Tour 61 # 3 day tour – Isle of Arran Adventure – Scotland in Miniature

Highlights:
~ Culzean Castle
~ Robert Burns Country
~ Brodick and Brodick Castle
~ Isle of Arran Distillery and Brewery
~ Machrie Moor stone circles
~ Kintyre Peninsula
~ Loch Lomond

Three days to explore the West Coast of Scotland – the Isle of Arran, Argyll and the Ayrshire coast. A unique opportunity to visit the Island of Arran: often known as Scotland in Miniature. You will discover stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, ancient castles, standing stones, picturesque villages, and great local food and drink.

Stay 2 nights in Brodick on the Island of Arran

Day 1.
Depart Edinburgh at 08.30 and travel west to Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. From here you can see Whitelee Wind Farm, Europe’s largest wind farm generating enough energy to power 180,000 homes. Leaving behind the very modern, we travel into Ayrshire to visit the 18th Century Culzean Castle. The Castle dates from a peaceful time in Scottish history and has been associated with the Kennedy family since the 14th century. Enjoy its dramatic cliff top setting, fine furniture and beautiful architecture by the famous architect Robert Adam. The castle is surrounded by Culzean Country Park which has nearly 600 acres of stunning countryside and paths through majestic woodlands and secluded ponds; it’s a great place to explore. There is a cafe for lunch or you can have a picnic in the castle grounds.

After lunch you head into the heart of Burns Country. Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, was born in Alloway. Travelling towards his birth place you can see many of the places mentioned in his poems and songs. You stop at the recently redeveloped visitor centre in Alloway where you have the opportunity to find out more about this remarkable man. Perhaps his most famous song is ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – sung on New Year’s Eve throughout the world.

You continue to Ardrossan where you catch the ferry to the Isle of Arran. You arrive into Brodick, the largest village on the island, which offers stunning views over the imposing stature of Goatfell, Arran’s highest peak, and Brodick Bay. You will be dropped off at your accommodation in Brodick.

Day 2.
Known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, Arran is alive with wildlife, rugged countryside, beaches, pubs, restaurants and cottage industries. There are many options of how you can spend your time on the island, depending on the weather and your groups’ interest; your driver guide will arrange the best day out for you.

The North of the island is mountainous with the highest point on Arran – Goatfell. Measuring 874m, the name is believed to mean “Mountain of Wind”. The village of Corrie and its neighbouring village of Sannox lie in its shadow and are home to some of the best beaches on the island, inviting you to a leisurely stroll. Here we also find the ruins of Lochranza Castle, as well as Arran Distillery, one of the last remaining independent distilleries in Scotland.

Arran is home to many stone circles and standing stones dating from the Neolithic period and the early Bronze Age. Machrie Moor has six stone circles and some of the stones are over 5 metres high! After exploring this area you travel south through the harbour villages of Blackwaterfoot – with its beautiful beach – Sliddery and Kildonan.

Travelling back to Brodick you can see The Holy Isle across the water, owned by the Samye Ling Buddhist Community, it includes the Centre of World Peace and Health.

You might make a stop at the Arran Cheese shop for a taste of the local cheese or Arran Aromatics, a family owned business, which uses only natural ingredients to produce their luxury toiletries; their products are now famous all over the world.

At Brodick we also find Brodick Castle and situated in the shadow of this imposing red sandstone castle is Arran Brewery. This microbrewery blends naturally with its stunning surroundings, combining the island’s unique water and the finest local ingredients. You can sample this ale in many of the local pubs and restaurants; a perfect way to round off your day!
Day 3. 
Today you return back to the mainland by taking the small ferry running between Lochranza and Claonaig. This short 30 minute crossing will take you onto the Kintyre Peninsula. You travel up this beautiful, lush green peninsula along its coastal road to the charming fishing village of Tarbert. The name Tarbert comes from the Gaelic word tairbeart. – tar meaning “across” and beir meaning “carry”. The village sits on the narrowest strip of land between the two bodies of water, forming a natural harbour. In past times ships docked in one loch, their loads were then carried across the peninsula to the other loch where they were reloaded and shipped onwards. This meant the ships avoided having to sail round the dangerous Mull of Kintyre.

From Tarbert you follow Loch Fyne toward the whitewashed village of Inveraray, with some free time to explore this lovely village and have lunch. After lunch you continue over the mountain pass ‘The Rest and be Thankful’. From here it is a short drive to Luss and the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond before returning to Edinburgh at 19.15 approximately.

*This tour can also pick up/drop off in Glasgow – please let our sales team know if you would like this option.

