara Brae and the Italian Chapel
  • Services of a Classic Tour Leader
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Lunches
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional visits/excursions (such as Stromness Museum and the Highland Park Distillery)
  • Travel insurance

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Tour Codes

75007

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

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.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival day

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

We fly to Kirkwall Airport and transfer to our hotel in Stromness.


Transfer Time = 35 minutes

Day 2

Stromness & Brinkies Brae

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    6.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    125m

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 we will be later visiting. After a walk through Stromness we continue across fields to the west coast where we take a coastal trail to Warebeth beach with an option to go on to Breck Ness. Along the trail we should be able to watch one of the many local seal colonies. 

Later we return 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.

Day 3

Birsay to Skara Brae

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    7.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    125m

At Birsay, there is the shell of the Earl’s Palace – built in the 1500s by a notorious Earl Robert Stewart (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 and, depending on the season, a chance of seeing a variety of whales. 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, now open to the public and included in our trip. The entrance to Skara Brae is included in the price of the holiday. As tickets must be purchased well in advance, it is not possible to offer a discount to Historic Scotland members.

Day 4

Wideford Hill to Kirkwall

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2.5 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    187/263m

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 St Magnus Cathedral, dating from 1137, is a must to visit in your free time exploring Kirkwall. 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 and 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 (please note, entrance fees for these optional visits are not included in the holiday price).

Day 5

Rousay & Wyre

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2.5 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    280m

Rousay walk

  • Time

    40mins hours

  • Distance

    2 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50m

Wyre walk

We take private transport to Tingwall and take a ferry to Rousay. We will explore some of the ancient monuments on the island and walk over the Trumland Reserve with lunch at the viewpoint if the weather is good. Various shorter options are available. Later we return to the jetty and catch the ferry for the short trip to Wyre. From the jetty we will walk up to Cubbie Roo’s Castle. Claimed to be the oldest stone-built castle in Scotland, it is now just a ruin. We have some time to explore a little more of the island before catching the ferry back to Tingwall where our transport awaits us for the trip back to the hotel.

Day 6

The island of Hoy

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5.2 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    252/236m

Just a short ferry boat trip from Stromness to Moaness on Hoy to visit the 2nd largest island in the archipelago. We will be met by a mini bus and taken to view the Dwarfie Stane – cut from rock in about 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.

Day 7

Sightseeing at Neolithic sites

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

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”. 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 barriers’ will be passed. These are remarkable structures, 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.

Day 8

Departure day

Meals

Breakfast

We return to the airport for our flight back to mainland Scotland.

We hope you have enjoyed your holiday and we look forward to welcoming you on another soon. 

Departure dates for your selected tour

22nd Jun 2024 - 29th Jun 2024 (7 Nights)

29th Jun 2024 - 6th Jul 2024 (7 Nights)

31st Aug 2024 - 7th Sep 2024 (7 Nights)

26th Apr 2025 - 3rd May 2025 (7 Nights)

31st May 2025 - 7th Jun 2025 (7 Nights)

7th Jun 2025 - 14th Jun 2025 (7 Nights)

21st Jun 2025 - 28th Jun 2025 (7 Nights)

28th Jun 2025 - 5th Jul 2025 (7 Nights)

2nd Aug 2025 - 9th Aug 2025 (7 Nights)

30th Aug 2025 - 6th Sep 2025 (7 Nights)

13th Sep 2025 - 20th Sep 2025 (7 Nights)

20th Sep 2025 - 27th Sep 2025 (7 Nights)

Travel Details

We fly from Edinburgh to Kirkwall. There are regional flights from place airports in the U.K. to connect with the onward flight to Kirkwall.

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.

Nearest ferry harbours: Stromness or Kirkwall.

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

The Ferry Inn

The Ferry Inn offers 30 rooms spread across four buildings in Stromness. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar, which is recognised in the Good Beer Guide and winner of the CAMRA Northern Isles Pub of the Year. All rooms across the four buildings have free Wi-Fi, TVs, and tea/coffee facilities. There are 12 rooms on the first and second floors of The Ferry Inn itself, with the remainder in the Harbourside House annex situated directly across the street. Harbourside House has 3 rooms on the ground floor, with all other rooms accessed over stairs.

The Ferry Inn has a restaurant with a pub and a menu serving dishes using fresh local produce. All breakfasts and evening meals are taken in the restaurant. 

