Loch Ness, Skye and Orkney Small Group Tour
7 day/6 night tour
Scotland shows off its most beautiful side on this leisurely tour. Start with a wonderful two-night stay on the Isle of Skye where you’ll discover the beauty of the Cuillin Hills and the weird scenery of Trotternish. Back on the mainland enjoy almost a full day at leisure by the banks of Loch Ness. End the tour in Orkney where you’ll be introduced to many of historical sites that make these islands so special.
Price range: £665 - 880
Small Group Tour - travel in an intimate group of just 16 passengers
Skye - discover the stunning lunar landscape of Trotternish and tour through the scenic Sleat Peninsula
Eilean Donan Castle - explore this picture-perfect castle and relish the amazing views of Skye
Loch Ness - enjoy free time and, if you wish, take a relaxing monster-spotting cruise on the loch
Orkney Islands - visit pre-historic standing stones; the Neolithic village of Skara Brae and see the moving Italian Chapel
Movie locations – The World is not Enough, Rob Roy and Venus Peter
Guest house accommodation included - hotel upgrade option available
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Edinburgh - Eilean Donan Castle - Isle of Skye
It’s time to join our tour to discover the beautiful Highlands and Islands! From Edinburgh we travel westwards to Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city then make our way towards our first treat – beautiful Loch Lomond. We’ll make a stop in the picturesque loch-side village of Luss so that you can enjoy the stunning views.
Our ascent of the Black Mount brings us to the wilds of Rannoch Moor, a landscape of peat-bogs, craggy rocks and tiny lochs. This wilderness covers an area of some 50 square miles making it one of the remotest areas in Britain. As we make our way through this dramatic scenery listen as your driver/guide tells the story of the infamous Massacre of Glen Coe. Soon we will make a spectacular entry into the glen and make a stop so you can savour the atmosphere and capture the beauty of Scotland’s most famous valley.
Next we make our way through The Great Glen and past the soaring peaks of the Five Sisters mountain range to reach picture-perfect Eilean Donan Castle. This beautiful castle sits on a little island at the head of Loch Duich. There is time for you to explore the castle and enjoy the views before we cross over to the Isle of Skye using the road bridge.
Overnight: Isle of Skye (2 nights)
Day 2 - Exploring the Isle of Skye
Good morning! After breakfast we join our fellow travellers to explore Scotland’s most romantic island - Skye!
Our first treat is the jagged peaks that make up the Black and Red Cuillin. These untamed mountains are famed the World over for their challenges to climbing enthusiasts. We’ll make a stop so you can capture the scene from a popular viewpoint.
Next we travel northwards to explore the fascinating geology of the Trotternish Peninsula. Here we’ll find the volcanic landscape of the Trotternish Ridge which includes impressive pinnacles known as the Old Man of Storr and The Quiraing. We’ll also see Kilt Rock with its striking waterfall freefalling 60 metres to the sea below!
Enjoy time for lunch in Portree, the largest town on the island. It’s set around a picturesque natural harbour which make a great spot to enjoy some freshly cooked fish and chips!
Afterwards we travel westwards to visit Dun Beag Broch. The name means little fort and experts think this was the home of a local Chieftain. It’s amazingly well preserved so it needs little imagination to visualise how life might have been lived here by early man.
We’ll end our day on the Sleat peninsula, known as the garden of Skye. At picturesque Eilean Iarmain we’ll find Praban Na Linne - The Gaelic Whiskies. There’s time to discover how they produce whisky in the traditional way as well as enjoying a wee tasting too!
Day 3 - Isle of Skye - Loch Ness - Fort Augustus
We return to the mainland and make our way to the mysterious banks of Loch Ness. On arrival in Fort Augustus, a pleasant village at the southern end of the loch, we bid farewell to our fellow passengers. For us the remainder of today is at leisure so why not enjoy a short Nessie spotting cruise or relax watching the boats navigate the locks on the Caledonian Canal.
If you are feeling more energetic there are several walks you can enjoy in the surrounding countryside.
Please note you will leave the first part of your tour on arrival in Fort Augustus. You will join a new group of travelling companions and meet your new driver-guide tomorrow (day four).
Overnight: Fort Augustus
Day 4 - Fort Augustus - Inverness - Kirkwall (Orkney Islands)
Start today with a drive along the banks of Loch Ness all the way to Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands. We’ll make our way through the city then across the Moray and Cromarty Firths. This part of our journey takes us along the famous North Coast 500 (NC500) route, Scotland’s own Route 66! There are wonderful sea views to experience as we make our way through the little towns and villages that are dotted along the coastline.
