Orkney & the Outer Hebrides
10 day tour

  • Outer Hebrides Tours from Edinburgh
  • Stornoway
  • Skara Brae Orkney
  • Isle of Skye tours from Edinburgh
  • Butt of Lewis
  • Luskentyre Beach
  • Standing Stones of Callanish

Go back in time to the prehistoric wonders of Orkney and the Outer Hebrides on this tour from Edinburgh.

Tour map

Tour Highlights

Lochs
Ferry
Mountains
Castles
Gaelic Culture
Prehistoric Sites
Beaches

Orkney Isles - These beautiful islands are full of ancient history and wildlife.

Glencoe and Rannoch Moor - Be moved by the sheer beauty and tragic tales of one of Scotland’s most famous landscapes.

Loch Ness - Take a chance to spot the famous Loch Ness Monster.

Skara Brae and Ring of Brodgar - Learn how people used to live in ancient times at these prehistoric monuments.

North Coast 500 - A rollercoaster road of ruined castles, pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs, and charming villages.

Lewis and Harris - These two areas with distinct landscapes make up the biggest island in Scotland.

Calanais Standing Stones - This mysterious monument is even older than Stonehenge.

White sands of Luskentyre - Walk along this phenomenal beach and feel like you’re in the Scottish Maldives.

Isle of Skye - Traverse one of the world’s most stunning islands, with beautiful views around every corner.

Eilean Donan Castle - An iconic and gorgeous 13th-century castle that once warded off Viking invasions.

 

Your journey

 

Are you curious about wild places? Interested in how prehistoric civilisations thrived in barren islands? Do you desire to escape the toils of city life?

If this sounds familiar, then this is the tour for you.

Because it travels from Edinburgh to the most northern, remote, and enchanting places of Scotland.

You’ll see emerald blue shores and cream-white beaches in Lewis and Harris. You’ll be entranced by the vivid tales of prehistoric history in the Orkney Archipelago. And you’ll be blown away by the sheer geological wonders of the Isle of Skye.

It’s an unforgettable chance to escape to the wild and beautiful north of Scotland.

 

Tour Details

Starts
Check-in closes at 08:15 (tour departs at 08:30) - Edinburgh Bus Station Pick Up, Gate J and Gate K, inside Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Finishes (approx.)
19:00 - Edinburgh Bus Station Drop Off, George St / St. Andrews Square area, (Within 5 mins of Edinburgh Bus Station), Edinburgh,
Luggage
You're restricted to 20kg (44lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items. You can find details about luggage storage options here.
Discounts

Students, seniors over 60, and children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)

Important information
  • This tour combines two of our trips. This means you swap your bus and guide during the journey
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
  • Some attraction tickets can be purchased in advance when you book your tour. You’ll have the option to add at check-out. Other attractions will not be available to book beforehand, instead you can purchase those while on tour.
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
Tour exclusions
  • Tour accommodation
  • Attraction entry tickets

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Lap up the lovely lochs as you venture north
  • Learn all about the tragic tale of Glencoe

Leave Edinburgh and head west past Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. You pass Doune Castle before stopping in the small town of Callander for a refreshment. After crossing the Fault Line into the magnificent Highlands, you take in the splendour of Loch Lubnaig, Loch Earn, Glen Ogle, and Glen Dochart.

You admire spectacular views and listen to a haunting story in Glencoe before you continue north up the Great Glen to the mysterious beauty of Loch Ness.

The loch is 23 miles long and you have plenty of time to try and spot the monster.

You arrive at Inverness, where you’re dropped off at your booked accommodation. The evening is free for you to explore the 'Capital of the Highlands'.

Day 2

  • Explore mainland Scotland’s most northern scenery
  • Arrive in the Capital of Orkney, Kirkwall

It’s an early start, leaving behind the 'Capital of the Highlands', crossing over the Black Isle, and continuing past Dunrobin Castle.

From here, you drive along the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery.

Onwards through Scotland's most northerly mainland village, John o' Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, and cross the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago.

It’s a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where you stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney. Here you can visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking Cathedral and enjoy its historic winding streets in the evening.

Day 3

  • Go to a site as ancient as the pyramids, Skara Brae
  • See the wild ocean clash with redstone cliffs

Today is your chance to explore this archipelago’s fertile green pastures, fringed by shores of golden sands and washed by waters of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

You visit the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness.

You stop in Stromness and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions.

Then it’s back to Kirkwall for your second night after what is sure to be a memorable day.

Day 4

  • Take a look at the stunningly located ruins of Ardvreck Castle
  • Stroll around the beautiful harbour town of Ullapool

After a relaxed start, you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here, you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains, following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches.

