Discovering Royal Deeside and the North East Small Group Tour
3 day/2 night tour
Join us on the ultimate road trip through the Heart of the Highlands. Explore majestic Scone Palace, the ancient crowning site of the Kings of Scotland. Later travel through Glen Shee to reach Royal Deeside. End the day at atmospheric Dunottar Castle. After an overnight stay in Stonehaven head northwards to visit stunning Pitmedden Gardens and enjoy a scenic tour along the Moray Firth coast. Spend tonight in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park. Our last day takes in the Highland Folk Museum and the spectacular scenery of Highland Perthshire.
Price range: £265 - £425
Small group Tour - travel in an intimate group of just 16 passengers
Royal Deeside - explore Braemar and visit Crathie Kirk, where the Royal Family worship when staying at nearby Balmoral Castle
Dunottar Castle - discover the colourful history of this ruined castle dramatically perched atop cliffs overlooking the sea!
Pitmedden Gardens - enjoy the colourful and elaborate floral displays of the Great Garden
Whisky Tasting - learn how Scotland’s National drink is carefully produced and enjoy a tutored tasting
Movie locations - Outlander, Loch Hero and Mrs Brown
Guest house accommodation included - hotel upgrade option available
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Edinburgh - Royal Deeside - Stonehaven
We start our journey by crossing the Firth of Forth and enjoying spectacular views of the iconic Forth Bridge. Our tour takes us through the Kingdom of Fife to the city of Perth, which straddles the River Tay. We’ll stop to visit grand Scone Palace, the ancient crowning place of the Scottish Kings and now the home of the Earl of Mansfield.
Enjoy incredible views as we travel through dramatic Glen Shee and then the amazing scenery of the Cairngorms National Park. The attractive town of Braemar is our gateway to Royal Deeside and during our lunch stop there will be time to discover its many Royal connections. Later we’ll visit little Crathie Kirk, where the Royal family worship when staying at the nearby Balmoral Estate.
We leave Deeside behind and travel through the Grampian Mountains to reach Stonehaven. Our last visit of the day will be to atmospheric Dunnottar Castle, perched on the edge of cliffs overlooking the North Sea.
Day 2 - Stonehaven - Elgin – Grantown on Spey
After breakfast we leave Stonehaven and make our way through Aberdeen to visit the spectacular Pitmedden Garden. The design of these colourful gardens follows elaborate designs from the 17th Century and are carefully created by expert gardeners using 1,000’s of plants.
The attractive North East coast boasts white sandy beaches, rugged cliff scenery and picturesque fishing communities including Cullen which is famed for its hearty fish soup, Cullen Skink and Pennan, the attractive filming location of the popular movie Local Hero. We’ll make a stop so you can explore one of these delightful fishing villages in more detail.
Next we head to Elgin to see the magnificent ruins of Elgin Cathedral, which date from the 1200’s. During our visit discover the rich history of the “Lantern of the North” as this great building was known and get wonderful views over the town from the tower viewing platform.
We end our day with a scenic drive to reach our home for tonight in the beautiful Spey Valley.
Overnight: Grantown on Spey
Day 3 - Grantown on Spey - Perthshire - Edinburgh
Our last day starts with a drive through the stunning beauty of the Cairngorm National Park. We’re in the heart of whisky country here so our first stop is to a local distillery where we’ll learn how Scotland’s national drink is produced using traditional methods. At the end of the visit there is a tutored tasting of a fine malt and the opportunity to purchase a souvenir.
Our next treat is to the award-winning Highland Folk Museum. This fascinating museum tells the story of Highland rural life and culture over the centuries. During our visit we’ll discover how Highland people lived, worked and dressed. Stop at the old School house to experience how children were taught in the 1930’s. Take a nostalgic trip back to your childhood at the sweetie shop – it stocks all the old favourites! Explore the many buildings including the recreation of an 18th century village, so authentic that it was used as filming location for the hit tv series Outlander!
Back on our minicoach we descend through the wild scenery of the Drumochter Pass to reach Highland Perthshire and make a stop in either Pitlochry, a popular Victorian resort or Dunkeld, a delightful village that nestles by the banks of the River Tay.
