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Kirkwall Help Please


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So, I'm now looking at planning something for Kirkwall. I am thinking it might be nice to have a quiet day here, DH may need one at that point! Is there anything interesting near the pier, or can we walk into town? If we go to town and need transport, could we get a taxi at the pier ....is it worth going in to town at all?

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The ships dock quite a way out of town, so you should catch the shuttle bus into the centre. There are a number of places of interest in Kirkwall, such as St Magnus Cathedral, the Earl’s Palace and the Orkney Museum. I suggest you look at Tripadvisor to see details of the sights.

 

 

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From our ship, we tendered directly to the pier in the center of town. The town center is cute and is walkable. If you want to venture out, I suggest you make arrangements ahead of time. Every available vehicle and driver were deployed the day we were in port.

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I was also looking for a private tour in Kirkwall and became leery of difficult cancellation policies. I then found out that there is a double-deck, open-top Hop-on/Hop-off bus from Stagecoach that only costs £12 and you can pay onboard. Look at https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/north-scotland/discover-orkney#tab7. They also have multiple other routes that visit different parts of the island.

 

Gary

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We did the Kirkwall bus two years ago and it was one of the highlights of our British Isles cruise. It is not a Ho-ho in the traditional sense in that there is one bus with one schedule. It stops at various locations and you better make sure you get back on the bus to get to the next stop. The admission to Skara Brae was not included but we felt it was well worth it if you are at all into old rocks. There was also a stop at the Standing Stones of Steness. We saw a lot but it was also very relaxing to sit on the bus and watch the fields go by and we still had time to explore the village a bit.

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Wandering in central Kirkwall is lovely. There is a fantastic cathedral right in the centre which is free, and a small museum. Also some old ruins to pay to look round. Lovely shops and tea/coffee shops too.

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I received the following message from Orkney Tailor-Made Tours in response to my query about the possibility of a 12-person tour and questions of refund-ability:

---------------------------------------

Hello,Gary

 

Just managed to secure a minibus (can take up to 15 passengers + driver + guide).What follows answer your questions - satisfactorily, I hope.

 

My fee for the day with English guiding would be £700 including all guiding, coach hire and planning. The extras would be admissions and lunch etc.

 

I ask for a non-returnable deposit of £50 once you see the Tour Plan and the balance a month before your arrival. I attach my booking terms - the main point is a 25% refund in the last month eg in the unlikely event of the ship not docking.

 

I invoice either by conventional bank invoice and transfer or by PayPal. In the case of conventional bank transfers, I ask for all fees to be met by you. I won’t apply the PayPal surcharge mentioned in my terms.

 

I hope this is acceptable. Please let me know as soon as possible. On the itinerary, much will depend on how booked Skara Brae and the Italian Chapel are. I suggest admissions are added to the final invoice amount.

 

What is your preference on lunch - free time,included with/without access to local beers etc.

---------------------------------------

I'm thinking I will reply that the group is now planning to tour on our own using the Stagecoach Bus and we're no longer interested.

 

We did the Kirkwall bus two years ago and it was one of the highlights of our British Isles cruise. It is not a Ho-ho in the traditional sense in that there is one bus with one schedule. It stops at various locations and you better make sure you get back on the bus to get to the next stop. The admission to Skara Brae was not included but we felt it was well worth it if you are at all into old rocks. There was also a stop at the Standing Stones of Steness. We saw a lot but it was also very relaxing to sit on the bus and watch the fields go by and we still had time to explore the village a bit.

 

So, my bus schedule says the T11 runs from 10:00 to 1:35. Does it then repeat that route like every 4 hrs? I note they have 1.5 hrs at Skara Brae and 30 mins at Stenness (The Ring of Brodgar) but no time at Scapa or Stromness. If we want to do them, we need to do them on our own?

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Kirkwall is our favorite port -- ever. My husband and I arranged private transportation (car and boat) to the island of Hoy. We then hiked five miles to and from the Old Man of Hoy --a stunning sea stack off the tiny island's coast. We literally did not see any other humans for hours. One of our greatest adventures, and truly magical!

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  • 2 months later...

We were in Kirkwall last week. I *highly* recommend making plans before you get there because resources are limited. The lines for the T11 were horrible when we were there on the Royal Princess. We went to the two downtown taxi services and both of them told us all of their taxis were already booked. The only reason we got a taxi was dumb luck. Our wonderful driver and guide Mary had given her tour to her husband and then taken their son to school before heading into town. We were lucky to catch her as she was approaching town and she was free. It was 40 pounds an hour and our tour around Orkney took 5 hours but was amazingly interesting. It might have taken us more time than it would take you because we were trying to find puffins and visited two places without seeing them. (Puffins generally are out at sea during the day feeding when the ship is in port) We visited all of the major neolithic sites (very interesting) and some other places as well including the Highland Park Distillery.

