2018 The Orkney & Shetland Explorer

2018 The Orkney & Shetland Explorer

Discover the peace, tranquility and rich heritage of the beautiful islands of Orkney & Shetland on our two night mini-cruise to the northernmost reaches of the UK, part of a wider grand tour visiting John O'Groats, historic Stirling and Edinburgh, Scotland's proud capital.

8 days from £1225



Wednesday 16 May 2018

Saturday 8 September 2018

Saturday 22 September 2018



  • Explore historic Orkney at a gentle pace

  • Visit the Italian Chapel, Churchill Barriers and Skara Brae

  • Tour idyllic Shetland Isle and its Viking past

  • Rich archaeology & history combined with beautiful flora & fauna

  • Dramatic scenery of the Highland & Far North Lines

  • Discover Thurso, John O’Groats and the Castle of Mey

  • Fantastic seascape coastline of the Far North

  • Relaxing overnight cruising with modern, en-suite cabins

  • Scenic rail journey from Aberdeen along the North Sea coast

  • Spend time in historic Stirling, a short walk from the castle and Old Town

  • Visit Edinburgh, with a guided walking tour of the ‘Royal Mile’


We arrive in Stirling and check into the Stirling Highland Hotel, an attractive, historic building and formerly the city's school. Why not explore the Old Town and take in the view from the castle before dinner.



Today's journey north heads through Gleneagles and Perth, before climbing through the Cairngorms on the Highland Line. Changing trains at Inverness, we continue our journey to the north of the UK mainland on the spectacular Far North Line, skirting the Firths of Beauly and Cromarty and the Sutherland coast, before heading inland across the untouched wilderness of Caithness. In Thurso we spend two nights in the Pentland Hotel.

B, D


A leisurely tour of Caithness sees us visit John O'Groats, from where the Orkney Isles lie tantalisingly within reach in the distance offshore. In the afternoon we continue to the Castle of Mey, the house beloved of the Queen Mother.

B, D


Today begins with a cruise from Scrabster to Stromness. Make sure you have your cameras ready on starboard side, as there are fabulous views of Old Man of Hoy, at 450 ft one of the UK's tallest sea stacks. Our guided tour of Orkney includes the Churchill Barriers, the wonderful Italian Chapel, built by prisoners of war; Skara Brae, the astonishingly well-preserved Neolithic village, and the awe-inspiring Ring of Brodgar stone circle. We enjoy dinner in Kirkwall before boarding our Northlink ferry, with en suite cabins, to gently sleep as we cruise to Shetland.

B, D


Disembark and step into an entrancing mixture of history with amazing flora and fauna, on our guided tour of Shetland. More Scandinavian than Scottish in many ways, the Viking heritage is still strong in this world of magnificent wild beauty, steeped with internationally renowned archaeological sites. We visit remarkable Jarlshof, along with historic town of Scalloway and its fascinating museum, capital Lerwick, seabird colonies and the famous Shetland ponies. Back on board ship, relax and enjoy our evening meal and cruise overnight southwards to Aberdeen. .

B, D


Awakening refreshed we enjoy breakfast before transferring to Aberdeen station. Today's rail journey hugs the coast, crossing the Tay Bridge in spectacular fashion, before returning through Fife to Stirling for two more nights at the Stirling Highland Hotel.

B, D


A short rail journey whisks us to Edinburgh Waverley, where our Blue Badge Guide awaits to introduce the highlights of the city's 'Royal Mile'. An afternoon at leisure in Scotland's proud capital enables you to visit the castle, relax on the Grassmarket or indulge in a little retail therapy on Princes Street.

B, D


We bid farewell to Stirling and our Scottish grand tour.


B=Breakfast, D=Dinner


Stirling Highland Hotel

Just a short walk from Stirling Castle, the Highland Hotel is 4* and its restaurant boasts an AA Rosette. Its free car park allows you to drive to your holiday and join at tour base, should you wish, whereas the leisure club, including swimming pool, is a great place to relax. Built in the 19th century as the city’s High School, this historic building still houses a working observatory in its roof.

Pentland Hotel, Thurso

Conveniently located in central Thurso, the Pentland Hotel is a good base from which to explore Caithness.

Northlink Ferries

Northlink’s modern vessels boast comfortable bars, lounges and retaurants, as well as well-stocked shops. Cabins have two comfortable fixed beds, positioned side by side. Built with your comfort in mind they are modern, clean and fully equipped with en-suite washbasin, toilet and shower facilities plus individual temperature control and tea/coffee making facilities.



Fare Region



RC (-)

London: King’s Cross




Greater London




South of England




East Anglia




South West




Heart of England












North East




North West




South Wales




North Wales









Tour Base Fare £1225 (joining at hotel)


September Departure Supplement £30


Single Traveller Supplement £240


7 nights’ bed, breakfast & Table d’Hôte evening meal

Rail travel & seat reservations from your Home Station to Tour Base (Standard or First Class)

Rail & coach travel, with transfers as described

All excursions and admissions as detailed

Services of experienced Railtrail Tour Manager

Important – Please select the number of passengers before proceeding to ‘Book Now’

From Price Book Now Call Back Telephone Favourites

Festive & Winter Tours

Festive & Winter Tours 2018 - 2019


The Roses Christmas Markets & Steam

From Price: £395.00
Duration: 5 Days
Departure Date: 15/11/2018

Harz Mountains & Rübeland Festive Steam

From Price: £899.00
Duration: 5 Days
Departure Date: 29/11/2018

2018 Swiss St Nicholas Snow Train Adventure

From Price: £1,395.00
Duration: 8 Days
Departure Date: 30/11/2018

Dresden, Ore Mountains & Prague Festive Steam

From Price: £1,399.00
Duration: 8 Days
Departure Date: 05/12/2018

2018 Frankfurt, Rudesheim & Cologne Christmas Mkts

From Price: £645.00
Duration: 5 Days
Departure Date: 06/12/2018

2018 Bruges & Gent Festive Cheers

From Price: £675.00
Duration: 5 Days
Departure Date: 09/12/2018

2018 Winchester, Salisbury & Bournemouth Markets

From Price: £295.00
Duration: 4 Days
Departure Date: 10/12/2018

2018 Rhine Valley Christmas Markets & Steam

From Price: £499.00
Duration: 5 Days
Departure Date: 13/12/2018

A Grand Tour of Scotland at Christmas

From Price: £975.00
Duration: 8 Days
Departure Date: 20/12/2018

Harz Mountains & Rhine Valley Christmas Cracker

From Price: £1,295.00
Duration: 9 Days
Departure Date: 20/12/2018

Swiss Christmas Snow Train Adventure

From Price: £1,475.00
Duration: 8 Days
Departure Date: 22/12/2018

Black Forest New Year Steam & More

From Price: £1,295.00
Duration: 6 Days
Departure Date: 28/12/2018

New Year Celebrations by the Romantic Rhine

From Price: £849.00
Duration: 6 Days
Departure Date: 29/12/2018

2019 Harz Mountains Winter Wonderland

From Price: £849.00
Duration: 6 Days
Departure Date: 17/02/2019

Availability Search

Keyword Search

This website uses cookies to store information. By continuing to browse the website without changing your settings you are agreeing to their use. Click here to view our cookie policy.