Shetland and Orkney – so near yet so different & refreshing.
A suggested 8 nights self drive holiday to the “Viking Isles” of Shetland & Orkney.
You’re welcome to stay longer or shorter to suit your time available, change the number of nights in each island, etc. You can also include the wonderful Fair Isle (flight or boat from Shetland) with advance planning.
Day 1. Ferry: Sail from Aberdeen to Shetland on the overnight sailing, daily departures from Aberdeen at 1700* or 1900, arrive Lerwick in Shetland at 0730 the following morning (you can stay later to have break- fast but need to unload your car). 1 night on board ship. A twin berth en-suite private cabin (or four berth for your private use) will be booked for you on board the ship when sailing overnight and breakfast, lunch & dinner are available.
Days 2-4 Shetland. Enjoy 4 days (3 nights) in Shetland.
Day 5. Ferry: Sail from Shetland to Orkney on the evening sailing on a Monday, Wednesday & Friday,
depart Lerwick at 1730 and arrive in Kirkwall at 2300. During the summer it is still light when you arrive.
Days 5-8 Orkney. Enjoy 3 days (3 nights) in Orkney.
Day 9. Ferry: There are 3-4 crossings each day with Pentland Ferries from St Margaret’s Hope in Orkney to
Gills Bay in the north of Scotland (takes 60 minutes).
It is also possible to sail from Orkney back to Aberdeen on the overnight sailing which leaves Orkney at 2345 on a Monday, Wednesday & Friday and arrives in Aberdeen the following morning at 0700.
This can be booked with hotels and/or guest houses/B&Bs of a good 3-4 star standard that we work with on a regular basis and receive excellent feedback from our other guests.
* As an alternative to sailing from Aberdeen to Shetland first, the 1700 ferry from Aberdeen briefly calls in to Orkney on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday (arrives Orkney at 2300). You can spend a few days in Orkney, catch a ferry to Shetland (overnight sailing, leave Orkney on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2345 and arrive Lerwick 0730 the following morning), spend some time in Shetland, and then catch an overnight sailing back to Aberdeen (nightly departures at 1730 or 1900, arrive Aberdeen at 0700).
You can rent a car in each island and there are flights to/from each island from Aberdeen and elsewhere and between the islands.
Here is an alternative direction for the 8 nights holiday visiting Orkney first and then Shetland, based on taking your own car on the ferries (including 2 overnight ferry crossings).
This can be taken in either direction with different ferry times, the main difference being an overnight sailing (with an en-suite private cabin) from Orkney to Shetland (rather than an evening sailing when travelling from Shetland to Orkney).
You’re welcome to stay longer or shorter than the suggested itinerary to suit your time available, change the number of nights in each island, add in a trip to Fair Isle or some of the smaller Orkney & Shetland islands, etc.
Day 1. Ferry from Gills Bay to St Margaret’s Hope (Orkney).
There are 3-4 crossings each day (takes 60 minutes). Latest check-in is 30-40 minutes before departure.
Gills Bay is about 6.5 km west of John O’Groats. Near to Gills Bay is the Castle and Gardens of Mey, open mid May toendSeptember(butclosedfromendJulytoearly/midAugust). http://www.castleofmey.org.uk
Days 1-4. Orkney.
Enjoy 3-4 days (3 nights) in Orkney.
Day 4. Ferry to Shetland.
Overnight sailing, leave Orkney on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday at 23.45 and arrive in Lerwick at 07.30 the following morning. 1 night on board ship with your private, en-suite twin or four berth cabin. Breakfast & dinner are available.
Days 5-8. Shetland.
Enjoy 4 days (3 nights) in Shetland.
Days 8. Ferry to Aberdeen.
Overnight sailing with your private, en-suite twin or four berth berth cabin, leave Shetland each night at 17.30 or 19.00 hours and arrive in Aberdeen at 07.00 the following morning. 1 night on board ship. Breakfast & dinner are available.
While in Shetland, you can also include the wonderful Fair Isle, reached from the Shetland mainland either by the island mailboat Good Shepherd IV, or by 8-seater ‘Islander’ aircraft (you don’t take your car to Fair Isle).
Fair Isle (National Trust for Scotland) has 14 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, including an Iron Age fort, some burst mounds and an abandoned RAF World War II radar station.