Our 8 day tour of Scotland and the Orkney islands offers a great mix of locations around the mainland, as well as a fantastic opportunity to visit Scotland’s ancient sites from Neolithic Britain. With its Stone circles, burial chambers, Viking settlements and World War 1 & 2 history, there’s a tremendous amount of see and do on the islands.
Please click on the link below if you wish to download our 8 day Scotland and Orkney Islands tour itinerary.
8 day Scotland and Orkney tour
- We take you round the City of Edinburgh “off the beaten path” with a drive up Arthur’s seat; 823ft of volcano in the heart of Edinburgh. Enjoy panoramic views of the city.
- We then head to the Forth road and rail bridges. The rail bridge (The Forth Bridge), built in 1881 was considered at the time, the greatest feat of engineering in the industrial world.
- Overlooking these landmarks are some of Scotland’s finest stately homes and castles. First we visit Hopetoun House. Arguably the finest stately home in Scotland.
- Blackness Castle is our next stop. This sea side fortress is a text book example of a Scottish castle.
- Next we move onto the Palace of Linlithgow. A ghostly looking shell of its former grand royal days.
- Finally we visit Rosslyn Chapel. Featured in Hollywood blockbuster The Da Vinci Code. With links to the Knights Templar and Built in 1446, this is believed to be the hiding place of the Holy Grail.
- You also have the option to visit Glenkinchie Whisky Distillery on this Edinburgh tour at no extra cost. (Overnight stay in Edinburgh)
- We depart Edinburgh and visit the mighty Stirling Castle. Upgraded in the late 1400’s by the Stuart Kings to become a more comfortable residence. This commanding position at the foot of the Highland boundary has been fought over for thousands of years as a strategic point to control the entire country.
- We continue into Highland Perthshire where we visit the beautiful Blair Castle home to the Duke of Atholl for over 700 years. This pristine white castle has a large armoury which includes weapons used during the battle of Culloden.
- After a late lunch we will make our way through the Cairngorm National Park, continuing north to the city of Inverness for the evening. (Overnight stop in Inverness)
- We start the day with a visit to Culloden battle field where the British government troops fought the Jacobite army in 1746. The Scots suffered a heavy defeat and this was to be the last ever battle on UK soil. The visitor centre has a state of the art 360 degree theatre which allows you to immerse yourself in the battle and hear real accounts from those who fought.
- From Culloden we move a few miles along the road to the 4,000 year old Clava Cairn Burial Chambers. This exceptionally well preserved Bronze Age cemetery is one of Scotland’s most sacred prehistoric sites.
- We continue west to Cawdor Castle. The name may be recognisable from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Shakespeare himself visited Cawdor Castle. Learn of the
Castle’s link to one of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedies.
- After a late lunch we leave Cawdor and drive along the Moray coast to enjoy a tasting session at the famous Benromach Whisky Distillery. This will give you the opportunity to try Speyside single malt.
- We continue back to Inverness where we finish for the evening. (Overnight in Inverness)
- We start the day with a drive north to visit the beautiful Dunrobin Castle. This fairy tale castle is the family seat of the Earl of Sutherland and Clan Sutherland.
- We continue north to the very tip of the mainland where we board the 13.30 ferry to the Orkney Isles.
- We spend the afternoon visiting sites on the southern islands while making our way up to the main island.
- Highlights will include the famous Churchill barriers which connect the islands and built as anti-submarine defences in World War 2. Views out to the famous Scapa Flow and a visit to the magnificent Italian Chapel constructed by prisoners of war.
- We continue onto the main island and visit the 880 year old St Magnus Cathedral. It’s
considered one of the best preserved buildings of its era anywhere in Britain.
- We stop for the evening in the main town of Kirkwall. (Overnight Kirkwall, Orkney)
- We set off to explore the main island visiting a great selection of pre-historic sites. We start with the Iron Age Broch of Gurness. Constructed around 500BC it’s a great example of a stone house and unique in the fact they are only found in Scotland.
- Our next stop is the World famous Skara Brae. This site, discovered buried in the sand after a storm in the 1850’s is the best preserved group of prehistoric houses anywhere in Western Europe dating back more than 5000 years.
- Next we visit the Neolithic stone circle and henge at the Ring of Brodgar. Dating from around 2500BC it’s also one of the most important active archaeological digs in Europe.
- We continue to the nearby Standing Stones of Stenness. This may be the earliest Henge monument in Britain dating back 5400 years.
- Finally we visit the chambered tomb of Maeshowe. This 5000 year old structure is considered to be the finest Neolithic building in North West Europe.
- Finally we return to Kirkwall for the evening. (Overnight Kirkwall, Orkney)
- We depart Orkney on the morning ferry and start making our way south towards the west coast.
- We travel through the magnificent Torridon Mountains. This remote area offers some of Scotland’s best scenic landscapes.
- We continue west through the rugged landscape to one of Scotland’s most picturesque castles, Eilean Donan. The castle was lovingly restored in the early 1900’s by Lt.
Col. John Macrae Gilstrap. It’s featured in many movies including Highlander, James Bond and Maid of Honour.
- Finally we cross the bridge over to the magical Isle of Skye and make our way to the main town of Portree where we stop for the night. (Overnight Portree, Isle of Skye)
- We start with driving a loop round the geological wonder of the Trotternish Peninsular. We visit The Old Man of Storr (featured in the movie Prometheus) then continue to the 200ft Kilt Rock Waterfall.
- We then visit the strange landscape of the Quiraing. This volcanic wonder is one of the most beautiful sites on the island.
- Next we visit another bizarre feature known as the Fairy Glen. It can only be described as a miniature mountain landscape suitable for elves and goblins.
- We continue west across the island to the only remaining inhabited castle on Skye. Home to Clan Macleod for the last 800 years, Dunvegan Castle and gardens is a great place to immerse yourself in history, boasting the longest continuous habitation of any castle in Scotland.
- You have the choice to include Talisker Distillery and fresh Oyster tasting. (Overnight stay on the Isle of Skye)
- We make our way off the island via the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig. Back of the mainland we enjoy the spectacular views on the road to the isles and visit Glenfinnan Viaduct (featured in Harry Potter Movies and the Jacobite memorial).
- Next stop is one of Scotland’s most desired spots, Glencoe. Towering mountains on all sides and a bloody history make this an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
- We continue south to visit Etive Mor, an extinct super volcano known locally as “the Shepard of Glencoe”. Here we turn off the beaten path into Glen Etive for spectacular scenery and hopefully spot Red Deer in their native habitat.
- We sadly leave the highlands from this point and return to Edinburgh where we say farewell and trust you have enjoyed an unforgettable trip.