Grand Tour of the Inner Hebrides - 7 day tour
Grand Tour of the Inner Hebrides
7 day/6 night
This relaxing tour through the islands of the Inner Hebrides starts with a three-night stay in colourful Tobermory, the main town on the Isle of Mull. From our island base, there’s a wildlife-spotting cruise to the Treshnish Isles, a visit to Iona and a trip, by boat, to see dramatic Fingal’s Cave on Staffa. Heading further down the Argyll coast to visit the whisky island of Islay and neighbouring Jura.
Price range: £1,645 - £2,025
Tobermory - enjoy a three-night stay in this delightful harbour town, the “Capital” of Mull
Staffa - take a cruise to this remote island to see enchanting Fingal’s Cave and spot the native birdlife, including puffins
Isle of Iona - experience the spiritual atmosphere as you visit the restored abbey and view the impressive Celtic crosses
Isle of Islay - explore this delightful island famous for its distinctive whiskies
Isle of Jura - try your hand at deer-spotting on this wild and mountainous island
Movie locations – The Maggie, When Eight Bells Toll and From Russia with Love
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Edinburgh/Glasgow - Oban - Isle of Mull
With Edinburgh and Glasgow behind us, we head into the scenic beauty of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. After a drive along the "bonnie, bonnie banks" we'll make a stop in a Highland village where you can obtain refreshments.
Later drive through the beauty of the Western Highlands then along the banks of Loch Awe to reach the Pass of Brander. Catch a glimpse of Dunstaffnage Castle, by the banks of Loch Etive. It once kept Flora MacDonald prisoner, after she helped Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape "over the sea to Skye".
At Oban board the ferry for our late afternoon crossing to the Isle of Mull. Dinner will be served at our hotel, which overlooks the Sound of Mull.
Overnight: Isle of Mull Hotel, Craignure (or similar) (3 nights)
Day 2 - Treshnish Isles and Staffa Cruise
After breakfast, we make our way to the picturesque port of Tobermory, the main town on the Isle of Mull. Here our cruise boat awaits to take us on a visit to the delightful Treshnish Isles and Staffa. In the company of an experienced crew, we'll cast off and make our way to Staffa. The sail will take around one hour and, if we are lucky, we might spot whales, dolphins, basking sharks and sea eagles during our journey.
Staffa was created by volcanic eruptions around 50 million years ago. As the lava cooled, it produced a spectacular pattern of hexagonal columns which line the faces and walls of the caves.
The island is home to the legendary cave Fingal's Cave, which has drawn visitors for centuries. Amongst the many famous tourists who have journeyed to see this spectacular cavern are Queen Victoria, Jules Verne and Felix Mendelssohn, who was inspired to write his famous "Hebrides Overture". We'll have one hour ashore before making the short sail to the delightful Isle of Lunga, the biggest of the Treshnish Islands.
Lunga is a magnet for naturalists so during our two-hours ashore there are lots to explore including wildflowers and beautiful scenery. The main draw to the island is the large puffin colony who nest in burrows on the grassy hillside, until August each year. These delightful birds are unbelievably curious and can often come up very close to you to check out what's going on. You can also expect to see Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes, as well as the resident Seal colony.
Once the puffins migrate the visit to Lunga will be replaced with a nature spotting cruise instead.
Please note that a sufficient degree of mobility is necessary to go ashore, but if you are less mobile, you are more than welcome to stay on board the cruise boat. A packed lunch will be provided and, onboard the boat you will find both indoor and outdoor seating as well as a toilet, for peace of mind.
Day 3 - Isle of Iona Excursion
Our journey today will take us along the banks of Loch Scridain to reach the remote Ross of Mull, where we will find the little ferry port of Fionnphort. Here we board the ferry for the short sail to Iona.
Known as the "Sacred Isle", Iona was where St Columba and his companions landed in 563 to bring Christianity to Scotland. During our time on Iona, we can visit the restored Abbey and Nunnery as well as St Oran's Graveyard, said to be the final resting place of the early Scottish Kings. Iona is also famous for its pristine beaches, why not take a relaxing stroll across the golden sands to enjoy the wonderful sea views?
This afternoon we visit 13th Century Duart Castle, which has a dramatic cliff-top location overlooking the Sound of Mull. For over 400 years this has been the seat of the Clan MacLean and is one of the oldest inhabited castles in Scotland.
Day 4 - Isle of Mull - Kennacraig - Isle of Islay
It's time to leave Mull and head to our next island destination. We catch the morning ferry bound for Oban. Have your camera ready for the beautiful views of Duart Castle as we leave Craignure. After disembarking in Oban, we follow the scenic route southwards to Loch Melford.
At Kilmartin, we enter a landscape that will take us back in time 5,000 years to the very birth of the Scottish Nation. Located here are over 800 prehistoric sites and monuments including a linear cemetery that stretches for more than two miles. It’s thought to have been the burial place of the ruling family.
Further south, at Dunadd Fort, the early Scottish Kings were crowned.
After a break, our journey will continue along the banks of Loch Fyne to Kennacraig, where the ferry waits to take us to Islay. Landfall will be in the attractive village of Port Askaig, our home for the next three nights. After time to settle in, dinner will be served in our hotel.
