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Private Tour to Orkney and the Highlands
Tour Theme: Historic and Cultural Tours
This tour starts from: Edinburgh or Glasgow
Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights
This is a Private Tour
Enjoy a tailor-made private tour to the fascinating islands of Orkney. It is a rare opportunity to visit the rich prehistoric sights of the UNESCO Heart of Neolithic Orkney (Skara Brae, Maes Howe, Stones of Stenness, and more). With a chance to stay in the Highland Castle Hotel in Dornoch. We will also explore the highlands and visit such landscape beauties as Glencoe and Ranoch Moor. This tour can be customized to your request, below is a suggested 5 day Orkney tour...
Day 1 Not long after leaving the city limits of Edinburgh we stop for views of the Forth Rail Bridge which is considered an industrial wonder of the world. Soon we will be driving into the highlands and the mountainous Cairngorm National Park. We will stop for a scenic view at Ruthven Barracks. Originally a medieval castle and home to the Wolf of Badenock, in the 18th century it became an army barracks during the Jacobite Uprising.
After lunch we make our way further into the Highlands and visit Culloden Battlefield. This was the scene of the last pitch battle in Britain. On a short guided walking tour you will hear the gripping story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites who faced the Red Coat Government soldiers in 1746.
Tonight we stay overnight at the Dornoch Castle Hotel. Originally dating back to the 13th century, home to Earl of Seaforth in 18th century, became a 19th century town jail, then turned into a hotel in 1947, modernized in 2000.
Day 2 In the morning we head north to John O'Groats, often referred to as Lands End. Here was have sometime to admire views of Orkney and the Pentland Firth before catching the ferry. If we are lucky we may sport some sealife; dolphins, whales, seals and more.
On arrival to St Margaret's Hope we take a drive across the Churchill Barriers. Large blocks of concrete strategically placed on the straits between the islands during WW2 to block entry of U-Boats. We will then stop and visit the Italian Chapel. An amazing chapel built by Italian POWs in 1940s with instructions from the brilliant artist Domenico Chiocchetti.
For the next 2 days we will be staying overnight in Kirkwall, the Capital of Orkney.
Day 3 Today we will be go back in time to 3000-5000 years ago and explore the prehistoric wonders of Orkney. We begin with a guided tour inside Maes Howe Burial Chamber. Then visit the stone circles at Stenness and Brogdar. After we go to Skara Brae to visit it's prehistoric village which is older than the pyramids. They are the oldest most complete houses found in Northern Europe. You will also have the opportunity to visit Skaill House, the first manor house on Orkney.
In the afternoon we go to Stromness which played a big part in the Hudson Bay company. Take a walk through the streets of this unique 200 year old sailor's town.
After we then go to Scapa Flow which during World War 1 and 2 was the biggest Naval Base in Britain. It has one of the largest protected harbour's in the world. Here we will learn the tragic history of the events that happened, such as the torpedoed HMS Royal Oak, Kitchener and the scuttled German fleet.
To end the day you have the option to visit 1 of 2 of Orkney's Distilleries; Scapa or Highland Park.
Day 4 We will take a walk to see the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral which was original built by Norse Vikings in 1137. Then we cross the road to see the outsides of the medieval Bishop and Earls Palaces. After we then go to the ferry port.
On arrival to the mainland we make our way to Wick. Here we have the opportunity to have a photo infront of Mackays Hotel and Ebenezer Place. Measuring at 2.06m it is in the Guinness Book of Records as the shortest street in the World!
For the rest of the day we give you the opportunity to visit a stately home or instead a scenic highland drive. Dunrobin Castle is home to the Duke of Sutherland with a history of 7 centuries of development. Explore the Victorian Gardens also famous for Falconry. Or instead of the castle we can take a scenic highland tour via Bonar Bridge, the Kyle of Sutherland and the go to the ruins of the ancient Beauly Prior called so by Mary Queen of Scots.
Tonight we stay in Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands.
Day 5 This morning we will do some monster hunting at the famous Loch Ness. Here you have the option to take a boat ride OR visit Urquhart castle on the banks of the loch OR visit the Loch Ness Exhibition to learn the story of Nessie.
We can view the Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus. Then make our way down the Great Glen to the Commando Memorial. Here we have great views of Ben Nevis, sitting at 4413ft it is the tallest mountain in Britain. Options for lunch in the highland adventure town of Fort William.
Continuing the stunning landscape journey we make are way to Glencoe. It was the scene of a horrible massacre in 1692 between the Macdonalds and Goverment troops of the Campbells. Also very popular place for outdoor activities and filming. It has been featured in such movies as Highlander, Harry Potter and Skyfall James Bond. After we continue through Ranoch Moor and finally reaching our destination at Edinburgh.
Note there is also an option to start or end in Glasgow. Itinerary will be slightly altered. Enquire for details.
Private Tour to Neolithic Wonders of Orkney
Operated by: Go Scotland Tours Rank 7
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