Shetland & Orkney: Escape to the Edge

Itinerary

This is our suggested itinerary for our Shetland & Orkney self-drive tour. All of our itineraries are fully flexible and we would be delighted to add additional nights, or tailor the route to match your interests. Please request this when making an enquiry.

Day 1 - Aberdeen to Shetland
You will start your journey in the cosmopolitan city of Aberdeen where you will board the well equipped Northlink Ferry and sail overnight in your modern and comfortable twin-berth cabin.
Overnight - Ferry

Day 2 - Shetland Sightseeing
Arrive into Lerwick, Shetland early this morning. Spend some time exploring this this fascinating seaport where you could visit Shetland Museum to gain an invaluable introduction to the island’s history, or explore Fort Charlotte - originally built in 1665 to protect Shetland from Dutch warships.

Later you could take a 10 minute ferry journey to the Isle of Bressay to explore the rich natural heritage and incredible wildlife.
Overnight - Shetland

Day 3 - Shetland Sightseeing
The South Mainland awaits today - home to some of Shetland’s most jaw-drapping scenery and best archeological sites, including the Isle of Mousa where you will encounter the best preserved Broch anywhere in the world.

At the ancient settlement of Jarlshof you can explore 4,000 years of human history. Only a short distance away is Sumburgh Head Nature Reserve with its famous lighthouse overlooking the cliffs. The nature reserve is the perfect place to spot seabirds such as puffins, guillemots and kittiwakes.
Overnight - Shetland

Day 4 - Shetland Sightseeing
Travel to the wild and glorious peninsula of Northmavine. Almost but not quite a separate island, Northmavine is joined to the rest of the Shetland Mainland at Mavis Grind where the relentless Atlantic Ocean has nearly cut through to the North Sea. It is a wild and dramatic place.

Stop at Weisdale to see artists at work at Shetland Jewellery, before arriving at Northmavine where you could travel to the spectacular Eshaness Cliffs with their imposing lighthouse, or hike up to the top of Ronas Hill. At 1,475 feet (450m) this is Shetland's highest peak. Topped by a prehistoric chambered burial cairn, the summit offers a breathtaking panorama across this ice-carved landscape.
Overnight - Shetland

Day 5 - Shetland to Orkney
Today is your final day in Shetland, but as the ferry does not leave until late afternoon you could take the opportunity to explore Shetland’s ancient capital - Scalloway. Only a 20 minute drive from Lerwick, you can discover the ruins of Scalloway Castle, visit Scalloway Museum, or enjoy a stroll through the picturesque harbour.

You'll board your ferry to Orkney in the afternoon and arrive in Kirkwall, the historic capital of Orkney, later this evening.
Overnight - Orkney

Day 6 - Orkney Sightseeing
Welcome to the incredible archipelago of Orkney! With 70 magical islands it’s difficult to know where to begin. In Kirkwall you will find a bustling and friendly town with a great selection of restaurants, pubs, and local art shops, as well as the most northerly Cathedral in Britain dating back to the 12th century.

Visit the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces where you can learn of a time when Orkney was part of the Norse-held kingdom of Nordreyjar.

If you fancy sampling the local 'water of life', why not take a tour at the Highland Park Distillery - the most northerly whisky distillery in the entire world.
Overnight - Orkney

Day 7 - Orkney Sightseeing
Travel back in time to the Stone Age and discover an ancient civilisation at The Heart of Neolithic Orkney – a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes the four awe-inspiring sites of the Ring of Brodgar, the Stones of Stenness, the Maeshowe tomb and Skara Brae.

Individually, the sites are masterpieces of Neolithic design and construction, and collectively they represent one of the richest surviving Neolithic landscapes in Western Europe, giving us an incredible insight into the society, skills and spiritual beliefs of the people who constructed them.
Overnight - Orkney

Day 8 - Orkney Sightseeing
Take the opportunity to visit one of Orkney's smaller isles. At the Isle of Hoy you can visit Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and learn the fascinating story of this naval anchorage in the two world wars. Take in the breathtaking Old Man of Hoy - a 450 foot sea stack and perhaps Orkney’s most famous landmark.
Overnight - Orkney

Day 9 - Orkney to Scrabster, Caithness and Depart
Take the ferry from Stromness to Scrabster on the Scottish mainland, where your self-drive tour of Orkney and Shetland will come to an end.