Overnight: Port Askaig Hotel, Port Askaig (or similar) (3 nights)
Day 5 - Exploring Islay
After time to relax after breakfast, we head out for a day of exploration. In medieval times Islay was a centre of political power, so our first visit is to Loch Finlaggan, the ancient seat of the MacDonald clan who ruled the islands and were known as the "Lords of the Isles".
Islay is famed for whisky production. There are eight distilleries on the island that produce "Uisge Beatha", the water of life with the distinctive peaty taste so loved by connoisseurs.
We'll visit Bowmore Distillery, which has stood on the banks of Loch Indaal since 1779, making it the oldest distillery on the island. During our tour, we will discover the secrets of the whisky-making process and learn how letting the whisky mature in American and Spanish oak casks gives the finished product its own unique taste.
After a break for lunch (own expense) we visit the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte. This fascinating collection tells the story of the island and its people from prehistoric times to the present day.
We return to Port Askaig, where there is free time to relax before enjoying dinner.
Day 6 - Isle of Jura Excursion
Today we take the ferry for the short crossing to the neighbouring island of Jura. This wild and mountainous island is overshadowed by the three peaks that are known as the "Paps of Jura". It's thought the island got its name from Norse, meaning Deer Island which is true enough today as it was then - the deer population of some 6,000 outnumber humans 33 to 1.
One of the island's most famous residents was Eric Blair, who was better known by his pen name, George Orwell. In 1946 he moved into a remote farmhouse on the north of the island where he wrote his most famous book, 1984.
On the island, we'll enjoy a scenic tour, before spending some free time in the picturesque village of Craighouse, the main settlement on the island. It's home to the island's famous whisky distillery as well as a shop and tearoom.
Day 7 - Port Askaig - Inveraray - Glasgow/Edinburgh
Sadly, our island adventure comes to an end today. But there is still much to enjoy on today’s itinerary.
After breakfast, we board the ferry for our sailing back to the mainland. At Kennacraig, we join our coach for a scenic drive through Knapdale to reach the attractive coastal towns of Tarbert and Ardrishaig.
The banks of Loch Fyne bring us to delightful Inveraray. This lovely white-washed town oozes Georgian style, as we will discover during our break here. Later, as we head out of town, look out for fairy-tale Inveraray Castle, the seat of the Duke of Argyll, head of the Clan Campbell.
Our journey continues through Glen Kinglas, then a dramatic descent through the Rest and be Thankful pass to reach the Argyll Forest Park and the village of Arrochar beyond. We join the banks of Loch Lomond once more as we head towards Glasgow then the final part of our journey to Edinburgh.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Escorted Tour?
If you enjoy the art of first-class travel whilst enjoying amazing value then an Escorted Tour is just for you. These tours are carefully researched and combine quality hotels, luxury travel, informative visits and leisure time. You’ll find our Escorted Tours to be memorable - for all the right reasons!
You will travel aboard a state of the art motorcoach with air-conditioning, reclining seats, oversized windows and emergency washroom. Many coaches are equipped with WiFi too.
An experienced tour manager will lead the tour and your coach will be expertly driven by a professional driver. In certain locations you’ll may be joined by a local guide who will provide local insight and show you the highlights.
These tours are inclusive of superior tourist class accommodation, transportation, selected admission fees and many meals.
On many tours you’ll have the chance to personalise your touring experience by participating in some carefully planned optional excursions. These are at additional expense and, if available, details will be provided with your tour documentation.
What type of room should I choose?
Selecting the right sleeping arrangements can be a little bit confusing, so here is a description of what you can expect from the hotel accommodation offered as part of your tour:
Single room - this is a room for one person sleeping in a single bed.
Twin room - this is a room for two people sleeping in two separate beds.
Double room - this is a room for two people sharing one large bed.
Family room - this is a room for three people sleeping in one large bed (2 people) and one single bed (1 person).
Please note that a family room is normally a standard double or twin room with either a sofa bed or a rollaway bed.
All room types, other than twin rooms, are subject to availability.
Will there be much walking?
There will be the chance to enjoy a short walk on most days during the tour.
If you plan to take advantage of this opportunity don't forget to pack suitable shoes and clothing.
Can you check availability for me?
If you need to check that there are seats available for your party then please contact us by email or by telephone. Please note that availability may change and we are unable to “hold seats' without payment.
What sort of clothing should I bring with me?
We recommend bringing comfortable waterproof shoes and layered clothing that you can remove or add as conditions change.
If your tour involves travel by ferry or cruise boat you might want to bring a light jacket if you plan to sit out on deck.
- 6 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Craignure, Isle of Mull (3) and Port Askaig, Isle of Islay (3)
- Cooked/Continental breakfast (6)
- Packed lunch (1)
- Table d’hote dinners (6)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Admission to Duart Castle, Bowmore Whisky Distillery and the Museum of Islay Life.
- Touring by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats
- All ferry fares and reservations
- All baggage handling and hotel tips are included
- Services throughout the tour of a professional Tour Director
- Service charges and taxes
North Hanover Street Bus Stance,
Glasgow, G1 2BP
Check-in: 10:30 hrs
Tour Departs: 10:45 hrs
Tour Returns: 17:00 hrs
Outside Marriott Hotel, on Glasgow Road,
Edinburgh, EH12 8NF
Check-in: 09:15 hrs
Tour Departs: 09:30 hrs
Tour Returns: 18:15 hrs
Please contact us for information on child prices.
The price of this tour includes hotel accommodation with en-suite bathroom.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.