 

 

 

 

Tour 62 # 4 day tour – Outlander – On the Trail of Jamie & Claire

 

Highlights:

~ Clava Cairns
~ Doune Castle (Castle Leoch film location)
~ Inverness & Loch Ness
~ Culloden
~ Castle Leod (seat of Clan Mackenzie)
~ Culross
~ Falkland

Join us on Outlander adventure, designed especially for fans of all things Jamie & Claire.

Follow in the footsteps of these epic lovers, visit the locations used during the filming of the Outlander Series, as well as locations that inspired Diana Gabaldon in writing her fabulous book series. Share this unique and special experience with Outlander fans from around the world, discuss your favourite quotes from the books and soak up the mystic and romantic atmosphere of Scotland.

Day 1 Leaving Edinburgh you follow the trail of some of the film best known locations featured in the Outlander TV Series. Heading north to Inverness our first visit will be the charming village of Culross, the fictional village of Cranesmuir and the home of Geillis Duncan and her ill-fated husband Arthur. Exploring the towns cobbled streets is like taking a step back in time. Look carefully and you may even find Claire’s herb garden behind the impressive, historic Culross Palace.

We continue to the small town of Falkland to revisit one of the first scenes of the show where Falkland substitutes for 1940s Inverness. See if you can recognize the familiar sights such as Mrs. Baird’s Guesthouses (The Covenanter Hotel) and the Bruce Fountain where Claire sees the ghost of Jamie. In the early afternoon we stop at the Newtonmore Highland Folk Museum, which houses replicas of 18thcentury turf-roofed Highland crofts, making it a perfect choice for the period scenes. Heading North again we pass Aviemore where you may recognise the stunning hilly and wooded area of Tulloch Ghru which appears during the journey Claire takes with Jamie and the Highlanders from Craigh na Dun to Castle Leoch? Arriving in Inverness later that afternoon your base will be at the Glen Mhor Hotel (or similar).

Day 2 Our day starts by visiting majestic Glen Affric, one of Scotlands most breathtaking Glens of lochs and mountains that’s surrounded on all sides by the stunning Caledonian pine forest. This is big Scottish countryside, ideal for our Jamie to hide! In the afternoon we visit Culloden which plays such an important role in Scottish history and the Outlander books. It’s at the Culloden Battlefield where Claire and Jamie said their tearful goodbyes, before Jamie joined the Jacobite army to fight for the Stuarts. You have the opportunity to explore the visitor centre and site and pay tribute to those who lost their lives at the last battle fought on British soil. Later you take a short drive to the ancient standing stones at Clava Cairns, which could have given ‘Herself’ the inspiration for Craigh na Dun. We return back to Inverness with time to explore the town and enjoy the city for another evening.

Day 3 A short drive this morning will take us to Beauly, the site of Beauly Priory and the tomb of Lord Lovat in the heart of Clan Fraser lands. Beauly priory is a beautiful 13th century ruin and, according to Diana Gabaldon’s book, is where the Lovat Frasers are buried. From here we continue to Castle Leod, seat of the Clan Mackenzie, where we have the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing walk in the grounds while your guide tells you some of the history of the Clan and Castle. The Castle has a striking resemblance to how Diana Gabaldon has described Castle Leoch, however she had never heard of the castle prior to writing Outlander. In the afternoon, you have the opportunity to sample ‘The Water of Life’ with a whisky distillery tour and tasting. There might even be time to look out for the Waterhorse at Loch Garve! We then continue along the entire length of Loch Ness – another opportunity for some monster spotting before arriving in Fort William for our overnight stop.

Day 4 We travel to Glenfinnan this morning to visit the monument which commemorates the beginning of the last Jacobite rising. It stands framed amid typically spectacular Highland scenery at the head of Loch Shiel with sweeping glens as a backdrop. We continue through magnificent Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most famous and scenic glens. From here we cross the rugged Trossachs area and onto Doune Castle near Stirling, which is featured as Castle Leoch in the TV programme. The Castle which is an extensive ruin is standing in for Castle Leoch in the TV programme, home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan in the 18th century episodes. We return to Edinburgh later that afternoon with a photo stop at Blackness Castle on the banks of the Firth of Forth.

 

 

 

Tour 63 # 4 day tour – Scottish Castle Experience 

 

Highlights:
~
.Private Tour Falkland Palace
~ Royal Deeside
~ Brodie Castle & Culloden
~ Dalwhinnie Distillery
~ Loch Leven and Castle
~ Castle and Country House Style Accommodation
~ Farewell Banquet Dinner
Scotland’s turbulent history has left a lasting mark on the landscape in shape of the many castles, fortresses and tower houses that pepper the countryside. These imposing structures have the power to fire the imagination and with your guide’s expert storytelling this tour will bring the past to life on a wonderful and unique journey around Scotland. From Edinburgh to the east coast, along the castle trail of the Royal Deeside and into the Highlands. From here you will visit Scotland’s highest Whisky Distillery and back into the Kingdom of Fife finishing the tour with a boat trip on Loch Leven, following the footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots.
Stay like a lord or lady in Thainstone House Hotel near Aberdeen for 2 nights and 1 night at Knockomie House Hotel near Forres, where a farewell banquet dinner is included in the package.

