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17 Day Northern Isles of Scotland Autumnal Adventure
September 25th - October 11th, 2025

On this tour we spend one week each in two of our favourite places on earth! We both have Orkney ancestry and when we are here, we are home! We would love to find some Shetland ancestry because we feel just at home there as we do in Orkney. How could it be any better than spending one week in each location? Join us for an unforgettable journey that you will treasure always.

Shannon and Mario

Nothing captures the Romantic wonder of Scotland more than the Highlands and Islands. If you have never experienced the Isles of Scotland, I cannot do them justice in just a few words! We have been including Orkney into our Highlands and Islands tours for several years and Shetland for about the last seven years, even so, we can never get enough of them! So putting together a tour that includes one week on each set of Islands seemed like the next natural progression to allow you to get the most of your North Isles Scottish experience.

Our Islands tours are ever changing as ferry crossings may be delayed or cancelled or venues change times or dates. We try to keep to the itinerary exactly as it is, but sometimes things out of our control happen. We will have many wildlife adventure on this tour, but unfortunately we cannot guarantee the sighting of any listed wildlife. You must be able to easily go with the flow on this tour because changes can happen. Although we provide the very best level of accommodation available, we are sometimes limited for choice when we are out in the Hebrides, Orkney and the Shetland Islands. Even so, the two accommodations we have chosen for our islands adventure are indicative of what you will find on Orkney and Shetland and as far as we are concerned, the very best choices available.

Our Orkney accommodation is at the Storehouse in Kirkwall. The Storehouse, or The Old Store as it was previously known, was built in around 1880 as a herring curing store. It is a grade B Listed Building, and has changed very little since 1880 and still retains many of its original internal timbers, some of which are believed to have been salvaged from tall ships.In its lifetime, the 19th Century building has been used as a print works and stationery storage by George Leonard, however it lay in a state of neglect until Judith Glue and David Spence bought it to use as a storage facility in 2011. The end result is a wonderful renovation that oozes Orcadian history and uniqueness, mixing the old with the new to enable luxury and comfort for guests . The restaurant also serves local Orkney produce which is made in an open kitchen with a menu that also reflects the nature and history of this fantastic building.

Our Shetland accommodation is at Busta House Hotel on the shore of sheltered Busta Voe on mainland Shetland. The earliest part of the house was built in 1588 and then extended in 1748 and it has quite a history! If you have ever watched the Shetland TV Series you will recognize parts of the house. You can watch the sun set on the sea as you enjoy specially prepared Shetland lamb and seafood in the understated elegance of the Pitcairn Room restaurant. The unfussy cooking features good quality basic ingredients which include Scallops from Busta Voe and Locally Sourced Haddock or Plaice. We would not stay anywhere else on Shetland and once you experience its rich history, beautiful settings and warm hospitality we think you’ll agree!

Tour price includes 16 nights of accommodation including overnight ferry. Full Scottish breakfast each morning, all dinners and lunches listed in the itinerary, porterage of one suitcase per person, minibus travel including tour guide, knowledgeable guide for all tourist venues, all sightseeing as indicated in itinerary including any entrance fees and all taxes and service charges.

 

$9,995 per person. Only 1 Double and 1 Single Available!

$1695 single supplement.

$1000 per person deposit to reserve.

"My review - read if you dare: My 3rd trip with Shannon and Mario is happening

this year and it will be the highlight of my year. Previously, I have travelled

through the Scottish islands and I have also gone to the Highlands and the Military Tattoo.

I loved both trips. The itineraries were brilliant and I got to see all those places which were

on my bucket list. The tours are not cheap but there are worth every cent. I can't recommend

these tours highly enough." Sharon from Australia.

