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The Orkney & Shetland Explorer

<img src="beachbychurchillbarriers-shutterstock_19637500(2).jpeg" alt="Beach by Churchill Barriers">

Discover the peace, tranquility and rich heritage of the beautiful islands of Orkney & Shetland on our 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.

7 days from £1189



Wednesday 26 May 2021

Wednesday 8 September 2021



  • Explore historic Orkney at a gentle pace from our base on the Orkneys

  • 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 Line

  • Photo-stop at John O’Groats

  • Fantastic seascape coastline of the Far North

  • One night’s relaxing cruising with modern, en-suite cabins

  • Scenic rail journey to 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’


Also included in your tour fare:

  • 6 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


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?



Leaving Stirling, our train journey heads through the scenery of Perthshire, a taster of what lies in store on day 5. Today's views just become more and more beautiful, however, as we hug the North Sea coastline on our way to Aberdeen. Here we join our Northlink ship, enjoying dinner on board before retiring to our en-suite cabins.

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, we sail this evening to the Orkneys, with dinner on board. We arrive late evening and check into our hotel for two nights, the Kirkwall Hotel.

B, D


Staying on Orkney allows us to tour the island at leisure. 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. After a day exploring this unspoilt region of natural beauty, we settle down to dinner in our hotel.

B, D


Today begins with a cruise from Stromness to Scrabster. Make sure you have your cameras ready on port side, as there are fabulous views of Old Man of Hoy, at 450 ft one of the UK's tallest sea stacks. Our coach then continues the journey southwards, calling in at John O'Groats, before taking the lovely coastal route through Caithness and Sutherland, skirting the Firths of Beauly and Cromarty en route to Inverness. Here we join the Highland Line, one of the country's most beautiful, climbing into the Cairngorms before descending through Perthshire to our hotel for two nights, the Stirling Highland.

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, is the historic 4-star Highland Hotel. The hotel’s Scholars restaurant offers quality locally sourced food and the comfortable bar is the perfect place to enjoy a wee dram! The leisure club, including swimming pool is a great place to relax. Built in the 19th century as the city’s High School, this characterful building still houses a working observatory in its roof.


Kirkwall Hotel

This family-run hotel is in a traditional Victorian building on Kirkwall’s picturesque harbour front, close to the marina and the main shopping area. The bedrooms are modern with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and tea & coffee making facilities. The Harbour View Restaurant serves excellent local produce and Skippers Bar is the perfect place to sample a glass of Orkney’s famous whisky.


Northlink Ferries

Northlink’s modern vessels boast comfortable bars, lounges and restaurants, 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



London: Kings Cross



Greater London



South of England



East Anglia



South West



Heart of England









North East



North West



South Wales



North Wales







Join & Leave at Hotel £1199


£10 tour discount for holders of National Railcards


Single Traveller Supplement £275


MAY Departure Supplement £70


6 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’

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