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This is a Grade 4 moderate holiday which includes full day walks at a moderate pace. Some of the walks are at the top of the grade especially in poor weather conditions so please bear this in mind. The guided walks will vary between inland and coastal walking. Some of the coastal walks involve many short ascents and descents, however, the views make it worthwhile.

Walks & Excursions

The stunning coastal walking, fascinating history, World Heritage status archaeological sites, beautiful scenery, RSPB sites and an unhurried pace of life mean the Orkney Islands have something to offer everyone.

The terrain in Orkney is gently undulating so our walks will not involve sustained climbing. Generally, 5-7 miles of walking is covered with ascents of a maximum of about 500ft. On some days we may cover up to 9 miles.

Local Transport Costs

In the holiday cost, we've included all local transport expenses related to the advertised activity programme for your convenience. If there are additional visits or excursions to enrich your experience, you can choose to participate and cover the costs locally. Depending on the itinerary, local transport may involve a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses, and ferries.

Optional Excursions

At your destination, you may have the option to book various local excursions and activities through a local operator. It's important to note that we are not involved in these activities or excursions, and we do not operate, supervise, or control them in any way. Your contract will be directly with the local activity supplier, and we bear no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. 

Tipping

In your holiday price, we've included tipping for our local suppliers, covering hotel and restaurant staff, local guides, and drivers. Should you wish to make an extra contribution for a specific service, this should be given directly to the recipient at your discretion.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader plays a crucial role in enhancing your holiday experience, and they share your passion for exploring the world on foot. In addition to being resourceful and organised they are also well-travelled and deeply enthusiastic about showing you new destinations.  Your tour leader takes care of all the local administration, ensuring you can fully enjoy your holiday without worrying about the logistics. While leading group holidays, they always keep in mind that each group is composed of individuals. Each tour leader brings their unique style, talents, and professional background to the table. Rest assured, they are all trained, qualified, experienced, and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting, and inspiring as possible. Remember, your leader, while on holiday, is your first port of call for any issues, ensuring a smooth and worry-free experience for you.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will meet with you to review the programme for the next day. This is your chance to discuss details and ensure that the planned activities align with your walking ability. If you have any concerns about clothing or equipment, feel free to bring them up during this discussion. If, for any reason, you prefer not to participate in the organised group programme, please inform your leader. Your preferences are important, and your leader is there to make sure your experience aligns with your expectations.

Your Travel Details

Hotel Transfers

When you book a Flight-Inclusive holiday, transfers between the airport and hotel and back are included. On some holidays, where we offer various flight options, the transfer vehicle may wait for all flights to land before transferring to the hotel.  

Personal Details Check

To ensure the accurate administration of your holiday arrangements, kindly verify that the personal details we have for you are current and correct. Confirm that you've given us all the necessary information for securing your travel and accommodation. Please review your passport details, date of birth, and any other pertinent information crucial for the management of your holiday.

Additionally, please make us aware of any dietary allergies or intolerances you may have. Your well-being is important to us, and this information will help us make appropriate arrangements for your meals during the trip.

You can access and update the provided information or add missing details through the "Manage My Booking" feature on our website at www.rambleworldwide.co.uk. Alternatively, reach out to our Sales and Reservations team at +44 (0)1707 331133. Upon receiving your booking confirmation, promptly check the details. Your cooperation ensures a seamless and enjoyable holiday experience.

Meals

This tour is on a half board basis. Breakfasts and dinners are offered at the hotel. Please note that lunches are not included on this holiday.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.

Footwear As Hand Luggage

We recommend that you either wear your walking boots or shoes or pack them and some waterproofs in your hand luggage as in the unlikely event that your hold luggage is delayed, you will still be able to participate in the holiday programme.

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Holiday booking confirmation document
  • Travel insurance details (if applicable)
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

Opting for filtered water from a reusable bottle with its built-in water filter, like the Water-to-go bottle available at www.watertogo.eu, is a sustainable alternative to single-use sealed water bottles. Simply refill it from any water source and contribute to saving the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

Exciting news: Water-to-go has introduced two new bottles to their collection. The Active bottle is designed to fit bike water bottle holders, and the Sugarcane bottle is an even more planet-friendly option. Crafted from fibrous cane, a by-product of liquid extraction, it undergoes a process to create plant-based plastic. Explore the details on the Water-to-Go website for this innovative new range.

As a token of appreciation for your commitment to the environment, we've secured an exclusive 15% discount with Water-to-Go for you. Visit www.watertogo.eu and use the code RWH17 during your order.                        

Note: If you're booked on a long-haul holiday departing after November 1, 2023, you'll receive a complimentary Water to Go bottle, sent to your home address 2 or 3 weeks before your holiday. Thank you for being a part of our sustainable journey!

