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  • NorthLink Ferries in Stromness harbour, Orkney
  • Pentland Ferries arriving in Orkney

Getting Here

Orkney is closer than you think, with excellent transport links to the rest of the UK and beyond.

You can choose to travel to the islands by ferry or flight from a variety of destinations, with plenty of options available when you’re planning your visit.

If you’re heading to Orkney on business and time is tight, our air connections with major hubs in Scotland mean you can travel here quickly and in confidence.

Fly to Orkney

Flights to and from Orkney are operated by Loganair. The airline manages routes to Kirkwall from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. These airports all have excellent links to the rest of the country and the wider world. Take a look at our table below for more information on available airports and approximate flight times.

RouteJourney Time (approx)
London to Kirkwall (with connections)3-4 hours
Glasgow/Edinburgh to Kirkwall1 hour
Aberdeen to Kirkwall50 minutes
Inverness to Kirkwall45 minutes
Sumburgh (Shetland) to Kirkwall35 minutes

Drive and sail to Orkney

Bringing your car, motorbike or campervan to Orkney might take longer than hopping on a flight, but you get the added bonus of a road trip exploring other areas of Scotland on your way north.

Obviously, being an archipelago, you’ll have to take your vehicle onboard one of our ferries to complete your journey. There are three main ferry routes to and from Orkney. NorthLink Ferries sail between Aberdeen and Kirkwall, with an onward connection to Lerwick in Shetland too. The company also operates a shorter crossing between Scrabster and Stromness.

Pentland Ferries run sailings between Gills Bay and St Margaret’s Hope, with its purpose-built catamaran the most environmentally-friendly passenger ferry of its type in Scotland.

Both NorthLink Ferries and Pentland Ferries accept foot passengers and push bikes too. John O’Groats Ferries also operate a passenger-only service between John O’Groats and Burwick in Orkney during the summer months.

If you’re taking to the high seas with your own vessel, Orkney has three excellent marina facilities, in Kirkwall, Stromness and Westray, for you to find a safe berth at. Find out more on the Orkney Marinas website.

Our table below highlights the routes available and approximate crossing times.

RouteJourney Time (approx)Link
Scrabster (near Thurso) - Stromness90 minuteswww.northlinkferries.co.uk
Aberdeen - Kirkwall6 hourswww.northlinkferries.co.uk
Lerwick (Shetland) - Kirkwall6 hourswww.northlinkferries.co.uk
Gills Bay - St Margaret's Hope60 minuteswww.pentlandferries.co.uk
John O'Groats - Burwick (June- Sept, foot passengers only)40 minuteswww.jogferry.co.uk

Buses and trains to Orkney

Getting to Orkney via public transport is simple. Citylink buses run to Aberdeen, Gills Bay and Scrabster so you can catch your ferry to the islands. If you’re flying here, public bus services connect with all the main airports in Scotland too.

It’s a similar story by rail, with trains available to both Aberdeen and Thurso. More information on train timetables can be found on the ScotRail, National Rail and Trainline websites.

Take a look at our map below to see just how well-connected Orkney is to the rest of the country.

We look forward to seeing you!