Day 1 - September 25th - We will meet this morning at our Edinburgh Airport Accommodation and make our way north toward Inverness with a few stops along the way. Our first stop will be the lovely Highland Village of Pitlochry. Queen Victoria called Pitlochry the loveliest spa town in Europe and it soon became a holiday destination that was a must among Victorians and all the way up to today. We think you will love it too! Our next stop is just up the road for Afternoon Tea near Bruar. After tea, we stop at the House of Bruar, home of Scottish Country Clothing with an extensive range of high quality products in both the Men’s and Ladies Clothing Halls. You can also find the Finest Country Fayre of Traditional Scottish Food and Drink in the Food Halls and Delicatessen. It also houses the largest collection of Cashmere in the UK. The Country Living Shop carries plenty of choice for decorating your home, or even the perfect gift. We then make our way to the country house hotel near Inverness to get better acquainted before we start our island adventure. Welcoming Dinner and Overnight near Inverness. (B,L,D)

Day 2 - September 26th - This morning we start our journey north to Scrabster where we will take a ferry across to Orkney. Our first stop is at the Invergordon Storehouse, a fantastically stocked Farm Shop that is inspired by the love of farming and of great food! Specially selected products from near and far make this a must stop destination for gourmet treats. The Gorgeous Little Gift Shop is packed with beautiful gifts and lovely pieces for your home and wonderful things for any last minute purchases! Our drive then take us further north across the Dornach Firth and to Golspie and then Brora and to the Royal Marine Hotel where we will stop for Afternoon Tea. We then make our way further north along the coast to Helmsdale, Dunbeath and to Latheron Wheel where we make our way inland to Scrabster where we board our ferry. After we have boarded the ferry, you can find some dinner on our way to Stromess on Orkney. From here, it is just a short distance to our accommodation in Kirkwall. Overnight Kirkwall, Orkney. (B,L)

Day 3 - September 27th - This morning we will have a Walking Tour that will familiarize you with Kirkwall. The Town Walk and Cathedral tour, starts at the harbour, moving up through the historic City and Royal Burgh of Kirkwall. We will follow the narrow, winding streets, that made up Kirkwall’s medieval coastline, listening to stories of the notorious Pressgang and of Orcadian wedding traditions. Hear about the fearsome Kirkwall Ba Game, that divides the town in half, at Christmas and New Year. Then get a guided tour around the magnificent 12th century St Magnus Cathedral. The tour ends in Tankerness House Gardens, with the story of Orkney’s very own Pirate Gow. After our tour we will find some lunch and then make our way to Kirkwall’s Harbour Front and the Orkney Distillery, the ideal attraction for gin enthusiasts looking for a quality visitor experience in the heart of Orkney’s main town. We will spend the afternoon here taking a full tour of the facility and to explore the process of making their Kirkjuvagr Gins. We will then craft our own gin recipe under the guidance of the guide, with over 30 botanicals to choose from. Then back home before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Kirkwall. (B,L,D)

 

Day 4 - September 28th - This morning we make our way west to Skara Brae, a neolithic village dating from 2,500 BC which has been hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved, for thousands of years and was only rediscovered 150 years ago. We will also visit the Broch of Gurness, one of the most outstanding surviving examples of a later prehistoric settlement that is unique to northern Scotland. The Vikings who settled in Orkney from around 800 often used the mounds of earlier settlement sites as burial places, and this was the case at Gurness. Next is the Ring of Brodgar, a stone ring built in a true circle originally containing 60 megaliths. Next we visit Maeshowe, the finest chambered tomb in Western Europe. Built before 2700 BC, it was raided by the Vikings in the mid-12th century and plundered of its 'treasures'. Maeshowe is interesting because of the various runic inscriptions carved into the walls. This is one of the best known collections and includes the Maeshowe Dragon - a very well known Orkney icon. Finally we visit the Standing Stones of Stenness dating from 3,100BC making the stones complex one of the earliest stone circles in Britain. We then make our way back to our accommodation for dinner. Dinner and Overnight Kirkwall, Orkney. (B,D)

Day 5 - September 29th - After a late breakfast we make our way to Stromness, Orkney's Second Largest Town and an architectural gem. It is known as an inspiration for artists and writers, and a firm favourite with visitors. This famous seaport that has remained unchanged in centuries, retaining its original maritime charm with narrow winding streets, terraces of houses and steep passageways all leading to its iconic waterfront and harbour. Some of Orkney’s Best Crafts, Textiles and Jewellery can be found in the delightful independent shops to be discovered around every corner, while in local galleries and the Five-star Pier Arts Centre the work of artists and sculptors from Orkney and beyond takes centre stage. After some exploration we will meet up for lunch. Following lunch we make our way back to Kirkwall with a stop at one of Orkney's Most Popular Beaches, Scapa. With views out into Scapa Flow, the beach is a brilliant place to be on a bright afternoon with the sun casting its colours over the sky. There is an excellent walk along the cliffs at the west side of the beach taking you past the Scapa Distillery, a waterfall and plenty of seabirds, en-route to a small sandy bay. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight Kirkwall. (B,L)

