Orkney & Shetland

Standing Stones of Stenness
Standing Stones of Stenness
Jarsholf
Jarsholf
Scalloway
Scalloway
Sumburgh Head
Sumburgh Head
Italian Chapel
Italian Chapel
Kirkwall Harbour
Kirkwall Harbour
St Magnus Cathedral
St Magnus Cathedral
Earls Palace, Kirkwall
Earls Palace, Kirkwall
Skara Brae
Skara Brae
Ring of Brodgar
Ring of Brodgar
Ring of Brodgar
Ring of Brodgar
Gurness Broch
Gurness Broch
Broch of Mousa
Broch of Mousa
Shetland ponies
Shetland ponies

The islands beyond the northernmost tip of Scotland glory in some of the most beautiful and rugged landscapes in the world. For more than five thousand years they have been home to farmers and fishermen, who left monuments so impressive that this has been called an archaeologists’ paradise. During the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, the people of Orkney and Shetland were among the first in Britain to begin building Megalithic chamber tombs and later henge monuments. The islands are also blessed with an extraordinary natural beauty. Wildflowers bloom throughout the summer, covering the green cliffs with colour and the exquisite scent of heather.

  • Tour the UNESCO Sites of Skara Brae & Maes Howe
  • Wander Orkney’s vibrant capital, Kirkwall
  • Admire the Stones of Stenness & the Ring of Brodgar
  • Visit the architecturally striking Italian Chapel
  • Lose yourself in the area’s rugged natural beauty

Themes

  • Vikings
  • Prehistory
  • Historic Churches
  • Cultural Excursion

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We meet in Kirkwall, Orkney.

Day 2

Today we explore Orkney’s capital, Kirkwall – the highlights include the Bishop’s Palace,  St Magnus Cathedral and Earl’s Palace, which provides a sobering reminder of Orkney's turbulent past. In the afternoon we visit Tankerness Museum.

Day 3

We drive to Maes Howe: a zenith in European prehistoric architecture, this chambered tomb has been a distinctive presence in the landscape for millennia. The rays of the midwinter sun shine down the passage to illuminate the central chamber. On to the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar.

We have special access to excavations at the Ness of Brodgar - where archaeologists are uncovering a Neolithic settlement in extraordinary detail.

Day 4

We travel to the Island of Rousay to explore Midhowe chambered tomb, sealed 4,500 years ago containing the remains of 25 people. On to the much later Iron Age defensive structure of Midhowe Broch which stands on the rocky foreshore of Rousay between two inlets and consists of a circular tower with a very thick exterior wall. End the day at the double chambered tomb of Taversoe Tuick.

Day 5

We begin the day at the Neolithic village of Skara Brae, amazingly well preserved beneath the sand, occupied for over 600 years. After lunch we visit Gurness Broch, an Iron Age drystone tower with an extensive surrounding settlement.

Day 6

We visit the Tomb of the Eagles at Isbister, a stalled cairn built before 3,000BC. Continue to the Burnt Mound at Liddle, a communal cooking place - a taste of domesticity in the Bronze Age! End the day on a very different note at the Italian Chapel, built by prisoners of war in the 1940’s. We board our ferry to Shetland this evening.

Day 7

We arrive in Lerwick this morning. Ferry ride to Mousa Broch, the tallest of this unique Iron Age tower structure surviving in Scotland. Continue to South Voe Croft Museum, an engaging evocation of rural life in Shetland. We then explore St Ninian’s Isle where we see the Church - a striking white shell sand spit links the islands. Excavation revealed a fabulous hoard of Pictish silver.

Day 8

We visit Stanydale Temple part of a surrounding prehistoric landscape and the Scord of Brouster with chambered cairn and houses. Continue to Shetland Museum and then we will see Clickhimin Broch.

Day 9

On to Scatness, an extensive settlement site and, if time, Sumburgh Head.

