Pentland Ferries
Pentland Ferries
4.5
About
Pentland Ferries is a family run business which operates a ferry crossing across the Pentland Firth. The purpose-built catamaran, MV Alfred, sails from St Margaret's Hope in Orkney to Gills Bay in Caithness running three return crossings per day in each direction. The journey takes just one hour making it the shortest sailing to or from Orkney with your car. Accommodation onboard includes spacious seating areas, a cafe, outdoor seating, and an indoor dog-friendly sundeck lounge. There is lift access from the car deck to the lounges. The ship carries 98 cars, or 54 cars with 12 articulated vehicles/coaches and 430 passengers. The only ferry operator to hold a Green Tourism Award, the ship is more than 60 per cent more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and emission levels than other comparable ferries operating in Scotland.
Duration: < 1 hour
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  • Stan
    Inverurie, United Kingdom124 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    There is no better way.
    I have said this before. This is THE way to travel to Orkney. As usual we booked over the phone. They now take payment in advance, which is understandable. We arrived at Gills Bay bang on 12 for 12.30. An efficient friendly lady signed us in. The Pentalina was late from Orkney. She reloaded quickly to full capacity. I noticed a crew member checking vehicles had brakes on and were secure. Someone who arrived unbooked was politely apologised to but turned away. It was flat calm and sunny. A beautiful trip. The boat looks clean and well maintained to my untrained eye. We were quickly disembarked at St Margaret's Hope. Brilliant. Well done the Banks family for creating this efficient self funding service. Some other Scottish shipping companies have a thing or two to learn.......maybe they will as they borrow MV Alfred owned by PF!!!
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 September 2023
  • epemberton
    North Yorkshire, United Kingdom386 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very efficient service
    Sailed from Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope (return) at the start of September. Boarding and disembarking were quick and efficient both ways and the sailing was smooth. Took both dogs onto the ferry with us and they were welcome to sit in the outside seating area with us. We were the only ones with dogs on the way out but on the way back there were quite a few, so worth bearing in mind if your dog is anxious around other dogs.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 16 September 2023
  • 287Loges
    Sydney, Australia568 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good value
    Took the car to Orkney on the ferry as John O Groats ferries had ceased operating. Cost for 2 adults and car was the same as a day tour would have been with JOG if they had still been operating. Plus was we had car and managed to see a lot more attractions. Loading and unloading was quick and well managed. Ferry was smooth sailing and plenty of seats inside and out. Highly recommended.
    Visited June 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 12 June 2024
  • Paul B
    Chirnside Park, Australia1,050 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Book in advance - fast service
    A great Ferry service for getting to The Orkney Islands. Well organised in loading and unloading the vehicles. Great views as you leave Scotland (mainland) and head to the islands. The port of St Margarets Hope is great as you can see the southern most area and also cross the barriers put in by Churchil to stop enemy boats traversing through the islands. Although the Ferryvarrived in Gills Bay late they made up time and we were not too late into Orkney. Highly recommend as they are cheaper for vehicles!
    Visited June 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 16 June 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles229 reviews
Excellent
135
Very good
56
Average
19
Poor
3
Terrible
16

Paul B
Chirnside Park, Australia1,050 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
A great Ferry service for getting to The Orkney Islands. Well organised in loading and unloading the vehicles.
Great views as you leave Scotland (mainland) and head to the islands.
The port of St Margarets Hope is great as you can see the southern most area and also cross the barriers put in by Churchil to stop enemy boats traversing through the islands.
Although the Ferryvarrived in Gills Bay late they made up time and we were not too late into Orkney.
Highly recommend as they are cheaper for vehicles!
Written 16 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

