• Location: John O'Groats, United Kingdom
  • Duration: 11 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 85.52 View price calendar

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Escape the mainland for a full-day tour of the far-flung Orkney Islands from John o’Groats. Journey by ferry across the Pentland Firth to the wind-swept Orkney archipelago, bursting with postcard-perfect natural vistas and mystical landmarks. With a local guide, cruise along the Churchill Barriers to visit villages steeped in Viking mystery like 5,000 year-old Skara Brae and landmarks like the Lamb Holm Italian Chapel and St Magnus Cathedral.


  • Day trip from John O’Groats to the Orkney Islands
  • Cross the Churchill Barriers
  • Ferry boat ride across Pentland Firth
  • Watch for seals and whales
  • Visit the villages of Stromness and Skara Brae

What You Can Expect

Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats

St Magnus Cathedral, Scotland

Your 11-hour trip through the Orkney Islands begins in John o’ Groats Harbor, where you’ll set off by ferry in the morning across the blustery Pentland Firth to port in Burwick. After your 40-minute cruise, transfer to a comfortable coach for a guided tour of remarkable local attractions.
Savor unspoiled scenery as you travel along the Churchill Barriers (the extensive island causeway system). You’ll hug the Scapa Flow (meaning ‘bay of the long isthmus’ in Old Norse), where you may spot swooping seabirds, bobbing seals and whales. Stop in Stromness, the last port of all before the Americas, and Kirkwall to see the lovely St Magnus Cathedral – nearly a millennia old! 
Soak up mysterious Viking history as you visit ancient monuments including prehistoric standing stones, tombs and the more than 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae. Cap your day with a stop at the famous Italian Chapel, built during WWII by Italian prisoners of war. Admire the beauty and ingenuity of the chapel, made of only basic raw materials, then re-board your coach for the ride back to port.
Your tour concludes back at John o’Groats Harbor in the evening.

Customer Reviews

Gregory W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2017

This was an amazing trip. The bus driver was humerous and informative and we saw a lot in one day. I would highly recommend this trip,


5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2017

Very well organised and informative. An enjoyable day trip.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2017

Very entertaining.

julietwou Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2017

The most amazing trip around Orkney. Great commentary from Stuart our driver and the scenery, archaeological sites and overall experience exceeded expectations. I recommend doing research on Orkney history before going as it will only enhance your tour although Stuarts explanation was brilliant. As a travel agent i highly recommend this trip

Philip M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2017

This day tour, starting at the harbour at John O'Groats, is a brilliant way to get the feel, the history and the culture of the Orkney Islands.
It starts with a 45minute ferry journey across the Pentland Firth on a small, passenger only, ship to Burwick on the Island of South Ronaldsay where the ferry is met by the coach and guide/driver for the day tour. We found our guide very informative, entertaining and friendly.
The tour introduced us to the highlights of the Orkney Islands, from the neolithic monuments and sites, the ring of Brodgar, the stones of Stenness dating back at least 5000 years and the prehistoric village of Skara Brae, to the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness where there is some time to explore on ones own, to the second world war Churchill barriers protecting the naval natural harbour of Skarpa Flow and the beautiful Italian Chapel built by Italian prisoners-of-war.
It is a very full day with a total time of nearly twelve hours. We would highly recommend it. We were very lucky in that the weather on the day we took the tour was beautiful with clear blue sky. This meant that we could really appreciate the views and countryside of Orkney as we travelled around. The ferry crossing was also calm. I suspect that in poor weather, the crossing of the Pentland Firth could be very rough and maybe unpleasant.
Note that the price of the Maxi Day tour does not include entry to the Skara Brae site run by Historic Scotland or the Italian Chapel. This two sites are essential places to visit and it would be nice if the Maxi Day Tour company did a deal to include these in the tour price.

Russell G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2017

Orkney Island was wonderful and was made even better by the beautiful weather. The Icing on the cake was the commentary of the bus driver Stewart, he was very entertaining and informative and regaled us with humorous anecdotes. A very enjoyable day and would highly recommend the tour to others

Jennifer H United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2017

This was one of the first organized tours we have taken. It turned out to be the best way to see these islands. Some of the stops would not have been places we'd have considered if we were on our own, but those same places turned out to be so memorable. If you're on a tight schedule and limited budget, this was WELL worth it. Sorry for the delayed review - it's now 2017 - and this is how I feel nearly 4 years later.

James B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2017

Can highly recommend this day trip to Orkney! An almost new coach met us and the driver/guide Stewart was excellent giving us loads of information!

Ann M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2017

This was an excellent way to get the most out of a short visit to Orkney. The coach which picked us up at the ferry was comfortable and our driver, Stuart, who was also our guide for the day was superb. He shared his knowledge of the history of the islands and the iconic sites we visited in an interesting way, sprinkled with appropriate amusing anecdotes.
Great value for money and we'll certainly recommend this trip to our friends.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

excellent tour, guide was very amusing and professional. Highly recomended

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