Travel to Orkney

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. Orkney has air connections with major hubs in Scotland mean you can travel here quickly and in confidence.

Travelling by car/public transport and ferry are the most sustainable ways to Orkney. Below is a list of options for your journey:


Drive and Sail to Orkney

Drive and Sail to Orkney and Buses and Trains to Orkney should be before flying, 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 the 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. Both NorthLink Ferries and Pentland Ferries accept foot passengers and push bikes too.

The table below highlights the routes available, approximate crossing times and links to view further information.


Scrabster (near Thurso) – Stromness – 90 minutes –

Aberdeen – Kirkwall – 6 hours  –

Lerwick (Shetland)Kirkwall – 6 hours –

Gills Bay – St Margaret’s Hope – 70 minutes –



EMIR 2024 delegates can benefit from a 30% discount on standard passenger and vehicle rates with North Link Ferries, please see below for further details:

  • Orkney location must be selected at the time of booking.
  • Full payment is taken at time of booking.
  • Discount code applies to travel from 8th to 27th April 2024
  • Booking enquiries and cancellations must go directly through North Link Ferries

To book please phone 0800 111 4422 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) or +44 (0)1856 885500 (International) or email and quote discount code F24.VST.EIMR

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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. 

Until 28 June 2024, Scotrail are offering Off-Peak Single and Return tickets are valid for travel all day, any day. The time restrictions for Off-Peak tickets won’t apply during this time. To view more details please click here. For certain routes, advance tickets are available to purchase, please click here to view.

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

You can also use the new Go-Hi Travel App to plan, book and pay for your travel and accommodation across the Highlands & Islands.

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. A new route connecting Kirkwall, Dundee, and London Heathrow has now been introduced. Take a look at the table below for more information on available airports and approximate flight times.


Aberdeen to Kirkwall:  50 minutes

Dundee to Kirkwall:  50 minutes

Edinburgh/Glasgow to Kirkwall:  1 hour

Inverness to Kirkwall:  45 minutes

London to Kirkwall (with connections):  3-4 hours

Sumburgh (Shetland) to Kirkwall:  35 minutes

For more information on flight times, prices and how to book please visit Loganair website. 

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