287Loges
Sydney, Australia568 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
Took the car to Orkney on the ferry as John O Groats ferries had ceased operating. Cost for 2 adults and car was the same as a day tour would have been with JOG if they had still been operating. Plus was we had car and managed to see a lot more attractions. Loading and unloading was quick and well managed. Ferry was smooth sailing and plenty of seats inside and out. Highly recommended.
Written 12 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EzzyP
Dorset, UK104 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
First trip over ran to time but we were boarding with a long caravan that we had to reverse on not a problem as my husband is a farmer but where it rises on the tailgate there is a risk of grounding no one helped us in this regard instead I had to get out to check this surely not advised for safety? Surely not my job! Then when I said to hubby to stop as there was a risk of a lorry door hitting the side of the van if he went further back( we were the last boarding so no space issues) the member of staff challenged me and then thought belittling me was the way to go forwards. I may not load vehicles all day long but I know how to speak to people! Our return journey was a nightmare after mechanical issues two morning sailings didn't happen by the time we were due to board it was backlogged why weren't we informed before arriving to sit around for 4 hours??!! Poor planning could have been so better managed. All for the princely sum of £400!! Would I recommend probably not definitely don't prebook take your chances so you have other options when it goes pear shaped as it does! Other companies sail to the islands.
Written 6 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

epemberton
North Yorkshire, UK386 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
Sailed from Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope (return) at the start of September. Boarding and disembarking were quick and efficient both ways and the sailing was smooth. Took both dogs onto the ferry with us and they were welcome to sit in the outside seating area with us. We were the only ones with dogs on the way out but on the way back there were quite a few, so worth bearing in mind if your dog is anxious around other dogs.
Written 16 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stan
Inverurie, UK124 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
I have said this before. This is THE way to travel to Orkney. As usual we booked over the phone. They now take payment in advance, which is understandable. We arrived at Gills Bay bang on 12 for 12.30. An efficient friendly lady signed us in. The Pentalina was late from Orkney. She reloaded quickly to full capacity. I noticed a crew member checking vehicles had brakes on and were secure. Someone who arrived unbooked was politely apologised to but turned away. It was flat calm and sunny. A beautiful trip. The boat looks clean and well maintained to my untrained eye. We were quickly disembarked at St Margaret's Hope. Brilliant. Well done the Banks family for creating this efficient self funding service. Some other Scottish shipping companies have a thing or two to learn.......maybe they will as they borrow MV Alfred owned by PF!!!
Written 2 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

magnus muir
Turriff, UK27 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
Pre booked in March to go across from Gils Bay to st Margaret’s hope 16th July on 21:30 sailing. It was suggested that I pay the full amount to guarantee my space. So I paid both trips, car, 2 adults and 2 kids return = £210. Whilst 3 hours into my drive to the ferry I received a call to say the crossing would be cancelled due to a “technical fault” did I want to book on the next afternoon crossing? No mention of accommodation options or guarantee of sailing. So I said to cancel my booking and I would find alternative options. She did and said I would be refunded for both trips what I had paid. I then travelled home and went back to work and took the more expensive Northlink boat from Aberdeen. The gills bay crossing didn’t happen again for another 2 days, so thankfully I didn’t wait.

I received a refund for 1 leg of the journey, £105 3 days after cancellation. I have yet to receive the second part of the refund, 4 weeks later. Emailing daily with assurances that it will be processed but nothing. Avoid paying in full before sailing.
Written 9 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Duncan M
1 contribution
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Family
The ferry had ran aground two weeks before our booked sail but for some reason they did not email us with this information. Local people probably were well aware as the news carried the story but we were on vacation from Canada and were not looking at the local news. We couldn’t get to Orkney in time to cancel our B & B so forfeited the cost. After complaining to Pentland they were amazing in there response and gave us a generous refund. Fantastic customer service.
Written 13 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ray K
Congleton, UK4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Family
No ferry since 29 April 2023. Very poor communication from Pentland Ferries, in fact no communication from them. As of today 8 June the ferry is still in Birkenhead being repaired. I have just cancelled our booking for next Friday. Staff I spoke to were unhelpful.
Written 8 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tandydog
Stromness, UK12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
Whenever we travel to and from the mainland, Pentland Ferries are always our first choice, Great quick journey with views of islands, puffins flying about, in the right season. Maybe if you are lucky, spot a dolphin or an orca. The ferry staff, onland and on the ferry are always very helpful. The cafe onboard make a great bacon roll too!!
Written 28 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

scotty17
middle england39 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023
No customer service. Our sailing was cancelled due to problems with one of their ferries. There was no back-up boat available and no help about transferring the booking to the other company which sails from Orkney. Just told 'Your money will be refunded'. Immediately went online to book with the other company. Sailings full. Oh dear......
Written 23 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Pentland Ferries - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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