We spend some time at the amazing site of Jarlshof: originally constructed by Neolithic farmers around 2,400BC. We view the oval, almost cosy-looking, Bronze Age houses, Iron Age fortifications, Pictish symbols and the remains of a Viking long house. Continue to Scalloway Museum and then to Scalloway Castle.

Day 10

Our final full day, exploring Unst. We view Viking houses at Underhoull, and the replica Viking house and ship at Brookpoint. We spend the afternoon at Skaw, to take in the amazing panorama, and then visit the Castle at Muness.

Day 11

Time for further exploring before we end our tour in Lerwick.

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We meet in Kirkwall, Orkney.

Day 2

Today we explore Orkney’s capital, Kirkwall – the highlights include the Bishop’s Palace, St Magnus Cathedral and Earl’s Palace, which provides a sobering reminder of Orkney’s turbulent past. In the afternoon we visit Tankerness Museum.

Day 3

We drive to Maes Howe: a zenith in European prehistoric architecture, this chambered tomb has been a distinctive presence in the landscape for millennia. The rays of the midwinter sun shine down the passage to illuminate the central chamber. On to the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. We have special access to excavations at the Ness of Brodgar - where archaeologists are uncovering a Neolithic settlement in extraordinary detail.

Day 4

We travel to the Island of Rousay to explore Midhowe chambered tomb, sealed 4,500 years ago containing the remains of 25 people. On to the much later Iron Age defensive structure of Midhowe Broch which stands on the rocky foreshore of Rousay between two inlets and consists of a circular tower with a very thick exterior wall. We end our day at the double chambered tomb of Taversoe Tuick.

Day 5

We begin the day at the Neolithic village of Skara Brae, amazingly well preserved beneath the sand, occupied for over 600 years. Undercovered by a storm in 1850, this is the best-preserved prehistoric village in all Western Europe. We will also pay a visit to Skaill House, an impressive mansion from the 17th century.

Day 6

We visit the Tomb of the Eagles on South Ronaldsay, a stalled cairn built before 3,000BC. Continue to the Burnt Mound at Liddle, a communal cooking place - a taste of domesticity in the Bronze Age! End the day on a very different note at the Italian Chapel, built by prisoners of war in the 1940’s. We board our ferry to Shetland this evening.

Day 7

We arrive in Lerwick this morning and take a ferry ride to Mousa Broch, the tallest of this unique Iron Age tower structure surviving in Scotland. Continue to South Voe Croft Museum, an engaging evocation of rural life in Shetland. We then explore St Ninian’s Isle where we see the Church - a striking white shell sand spit links the islands. Excavation revealed a fabulous hoard of Pictish silver.

Day 8

This morning, we drive out to visit “Stanydale Temple”, a megalithic structure of uncertain purpose. Afterwards, we visit the Scord of Brouster with chambered cairn and houses. We head to Lerwick and visit the Shetland Museum after lunch. We end the day at the Broch of Clickhimin.

Day 9

On to Old Scatness, an Iron Age broch and extensive settlement site. Afterwards, we spend some time at the amazing site of Jarlshof: originally constructed by Neolithic farmers around 2,400BC. We view the oval, almost cosy-looking, Bronze Age houses, Iron Age fortifications, Pictish symbols and the remains of a Viking long house. The afternoon will be spent visiting Scalloway Museum and then to Castle.

Day 10

Our final full day, exploring Unst. We view Viking houses at Underhoull, and the replica Viking house and ship at Brookpoint. We spend the afternoon at Skaw, to take in the amazing panorama, and then visit the Castle at Muness.

Day 11

The tour ends in Lerwick, from here we make our way home.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels

Travel Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

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2019 Tour Details

Sat 15th June - Tue 25th June

Available

£2,795

without flights

sgl supp: £475

OAS19A

Led By: Dr Val Turner

Tue 25th June - Fri 5th July

Available

£2,795

without flights

sgl supp: £475

OAS19B

Led By: Peter Yeoman

Guide Lecturers

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