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

The walks mentioned above are covered by the following map:

Ordnance Survey Landranger Series 
No. 6 Orkney Mainland (1:50,000)

The Map Shop

If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:

The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
WR8 0HJ
England

Tel: 01684 593 146
Website: www.themapshop.co.uk
E-mail: themapshop@btinternet.com

If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements in destination can change, and it's crucial for you to take responsibility in staying informed. Ensure that you consult a professionally qualified source and comply with any health requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before your departure. Your GP can provide advice on vaccinations. Stay proactive about your health preparations to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

Health Advice for United Kingdom

No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

It’s a condition of booking that you obtain adequate travel insurance, from a reputable provider, to undertake the holiday, including UK trips chiefly due to the cancellation element of cover.

The policy must cover the period from the date of booking to the last day of your trip and should include, as a minimum, cover for: medical expenses (including the consequences of a Covid positive test result), mountain rescue including helicopter rescue, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and shall not have exclusion clauses limiting cover for the activities you will partake in on your trip, including altitudes reached in the holiday arrangement. It is your responsibility to check that your policy is adequate for the nature and destination of the holiday booked.

Once you have obtained your travel insurance, please provide us with the name of your travel insurer, the policy number and the insurer’s 24 hour emergency assistance number.

In the event that you fail to obtain suitable Travel Insurance we shall not be liable for any costs incurred or claims made against us due to your failure to comply with this term.

If travelling outside the UK you must carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if reasonably requested to do so by RWH Travel staff, tour leaders or suppliers. No refunds will be made should you be excluded from the walking programme through being uninsured or you being unable to demonstrate that you are insured.

Our house broker MPI should be considered for whom we are an affiliate and contact information is on our website and will be referred to in your booking confirmation.

If you are travelling to an EU country or Switzerland please also ensure that you have either an existing valid EU EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) or a valid UK GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). You can apply for a UK GHIC free of charge on the NHS website at https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/cra/start.


Personal Safety

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is your go-to for the latest info on security, local laws, and the nitty-gritty of passports and visas at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Make sure to take a quick peek at the current advice for your upcoming destination—it'll only take a few minutes.

When you're out and about, stay aware of your surroundings. Take smart precautions with your credit cards and passport, and maybe tone down the flashy accessories. Less is more, especially when it comes to carrying cash—just enough for the day will do. Consider using a money belt for that extra layer of security. Stay alert, stay safe, and make the most of your travels!

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We are dedicated to promoting responsible travel practices that prioritise the well-being of both the environment and local communities. We believe in the transformative power of travel and aim to minimize our ecological footprint by selecting eco-friendly accommodations, encouraging waste reduction, and supporting sustainable transportation options where possible. Our walking tours are designed to immerse participants in the local culture, fostering meaningful connections with the communities we visit. We strive to leave a positive impact by engaging in responsible tourism activities, respecting local customs, and contributing to the preservation of natural landscapes. Through our commitment to responsible travel, we aim to create enriching experiences for our guests while actively contributing to the conservation of the destinations we explore.

The Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust

Unlike many other tour operators, we take pride in our unique approach. Ramble Worldwide channels its surplus profits back into various outdoor, walking-related, or environmental conservation projects in the UK through our own trust. When you choose us, you contribute to this impactful initiative.

The primary focus of our Trust's financial support is directed towards Britain's premier walking charity, The Ramblers. They play a crucial role in advocating the benefits and significance of walking to the British public. Additionally, our Trust invites applications for small grants from local organizations in the UK that require support for walking-oriented activities. This encompasses initiatives such as establishing footpaths and bridleways, funding for the reconstruction of bridges and refurbishing huts, and bursary funding for organisations that support individuals to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors..

For more comprehensive details, please visit the 'About' section on our website and click on the Charitable Trust link. Your choice to travel with us goes beyond a memorable vacation; it contributes to meaningful projects that have a positive impact on our community and environment.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Kindly share a mobile phone contact number with us. We'll utilize this solely for crucial communication pertaining to your holiday arrangements.

Ensure your mobile phone remains switched on and easily accessible when en route to the airport or during transit delays. This way, we can promptly reach you with any last-minute updates concerning your travel plans.

In consideration of others, we request that you switch off your mobile phone during walks or make an effort to limit its usage. Additionally, during group meals, please minimize the use of mobile devices. Your cooperation ensures a seamless and enjoyable experience for everyone on the journey.

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