John O'Groats Ferries: Top Tours in 2020

From Day Trips to Wildlife Cruises

John O’Groats isn’t only an area of outstanding natural beauty, but also a place with plenty to do and see. From miles upon miles of breath-taking coastal walks to distillery and historic castles tours, there is plenty to keep you busy.

But one of our favourite day trips involves taking one of the John O’Groats Ferries to the Orkney Islands and if you love being on the sea, there are plenty of other ferry tours you can take too.

john o groats accommodation

Top Ferry Tours in 2020

  1. Orkney Island Drop Off

If you’re simply wanting to get to the Orkney Islands and go off and explore on your own, ferries run daily from May – September. In May and September ferries leave John O’Groats at 08:45 and 16:30, and in June, July and August there is an extra ferry per day, leaving John O’Groats at 08:45, 10:30 and 18:00.

  1. Orkney Day Tour

things to see orkney islands

Spend the day exploring the Orkneys most impressive sites; including historical wonders and impressive structures. Some of our favourite spots include:

  • Skara Brae: uncovered by a storm in 1850, Skara Brae is a world heritage site with the best-preserved Neolithic settlement in Western Europe. Explore historic structures, including the original ‘fitted’ furniture made 5,000 years ago.
  • Churchill Barriers: crossing over the sea, the Churchill barrier is an impressive structure with a wealth of history behind it.
  • Standing Stones of Stenness: one of the most famous sites in Orkeny, the standing stones of stenness are positioned in a small circle, dating from the third millennium BC.

Between May and September ferries leave from John O’Groats every day at 8.45am.


  1. Wildlife Cruises

wildlife john o groats

The 90-minute wildlife tour is packed full of adventure and includes some incredible sights along the way. You’ll pass the Pentland Firth past Duncansby Head lighthouse, followed by the famous Stacks of Duncansby and then on to the uninhabited Island of Stroma.

You’ll also pass 200 ft cliffs filled with sea birds, such as puffins, egrets, fulmars and a variety of gulls. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of seals, dolphins and orcas! We’ve covered everything you need to know about Orca watching in John O’Groats here.

 From 20th June – 31st August, tours run every day from 2:30pm.

  1. Orkney Highlights Day Tour

Whilst this tour still lasts all day, it’s a more condensed version of the general Orkney Tour, just fitting in the most sought after spots in the Orkneys.

From 20th June – 31st August, tours run every day from 6pm.

For more information, including FAQs, you can view the official John O’Groats ferry timetable here.