We reprise our journey through ancient Fife. On our way south look out for Loch Leven and the ruined castle on its little island where Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned in 1567. We cross the Firth of Forth and soon we’re heading into the centre of Edinburgh at the end of our tour.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Small Group Tour?
With an average of just 16 passengers (and never more than 20) a Small Group Tour will provide a more intimate and flexible travelling experience. These tours are carefully planned to travel off the highways so you’ll discover quaint villages and picturesque vistas that other tours just can’t access. All the small group tours that we feature are operated by purpose built luxury minicoaches that feature air-conditioning, panoramic windows, wifi, usb charging points and comfortable seating. Each group is led by an experienced driver/guide who will entertain and inform you with stories of our history, nature and folklore. Comfortable guest house accommodation with en-suite bathrooms, tv and other amenities is included in the price of all tours. You can choose to upgrade to hotel accommodation, at extra cost, if you wish. A delicious Scottish breakfast is included each morning of your stay. If you’ve got more time to spare a series of extraordinary itineraries has been created by combining one or more shorter tours. Seamless in operation these unique holidays allow you to discover even more of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. A feature of these tours is that you will travel with a different driver/guide and fellow travellers for each portion of the itinerary.
Can you tell me more about the optional extras on this tour?
To give you complete choice admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour. The tour itinerary has been designed to provide sufficient time for you to visit these attractions:
If you click on the links above they will provide you with more information on each attraction including current admission prices. In some cases a special discount is offered to tour passengers, your driver/guide will provide details if this applies.
Please note that credit/debit cards are not always accepted so it is recommended that you carry sufficient cash with you should you want to make a visit.
Tell me about my accommodation and which type of room should I choose?
The cost of accommodation is included in the price of your tour. On this tour you can choose between Guesthouse/B&B or Hotel accommodation: Guesthouse and B&B. The guesthouses and B&Bs are family run and offer comfortable accommodation in bedrooms that have en-suite bathrooms, tv, tea/coffee making facilities and other facilities. Bedding, towels and basic toiletries are provided. Some guesthouses and B&B’s offer enhanced facilities such as a resident’s lounge where you can relax with other guests. Hotel. We select comfortable hotels that are a minimum of 3 stars with bedrooms featuring en-suite bathrooms, television, tea and coffee making facilities and other amenities. Most have restaurants offering a selection of Scottish and international dishes as well as comfortable bars where you can relax and un-wind. Accommodation is spread throughout the communities that we stay in and are seldom more than a 10/15 minute walk from the town or village centre.
Tell me what the visit to a whisky distillery will be like?
A visit to a traditional whisky distillery is a feast for all the senses. After a warm welcome you’ll normally have a short audio/visual presentation on the the history of the distillery and the traditional methods used in the distilling process. Next is a tour of the distillery where you you will experience all stages of the whisky making process from mashing and fermenting to distilling and maturation. Your tour will end with a tutored tasting of a malt whisky and the opportunity to buy a souvenir of your visit in the distillery shop.
Will there be much walking?
We would recommend bringing suitable shoes and clothes for walking, as there will be opportunities for short walks throughout the tour
- 2 nights guest house or hotel accommodation
- Location: Stonehaven (1) and Grantown-on-Spey (1)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (2)
- Transportation by luxury air-conditioned minicoach with wifi and usb charging points
- Live commentary in English
- Services of an experienced driver/guide
- Service charges and taxes
- Admission charges
- Meals, snacks or items of a personal nature
- Gratuity to your driver/guide
From 1 Parliament Square
Royal Mile/High Street
Edinburgh EH1 1RE
Check-in: 08:45 hrs
Tour Departs: 09:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 20:00 hrs
Concession discount applies to adults aged 60 years and above; students and children aged 3 to 15 years inclusive.
We’re really sorry but children aged under 3 years cannot travel on this tour.
Photo-ID may be requested to confirm discount entitlement.
The price of this tour includes guest house accommodation with en-suite bathroom. You can up-grade to hotel accommodation at extra cost during the booking process.
One medium sized suitcase/bag per person (maximum weight: 15 kilos)
In order to give you maximum flexibility admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.