“My home is my castle” had a much more literal meaning for ancient Scots than it does for the rest of us. Many of these imposing structures survive today, and sit among some of the most breathtaking natural surroundings in Scotland.
We meet in one of the most iconic and historically beautiful cities in the world, Edinburgh. We can pick you up from the airport or at a previously arranged location around mid-morning. Once the group is assembled, the tour will begin with us heading west, to one of Scotland’s oldest fortresses, Dumbarton Castle.
Overlooking the River Clyde, this stronghold is spectacularly sited on a volcanic rock and has many stories to tell: Dumbarton Castle has witnessed much of the country’s tumultuous past, including connections to William Wallace, more universally known by Mel Gibson’s depiction of him in ‘Braveheart’ and Mary, Queen of Scots.
By late afternoon it’ll be time for lunch and if you like oysters as much as we do, Loch Fyne and its popular seafood bars are the place to be! If you’re less inclined towards seafood, don’t worry! There’s plenty of other seasonal options for those looking for something a little less fishy.
We’ll spend the night together in Inveraray, a charming town on the shores of Loch Fyne. Relax and unwind as you gaze over the calming, still waters of Loch Fyne and prepare for the days to follow.
After a hearty breakfast, we will set out to discover Scotland’s prehistoric past. A local guide will accompany us for a walk through Kilmartin Glen, one of the country‘s most important concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains. If we feel super fit, we can also climb Fort Dunadd and crown ourselves amongst the ancients kings of Dál Riata. The view from the citadel is definitely worth the while!
For lunch we can either settle down in the cosy cafe of the Kilmartin Museum, or head to Oban, a quaint fishing village often called the “Gateway to the Western Isles”.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, the next stage of our tour should really peak your interest as we head to the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The viaduct is famously depicted in the Harry Potter films as the railway line that carries the Hogwarts Express from Kings Cross to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, you definitely don’t need to need to be JK Rowling’s biggest fan to enjoy the afternoon as Glenfinnan attracts thousands of visitors from all around the world due to its breathtaking surroundings and the iconic Jacobite steam train that runs from Glenfinnan to Fort William and Mallaig. We will also have a closer look at Bonnie Prince Charlie’s story and the Jacobite Risings of 1745 at the Glenfinnan Monument Visitors Center.
We will spend the night in the bustling port of Mallaig. Its remote location makes it the perfect place to relax as you enjoy wonderful views over the Mallaig harbour.
From Sea to Skye! Today we will be taking a ferry over to the truly magical Isle of Skye. Home to some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes, you won’t be disappointed as you take in the breathtaking mountainscapes and endless coastlines.
Make sure you’re wearing your sturdiest walking boots! After a scenic drive, we will explore the stunning Quiraing area by foot. A photographer’s paradise, the Quiraing was formed by a landslip which created high cliffs, hidden plateaus and pinnacles of rock. Next on our itinerary (time permitting) will be the Fairy Pools of Skye. Like something straight out of a fantasy novel, these aptly named natural rock pools are fed by a series of waterfalls. You won’t be able to resist the crystal clear aqua marine water, so bring your swimmers with you just incase!
In the afternoon, we will head further north to Gairloch. Of course, we will stop on the way for a photo opportunity at Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland‘s of the most iconic fortresses and, coincidentally, one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland!
After a day full of scenic highlights, we will spend the night in Gairloch, situated on the Northwest coast of Scotland. After a full day of thrilling natural beauty, you couldn’t imagine it gets much better until you are surrounded by the awe-inspiring scenery of Wester Ross. How could you not fall into the most peaceful of sleeps after a day like that?
After breakfast overlooking stunning coastal views, we will head to one of the most northerly botanical gardens in the world. Today is all about Northern Scotland’s stunning flora and fauna. At the Inverewe Gardens, we will take a stroll amongst exotic flowers while enjoying extensive views over Loch Ewe. The perfect place to take a break from everyday life.
We’ll make a stop at the Corrieshalloch Gorge, a plunging, historic canyon with a waterfall and a Victorian suspension bridge. A highlight for both nature and architecture lovers! We will then discover the country‘s fascinating geological past at Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve, a place where you can literally bridge 500 million years of history with your bare hands! (Curious? You’ll learn all about this geological phenomenon when you’re here!) … with the iconic peak of Stac Pollaidh towering in the distance!
We’ll head off for a well earned coffee break at the Falls of Shin Cafe, one of the best places to see Salmon jumping upstream.
We’ll end day 4 in the seaside resort of Dornoch, to the east coast of Sutherland. After a good night’s rest, we hope you’ll be geared up and excited for the rest to come!
If we are lucky, this will be the perfect day for seal spotting! But in any case, a magical fairytale castle awaits: Dunrobin Castle is owned by the Earl of Sutherland and boasts stunning gardens and a falconry show that is not to be missed!
Later on, it will be time for a well-deserved beer surrounded by the beautiful Scottish Highlands. And what better place for that than the Black Isle Brewery, one of Scotland’s first independent breweries dedicated to the sole use of organic products!
On our way to tonight’s accommodation we will pass Cawdor, a small hamlet steeped in history where time seems to stand still, before finally reaching Speyside, Scotland’s whisky paradise.
For all of you whisky lovers, today is going to be a real treat! Speyside is a whisky lover’s heaven, with the largest number of distilleries in the country. You’ll have the opportunity to take a private tour through Ballindalloch Distillery, where we will have the pleasure of sampling some of the glorious whiskies on offer.
From there, we will take some time to explore the beautiful Speyside region before heading on to the majestic Cairngorm mountains. Once in Ballater, we will meet with our guide, an expert on all things Cairngorms, Ian Murray. Ian is an expert on the nearly forgotten “folklore of the Cairngorms” and knows the area like the back of his hand. You won’t get a better guide as you explore this area of Scotland!
As we head back to our accommodation in Aberlour for the evening, we may even manage a quick glimpse of Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of the British Royal Family, purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852.
On the penultimate day of our tour, we will head through the majestic Glenshee, home of the largest ski and snowboard terrain in Scotland, before making our way back to Scotland’s capital.
We will stop in Dunkeld for lunch and pay a visit to the impressive Dunkeld Cathedral that dominates this quaint little village – whilst here you may notice a few charming, brightly coloured ‘little houses’, which are in the care of the National Trust.
There will be opportunities for some more great snapshots on our way to Edinburgh – we wouldn’t want you to miss out on the impressive Three Forth Bridges for example!
After checking into our accommodation, we will discover Edinburgh’s hidden corners and dark wynds during a gin tour, topped off by a traditional pub crawl with stories about the capital’s colourful past. What more could you ask for?
Our farewell dinner will be the perfect occasion to round off an exciting week exploring Scotland’s most beautiful corners. We don’t doubt that these memories will stay with you for a lifetime.
We hope that you have enjoyed exploring the most beautiful corners of Scotland, made some everlasting memories and uncovered new found friendships along the way. On departure day we can arrange transport to the airport or, if you’ve extended your visit we can arrange for you to be taken on to your next accommodation.
To all of you, we say “haste-ye-back” as we’ve only just scratched the surface of what Scotland has to offer! So for now we won’t say “good-bye”, we’ll say “see you back here soon”.
01.05. – 08.05.2019
02.06. – 09.06.2019
8 Days / 7 Nights
max. Participants: 6 pax
Price per Person: from £1.500,-
Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
Additional local guide for 1 day