Tour Guiding for Cruise in Orkney

What is special about this course?

Orkney is the number one destination port in the UK for cruise ships, with 205 ships in 2023 and more expected in 2024.  There is a constant and ongoing demand for suitably trained and experienced tour guides to showcase Orkney's treasures to cruise passengers.


The content covers:

•             All practical sessions with professional and experienced guides on site and in a bus.

•             Mentoring time to support you during the course.

•             Access to online course materials via the virtual learning environment.

•             This course will only run if a minimum number is reached.

The course will be run by the Institute for Northern Studies, UHI Orkney, meaning students will have full access to the university's information and student resources, and they will be given as much help and assistance as they require in order to fulfil their best potential. You will have access to a large amount of online materials which you can download or print as you wish. The online resources will be supplemented by a number of Wednesday night evening classes.

Self-reflective tasks and activities

Students are expected to undertake a number of self-directed tasks covering the practical skills involved in tour guiding. These are accessed via the online resources, and will be discussed as a class on a weekly basis.


Reflective Journal

This is a thinking exercise, asking students to use a trained eye to mitigate issues when visiting a site with a group of guests. The needs of an individual visiting a site are very different to those of a tour leader, they must be aware of the many elements which make the site a suitable place to visit. The most important is health and safety, but things such as parking facilities, toilets, and access to refreshments are of paramount importance.


The Book

Students will create their own ‘book’, researching and sourcing the contents themselves. They will be given a basic skeleton and layout, and access to all the information from previous iterations of the handout. It will be fully customised and customisable and – importantly – it will be easily updated when things change. There is currently no formal requirement within Orkney’s guiding community to undertake continuous professional development (CPD). This book will rectify that, as there will be an expectation that students will keep their knowledge and skills up to date by updating their book as new statistics are published, etc.

How will I study my course?

  • Flexible
  • Online

Mix of classroom, online, face to face, and on sites on a moving vehicle

How long will my course last?

16 Weeks

Where can I study my course?

    • UHI Orkney, Kirkwall

Start date

22nd November 2023


Full time

If you are studying a full time Further Education course (NCs, NQs etc.) the College claims your fees from the Scottish Funding Council for students who are under 18 on the first day of the course. Students over the age of 18 on the first day of the course have to apply to Orkney Islands Council (OIC) for a tuition fees bursary.

Information on the tuition fees bursary is available on the OIC website.

Part time

Normally you are responsible for your course fees but if you are in receipt of certain benefits you may be eligible for a Part Time Course Fee Waiver. Not all part-time courses at Orkney College UHI are covered by the Fee Waiver Scheme and only certain benefits are acceptable as a basis for a Fee Waiver. Please contact the college to enquire.

If you are eligible, you may be entitled to an ILA of up to £200 a year towards a course.

Additional costs

No additional costs.

Course is subject to minimum numbers.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Graduates will work with the vibrant and busy cruise ship industry within Orkney.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Tour Guiding for Cruise in Orkney

I want to start in 2024/25

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at Orkney College UHI. Orkney College UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.