Taking a private tour of Orkney means doing it your way; visiting locations you want to see at your pace with your own personal guide. Your trip can be tailored entirely to the way you want it either before you arrive or on the day. It's complete freedom.
Click on the headings below for suggested tour plans.
ORKNEY DAY TRIP
If you are visiting on a cruise ship or coming to Orkney as part of a tour of Scotland this is the tour to make the most of every minute.
- Drive to the Italian Chapel and Churchill Barriers, with stories of Scapa Flow and Orkney's important role in both World Wars.
- Drive through to the West Mainland and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.
- Visit the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar.
- Soup and sandwiches at the Standing Stones Hotel.
- Visit Skara Brae and Skaill House.
- Drive back to Kirkwall for visit to St Magnus Cathedral and free time in town.
INTRODUCTION TO ORKNEY
Get the best start to your holiday with a tour on the first day. Orkney is a lot bigger than you may think and this tour will introduce you to some of the best bits and give you lots of information on what else to see and do.
- Drive around the West Mainland, taking the little side roads that give the best views.
- Visit the Brough of Birsay and learn about the best time to see puffins and the best places to look for seals.
- Lunch at the Birsay Bay Tearoom.
- Drive past Skara Brae and the Bay of Skaill
- Guided walk in Stromness
- Drive through Orphir and Holm to the Italian Chapel
ANCESTRAL ORKNEY TOUR
If you know anything at all about your Orcadian ancestor, it should be possible to find out exactly where they lived. If this was on one of the smaller islands, a trip there can be arranged. If they lived on the Mainland, the tour will also be designed around what you want to see. Here is an example:
Great-grandparents James and Margaret Sinclair left a farm in the parish of Birsay in 1890.
- Drive to Birsay. It has been possible to get the names of the house they left and the houses in which they grew up. The exact locations have been established from early maps and they are all visited. One farm is still there, although there is a new house now.
- Visit the kirkyard. The records have been checked beforehand and there is a headstone for James' parents.
- Light lunch at the Smithfield Hotel in Dounby, the small village they would have known well.
- Visit Corrigal Farm Museum to get a real picture of the life James and Margaret lived in Orkney.
- Visit Orkney Archives in Kirkwall to see old photos of Birsay and Dounby.
FORTRESS ORKNEY TOUR
If you have a relative who served in Orkney, it should be possible to establish where they were stationed. The tour is also designed for those with an interest in military history, who would like to know the Orkney view of wartime Orkney.
- Drive through Orphir to Houton ferry terminal.
- Ferry trip across Scapa Flow to the Visitor Centre and Museum at Lyness.
- Lunch at the Centre followed by a tour of Hoy or
- Return to Houton and drive to Italian Chapel and Churchill Barriers.
- Tea at Fossil Centre and look at display about the building of the Barriers.
- Guided walk through Stromness with stories of its importance during WWII.
- Lunch at Stromness Hotel, the Army HQ during the war.
- Drive through Orphir for a look at Scapa Flow
- Italian Chapel and drive across Barriers.
- Tea at Hoxa Tearoom and walk through wartime remains at Hoxa Head.
OLD ORKNEY TOUR
If you have a family connection with islands or you're just intrigued by the very different lifestyle here, find out what life was like here over the last century or two.
- Visit Corrigal Farm Museum and hear stories of my g-g-g-grandmother, Margaret Corrigal.
- Visit the Barony Mill, the last working watermill in Orkney.
- Lunch at Birsay Bay Tearoom.
- Drive down scenic west coast of the mainland
- Guided walk through Stromness and visit the Museum
- Drive through Orphir to Kirkwall.
- Visit Orkney Museum or St Magnus Cathedral
Whatever your interests, timeframe or requirements our tours are all about your experience. It's your holiday on our beautiful islands and we want to make the most of your time here. Please use the contact details at the top of the page to get in touch and find out what kind of tour we can do for you.