Day 1 You depart from the World Heritage City of Edinburgh and travel north, crossing the Forth Road Bridge into the ancient Kingdom of Fife. Your first visit of the day will be Falkland Palace, where during a private, guided tour you will be able to discover more of this pretty Royal Palace. Built between 1502 and 1541, it is set in the heart of the unique medieval village of Falkland and has been residence and hunting lodge of eight Stuart monarchs. Highlight of the visit will be to see the Real Tennis court, built in 1539! You continue to St Andrews and during a town walk your guide will tell you more about its past and more recent history. Its connection to the patron Saint of Scotland, birthplace of Golf, ancient University town and matchmaker to a Royal couple – there is a lot to see!

Your afternoon visit will be at the House of Dun near Montrose. This beautiful Georgian house, overlooking Montrose Basin, was built in 1730. It features superb plasterwork and now houses the Hutchison collection of Scottish colourists and the Stirling collection of furniture, ranging from the 18th century to the 1960s. On route to Aberdeen you will make a photo stop at Dunnottar Castle, a dramatic and evocative ruined cliff top fortress in a truly stunning setting. Dunnottar is where they filmed Hamlet’s Macbeth and provided inspiration for Disney Pixar’s movie “Brave”. From here you continue to Thainstone House Hotel, a lovely 18th century mansion house, where you will stay for 2 nights.

Day 2 Today will be spent in the Royal Deeside area, famous for its many castles.

Your first visit will be Castle Fraser, one of the grandest of the Scottish baronial tower houses. Begun in 1575, the present castle contains an evocative Great Hall, fine furniture and many Fraser family portraits. You can round the visit off with a walk through the beautiful 18th century walled garden. The tour continues to Banchory where you might be able to see salmon jumping at the Falls of Feugh. Maybe take short nature walk in Glen Tanar or the Burn o’ Vat.

Lunch stop is at Ballater before continuing with your afternoon programme. Crathes Castle provides the highlight for the afternoon. Turrets, gargoyles and the ancient Horn of Leys given in 1323 by Robert the Bruce are just a few of the features of this historic castle. You will be free to explore the house and the stunning gardens at your own pace. The gardens stay green irrespective of the time of year, as with the ancient yew hedges that frame the upper parts of the gardens, particularly the fountain and rose gardens. Wandering through the outstanding, world-renowned June Borders, beautiful vistas of the castle can be seen through the fusion of colourful flowers.

You return back to Thainstone House Hotel later for another overnight.

Day 3 Your tour heads further north today and starts the day with a visit to Fyvie Castle near Turriff, which will open its doors especially for our party at 9.30. Fyvie Castle dates back to the 13th century and has a fine collection of arms and armour as well as 17th century tapestries and opulent Edwardian interiors.You then continue, travelling through beautiful scenery and on to Nairn, where lunch will be taken at nearby Brodie Castle. Then you have time to explore the castle further. Dating from the 16th century, this imposing castle stands in rich Morayshire parkland. It has very unusual plasterwork and a major art collection and tells the fascinating story of the Brodie family.

In the afternoon you will be able to take the Clan Walk at the Culloden Visitor Centre. The Clan Stone Walkway is designed to commemorate the Scottish Clans and their clansmen who fought at the battle of Culloden with a special Insignia Stone. The Clans are represented with their individual Crest and personal inscription.

After the visit you continue to Knockomie House Hotel. A dinner for our group will be held tonight in one of the private rooms.

Day 4 Today sees you travelling south again through some of the most stunning scenery Scotland has to offer.

You pass Inverness and travel to Kingussie for a photo stop at the Ruthven Barracks. From here you continue to Dalwhinnie Distillery. Dalwhinnie is the highest Distillery in Scotland and takes its waters right from the source of the River Spey. A tour of the distillery is included and you will also have the chance to taste the ‘Water of Life’.

After a lunch stop in Pitlochry you head to Loch Leven by Kinross. In the middle of the Loch you find Loch Leven Castle, a late 14th century tower, which was the setting for the most traumatic year in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. It was in 1567 that she was imprisoned and forced to abdicate her throne before her dramatic escape a year later.
You will enjoy a short boat ride over to the castle, following in the footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots. Then explore at your leisure the island and tower house, before returning back to Edinburgh, arriving around 18.30.