 

Day 6 - September 30th - This morning we will visit St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall and have their Upper Levels Tour where they unlock the secrets of one of Orkney's Most Beautiful Buildings. We will walk up the narrow, spiral, stone staircases of this stunning sandstone cathedral. You will see galleries and collections of artefacts, the clock mechanism, the huge bells and the base of the spire, before getting the chance to take in a bird’s eye view of Kirkwall too. You will then have some free time in Kirkwall before we stop for lunch. After lunch we will take in the ruins of the Bishop's and Earl's Palaces. The medieval Bishop’s Palace was built around the same time as St Magnus Cathedral, in the early 1100s. The builder may well have been Bishop William the Old, crusader and friend of Earl Rognvald, St Magnus’s nephew and patron of the new cathedral. Across the road you'll find the Earl's Palace, which was constructed around 1606 by Patrick, Earl of Orkney - one of Orkney's most notorious rulers. His Renaissance palace was built to impress and featured a first-floor hall with elaborate staircase, inner, outer and guest chambers and accommodation for staff. Huge fireplaces dominated the main hall. Dinner and Overnight Kirkwall, Orkney. (B,L,D)

 

Day 7 - October 1st - This morning we will take the short journey to the Isle of Hoy. Synonymous with the world famous sea stack the Old Man of Hoy, Orkney's second largest island rises dramatically from the sea. With mountainous moorland and glacial valleys, you will encounter a dramatic highland landscape. Hoy is unlike anywhere else in Orkney. Once on Hoy we visit Dwarfie Stane, a huge block of sandstone in which a Neolithic Burial Chamber has been cut. It is believed to date from around 3000 BC and the tomb was formerly sealed by the blocking stone which now lies in front of the entrance. Hoy is also famous for its birdlife. We will have a Packed Lunch Picnic before we visit Hackness Martello Tower and Battery, part of the extensive military remains on the island. The tower and battery were built in the early 19th century to provide defence for British convoys at the height of the Napoleonic War. Barrack room furniture and other military memorabilia give an idea of life at the barracks and you can stand on the tower and take in the view towards Scapa Flow. Then back to the mainland and to our accommodation for dinner. Overnight Kirkwall, Orkney. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - October 2nd - We will get a later start today as it will be a long day. We start our day with a drive that will take us to South Ronaldsay as we make our way across the Churchill Barriers. Born from a time of conflict but now serving as vital links between island communities, these remarkable structures have become as iconic as many of Orkney’s more ancient landmarks. They link the islands of Burray, Lamb Holm and Glimps Holm with South Ronaldsay. We will make a few stops along the way including the Italian Chapel before we stop for lunch. We then make our way to the Highland Park Distillery for a Distillery Tour. This whisky is made with the same enduring belief and integrity, to the same exacting standards, as it has been since 1798. We will have a tour of the distillery followed by a wee dram and then you will have some free time in Kirkwall. We will have a late dinner in Kirkwall before we board a ferry that will take us on an Overnight Voyage to Shetland. Overnight At Sea. (B,L,D)

 

Day 9 - October 3rd - This morning we arrive into Lerwick, Shetland, a natural world where wildlife is truly wild and where you can watch otters and seals at play and where the air is filled with the sound of seabirds crowding extraordinary cliffs in huge, noisy colonies. We will make our way out of Lerwick to Eshaness and the Eshaness Lighthouse in the area of Northmavine. Eshaness boasts one of the highest energy coastlines in the world. Blasted by the full force of the North Atlantic it displays a stunning array of stacks, blowholes and geos (narrow inlets). The area of Northmavine boasts a wonderful range of wildlife and habitats. Seals, Otters, Porpoises and occasionally Dolphins and Whales can be seen from the shore. Inland expanses of peat and heather are home to Mountain Hares, Rabbits, Polecats and a multitude of birds, including the elegant Red-throated Diver which can be seen on many lochs. The lighthouse, which is visible for miles, is perched on the rim of fabulous volcanic cliffs where the full Atlantic fury has shaped some of Shetland's most dramatic cliff scenery. You can walk along to the head of Calder's Geo, where the sea has gouged out a deep inlet along a line of weakness in the rock. Fulmars float on air currents above the surging waves and nest among the crannies of the vertical rock faces, which are transformed into hanging gardens. We then get settled into our home for the week before we meet up for dinner. Dinner and Overnight Shetland. (B,L,D)