At Gill’s Bay we join the modern ferry for the short sail to the Orkney Isles. During our crossing of the Pentland Firth there is the chance to see a wide range of local wildlife including porpoises, seals, killer whales, puffins and other seabirds.
On our arrival in the Orkney Islands we’ll travel over the Churchill Barriers, constructed during World War II by Italian Prisoners of War. We’ll make a stop so you can visit the ornate chapel that they transformed from a simple Nissen hut.
We end our travels in Kirkwall, a bustling seaport and our base for the next two nights.
Overnight: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands (2 nights)
Day 5 - Exploring the Orkney Islands
The Orkneys are home to a remarkable number of archaeological sites.
Today we’ll experience 6,000 years of history when we visit some of the most significant sites. Skara Brae is a prehistoric village that was occupied before the Pyramids were even built! During our visit see the streets, houses and artefacts that were uncovered after a dramatic storm in 1850. The relics discovered here present a fascinating insight into how life was lived some 5,000 years ago.
Maeshowe is an amazing burial chamber constructed by Neolithic stonemasons and features a roof of faultlessly cut sandstone. This masterwork was already ancient when the Vikings ransacked it 1,000 years ago and left their graffiti behind.
The imposing Ring of Brodgar was once a circle of 60 stones that stood on a narrow strip of land between two lochs. Today only 27 megalith stones remain, but at up to 4 metres tall they continue to be an impressive sight, as we will discover.
12th Century St Magnus Cathedral stands in the heart of Kirkwall so on our return we’ll end our day of discovery by visiting this magnificent example of Norman architecture.
Day 6 - Kirkwall - Dunrobin Castle - Inverness
We have free time in Kirkwall before we bid goodbye to Orkney and we make our way to St Margaret’s Hope to board the ferry for our return crossing of the Pentland Firth. We disembark in Gill’s Bay and travel southwards along the famous North Coast 500 route.
At Golspie we’ll stop so you can visit Dunrobin Castle, Scotland’s most northerly castle and the seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. This impressive castle has 189 rooms and was built with a strong French influence. Inside you’ll find remarkable paintings and fine furniture then step outside to explore the formal gardens which play host to a daily falconry display!
Our scenic drive will take us over the Cromarty Firth and through the Black Isle. We’ll arrive in Inverness, our home for tonight by late afternoon.
Day 7 - Inverness - Culloden Moor - Edinburgh
Our first visit today is to visit poignant Culloden Moor, the site of the last battle ever fought on British soil. Experience the sights and sounds of the battle at the Visitor Centre or take a walk on the battlefield to see where the Jacobite forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie were crushed by government troops. The result of the battle changed Highland culture for ever!
Our journey southwards will take us through the natural beauty of the Cairngorms National Park then through the Grampian Mountains to the charming Victorian resort of Pitlochry. We’ll make a stop here before travelling the last part of our journey to Edinburgh.
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.
What options are available on this tour and what is the cost?
To give you maximum flexibility the cost of admission fees and other optional extras are not included in the tour price. This gives you complete freedom to choose as the mood takes you. On this tour there are options to visit
Following the links above will give you more information these attractions including current admission prices. At some locations a special discount is offered to tour participants, your driver/guide will give you more information if this applies. Credit/debit cards are not always accepted so you should plan to have sufficient cash with you should you wish to make any visits.
What type of room should I choose?
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.
Tell me more about the optional Loch Ness Cruise?
Mount your very own Nessie adventure by taking a one hour cruise to explore the deep, dark and mysterious waters of Loch Ness. The cruise boat is equipped with on-board sonar, comfortable seating inside and out as well as toilets. Refreshments are available for purchase or you can bring packed food. You can purchase a ticket from your driver/guide on the day of the tour and payment is in cash only.
How much luggage can I bring?
Luggage space on the tour is restricted so the amount of luggage that you can bring is limited to 1 bag per person that weights no more than 15kg and has maximum dimensions of 55 x 40 x 20cm. Luggage larger than this will only be carried if space is available.
- 6 nights guest house or hotel accommodation
- Location: Isle of Skye (2); Inverness (1); Kirkwall, Orkney Islands (2) and Inverness (1)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (6)
- Transportation by luxury air-conditioned minicoach with wifi and usb charging points
- Ferry to the Orkney Islands
- 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: 08:15 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.