Road to the Isles
5 day/4 night tour
In just 5 days you'll get the chance to explore pre-historic sites at Kilmartin Glen; have an in-depth tour of the beautiful Isle of Skye and, on some departures, enjoy a trip on the famous Jacobite Steam Train. This comprehensive tour of the Scottish Highlands is the perfect balance of exploration, travel and hospitality.
Price range: £495 - £725
Oban - experience the wonderful seafood in this lively fishing port
Isle of Skye - explore the lunar landscape of the Trotternish Peninsula to see Kilt Rock and the Old Man of Storr
Culloden Moor - discover the story behind Bonnie Prince Charlie and the last battle fought in Britain
Loch Ness - enjoy a “Monster” cruise to see impressive Urquhart Castle
Jacobite Steam Train - many departures include a one-way journey aboard the real Hogwarts Express!
Movie locations - Snow White and the Huntsman, Stardust and Harry Potter
Guest house accommodation included - hotel upgrade available at extra cost
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 -
Leaving Edinburgh and Glasgow behind we enter the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, a natural wonder that is just waiting to be discovered. Loch Lomond is a real highlight - this is Britain's largest lake and one of Scotland's loveliest. It has 30 islands, including one inhabited by a colony of wallabies! We’ll make a stop in the pretty village of Luss so you can take a stroll by the "bonnie, bonnie banks".
The Argyll Forest Park is famed for its ancient trees, tranquil lochs and mountains. Look out for Ben Arthur, affectionately known as "The Cobbler” - it’s one of Scotland’s most popular climbs.
Soon our coach starts our ascent of the "Rest and be Thankful” mountain pass. You’ll soon realise why this road has such an unusual name when you look down on General Wade's original road that winds its way through Glen Coe all the way to the summit!
The 3rd Duke of Argyll built the "new" town of Inveraray at the head of Loch Fyne. The town sits in the shadow of Inveraray Castle and, as we will discover, this pleasant town retains much of its 18th Century charm.
From Lochgilphead we enter Kilmartin Glen. This mysterious Glen has one of the most concentrated areas of prehistoric sites in Scotland including a linear cemetery – a line of burial cairns that stretch for over 2 miles. Nearby is Dunadd, a hill fort that dates from the Iron Age. Dunadd was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada so this part of Argyll has played an important part in the creation of modern Scotland!
Soon we arrive in the bustling, beautiful port of Oban, our stop for tonight. Oban is the gateway to the isles so why not take a pre-dinner stroll and admire the views over the busy harbour.
Day 2 - Oban - Glen Coe - Isle of Skye
We bid farewell to Oban and make our way to the Connel Bridge. As we cross Loch Etive look out for the Falls of Lora below.
Glen Coe is arguably Scotland's most famous Glen partly because of it's awe-inspiring beauty and, more sinisterly, because of the infamous massacre that took place here in 1692. The sad tale will be told as we make a short diversion to explore this special place for ourselves.
Fort William's glorious setting on the banks of Loch Linnhe has made it a popular tourist destination since the arrival of the steamships in the mid-1900's. The town sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis, which, at 4,406 feet, is the tallest mountain in the UK.
Here we leave our tour coach and board the Jacobite Steam Train (see note) for a journey of a life time on the famous West Highland Line – regarded by many as the most scenic in Britain! From Fort William the train travels along the banks of Loch Eil then crosses the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, featured in the Harry Potter movies as part of the route to Hogwarts. Look out for the Glenfinnan Monument built to commemorate the ill-fated Jacobite up-rising of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745.
The scenic journey continues with wonderful views of Lochs Eilt, Ailort and nan Uamh before reaching the silver sands of Morar (made famous in the popular film Local Hero) and Mallaig. After some free time to enjoy the views over the Sound of Sleat to the Magical Isle we board a ferry for our crossing "Over the sea to Skye”. A short drive brings us to our home for the next two nights.
Note: Departures of 13 May to 26 August, 2019 will travel on the Jacobite Steam Train. All other departures will feature a cruise on Loch Ness and admission to Urquhart Castle.
Overnight: Isle of Skye (2 nights)
Day 3 - Isle of Skye Excursion
After breakfast we board our coach for a wonderful day of exploration. From the little villages and gentle scenery of the southern part of the island the views will change dramatically as the Cuillin Hills come into sight. Considered by many to be amongst the finest hills in Britain the Cuillins present a vista that is simply unforgettable.
Set round its natural harbour the picturesque town of Portree is the largest community on the Isle of Skye. The name of the town means the "King's Port" following a visit by King James V in 1540. Today the pretty painted houses which surround the harbour give Portree an old fashioned appeal. During our stop there will be time to explore the town and browse the interesting shops that surround Sumerled Square.
Later we tour the famed Trotternish Peninsula. From Portree we travel northwards to the little ferry port of Uig from where ferries sail to the Outer Herbrides. At little Kilmuir there is a monument to Flora MacDonald who, famously, assisted Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape the Government Troops who were hunting for him.
We'll stop to explore The Quiraing, a dramatic terrain formed by a landslide. We'll stop so you can walk through a landscape that dates from Jurassic times! See if you can identify the rock formations that are known as the "Needle", "Table" and "Prison".
A short drive brings us to Kilt Rock, so named because the basalt columns of this rock fall to resemble the pleats of a kilt - we will stop so you can snap an "I was there" photograph!
