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.
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< 1 hour
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  • Tandydog
    Stromness, United Kingdom12 contributions
    Pentland Ferries, the only way to travel, quick and gret scenery,
    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!!
    Visited July 2022
    Written May 28, 2023
  • Duncan M
    1 contribution
    Pentland ferries make up for failure to inform
    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.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 13, 2023
  • Stan
    Inverurie, United Kingdom104 contributions
    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
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 2, 2023
  • epemberton
    North Yorkshire, United Kingdom197 contributions
    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
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 16, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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RollsRoyceOxford
Oxford37 contributions
Aug 2020
Very good service, well organised and efficient with clear guidance over Covid. Needed to change my booking which was done very quickly and easily over the phone. Toilets clean. Lots of hand sanitiser around the boat. Only criticism is of the website. Although you must provide a password it doesn't allow you to change a booking online, and phones were understandably busy due to changing restrictions. Also took me a very long time to navigate around the frustratingly unlabelled pages. Really wanted to check what time I had to be there but kept finding pages on how the boat was built or the journey. Very interesting but not what I wanted in a hurry. However, a very smooth and efficient crossing and well worth it.
Written September 9, 2020
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.

Maria W
Forres, UK1,422 contributions
Feb 2020
Love going to Orkney by ferry, and the staff are always friendly. However, when it's a bit rough, the smell of greasy food from the on board cafe is a lot to contend with. Loos at St Margarets bay were flooded at the car park, bin was overflowing with paper and loo was covered in diarrhoea.

It's a lovely trip and apart from the state of the loos, can recommend it. The loos at the car park at Gills bay are always clean.
Written February 29, 2020
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.

Mike BR
Haddington, UK7,453 contributions
Jun 2021
Apart from being the shortest (1 hour) & cheapest ferry to Orkney it was incredibly well organised to get your car on & off. Public area's of the ship were spotless with comfortable seating both inside and outside , Toilets were spotless and there was a small play area for children. Good little cafe selling great hot & cold filled rolls and drinks. were able to watch dolphins chasing the ship and seals sunbathing on the beaches of the small islands we past.
Written July 19, 2021
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.

Capn Birdseye
Bolton, UK126 contributions
Jul 2020 • Couples
Pent land ferries is the only ferry to use to get to Orkney. The staff are friendly. And the check in is easy and quick. The indicator and loading of the ferry is rapidly done.
Also the ferry is the quickest to Orkney being only a hour only crossing. With a warm and comfortable cabin were you can view the journey as well as being up top.
There is hot Coffee and food available.
Apart from some people wearing muzzles due to the scamdemic. You would think we were in normal times.

Written July 30, 2020
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
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 June 13, 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.

Stephen C
Wollongong, Australia772 contributions
May 2022
Luckily for us this was another seamless ferry transfer to mainland from Orkney via Gills bay. Pentland use a different type of ferry to Northlinks that is a twin hull catamaran style, boarding also a little different but worked equally efficiently. I think the twin hull may be a Iittle better in rougher weather conditions but for us it wasn't tested as it was a glorious day with calm conditions.
On board had a few light snack/meal options and these were fine, staff friendly.
Enjoyed this shorter crossing a little more than scrabster to stromness and whilst happy to have done both would probably opt for the shorter route.
Great crossing and recommended.
Written May 19, 2022
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, UK77 contributions
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 October 6, 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.

dmhLondon
London, UK263 contributions
Sep 2021 • Couples
This is a great ferry. We know it is punctual as we’ve watched it from our holiday window for the past 4 days regular as clockwork. On the car ferry deck the cars have plenty of space so no need to worry if you need good door clearance for passengers. There’s a small Costa coffee bar dispensing drinks - but limited food. Ample indoor seating as well as well as pleasant sun decks. The crossing from St Margaret’s Hope to Gills Bay is about an hour. A good option for reaching Orkney.
Written September 21, 2021
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.

Paul Symonds
Haverhill, UK492 contributions
Sep 2020
Went for a trip on this large Twin hulled Boat to the Orkney Isles. Reasonably good crossing in fair weather. We boarded as foot passengers and were boarded before the vehicles which was a nice touch. We were also off the boat before the vehicles which allowed a little more time. The cost each way is £16 per person £32 return by foot.
Written September 27, 2020
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.

Rich_Opool
Hartlepool, UK63 contributions
Aug 2022 • Solo
Absolutely SHOCKING customer service.
They cancelled my booking 13hrs before sailing, saying that they couldn't fit me and my vehicle on the vessel. It was a MOTORBIKE!!
Which left left me scrambling around at 9pm trying to find another ferry onto Orkney.

They are overbooking customers and then telling people they can leave their cars on the mainland and travel as pedestrians.

Do yourself a favour and just book with Northlink from Scrabster. They are miles better.
Written August 12, 2022
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.
We would really appreciate if you would contact us at operations@pentlandferries.co.uk so that we can fully investigate why this happened.
Written August 22, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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