 

After the taxi tour we went to a bar downtown and tried some of the local scotches and one gin. I generally don't like gin, but since it was a rhubarb flavored gin I thought it was worth a try. It was amazing. It was Rhubarb Old Tom from the Orkney Gin Company. It was more of a dessert drink and was very enjoyable. I highly recommend trying it and buying a bottle at the bottle shop in town if you do like it. We went other places in Scotland that had their other products and they said they can't get the Rhubarb Old Tom outside of Kirkwall.

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  • 2 months later...
We did the Kirkwall bus two years ago and it was one of the highlights of our British Isles cruise. It is not a Ho-ho in the traditional sense in that there is one bus with one schedule. It stops at various locations and you better make sure you get back on the bus to get to the next stop. The admission to Skara Brae was not included but we felt it was well worth it if you are at all into old rocks. There was also a stop at the Standing Stones of Steness. We saw a lot but it was also very relaxing to sit on the bus and watch the fields go by and we still had time to explore the village a bit.

Please explain exactly how this works. Do you have several minutes at each stop before the bus continues on it's route. Are there restroom facilities at the stops?

Thanks for your response.

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I believe the schedule was posted somewhere. For each stop, the driver made it clear when the bus would be heading out again. I don't recall exactly, but we had plenty of time to go look at the rocks and other items at the first stop so it was maybe an hour (?) and then time to walk to the standing stones and take some pictures.

 

I noticed someone mentioned the lines. We got an early tender and high tailed it to the bus station so we were maybe third or fourth in line, but the line got long quickly and I don't know if they add buses to serve everyone or if the later people were just out of luck.

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I believe the schedule was posted somewhere. For each stop, the driver made it clear when the bus would be heading out again. I don't recall exactly, but we had plenty of time to go look at the rocks and other items at the first stop so it was maybe an hour (?) and then time to walk to the standing stones and take some pictures.

 

I noticed someone mentioned the lines. We got an early tender and high tailed it to the bus station so we were maybe third or fourth in line, but the line got long quickly and I don't know if they add buses to serve everyone or if the later people were just out of luck.

How close to the pier is the bus station???? We are planning on getting the tickets ahead of time ...and then busting our butts to get there first now that I know that it can get busy lol ..Thanks !!!

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Help. Trying to book the T11 bus on line and it is asking for a "valid 2 digit postal code". I've tried everything from my entire zip code to the first 2 digits to the last 2 digits. Anyone know what this means and where to find the code for Virginia. Totally frustrated.:loudcry:

Thanks you

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Help. Trying to book the T11 bus on line and it is asking for a "valid 2 digit postal code". I've tried everything from my entire zip code to the first 2 digits to the last 2 digits. Anyone know what this means and where to find the code for Virginia. Totally frustrated.:loudcry:

Thanks you

 

I think the website is geared for UK travelers so try entering EH for Edinburgh or KW for Kirkwall. If it asks for an address, I would use the hotel that I’m staying at pre or post cruise and it’s postal area code.

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We’ve booked a noon tour at the highland distillery and plan to see the cathedral and palace on the walk back.

 

We want an easy afternoon as I’m planning to be up late the previous night in hopes of seeing the northern lights. I have my fingers crossed that it will be dark with clear skies. We will hopefully have 2 chances arriving and departing Kirkwall.

 

https://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk/shetland/

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We’ve booked a noon tour at the highland distillery and plan to see the cathedral and palace on the walk back.

 

We want an easy afternoon as I’m planning to be up late the previous night in hopes of seeing the northern lights. I have my fingers crossed that it will be dark with clear skies. We will hopefully have 2 chances arriving and departing Kirkwall.

 

https://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk/shetland/

Well between puffins and the Aurora these are two of the things I am most hoping to see ...

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  • 3 years later...
On 4/4/2018 at 11:41 AM, badtwin said:

We did the Kirkwall bus two years ago and it was one of the highlights of our British Isles cruise. It is not a Ho-ho in the traditional sense in that there is one bus with one schedule. It stops at various locations and you better make sure you get back on the bus to get to the next stop. The admission to Skara Brae was not included but we felt it was well worth it if you are at all into old rocks. There was also a stop at the Standing Stones of Steness. We saw a lot but it was also very relaxing to sit on the bus and watch the fields go by and we still had time to explore the village a bit.

Did you get the bus tickets ahead of time or while there? and where did you get them if there? thanks

 

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Wow. It has been a long time.  As I recall, they had horrible website at the time and we couldn't figure out a way to buy or reserve ahead of time.  So we got an early tender and walked up main street and bought at bus station.  I think we had a location for bus station from internet. We got there early (as we tend to do) and had no problem getting tickets. It was a bit of a scrum behind us and I don't know if everyone else got seats.  Still have fond recollections of this trip.

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23 hours ago, badtwin said:

Wow. It has been a long time.  As I recall, they had horrible website at the time and we couldn't figure out a way to buy or reserve ahead of time.  So we got an early tender and walked up main street and bought at bus station.  I think we had a location for bus station from internet. We got there early (as we tend to do) and had no problem getting tickets. It was a bit of a scrum behind us and I don't know if everyone else got seats.  Still have fond recollections of this trip.

thanks, was it called Stagecoach? ( bus )

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