The adventure starts when your journey to Orkney begins. Plane, boat, car, bus or train - whatever your mode of transport, your journey to Orkney will be stress-free, with some wonderful views guaranteed to help you relax along the way. It is an essential part of the Orkney experience. Once you're here, getting around our islands is easy too with a well tested transport network keeping everything on track.

Travel by plane

Watching the islands appear beneath you as the plane starts its descent is a magical way to see Orkney for the first time. It only takes an hour to fly direct from Edinburgh and there are several daily flights from Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and London. For international travellers, there are excellent connections to many airports.

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RouteJourney Time
London to Kirkwall (with connections)3-4 hours
Glasgow/Edinburgh to Kirkwall1 hour
Aberdeen to Kirkwall50 minutes
Inverness to Kirkwall45 minutes
Sumburgh (Shetland) to Kirkwall35 minutes

Travel by boat

As you sail towards Orkney, the islands appear to rise from the sea and you will see a landscape unchanged in thousands of years. On your journey, Orkney's wildlife will keep you company from the sky and the sea as you approach your destination. Bring your binoculars! There are four ferry routes to choose from and between 4 and 12 sailings a day depending on the season.

RouteJourney TimeLink
Scrabster (near Thurso) - Stromness90
Aberdeen - Kirkwall6
Gills Bay - St Margaret's Hope60
John o'Groats - Burwick (May- Sept, foot passengers only)40

Taking the bus

Join the locals and jump on a bus to reach the islands. The Citylink network takes you to John o'Groats, Gills Bay or Scrabster for ferry services to Orkney.

Alternatively, if you want an express service, the Orkney Bus operates from Inverness to Kirkwall, via John o'Groats Ferries (from June to September).

Taking the train

You can reach Aberdeen and Thurso from most main Scottish railway stations. If you'd prefer to start your holiday with an unforgettable journey, we would recommend the spectacular Thurso route. The scenery is wonderful!

Once you're in Orkney

Exploring Orkney and island hopping are easy. With good roads, lots of travel options and the close proximity of key visitor attractions, you can afford to be spontaneous. Jump on a bus, take a ferry or book a plane and you'll experience a different island every day.

Exploring the islands by boat

All the inhabited islands can be reached by Orkney Ferries. You can enjoy sailing between Hoy, Graemsay, Flotta, Rousay, Egilsay, Wyre, Shapinsay, Stronsay, Sanday, Eday, Westray, Papa Westray and North Ronaldsay. Foot passengers can just jump aboard and buy their tickets on the spot. Bikes go free on ferries, so simply turn up and pay the same as a foot passenger. It is advised that car travel be booked in advance.

Exploring the islands by plane

The quickest way to reach Eday, North Ronaldsay, Sanday, Stronsay, Westray and Papa Westray is by air. There are flights from Kirkwall Airport and on a clear day the views are simply marvellous. Take the world's shortest scheduled flight between Westray and Papa Westray - timed at less than two minutes!

Exploring by road

Cars and bikes are available to hire locally. You can reach four different islands without getting your feet wet if you take the road over the giant causeways known as the Churchill Barriers. Alternatively, you can join a coach tour or take a local Stagecoach bus to your destination of choice.

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