Day 10 - October 4th - After a night of Journeying to Shetland and a long day yesterday, today will be completely at your leisre to get rested up for the remainder of the adventure. Busta House where we are staying has an amazing history. The earliest part of the house was built in 1588 by the Giffords but both house and family only really gained prestige and wealth in the 18th century. The house was eventually bought in the 1950’s by Sir Basil Neven Spence, another Shetland landowner. He was Lord Lieutenant of Shetland and a Member of Parliament. He entertained Queen Elizabeth II for tea here August of 1960 having just come asshore from the Royal Yacht Britannia. In 2015 the present owners Grant and Joel took over the hotel having began their career here as young teenagers. The setting is spectacular and the hotel quirly and unique. You will have a packed lunch to enjoy at any time you choose during the day and maybe even enjoy on a hike around the area. We will gather this evening for dinner together. Dinner and Overnight Shetland. (B,L,D)

 

Day 11 - October 5th - This morning we take in the multi-period Jarlshof Prehistoric Norse Settlement. Jarlshof lies at the most southernly tip of Mainland Shetland and provides an insight into the way of life of the inhabitants at particularly interesting periods – the late Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish Era, Norse Era and the Middle Ages. It includes oval- shaped Bronze Age houses, Iron Age Broch and Wheelhouses, Viking Long Houses, Medieval Farmstead and a 16th Century Laird’s House. Next we make our way to Sumburgh Head, one of the most accessible Seabird Colonies in Britain and is a well-established RSPB Nature Reserve. The cliffs surrounding the site are teeming with seabirds throughout the summer, including Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Fulmars. On our way back to Lerwick, the largest town in the Shetlands we will visit the The Croft House Museum, a mid- nineteenth century Shetland Croft, which was lived in until the late 60’s. A typical family unit included grandparents, parents and children. The sea, not the land, was the main provider and the crofter was a fisherman, seaman or whaler. His wife and family worked the land in his absence. You will then have some free time to wander around Lerwick and find some dinner before we return home. Overnight Shetland. (B,L)

 

Day - 12 - October 6th - This morning after breakfast we grab our to go lunch bags from the hotel and then make our way to the very most Northerly Point in the Shetlands on the Island of Unst. Our journey will take us north on Mainland Shetland to Toft where we board a wee ferry to cross the Island of Yell. We will stop at the Shetland Gallery on Yell before traveling further northward to the top of yell to Gutcher where we board a wee ferry for the crossing to Unst. We will explore the wilds of the Shetlands and drive to the most northerly point of Unst where we can look out to Out Stack, and uninhabited island that is the last land mass before the North Pole! While here we will have our Picnic Lunch while we gaze upon the most Northerly House in the whole of the UK and then you can stand at the point where the Oceanic Crust meets with the Continental Crust. While here, We will visit the most Northerly Village as well as the most Northerly Church. After a lovely days outing of exploring and amazing photo ops we make our way to our where to Lerwick and the harbour which is an excellent location to seal watch before we stop for dinner before heading home. Dinner and Overnight Shetland. (B,L,D)

 

