Orkney Guided Island Hopping Holiday

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Duration: 7 nights
Type: Island Hopping
Walking Grade: 2
from £1,499pp without flights FLIGHTS AVAILABLE

Wide open spaces and lungfulls of fresh air guaranteed, along with stunning scenery, history, heritage and a wealth of wildlife as we explore the islands of Orkney. These islands are the inspiration for many crafts folk and artists, and it’s not difficult to see why. Join us and discover the islands of Mainland, Hoy, South Ronaldsay, Birsay, and Rousay. Enjoy being guided on the best walks the islands have to offer, and relax knowing all your accommodation, transport and meals are taken care of; you just need to put on your boots and enjoy the journey.

Holiday Highlights

  • Wild and beautiful walks as we island hop around the Orcadian archaepelago
  • Discover the best prehistoric archaeological sites in Europe – Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae, and more
  • Stunning scenery of sea cliffs, seals, seabirds, sandy shores and wealth of stories to welcome you
  • All meals included. Comfortable ensuite accommodation at our hotel on the shores of Loch Harray

What’s included

  • Full Board en-suite accommodation
  • Experienced HF Holidays Walking Leader
  • All transport to and from the walks
  • “With flight” holidays include return group flight from London to Kirkwall, plus group hotel transfers
  • Regional flights available from Manchester/Southampton/Exeter/Newquay/Isle of Man on request 

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

Our transfer meets the group flight and takes us to our accommodation at the Merkister Hotel. Meet at reception 18:30 for a quick introduction to the holiday before dinner. If you’re travelling to the islands independently, you're welcome to join the group transfer from the airport, or make your own way to the hotel. 

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Our first walk on the island of Orkney follows a cracking cliff-top path from Marwick Bay to the Brough of Birsay, passing the Kitchener memorial overlooking RSPB Marwick Head reserve. If tide times allow, we'll head over to explore the tidal island, Brough of Birsay, and its remains of Pitish & Norse settlements. If the causeway is covered, we're not short of options! Wildlife watching on this coastline is superb and there's plenty to discover about the history of the islands fishing and whaling industries too. This afternoon we have time to visit one of the highlights of the islands - Maes Howe chambered cairn (entrance fee not included as Scottish/Welsh/English National Heritage members free. Maes Howe is currently closed due to COVID restrictions). Take a peek at some of the images online, but be prepared that they are nothing compared to the experience itself - it is an absolute masterpiece.

 4 miles (7km) with 510ft (160m) of ascent

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One of the most beautiful and certainly the most rugged of the islands, Hoy is much more “Highland” or wildland, than the rolling countryside and crofts of the other islands. An absolute classic of a walk today, to the famous sea stack, the “Old Man of Hoy”, returning to the idyllic setting of Rackwick Bay. 

6 miles (9.5km) with 700ft (210m) of ascent

The Old Man of Hoy, rising 137 metres from the waters off Hoy, Orkney

A superb coastal trail along the spectacular sea cliffs from Yesnaby to the impressive ancient settlement of Skara Brae, now a UNESCO site of special heritage (entrance fee not included. Scottish/Welsh/English National Heritage members free). Once we've finished exploring we set off to discover another historical gem -  the mystical Ring of Brodgar and the standing stones of Stenness. Make sure you’ve plenty charge on your phone/camera – you’ll not be short of spectacular shots today (or any day)!

Total for the two walks: 6 miles (10km) with 500ft (150m) of ascent

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Plenty of options today. We head to the Orcadian capital – Kirkwall. Join the group for a guided walk of the town, discovering the stories and histories of the island, or explore independently – maybe hop on a ferry over to Shapinsay, visit the Kirkwall museum and St Magnus cathedral, visit a whisky distillery or take time out and explore the craft and coffee shops of the town. 

A historical town trail and a coastal walk are on offer today, both together totalling 6 miles (9.5km) with little ascent

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland.

Discover the iconic Italian Chapel and the inspiration behind it before a short coastal walk to blow the cowbeds away, looking out over Scapa Flow and the islands of Flotta and Hoy. The walk visits the World War II batteries at Hoxa Head, and the scenic Sands of Wright beach (look out for the wildflowers, dolphins and whales). If the Tapestry Gallery is open, there’s time to take a look inside and be amazed by the handwoven creations on display. We'll make a visit to the Fossil & Heritage centre too on our way home.

4.5 miles (7km) with 310ft (90m) of ascent


Look out for red throated divers, guillemots and more on the boat journey across to the isle of Rousay. Nick-named the Egypt of the North, Rousay offers us a treasure trove of ancient archaeological sites to explore.

We first visit Taversoe Tuick chambered cairn then there is the option of a self guided visit to two other cairns on the southern flanks of the island.

5 miles (8km) with 510ft (160m) of ascent or a guided walk to the highest point of the island Bllotchnie Fiold. 4.75 miles (7.5km) with 880ft (270m) ascent

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A group transfer takes us back to Kirkwall for the flight back to the mainland.

Orkney Island Hopping Map

The Merkister Hotel, Orkney - Orkney

Situated on the shores of Harray Loch, The Merkister Hotel stands in its own grounds in the most wonderful location, commanding impressive views of this famous loch and its surroundings. All rooms have TV, direct-dial telephone, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities. Drying and laundry facilities are available and there is WiFi.

Getting to The Merkister Hotel, Orkney - Orkney

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety and comfort are our priorities, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents
  • Waterproof walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares)
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers
  • Warm hat and gloves. Gaiters are an optional but useful extra
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner
  • Thermos flask for hot drink
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed)

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Camera

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

For 2022 departures, please note we are in the process of integrating a new booking system and you may notice some unusual pricing information displayed for a short while as we complete the work. Your patience is appreciated.

These departure dates can be booked with flights or as land only holiday options. All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised flight prices are based on UK flights departing from London. Regional departures and/or connections to London, if available, can be requested. Cabin upgrades may also be available on request.

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
15 May - 22 May 2022
7 Island Hopping £1,849 Trip Notes Book Now
26 Jun - 03 Jul 2022
7 Island Hopping £1,849 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
24 Jul - 31 Jul 2022
7 Island Hopping £1,849 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
18 Sep - 25 Sep 2022
7 Island Hopping £1,849 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
15 May - 22 May 2022
7 Island Hopping £1,499 Trip Notes Book Now
26 Jun - 03 Jul 2022
7 Island Hopping £1,499 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
24 Jul - 31 Jul 2022
7 Island Hopping £1,499 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
18 Sep - 25 Sep 2022
7 Island Hopping £1,499 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes

Important Information

Single room: From £220 (complete holiday)

7 nights
Island Hopping
Walking Grade:

7 nights from £1,499pp
without flights

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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