Country Roads of Scotland
Tour Highlights: Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, St Andrews, Kingdom of Fife, Blair Atholl, Culloden Moor, Inverness, Loch Ness, John O'Groats, Thurso, Orkney Islands, Eilean Donan Castle, Isle of Skye, Cuillin Hills, Portree, Ben Nevis, Fort William, Glen Coe, Loch Lomond and Glasgow
Welcome aboard our flagship tour. On this very special holiday you'll experience many aspects of Scotland - from the history of Edinburgh Castle to the scenic beauty of the Isle of Skye. Explore the Far North and enjoy the Victorian spleandour of Glasgow. This is one of the most comprehensive tours of Scotland available.
Welcome to Edinburgh (2 nights)
Welcome to Scotland - land of legend & romance, from the two great cultural cities in the south, to the dramatic mountains & misty lochs of the Highlands! On arrival at Edinburgh Airport, your airport transfer service leaves for the tour hotel at 09:00, 11:00 & 13:00. The rest of the day is yours to relax or start exploring Edinburgh. Perhaps take a stroll around the shops of Princes Street before joining your Tour Director & fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception and light informal meal. In the evening, selected August departures attend the spectacular Military Tattoo - a colourful mix of pipes & drums, dance & display, set against the floodlit backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
Hotel: Roxburghe/Royal Terrace Hotel, Edinburgh (or similar)
Join a local guide to see the highlights of 'Athens of the North'. Drive along Princes Street to the ornate Scott Memorial, then tour the 18th century New Town with its classical Adam facades. Over in the Old Town, visit majestic Edinburgh Castle, home of Mons Meg, the Stone of Destiny & Scotland's glittering crown jewels. See the house where John Knox lived & St Giles' Cathedral, where he preached his fiery sermons. At the bottom of the Royal Mile, stands the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of the Queen. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city. Perhaps research your family tartan in the Tartan Centre or visit the art treasures in the National Gallery.
Edinburgh - St Andrews - The Highlands
Cross the Firth of Forth into Fife & make your way to St Andrews, where golf was born on the Old Course in the 15th century. After some time to explore, cross the River Tay & drive to the charming Victorian resort town of Pitlochry, famous for its salmon leap. En route, hear an informative tutorial about the origins of Scotch whisky. Continue via Blair Atholl (whose castle is the home of Britain's only private army) & over the Grampian Mountains to your Highland hotel.
Hotel: Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness (or similar)
The Highlands - Loch Ness - Thurso (2 nights)
Travel to Culloden Moor, where Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite army was finally crushed in 1746. Drive along the shores of mysterious Loch Ness in search of the elusive monster. Now follow the rugged coast to John O'Groats at the northern tip of mainland Britain. The coastal road to Thurso offers splendid views out over the Pentland Firth.
Hotel: Station/St Clair Hotel, Thurso (or similar)Day Five
This morning drive to the most northerly town on the British mainland, John O’Groats, where you board a ferry to the beautiful Orkney Islands. Sightseeing here includes visits to the prehistoric village of Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, Kirkwall and the Italian Chapel. Pause at the Highland Park Distillery for a tour to learn how Scotch Whisky is produced in the traditional way. After your tour enjoy a wee dram before heading back to the mainland.
Thurso - Isle of Skye
Through stunning & pristine landscapes along the northern coastline with its white sandy beaches, & further inland to misty valleys & glens, lochs & rushing waters. Then it's 'Over the Sea to Skye' the largest & most beautiful island of the Inner Hebrides. Hear romantic tales of young Flora MacDonald & how she helped to rescue Bonnie Prince Charlie, who fled in disguise after his defeat at Culloden. See the island's most famous feature, the Cuillin Hills on your way to Skye's capital, Portree.
Hotel: Tongadale/Dunollie Hotel, Isle of Skye (or similar)
Isle of Skye - Glen Coe
Explore this wild and beautiful island before crossing to Kyle of Lochalsh. There's the chance for a photo at remote Eilean Donan Castle which, under a clear sky, offers a perfect reflection in its loch. On through Glen Morriston to reach the World War II Commando Memorial where there are views of Ben Nevis, Britain's tallest mountain. Stop for a wee while in the pleasant Highland town of Fort William. Back on board your coach, continue through through the Valley of Glen Coe, its dramatic peaks still echoing with the ghostly cries of the massacred clansmen.
Hotel: Isles of Glencoe Hotel, Ballachulish (or similar)
Glen Coe to Glasgow
Drive along the "bonnie, bonnie banks" of Loch Lomond to reach Glasgow. An orientation drive shows you the city's grand public buildings this morning, including George Square and St Mungo's Cathedral. The afternoon is entirely at leisure for you to explore Glasgow on your own. This evening, get together with your friends and enjoy a glass of wine with your tour finale Celebration Dinner in a lively Glasgow restaurant.
Your tour comes to an end after breakfast. Departure transfers depart for Glasgow Airport at 07:00 & 09:00.