(This itinerary is subject to change during the winter season due to the closure of Blair Castle).
Our 2 day Highlands tour allows you to take in the sights and culture of life in the mountains with less exhausting periods of driving.
Day 1, Our first stop is the mighty Stirling Castle and Wallace Monument. 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 north/west into the mountain wilderness to visit Etive Mor, an extinct super volcano know 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. Next stop is Scotland’s most desired spot, Glencoe. Towering mountains on all sides and a bloody history make this an unforgettable experience to all who visit. Our final port of call is the town of Fort William at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. This will be our overnight stop.
We do not book your accommodation as we are unaware of personal taste and budget, here are some recommended hotels to consider in Fort William
5 star hotels
Inverlochy Castle Hotel – http://www.inverlochycastlehotel.com/
The Gantocks – http://www.fortwilliam5star.co.uk/
4 star hotels
Nevis Bank Inn – http://www.nevisbankinn.co.uk/
The Moorings – http://www.moorings-fortwilliam.co.uk/
3 star hotels
Cruachan – http://www.cruachanhotel.co.uk/
Day 2, We start the day with a visit to Thomas Telford’s engineering masterpiece, Neptune’s staircase. Constructed 200 years ago it’s part of the Caledonian canal system.
This series of 8 locks lifts boats some 70 ft from the sea level to Loch Lochy above. We then head west to Glenfinnan and Loch Shiel for one of Scotland’s finest views. Here we will see the Glenfinnan viaduct which featured in Harry Potter and the Jacobite memorial. Our next stop will satisfy any whisky enthusiast, Dalwhinnie distillery. Our final attraction on this tour is Blair Castle. The 14th century castle is one of the finest examples in the country.
This tour is only available 1st April to 31st October
Our Perthshire forest and Castles tour takes us to the Highland boundary fault line. Our first stop is the historic Scone Palace near the city of Perth, where all Scotland’s Kings were crowned from the 9th to 17th century. Sadly the Stone of Destiny, or coronation stone, was removed from Scone when Edward the 1st invaded Scotland in 1296. It remained in England for 700 years then returned to Scotland on loan by Her Majesty the Queen and is now displayed in Edinburgh Castle.
Our next stop is the picturesque Victorian village of Pitlochry. Nestled in beautiful green woodland on the banks of the river Tummel, it’s a great place for lunch and a spot of shopping. We then head to one of Scotland’s great view points, The Queen’s View. Enjoy breathtaking views over Loch Tummel with a magnificent mountain backdrop.
Our final stop is Blair Castle. Ancestral home of Clan Murray and current seat to the Duke of Atholl. The earliest part of the castle dates from 1269 and had many additions until it’s final makeover in 1870.
This Lochs and Glens (Lakes and Valleys) tour takes us through some of Scotland’s most picturesque landscape. As we head North West along the fabled A85 and A82, we visit no less than 12 Lochs.
As we climb into the mountains we visit Glen Etive with a hope of catching sight of some Red Deer. Etive Mor is an extinct super volcano standing at the gateway to Glen Etive which came 2nd place in a poll by Tripadvisor of the “top 10 places to see before you die” .
Our last stop is the magical Glencoe. Considered by most Scot’s to be the heart of the Highlands. This area has a turbulent history, notably the massacre of Glencoe in 1692 when 38 men of Clan Macdonald were slain by government troops.
This tour is only available 1st April to 31st October
Argyll and Bute on Scotland’s West Coast gives you a great impression of Scotland’s Highlands without driving quite as far as our other West Highland Tours. This route takes us along the West bank of Loch Lomond as we head to our first stop, Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle is home to the Duke of Argyll and just one of the ancestral home’s of Clan Campbell. The original castle has been standing on the shore of Loch Fyne since the 1400’s.
Next we shall visit Kilchurn castle. Once again, another ancestral home of Clan Campbell until turbulent times turned this castle into a military garrison
This Whisky tour gives you a choice of 4 distilleries in the Perthshire area. Glen Turret in Crieff offers the Famous Grouse experience. Dewar’s of Aberfeldy has been a working distillery for the last 160 years. Edradour near Pitlochry is Scotland’s smallest whisky distillery and Blair Athol in Pitlochry is one of Scotland’s oldest working distilleries.
Each Whisky distillery tour takes between 1 hour 45 mins to 2 hours. If you wish to visit them all, we suggest only taking 1 tour and simply looking around the other locations. The drive between each distillery seems satisfying enough for the clients who have already enjoyed this tour.