Inclusions 
~Transportation by a top of the range 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach.
~Air Conditioning as standard.
~Services of a professional  driver/guide
~All ferry and bridge crossings.
~Private 3 course farewell dinner at Knockomie House.
~Entrances and tours (guided and self guided) at Falkland Palace, House of Dun, Castle Fraser, Crathes Castle, Fyvie Castle, Brodie ~Castle, Culloden, Dalwhinnie Distillery, Loch Leven Boat trip and Castle.

Exclusions 
~Lunch and refreshments.
~Dinner on the first 2 nights of the tour at Thainstone House Hotel.
~Drinks during the Dinner at Knockomie House .

Accommodation 
Accommodation in Castle and Country House Style Hotels is included with this tour. Overnight has been reserved for 2 nights at 4* Thainstone House on Bed & Breakfast basis. The third overnight of the tour is at 4* Knockomie House and includes dinner and breakfast.

 

 

 

 

Tour # 71 – 3 days from Inverness – Orkney Explorer Tour

Highlights:
~ Ring of Brodgar
~ Skara Brae and Maes howe
~ Kirkwall
~ Glenmorangie Distillery
~ Caithness Fishing Villages

The archipelago of Orkney hides many treasures: and on our new three-day tour, your experienced guide will ensure you find the best of them. You’ll unearth some of the most well-preserved prehistoric sights in Europe, examine a beautiful red sandstone coast, and discover the vibrant culture of remote island communities. It’s an experience you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

 

 

Tour # 74 – 1 day from Inverness – The Complete Loch Ness Experience Tour

Highlights:

~ Loch Ness Cruise (optional)
~ Invermorriston
~ Fort Augustus
~ Foyers Waterfall
~ Dores

No one can resist mythical Loch Ness: its beauty evokes a sense of wonder, while its monstrous depths are legendary. And on this tour, you explore all of it.

You can enjoy incredible views from a cruise, learn about the historic ruins of Urquhart Castle and explore the less frequented south roads of the loch. And even if the monster doesn’t show up, we can assure you that your guide will bring this loch to life with beastly tales and history.

 

Tour # 75 – 1 day from Inverness – Skye & Eilean Donan Castle Tour

Highlights:

~ Skye and Lochalsh
~ Eilean Donan Castle
~ Portree
~ Trotternish Peninsula
~ Cuillin Mountains
~ Loch Ness

Sharp geological formations, crumbling coastlines and wind-swept valleys: Skye is mother-nature at her dramatic best.

And on this day-tour you explore the best of it. We take you on a journey through the stories, history, and sights of the island; while also giving you a taste of the most breath-taking scenery that Western Scotland has to offer.

If the date you’d like to travel isn’t available, please call us to discuss alternative options.

 

Tour # 76 – 1 day from Inverness – Cairngorm National Park & Speyside Whisky Tour

Highlights:

~ Glenfiddich Distillery
~ Speyside
~ Loch Morlich
~ Cairngorm National Park

This is your chance to experience an inspirational blend of Scottish sights and flavours.

Delight in the rolling hills and wildlife of the Cairngorm National Park, relish the sweet taste of a famous Speyside whisky, and learn the legends and little-known secrets behind quintessential Scottish wonders.

 

Tour # 77 – 1 day from Inverness – Torridon, Applecross & Eilean Donan Castle Tour

Highlights:
~ Loch Maree
~ Torridon
~ Shieldaig
~ Applecross
~ Eilean Donan
~ Loch Ness

Keep an eye out for fantastic beasts and faeries as you travel through the ancient wilderness of Scotland.

On this tour you’ll rub your eyes in disbelief at the postcard perfect villages, delve deep into gory history at Eilean Donan Castle, and catch a glimpse of some of Europe’s most spectacular landscapes.

Tour # 78 – 1 day from Inverness – Loch Ness and Glen Affric Tour

Highlights:

~ Loch Ness Cruise (optional)
~ Glen Affric
~ Beauly Abbey

Travel by boat and discover the beastly mysteries of Loch Ness, explore on foot and venture through the shimmering beauty of Glen Affric, and take the back roads to the hidden away and historic Beauly Abbey.

This is a tour that truly transports you through the contrasts and history of the remarkable Scottish Highlands.

Tour # 79 – 1 day from Inverness – Speyside Whisky and Moray Firth Tour

Highlights:

~ Elgin
~ Benromach Distillery
~ Glenfiddich Distillery
~ Speyside Cooperage

Whether you’re a whisky lover or a whisky learner, you’re bound to discover fantastic facts in the beautiful region of Speyside.

Home to almost 50% of all Scottish whisky distilleries, there’s almost too much to see and drink. So on this tour we take you to two distinct distilleries where you can learn about the incredible process and history behind Scotland’s national drink.

And if you’re not a whisky lover, there’s plenty of gorgeous scenery and a chance to view a history-soaked castle