Hebridean Gems Small Group Tour
9 day / 8 night tour
Could this be the ultimate island adventure? Enjoy a magical journey around some of Scotland’s most romantic islands. Experience peace and serenity on Iona; see the mountains and seascapes of Mull; admire the soaring peaks of the famed Cuillin Hills on Skye; discover ancient history on Lewis and relax on the un-spoilt sweeping beaches of Harris. What better way to discover the unique character of these iconic islands?
Price range: £1,105 - £1,435
Small Group Tour - travel in an intimate group of just 16 passengers
Iona - experience an ancient holy island that offers peace and tranquillity
Skye - discover the beauty of the Cuillin Hills, the bizarre landscape of Trotternish and the attractive fishing port of Portree
Harris - stroll along the white sands of a deserted beach
Lewis - visit pre-historic standing stones and an Iron Age broch
Movie locations – Snow White and the Huntsman, Flash Gordon and The land that time forgot
Guest house accommodation included - hotel upgrade option available
We leave Edinburgh behind and head westwards to Glasgow where our fellow passengers will join us. The first highlight of our tour is the “bonnie, bonnie banks” of Loch Lomond. Next we’ll cross the impressive Rest and be Thankful mountain pass, before arriving in the picturesque town of Inveraray so we can capture the view of Inveraray Castle, the seat of the Chief of the Clan Campbell.
It’s onwards through the picturesque West Highland scenery to reach the bustling port of Oban. We’ll enjoy some free time here so you can take the chance to visit Oban Malt Whisky Distillery, which is located in the heart of the town. If whisky isn’t your thing then Oban is famed for the quality of its fresh seafood so you could make a visit to the Pier to sample some recently-landed delicacies. Looking to stretch your legs? The climb to McCaig’s Tower will reward you with panoramic views over the town and the islands beyond.
Later, we board the ferry for the Isle of Mull. During our sailing keep a watch out for whales and dolphins who often make an appearance in the waters around here. On arrival we’ll make the short journey to Tobermory, our home for the next two nights.
Overnight: Tobermory, Isle of Mull (2 nights)
After breakfast we leave Tobermory behind and enjoy pleasant views of the Sound of Mull. Our spectacular drive, covers the length of the island. At the little port of Fionnphort, we leave our coach behind and join the ferry for the short crossing to the little island of Iona. This sacred island is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon in peace and tranquillity. You can visit Iona Abbey and Nunnery*, founded by Saint Columba in 563, and its museum of Celtic heritage and history. Later take a stroll along the beach or climb Dun I (100m) to enjoy the views. All too soon we return to Mull by ferry and rejoin our coach for the tour back to Tobermory.
We leave Mull by taking the short ferry crossing from Fishnish to Lochaline, it’s the perfect opportunity to look out for white tailed eagles and other wildlife. We’ll tour through isolated Glen Geal and make our way past picturesque Loch Sunart.
We board another ferry for the short crossing of Loch Linnhe. Enjoy the views as we cross the Ballachulish Bridge and make our way into Glen Coe to experience some of the most breathtaking scenery in Scotland. As we head into the Glen hear the sad tale of the Massacre that took place here in 1692.
Please note at this point you will join a new group of travelling companions and meet your new driver-guide.
On the next stage of our journey take in views of Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain. Enjoy wonderful views as we tour through scenic Glen Shiel. As our road nears the coast we reach Eilean Donan Castle. Here you have the chance to take photographs and explore the castle that featured in the film Highlander. Later cross the bridge to reach the Isle of Skye.
Overnight: Isle of Skye (2 nights)
Today enjoy a full day discovering the beautiful Isle of Skye. On the itinerary today are the soaring peaks of the Cuillin Mountains; the scenic Trotternish Peninsula (where you’ll see the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock and Mealt Waterfall) and the Iron Age Dun Beag Broch.
Portree is the main town on the island and we’ll stop here so you can enjoy lunch. Freshly cooked fish and chips enjoyed by the harbour come highly recommended. Just ask your driver/guide for directions!
This afternoon we head for the Sleat Peninsula and the ancient lands of the Clan MacDonald. This attractive area is known as the Garden of Skye – you’ll discover why during our scenic drive. Our day ends at Eilean Iarmain where you can visit Gaelic Whiskies to sample some traditionally distilled whisky amongst idyllic surroundings.