On this tour we visit Stirling and head to the most famous battle in Scottish history Bannockburn. In 1314 Robert The Bruce defeated the might of the English army to regain Scotland’s independence. A monument stands where The Bruce had his command post and orchestrated what was to be, one of the greatest victory on Scottish soil.
Not too far away stands another monument to a Scottish hero – The Wallace Monument commemorating William Wallace (Braveheart!). Overlooking Stirling bridge, this monument marks the site of William Wallace’s famous victory over the might of the English army in 1297.
Stirling Castle is our next stop. This landmark towering over the city is very similar to Edinburgh Castle in appearance. Most of what you see today was built by the Stewart monarchy in the early 14-1500s.
Finally we head to the Highland boundary fault line in the beautiful Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. We take the scenic route around Loch Venachar, Loch Achray and Loch Drunkie on the spectacular Dukes Pass. This tour gives you a little taste of the Highlands without the lengthy drive involved in a typical highland tour from Edinburgh.
This tour is only available from 1st April to 31st October
The Scottish borders region has beautiful rolling green landscapes, majestic castles, ancient abbeys and many stately homes. Far too many to see in a 1 day, but we have selected the finest of them to visit.
Melrose Abbey 1136ad is our first stop. This was the largest of the four great Abbeys in this area, however, it suffered badly during the reformation period and now stands as a ruin. Abbotsford House – home of Sir Walter Scott 1812ad, is our next site to visit. The house keeps a fine collection of historic weapons, artwork, books and furniture on display. After lunch we have a scenic stop at Scotts view then give you the choice of visiting Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle and home to the Duke of Roxburgh or Traquair House 950ad – Scotland’s oldest inhabited house.
You also have the option to visit Glenkinchie Whisky Distillery on this tour if we drop the sites listed during the afternoon.
Falkland Palace is open 1st April to 31st October. We have a choice of different sites to replace this stop in winter
St. Andrews is famously known as the home of Golf, however 1000 years ago it was the religeous capital of Scotland.
More recently the town can boast its part in the meeting of our future King and Queen, Prince William and Princess Katherine Middleton at St. Andrews university. Their romance blossomed in this ancient town amongst the student hangouts and restauraunts.
With 11 golf courses, an ancient Abbey and Castle and the old University buildings to explore, the town of St. Andrews has something for everyone.
Next we will take a trip along the coast to the East Neuk of Fife and visit the picturesque fishing villages of Anstruther and Pittenweem. Our final stop will be Falkland Palace. Once home of the Stewart Kings and Queens, this palace also has the worlds oldest Royal tennis court.
Balmoral Castle is open 1st April to 31st July. We replace this stop with Scone Palace from 1st August to 31st October when this tour closes for the season.
This tour starts with a drive to the mountains and the majestic landscape of the eastern Cairngorms. Britain’s largest National Park and largest Mountain range. We continue to Royal Deeside and visit Her Majesty the Queen’s current Scottish home, Balmoral Castle. First purchased by Queen Victoria in 1852, it has remained a Royal residence ever since. The Royal family enjoy a 10 week break from public duties in this Royal retreat every year from the 1st August.
Next we take a drive through Glenisla, past Forter castle to the rich farm and agricultural land that surrounds Tayside. Here we visit the magnificent Glamis Castle. The dark red sandstone and Scots Baronial archictecture make this Castle stand out among all other Scottish Castles. Ancestral home to the Earl and Countess of Strathmore for more than 600 years and childhood home of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother. The castle holds the most comprehensive history of Her Majesty, The Queen Mother to be found anywhere.
Option 2, When The Royal family are in residence, we replace our first stop with a visit to Scone Palace. This is the Crowning site of Scottish Kings since the 9th Century and played a key role in Scottish history even further back, to ancient Pictish times. The current house is home to the Earl of Mansfield and was remodeled in the early 1800’s. It houses a fine collection of art, furniture and ceramics, collected by the family over the centuries.
We then visit the Meigle Pictish Stone museum (1st April to 30th September). This rare collection of intricately carved stones date from the 700-900’s AD. The ancient Pictish people of Scotland are a mystery in written history, however, the beautiful carved stones they left behind offer great clues about their life. We then stop locally for a nice pub lunch before continuing to Glamis Castle.
We are happy to offer option 2 at any time during the season. Please let us know when you book your tour.
Changes to the itinerary are necessary during the winter period
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 its on to the Palace of Linlithgow. A ghostly looking shell of its former grand royal days.
Finally we visit Rosslyn Chapel. Recently featured in Hollywood blockbuster The Da Vinci Code. With links to the knight’s 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 tour as a replacement to some locations listed above.