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I would like to travel by car from London to the Orkney Islands. According to Google Maps, the drive would take 14+ hours. Is there a ferry (e.g. overnight) etc. that would make that journey more relaxing?

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    Unless you're engaged in some masochist endurance challenge just take a plane from London to Aberdeen. Mar 25 '14 at 17:48
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There is a ferry from Aberdeen to Kirkwall (Orkney) and Lerwick (Shetland), operated by Northlink Ferries. It calls at Kirkwall three or four nights a week.

Northbound, it is not really overnight - it departs Aberdeen at 1700, arriving at Kirkwall at 2300. The return is overnight, depart Kirkwall 2345, arrive Aberdeen at 0700. Note you will have to check in about 1 hour before the departure.

Driving, it is a shorter journey from London to Aberdeen, about 9 hours (according to Google Maps). Instead of about 11 or 12 hours from London to Scrabster or Gills Bay, to get one of the shorter ferry journeys.

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You can take the Caledonain Sleeper from London Euston to Fort William, get down at Inverness(nearer to Orkney) and then hire a car from there. And believe me the train journey is awesome in the morning. The Scottish highlands are a treat to watch in the morning sun.

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