Arrive Edinburgh (3 Nights)
Embrace the allure of Auld Reekie and explore its labyrinthine lanes, before joining your fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception to kick-start your turas through an unimaginably beautiful part of the world.
Edinburgh Sightseeing and Free Time
Let your 'Local Specialist' take you on an informative sightseeing tour of Edinburgh, stopping to view the regal Palace of Holyroodhouse. See the new Scottish Parliament Building and the Royal Mile, delving into the heart of the city, before visiting Edinburgh Castle, perched atop Castle Rock. Stroll through the grand New Town with its Gothic façades enjoying the rest of the day at leisure. Tickets to see the Edinburgh Tattoo are included on departures that coincide with performance dates.
Excursion to The Borders
A scenic day's excursion brings us to the ruins of the 12th-century Augustinian Jedburgh Abbey, which we will have an opportunity to view. Continue to nearby Melrose Abbey, said to be the final resting place of the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce. We take the scenic route back to Edinburgh this afternoon, following the lush green landscapes along the Tweed River.
Edinburgh – St. Andrews – Glamis Castle – Dundee
This morning, we cross the Firth of Forth to the celebrated home of golf - St. Andrews, to view its ancient university and famous golf course. Shakespeare's Macbeth takes centre stage as we visit Glamis Castle, once the home of the beloved Queen Mother and birthplace of Princess Margaret. Enjoy a guided tour of the castle and explore its beautiful gardens, before we travel to the waterfront city of Dundee, distinguished for its status as the first UNESCO City of Design, and the original home of marmalade.
Dundee – Pitlochry – Culloden – Scottish Highlands
'Dive Into Culture' and learn about the local whisky industry at a famous distillery, including a tasting of Scotland's much-loved golden nectar. Hearts and hands warmed, we wind our way to the tragic battlefield and Visitor Centre at Culloden, past rugged landscapes and the imposing Cairngorms Mountains. Visit the site where Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite army was defeated. Our final stop for the night is in the heart of the Scottish Highlands and gateway to Loch Ness.
Scottish Highlands – Loch Ness – Inverness – Thurso (2 Nights)
The mystical haunt of Nessie is our first stop today before passing through Inverness en route to Dunrobin Castle. This stately home and its magnificent gardens, inspired by the Palace of Versailles, comes straight from the pages of a fairy tale. Spend your afternoon exploring its château-like structure and surrounds, once home to the Clan Sutherland. Arriving in Thurso, our home for the next two nights, we enjoy dinner at our hotel.
Orkney Islands Excursion
We board a ferry to South Ronaldsay in the Orkney Islands, viewing the stretch of WWII causeways known as the Churchill Barriers. Visit the ornate Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war. Visit Skara Brae and see the prehistoric free-standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar before delving into the stories of the Neolithic village. We stop at beautiful Kirkwall Cathedral for a photo opportunity before returning to our hotel for dinner.
Thurso – Ullapool – Isle of Skye
Dramatic landscapes accompany our scenic drive along the rugged north-west coastline of the Scottish Highlands to remote Ullapool on the shores of Loch Broom. We journey to the 13th-century Eilean Donan Castle, perched on a tiny island where three sea lochs meet, then continue to the Isle of Skye where we'll stay overnight and enjoy a delicious dinner in our hotel.
Isle of Skye – Ballachulish (2 Nights)
We return to the mainland following a beautiful route that takes us past the Glenfinnan Viaduct, along which Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express once crossed to his beloved school of magic. We pass Fort William on the shores of Loch Linnhe, renowned as the gateway to Ben Nevis, before continuing to Ballachulish, our Highland home for the next two nights.
Mull and Iona Excursion
Set sail from Oban to the Isle of Mull, disembarking at Craignure. Cross the pretty island countryside to catch a ferry from Fionnphort to the island of Iona, which was once the home of a Gaelic monastic community in Iona Abbey. Before our journey back to Ballachulish, we'll have the chance to view Rèilig Odhrain, the final resting place of many Scottish kings.
Ballachulish – Glasgow (2 Nights)
A solemn reminder of the MacDonald clansmen, who were massacred at the 'Glen of Weeping', marks our morning journey south to Glasgow. We follow the banks of Loch Lomond, then enjoy an orientation tour that will see you view St. Mungo's Cathedral and George Square with its statues of Britain's famous sons and daughters.
Stirling Castle and Bannockburn Excursion
Mary, Queen of Scots and several Scottish kings and queens have made Stirling Castle their home over the centuries. Enjoy a visit to its grounds and delve into the history of this royal residence and fortress, besieged by Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 18th century. We'll visit the splendidly decorated Royal Palace of King James V and view the renowned Stirling Heads, before venturing to Bannockburn, where King Robert Bruce of Scotland defeated Edward II of England during the First War of Scottish Independence. Later, we 'Connect With Locals', joining the Wood family this afternoon for a memorable 'Be My Guest' lunch at their 15th-century farm on the shores of Loch Ard, amidst tales of Rob Roy. This evening, we return to Glasgow for time at leisure to enjoy true Scottish hospitality.
Our epic journey across Scotland's highlands, islands and cities has come to an end. It's time to say a fond farewell to our travel companions and Travel Director as our memorable holiday comes to an end. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.