You then visit the far northwest Highlands and the wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th-century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. From here, you travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you spend two nights.

You will say goodbye to this group here, and will be collected by your new guide and group on the morning of day six.

Day 5

  • Discover the tranquil Highland way of life
  • Admire the beauty of the Summer Isles on a boat trip

You have a free day in Ullapool before you join your new driver-guide and companions. This picturesque fishing town is surrounded by stunning mountains and is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts.

If you want to spot seals, dolphins, porpoises, numerous sea birds, and eagles, you can go on a cruise around the Summer Isles.

Alternatively, you can head up Claypool hill for an easy two-hour walk offering wonderful views over Loch Broom.

Ullapool is also a great place to relax and enjoy the Highland pace of life. You can browse the small craft boutiques, try whisky in a pub, or savour top quality seafood. And in the evening, enjoy some live music and mingle with the locals before your next leg of the journey.

Day 6

  • Travel by ferry through the Summer Isles
  • Explore a lighthouse and the rugged coastline of Lewis

Wake up, enjoy your breakfast, and look out over Loch Broom as it glistens under the morning sky. First on the agenda today is a ferry journey across the sea.

This two and a half-hour boat trip takes you through the Summer Isles to Stornoway, the main town of the Western Isles. But don’t spend your time snoozing and reading as you sail across the ocean; because if you look out to sea, you may spot dolphins and whales.

Once you’ve arrived on Lewis and Harris, you head to the North West coast. Your driver-guide will make the most of what weather you’ve been blessed with and take you through traditional crofting towns and seaside ports. You even get to see the Butt of Lewis; from the lighthouse here there’s nothing but fishes and water between you and America.

You spend the evening in Stornoway; a bustling port town and the home of Scotland’s most delicious black puddings.

Day 7

  • Step inside a traditional Scottish home at Arnol Blackhouse
  • Ponder over the mysteries of the Neolithic standing stones of Calanais*

Today, you immerse yourself in the history and landscapes of this wild island.

You first head to Arnol Blackhouse. Here, you can experience what traditional farming life was like in these remote reaches without getting your hands too dirty.

A little down the road, you visit the stone fort of Dun Carloway. This structure was built before 100AD and has experienced more battles than you’ve had hot dinners. It’s a wonderful location to ponder over the vast swathes of history that have come before you.

You then travel through a landscape littered with crofting villages to one of the most famous sights of the island, the Calanais Stone Circle*. This prehistoric site still mystifies archaeologists today.

The rest of your afternoon is spent in the beautiful beaches and mountains of the western side of Lewis.

You head back to Stornoway in the late afternoon.

*The Calanais stones will be closed from 26 October 2024. This will affect tours departing between 25-29 Oct 2024. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Day 8

  • Admire the landscapes that inspired Harris Tweed
  • Cast your eyes upon the slender, blonde curves of Luskentyre beach

It’s time for something a little more dramatic. It’s time to enter the region of Harris.

Harris boasts the highest mountains in the Outer Hebrides and one of the most beautiful white-sandy beaches in Britain, Luskentyre.

The area is also famous for Harris Tweed and myths that are as strange as they are poignant.

After a morning of exploring the dramatic landscapes, you stop for lunch. Depending on the weather, we may even go for a picnic on the beach – so don’t forget to pack your sunglasses.

Your adventure continues on a ferry over the sea to Portree, the largest town in Skye and your base for the next two evenings.

Day 9

  • Set your sights on Scotland’s most dramatic landscapes on the Isle of Skye
  • Snap a famous photo of Portree’s colourful harbour front

Every horizon in Skye conceals something astoundingly beautiful.

So today, your driver-guide makes the most out of your time on this marvel-studded landscape.

You may travel to the Quiraing mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk, venture to Kilt Rock and see a gigantic waterfall, or take a boat trip to the lesser-known Loch Coruisk.

After you’ve enjoyed the sights of Skye, you have your final evening in Portree. There are plenty of fabulous seafood restaurants to celebrate a fine day of exploring.

Day 10

  • Learn how Eilean Donan Castle survived Viking invasions and 343 barrels of gunpowder
  • Discover how Glencoe earned its name, ‘the Weeping Glen’

Don’t be too sad that your trip is ending today, because there are a lot of amazing things to check out on the way back to Edinburgh.

Once you’ve crossed the Skye Bridge, you get a chance to see Eilean Donan Castle. This classic combination of a sturdy-stone fortification perched upon a loch is about as Scottish a view as you can get. Just ensure you’ve got some room left on your camera to take photos.

You then travel under Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis. The peak of this mountain is likely to be shrouded high in the clouds.

