Orkney's Mysteries Revealed
Add-on to the Highlands & Islands of Scotland Tour
The small northern Scottish isle of Orkney was a major cultural centre 5,000 years ago. A vibrant trade route existed between Northern Africa and Scandinavia; a route that brought a vibrant new culture to the British Islands before Stonehenge or Newgrange existed. Join us to explore this exciting new history and experience truly remarkable sacred sites in a natural setting with big open skies and the ocean never far away. All our previous tour guests have been blown away by what Orkney has to offer!
Orkney is a small island with a big history! Recent discoveries at the Ness of Brodgar have led to a total rethinking of the Neolithic history of Britain; ideas that we’ll share on this special adventure. Orkney, also known as the Orkney Isles, has some of the best examples of Neolithic structures in Britain. There are eight main historical and sacred sites on Orkney that are part of a World Heritage Site and we will visit them all! At each site you’ll hear about the theories and history, have opportunity to dowse for the energies present, be guided in a meditation and have time to explore the sites at your own pace.
The Ring of Brodgar and the Stenness Stones are two awe-inspiring large stone circles set within henges, in fact Stenness may be the oldest henge in Britain. Did they have an astronomical purpose?
Maeshowe is a Neolithic chambered cairn of superb construction that we will be able to explore with a local guide
Skara Brae is a remarkably well-preserved Neolithic settlement in a stunning and dramatic location by the sea. Nearby is Skaill House, a 400-year-old manor house still furnished as the Laird of Breckness left it.
We'll go down into the Rennibister Earth House that is remarkably well preserved; and who knows, we may even meet the cat who spends a lot of time in there!
We'll also make a visit to the Italian Chapel, a remarkable place of worship built by Italian prisoners of war during the second world war. Built with love and dedication it is a very moving testament to the power of love over war!
We'll also have time to visit the active Kirkwall Cathedral and the neighbouring ruins of the Bishop's and Earl's Palaces.
And for those who love to explore beautiful craft, jewellery and woollen shops, we’ll have time to explore the colourful towns of Kirkwall and Stromness, the two largest towns in the Orkney Isles. The shops that you’ll find in these historic harbour towns rival any fine shops in major cities but with an authentic local flair!
Being a small island, travel to all of the sites is easy and journeys are short. A flight from Glasgow is included in the tour price.
Return flight Glasgow - Kirkwall
4 nights hotel accommodation on Orkney
3 breakfasts & 2 evening meals
All land transportation
Admission to Rennibister Earth House, Maeshowe, the Ring of Brodgar, The Stones of Stenness, Skara Bray, Skaill House, Italian Chapel
Day 1 – Fri, May
The group flies to Kirkwall, Mainland Orkney from Glasgow International Airport (included). After arriving we will check into our hotel in Kirkwall and then make a late afternoon visit to the Italian Chapel, a remarkable testament to the power of love over war. This labour of love was designed and constructed by Italian prisoners of war during world war II and still has a powerfully emotional effect on visitors.
Dinner at the hotel
Day 2 – Sat, May
Today we continue our pilgrimage of this sacred landscape visiting the Stones of Stennes and the Ring of Brodgar, Neolithic temples whose location and orientation made them perfect astronomical observatories. On our previous visit we dowsed strong energy currents connecting all these sites within the landscape. In between them is the ongoing excavation at the Ness of Brodgar that may well rewrite the Neolithic history of Britain. All these sites and Maeshowe are intervisible one from the other.
After lunch at the Skara Brae Visitor Centre Cafe we visit the ancient Neolithic village of Skara Brae by the shore of the Bay of Skaill. This village is believed to have been inhabited for about 600 years sometime between 3200BC and 2200BC. We will explore the site and see how developed our ancestors were, with the architecture still preserved on site today.
Next to Skara Brae is the 400-year-old Skaill House, home to the Lairds of Breckness, that is today preserved as it was lived in with many historical treasures. We’ll have time to explore the house and its gift shop.
Free-choice dinner not included
Day 3 – Sun, May
This morning we explore the Rennibister Earth House, which is believed to be around 3000 years old, rediscovered in 1926 by a farmer in his farmyard. Was it a habitation, a storage place or an underground initiation chamber? You can decide for yourself.
Travelling down the road we will then have a guided tour of the impressive Maeshowe chambered cairn. The internal chamber is considered to be the best Neolithic tomb in all of Northwest Europe, over 5000 years old. The chamber is aligned with the midwinter solstice as the rising sun enters its passageway at this important time of year. Upon entering you’ll be in awe of the amazing stonework as well as the later twelfth century Viking graffiti!
The rest of the day is free for you to explore Kirkwall, including its fine museum, St Magnus Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace, the Earl's Palace; or you may prefer to shop in the unique local artisan stores or to discover the harbour area.
St Magnus Cathedral is a fine example of Romanesque architecture, started in the twelfth century and still an active place of worship today.
The neighbouring Bishop's Palace, constructed at the same time, is now an atmospheric ruin with a tower from which you can look down over the cathedral and the town.
The seventeenth century Earl's Palace, also now a ruin, is adjacent to both.
Farewell Dinner at the hotel
Day 4 – Mon, May
This morning we will catch a flight back to Glasgow International Airport for you to either catch a flight home, no earlier than 4:00 pm, or to stay on for personal post-tour time in Scotland.
May 30 - June 2, 2025
Single + £
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