Remote from the harassing turmoil of modern urban life, but easily accessible seven days a week – Orkney is nearer than you think.
By air wonderful aerial views of the islands await you, with Flybe flights (operated by Loganair) from the major British airports and good inbound links from European and North American destinations.
Arrive by car or on foot, by coach or train and ferry, journeying through the spectacular Highlands of Scotland, or sailing from Aberdeen and the experience will enchant.
Orkney by land and sea
Whether you travel by car, coach or train, the main approach follows the A9 from Perth to Caithness. The A9, which has been much improved and shortened in recent years, connects from central Scotland and England’s main motorway and rail networks. Dual Carriageway connects Aberdeen to central Scotland.
By car from Perth to Inverness is 114 miles through some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscape. From Inverness to Scrabster is a spectacular 111 miles.
By train you can travel to Thurso, and then take a short taxi ride to the ferry at Scrabster, or Aberdeen where the station is near to the harbour area. . There is also a coach connection from Inverness/Wick to Gills Bay. By coach you can either go to Scrabster or John O’Groats (but remember that the John O’Groats route is a summer, passenger-only service).
First Scotrail www.firstgroup.com 0845 755 0033
By bus there a re connections with CityLink from the main Scottish bus stations to Aberdeen and Thurso/Scrabster that connect with the NorthLink Ferries service. From June to September The Orkney Bus provides direct express travel from Inverness through to Kirkwall, which connects with the John O’Groat’s Ferries route. The local bus operator operates a local service between Thurso and Gill’s Bay to connect with Pentland Ferries.
Scottish Citylink Coaches Ltd www.citylink.co.uk 08705 50 50 50
The Orkney Bus in partnership with John O’Groats Ferries www.jogferry.co.uk (01955) 611 353
The last leg of your northward journey will be by the sea, with a choice of sailings from Aberdeen (6hrs) and Scrabster (90mins), Gills Bay (1hr) or John O’Groats in Caithness (40mins).
NorthLink Ferries provide a service through Aberdeen (3/4 sailings per week depending on season) and Scrabster (3/4 sailings per day depending on season).
Pentland Ferries adds further choice and flexibility with 3/4 sailings per day depending on season from Gills Bay and St. Margaret’s Hope. John O’Groats Ferries provides a May – September passenger only service to Burwick on South Ronaldsay.
John O’Groats Ferries Ltd www.jogferry.co.uk (01955) 611 353
Orkney by air
You can fly to Orkney with Flybe operated by Loganair, from Glasgow (1hr 20min), Aberdeen (50mins), Edinburgh (1hr 20mins), Inverness (45mins) and Sumburgh (35mins). All of these Scottish airports have excellent UK and overseas flight connections to choose from.
Flybe operated by Loganair, flights to Kirkwall, www.flybe.com, tel 0871 7002000
Kirkwall Airport www.hial.co.uk/kirkwall-airport.html (01856) 886210
Orkney is well serviced by tour operators for individual travel specialist packages, or for smaller or large groups. Companies usually have a specialist area or do general interest packages. Below are listed some companies which can arrange your holiday.
Orcadian Wildlife www.orcadianwildlife.co.uk (01856) 831 240
Tailor-made wildlife and history tours throughout Orkney from an organic farm in South Ronaldsay.
Orkney Archaeology Tours www.orkneyarchaeologytours.co.uk (01856) 721 450
Holidays, short breaks and day tours led by professional archaeologists and guides.
Orkney Island Holidays www.orkneyislandholidays.com (01856) 711 373
Guided holidays exploring Orkney’s birds, flowers, history, archaeology and culture.
Orkney Marinas www.orkneymarinas.co.uk (01856) 871313
Secure, affordable, serviced pontoon berthing with a wide range of onshore facilities for visiting boast in 3 marinas at Kirkwall, Stromness and Westray.
Scapa Travel www.scapatravel.co.uk +44 (0) 1856 889040.
Experienced local Travel Agent, specialising in travel to Orkney and Shetland. We tailor-make each itinerary to suit your individual requirements to create your perfect holiday.
McKinlay Kidd www.seescotlanddifferently.co.uk/scottish-island-holidays/orkney +44 (0)141 202 0638
We design short breaks, celebration trips and tailormade self drive holidays to Orkney.
Wildabout Orkney www.wildaboutorkney.com (01856) 877737
Providing memorable island experiences since 1990. We specialise in Orkney & Shetland holidays as well as Orkney tours and cruise ship shore excursions, all for groups and individual travellers.