Your driver-guide may become a little emotional as you move through the valley of Glencoe. This marvellously mountainous area was the site of one of the most tragic massacres in Scottish history. The story is as unforgettable as the landscape.

The hilly views become flatter as you enter the Lowlands and travel to Edinburgh.

You arrive in the early evening.

Attractions

Tour Attractions

You are able to pre-purchase entrance tickets to the following attractions at the time of booking:

  • Skara Brae
  • Maeshowe
  • Arnol Blackhouse

Other attractions may be booked and paid locally during the tour.
 

Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay one night in Inverness, two nights in Kirkwall, two nights in Ullapool*, two nights in Stornoway, and two nights in Portree.

 

*Please be aware that Ullapool is busy all year round and Kirkwall is busy between June and August . You may need to be flexible with rooms we're able to reserve for you here. If you'd prefer to find your own accommodation for this location, please choose the 'book your own accommodation' option when you book your tour.

How can I book accommodation?

Accommodation is not included in the price of your tour. To book accommodation, there are two options: either Rabbie’s Tours can book it for you, or you can book your own. For information on how to do this, please see the ‘Accommodation’ tab on FAQ page HERE.

Alternatively, please email us your questions at tours@rabbies.com or call us on +44(0)131 226 3133.

Information you can find on the FAQ page, under the ‘Accommodation’ tab: types of accommodation, room types, the booking process, getting to and from your accommodation, and cancellation terms.

How much will the accommodation cost?

We book accommodation with third-party providers on your behalf and each property sets their own rates. Rates vary considerably depending on the accommodation standard, facilities, location, and local demand. We therefore can’t tell you exactly how much your accommodation will cost until your request has been allocated to a specific property.

As a guide, you can expect to pay the following prices, per person per night:

 

Approximate prices, per person per night

Overnight Location

 

Sole Occupancy

Multiple Occupancy

 

(1 person per room)

(2+ people per room)

B&B Standard

£80 - £120

£60 - £80

UK & Northern Ireland

€80 - €120

€60 - €80

Ireland

B&B En-suite

£100 - £145

£55 - £95

UK & Northern Ireland

€100 - €145

€55 - €100

Ireland

Hotel

£110 - £190

£75 - £150

UK & Northern Ireland

€130 - €235

€75 - €150

Ireland

NOTE: Prices quoted are for guidance only and may be higher on some occasions, especially for last-minute bookings and when demand is high (E.g. peak season, weekends, holidays, special events etc)

Breakfast will be included unless otherwise noted. The type of breakfast provided will vary from place to place so you may receive either a full cooked breakfast, a continental style breakfast (E.g., toast, fruit, cereal), or a packed breakfast bag or tray (E.g., porridge pot, fruit, granola bar).

FAQs

Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

The UK and Ireland's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure, we only pick up from our central meeting points. What's more is leaving the city using the most direct route also reduces the carbon footprint of our tours.

Is there parking close to the departure point?

We don't recommend bringing your car into the centre of our departure cities. It can be hard to find parking, and there are excellent public transportation services.

When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.

What happens if I'm late or miss the tour?

If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies. 100% charges are applicable, and you will not be entitled to a refund or alternative.

What are your cancellation policies?

Your cancellation terms depend on which tour you've booked.

For one-day tours: You'll receive a full refund if you cancel 24 hours or more before the tour departure

For tours of between two and nine days: You'll receive a 90% refund if you cancel 15 or more days before the tour departure

For tours of 10 or more days: You'll receive a 90% refund if you cancel 21 or more days before the tour departure

For all European packaged tours: You'll receive a 90% refund if you cancel 42 days before the tour departure.

If you cancel inside these notice periods, full charges will apply and no refunds will be issued.

To cancel your booking, email tours@rabbies.com as soon as possible. The effective date of cancellation will be the date we receive written confirmation from you.

Click here to view terms and conditions

Can Itineraries change?

Your tour will always follow the itinerary as closely as possible. Your driver-guide will keep you up to date on the road, and we'll try to get in touch about any large changes prior to your departure.

Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable 16-seat mini-coaches have huge windows. So, you'll always get a good view.

Are there toilets on the bus?

Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.

How do you cater for people with accessibility needs?

We aim to accommodate everyone. To read more information on how we do this, click here to go to our accessibility guide.

Do you take children on your tours?

We regret we don't carry children under the age of five on our scheduled tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.

How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy Britain and Ireland. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of time to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.

Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.

Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to. We stop in small towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.

Should I tip the driver-guide?

Let's be honest, our driver-guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.

What about travel insurance?

We advise you take out travel insurance.

What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you chose to let us reserve your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we become bankrupt. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com , or check out our full FAQs .


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