Day 13 - October 7th - This morning we make our way back to Lerwick where we join a Seabirds-and-Seals Two Hour Boat Trip around Bressay and Noss National Nature Reserve, where you will get to enjoy more of Shetland's Abundant Seabirds and Seals. The views are awesome, giving us photographic opportunities with the awesome Noss Cliffs in the background. You won't believe how close they'll take us to the 25,000 Gannets, Thousands of Guillemots and Hundreds of Puffins, Razorbills, Black Guillemots, Gulls, Shags and Skuas! You sometimes even meet Porpoises and occasionally Whales, Otters and Dolphins! We’ll sail through the magnificent rock of the Giant’s Leg and then into the beautiful Orkneyman’s Cave. Once back in Lerwick we will stop for you to find some lunch on your own and then start our journey back home with a stop at Stanydale Temple, the only truly megalithic structure surviving from prehistoric Shetland. It comprises a wall of large boulders enclosing a wide oval area, which would have originally been enclosed by a great timber roof. Nobody knows what purpose Stanydale served. The archaeologist who excavated the site called it a ‘temple’, as the structure is similar to known Neolithic temples in Malta. However, it could just as easily have acted as a village hall, courtroom or chieftan’s hall. Whatever its purpose, it’s a significant building in a landscape rich in prehistoric structures. . We then return home before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Shetland. (B,D)

 

Day 14 - October 8th - Today will be a lovely day starting out with an outdoor pursuit with the Shetland Pony Experience. No visit to Shetland is complete without getting up close and personal with some more friendly Shetland ponies. The experience is very hands on and includes plenty of picture perfect photo opportunities while you lead the ponies through the idyllic, picturesque, rugged coastal fields to a secluded beach. We then make our way to Scalloway, once the ancient capital of Shetland. We will stop at “The Scord”, one of the most iconic and breathtaking views that Shetland has to offer, with harbour, castle, bridge and the scattering of smaller isles in the harbour approaches, only the larger of which are occupied. Then you can explore Scalloway and find some lunch on your own before we visit Scalloway Castle. The castle was the home of Patrick Stewart, Earl of Orkney and Shetland. ‘Black Patie’, as he became known in Shetland, was notorious for his oppression of the Shetland people. He was accused of using forced labour in Scalloway’s construction in 1599, and was eventually executed in Edinburgh in 1615. The castle itself stands as a sophisticated and impressive example of a late 1500s tower house. One of only two castles constructed in Shetland, for many it stands as a symbol of Earl Patrick’s harsh rule. Dinner and Overnight Shetland. (B,L,D)

 

Day 15 - October 9th - We start our morning with a visit to Clickimin Broch on the shore of Clickimin Loch, an outstanding example of a sophisticated type of stone-built round house found only in Scotland. The broch has evidence of a settlement spanning over a thousand years. We then stop back in Lerwick where you will have time for another trip around Lerwick for some last minute shopping, visit the fudge shop or chocolate shop or just linger for awhile on the harbour to enjoy your last few moments on Shetland before lunch. After lunch we visit Lerwick Brewery for a tour. Our experienced guide will show us the ingredients, equipment and processes required to make ales and lagers in a craft brewery. On the tour we will have time to taste and smell the hops and malt as we make their way through the various stages of brewing. As we wander through their 12 barrel brewery, we will be taken through the process of how the beer is actually made until we arrive at the final product. The tour ends where it should, in our brewery bar where you may try out of some of their complimentary beers that we have been learning about. Then we board our Overnight Ferry to Aberdeen on the Mainland. You can find dinner onboard once we get settled in. Overnight at Sea. (B,L)

Day 16 - October 10th - We wake up in Aberdeen this morning and start our journey back to Glasgow. We will take the spectacular eastern coast of Scotland with a few stops along the way. Our first stop will be Arbroath and Arbroath Abbey, founded by William the Lion in 1178, in memory of martyr Thomas Becket. Here we explore the origins of the most famous document in Scottish history – the Declaration of Arbroath. Scotland’s nobles swore their independence from England in this letter to the Pope, sent from Arbroath Abbey in 1320. The abbey remained one of the nation’s grandest monasteries for almost 400 years and much later, the Stone of Destiny had a starring role in Arbroath Abbey’s story. We will stop for Afternoon Tea on our way to Helix Park near Falkirk to see the Scottish Kelpies, the world's largest equine sculptures. We will have a Guided Walking Tour that takes us through the vision of artist Andy Scott and how history and industry impacted on his designing of these breath-taking sculptures. The pinnacle of the tour is that you get to experience a Kelpie from the inside, and see for yourself the breathtaking engineering and design of the Kelpies. Farewell Dinner and Overnight near Edinburgh. (B,L,D)

Day 17 - October 11th - We return you to Edinburgh International for your flight home.

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