We leave the Isle of Skye and return to the mainland. At Loch Ness you can visit Urquhart Castle, which dates from the 14th Century. It has a unique setting overlooking the deepest part of Loch Ness. Once you’ve explored the atmospheric ruins take to the water to enjoy a Nessie-spotting cruise.
It’s a short drive to Inverness where you’ll arrive at your accommodation by late morning. Here you bid farewell to your driver/guide and fellow passengers. The remainder of today is free so you can relax in the Capital of the Highlands.
Please note you will leave this portion of your tour on arrival in Inverness. You will join a new group of travelling companions and meet your new driver-guide tomorrow (day six).
After breakfast meet your new driver/guide and travelling companions for the next part of your tour. From Inverness travel over the Moray Firth and Cromarty Firth to reach impressive Dunrobin Castle, the home of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. This glowing white-stone chateau was designed by the same architect who created the Houses of Parliament in London! Here you can visit the sumptuous apartments and enjoy a walk in the beautiful gardens, modelled on those at the Versailles.
Later we will discover Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve and learn about one of the oldest landscapes in Europe. Our journey continues through Sutherland to reach the picturesque fishing port of Ullapool, where we board our ferry for our crossing to the Isle of Lewis.
Overnight: Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (2 nights)
Stornoway is the largest town and cultural centre in the Western Isles. We have a leisurely start this morning so you can discover your new surroundings. Today we are going to explore the Isle of Lewis so we start by visiting the remote Butt of Lewis lighthouse. The headland here sits in the North Atlantic and is home to an amazing array of seabirds.
Next we visit the ancient Calanais Standing Stones, said to have been erected around 3,000 BC and Dun Carloway Broch, an exceptionally well-preserved Iron Age fort which sits overlooking its little loch.
In the afternoon you’ll have the chance to go beach-combing along the white sands of an idyllic beach and, later, discover how Harris Tweed is traditionally hand woven when we visit a traditional weaver.
A day to discover the neighbouring island of Harris today. Leaving Stornoway behind we tour though the rugged scenery of the mountains of North Harris to reach the little port of Tarbert. After some free time we travel westwards to visit one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland, Luskentyre. As we stroll along the sand enjoy the views over the turquoise waters of the Sound of Taransay to the island of the same name which was the star of the popular BBC Castaway programme.
All too soon we return to Stornoway to join our ferry bound for the mainland. On arrival in Ullapool we tour through the attractive scenery of Wester Ross to reach Inverness.
From Inverness it’s a short drive to Culloden Battlefield, where the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie was crushed by the Government troops under the command of the Duke of Cumberland. The year was 1746 and this was of the last battle fought on British soil. The outcome changed life in the Highlands forever!
Following our descent through the Grampian Mountains we reach Highland Perthshire and the Victorian spa town of Pitlochry which is our last stop of the day. There’s a wide variety of shops here or why not make the short walk to see the famous salmon ladder. The last part of our journey together will take us through the Kingdom of Fife then across the River Forth where we'll get great views of the mighty Forth Bridge. From here it's a short drive into the heart of Edinburgh.
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.
To give you complete choice admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour. The tour itinerary has been carefully 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.
There are different bedrooms types to choose from, here is what you can expect: Single room - one person sleeping in a single bed. Twin room - two people sleeping in two separate beds. Double room - two people sharing one large bed. Family room - three people sharing a room sleeping in one large bed (2 people) and one single bed (1 person). Please note that a family room can be a standard double room with either a sofa bed or a rollaway bed.
The crossing between Ullapool and Stornoway will take 2 hours and 30 minutes. The MV Loch Seaforth is a new CruiseFerry which is equipped to a very high standard with an observation lounge, shops, restaurant and comfortable seating inside and out.
The Outer Hebrides is the heartland of Gaelic culture and the majority of islanders will speak the Gaelic language, as well as English. Of course there is no need to learn Gaelic to enjoy your time in the Outer Hebrides but if you would like to learn a few words why not try:Hello. Halò. Goodbye. Mar sin leibh. My name is... Is mise...How are you? Ciamar a tha sibh? I’m fine thank you. Tha gu math tapadh leibh. Excuse me... Gabh mo leisgeul... Cheers! Slàinte!
From 1 Parliament Square
Royal Mile/High Street
Edinburgh EH1 1RE
Check-in: 08:15 hrs
Tour Departs: 08:30 hrs
Tour Returns: 19:00 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.