In addition to our private driver-guided tours, for the 2015 Kirkwall port calls of the Royal Princess, Orkney Aspects has collaborated with colleagues to offer an additional small group tour.
For the 2015 calls of the Royal Princess into Kirkwall, the ship’s own shore excursions are only 2½ – 3½ hours each in order to fit extra tours into the port call. You would need to purchase two separate ship’s shore excursions – both ‘KOI-200 Skara Brae & Skaill’ and ‘KOI-215 Ring of Brodgar & Maeshowe’ – in order to see all the sites that our tour encompasses. Our tour also includes an actual visit to the Stones of Stenness, rather than simply a photostop.
On this tour you will be travelling with a small group of like minded passengers aboard a luxury air conditioned mini coach - the finest in Orkney - with an on board microphone/PA system. This tour is limited to a maximum of just 15 guests so please contact us as soon as possible to reserve your place.
Included in the tour
All entry fees, lunch, transport and guiding services are included in the price of your tour. Your accredited and fully insured Orkney Tourist Guide will provide onboard commentary and guided tours of the sites, whilst your comfort and safety en route is ensured by your professional licensed coach driver.
This tour includes visits to all of the World Heritage Sites comprising the Heart of Neolithic Orkney: the 5000-year-old village of Skara Brae, the mystical stone circles of the Ring of Brodgar and Stones of Stenness, and Maeshowe chambered tomb. You will also visit the Skaill house, ancestral home of the Laird who discovered Skara Brae.
The tour will enable you to view the great natural harbour of Scapa Flow and hear about Orkney’s Naval past, including the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet and the tragic loss of life during the sinking of HMS Royal Oak.
At lunchtime you can enjoy a relaxed Taste of Orkney light lunch at a charming loch side inn, with spectacular views over the Harray Loch.
''As cruise ship passengers we only had one day in the Orkney Islands and we wanted to make the most of it. We initially tried to book one of Orkney Aspects' small bus tours but those were all full. Pat Stone offered us a private tour for our family of four. We jumped at the chance and we are so happy we did.
Pat met us at the dock much earlier than expected. We piled into her clean, comfortable and modern mini-van and we were on our way. Pat started telling us about the area and we immediately knew we were in for a fantastic day. Pat took us to the Skara Brae and guided us through this fascinating ancient village. Pat's knowledge of the area and archeology in general was astounding. She brought this 5000 year old area to life and pointed out facts and shared some of the current thinking in the field. This helped us understand that the people who built this village were very knowledgeable and advanced. She made us view them as real people with real day to day concerns and needs. Pat is engaging and fun and we felt like we were just on a day out with a friend in no time at all (a very knowledgeable friend!).
She showed us the major sites in the area to include the Ring of Brodgar where she shared theories on why it was there and the relationships with the other major sites from the era. This really helped pull together a picture of this civilization from so long ago.
We were also able to stop into the Ness of Brodgar and witness an ongoing archeological dig. Neil Oliver of the BBC and his crew were there filming an upcoming documentary on the site while we were there. One of the archeologists, recognizing Pat, came over and showed us a fairly large stone with some type of drawing/carving that she had just finished preparing for transportation to the preservation hut. Because Pat knows everyone (or at least it appeared that way) we were able to be one of the first non-archeologists to lay eyes on this drawing in probably 5000 years.
Pat gave us insight into what was happening at each site and brought the day to life.
We had lunch at the Merkister Hotel which is in a beautiful fresh water bay side location (known for exceptional fishing of I believe Brown Trout). We enjoyed a "Taste of Orkney" light lunch consisting of highland lentil soup accompanied by sandwiches of crab, salmon and egg salad, oat cakes with local cheese and and chocolate dipped shortbread for dessert. Pat had arranged it all in advance so it was a quick, lovely stop.
After lunch we drove a short distance to Maeshowe, which is a neolithic cairn. Entrance to the tomb is by reservation only and the number permitted inside each day is limited. Pat had arranged for us to join one of her (Orkney Aspects) smaller group tours. While our group stood inside this incredible structure, our guide Jerry gave a fascinating talk on its history and the theories regarding its importance for the ancient people.
After the tombs we stopped in (at our request) at Gerry's Ice Cream shop - a local hidden gem. It was delicious (I highly recommend toffee and Orkney fudge) and maybe the best ice cream I've ever tasted. What was nice was that Pat was more than happy to be spontaneous and accommodate our ice cream whim.
Pat drove us through some of the most beautiful scenery we saw on our entire cruise. We had stunning views of Skapa Flow (120 square mile bay) and we learned more about the history of these fascinating islands. The weather was beautiful and Pat drove us to areas where we were able to see the other islands and other fantastic views.
Throughout the day Pat was engaging, entertaining, knowledgeable and accommodating. We learned much more about Kirkwall and the Orkneys in just a few hours with Pat than we could have learned touring on our own in several days. Pat was simply one of the best guides we have ever had the pleasure to spend a day with. I highly highly recommend you book time with Pat if you are heading to this stunning area of the world. You won't regret it.
Thank you Pat for one of the top highlights of our entire vacation. We loved our day with you''.
Last few places available on the 1st September tour - book now!
28th May tour: sorry - fully booked