Dun Beag is a well-preseved broch dating from the Iron Age that has a commanding position overlooking Loch Bracadale. This type of round stone tower is unique to Scotland and is thought to have been built as a small fort over 2,000 years ago. After time to explore this ancient monument we'll make our way back to Portree.
Day 4 - Isle of Skye - Eilean Donan Castle - Loch Ness
We bid farewell to the Isle of Skye and return to the mainland. We stop to visit picturesque Eilean Donan Castle. This is, without doubt, one of Scotland's most iconic sights. The castle stands on a little island situated at the confluence of Loch's Alsh and Duich. We'll have time to discover the castle for ourselves during our stop here.
Experience amazing scenery as we tour through Glen Shiel. Look out for the towering peaks of the mountain range known as the “Five Sisters of Kintail”. They make for an impressive sight.
From Invermoriston take a drive along the banks of mysterious Loch Ness. Enjoy time in the delightful village of Drumnadrochit then this afternoon why not mount a "Nessie" spotting cruise of your own or enjoy wonderful views of the lake from the battlements of mighty Urquhart Castle?
Overnight: Loch Ness
Day 5 - Loch Ness - Culloden Moor - Edinburgh/Glasgow
A short drive will take us to Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, and then on to desolate Culloden Moor which was the site of the last battle ever fought on British soil. The Jacobite troops of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the British Army under the command of the Duke of Cumberland clashed here in a bloody battle. The Jacobites were routed and in the aftermath Highland life changed forever. We'll make a stop so that you can discover more about the battle and its dramatic consequences.
The Cairngorm National Park is an area of stunning natural beauty, as we will discover. As we journey through the Spey Valley the Cairngorm Mountains, which rise to over 4000 feet, provide a striking backdrop. We’ll make a stop at a local Malt Whisky Distillery where you can enjoy an informative tour and have a tasting. Slàinte!
Wild mountain vistas surround us as we descend the Drumochter Pass, the main route into the highlands since the earliest of times.
There are fine views of Blair Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Atholl – the only man allowed to have their own private army, The Atholl Highlanders. We’ll make a stop in the pretty town of Pitlochry, a gloriously colourful and vibrant Victorian town surrounded by the most resplendent mountain scenery in Europe. Its fame as a holiday resort dates from the 1860s and was a popular destination with Queen Victoria. We’ll spend time here so you soak up the atmosphere of this picturesque little town.
The final part of our journey together takes us through the heart of Highland Perthshire. As we travel southwards past the twin villages of Dunkeld and Birnam you will discover why this part of Scotland is called "Big Tree Country”! From Perth we travel through the Kingdom of Fife then cross the River Forth to reach to Edinburgh.
If the starting point of your tour was Glasgow the coach will make a stop at Edinburgh Waverley Station. Here you’ll board an express train for the 50 minute journey back to Glasgow. The ticket price is included in the cost of the tour fare.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Signature Multi-day Tour?
For the discerning traveller a Signature Multi-day Tour offers amazing value for money, comfortable accommodation, well-paced sightseeing and luxury travel. All of this combines to create the definitive Scottish experience. Each tour is hosted by a professional driver/guide, who has been chosen for their extensive knowledge as well as their driving skills. And being locals you are sure to get that extra insight. If you should have any problems during your stay, they’ll go out of their way to help. You will want to see as much as possible, but you don’t want to be rushed. Our tours are carefully planned to strike the right balance, and as well as comfortable mini/midicoach travel many feature memorable railway or ferry journeys. Having somewhere pleasant to stay after an exciting day of discovery is an important part of your holiday experience. Comfortable guest house accommodation with en-suite bathrooms, tv and other amenities is included in the price of all tours. On many tours you can choose to upgrade to hotel accommodation, at extra cost, if you wish. A tasty 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 are the optional extras on this tour and how much do they 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 the optional extras are: ( ) Please note these prices are given for guidance only and may be subject to change without notice. The age limit for child discounts can vary. Credit/debit cards are not always accepted so you should plan to have sufficient cash with you should you wish to purchase any of these optional extras.
What is the journey on the Jacobite Steam Train like?
Described as one of the great railway journeys of the world this 84 mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis! The train will cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct (a location made famous in the Harry Potter films) which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument. The train may pause on the viaduct, time permitting, to allow you to take in the magnificent view. On some tours the route may be reversed.
What meals are included ?
A full Scottish breakfast is included from day 2 onwards. This hearty meal consists of fruit juice; a choice of cereal; bakery basket; cooked items such as eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato and, maybe, a taste of haggis! plus tea or coffee. Vegetarian and lighter Continental options are always available. Lunch and dinner are not included in the price. During the touring day there will be a stop where you can enjoy lunch in a local pub or restaurant. Your driver/guide will be happy to suggest a conveniently located restaurant where you can enjoy good food for dinner.
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.
- 4 nights guest house or hotel accommodation
- Location: Oban (1); Isle of Skye (2) and Fort Augustus (1)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (4)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- One way Jacobite Steam Train trip on the West Highland Railway Line (13 May to 26 August departures only)
- Admission to Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness Cruise (all other departure dates)
- Transportation by luxury air-conditioned mini/midicoach
- 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
Check-in: 09:30 hrs
Tour Departs: 09:45 hrs
Tour Returns: 20:00 hrs
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.
This tour departs from Edinburgh and Glasgow. You can choose to return to either city at no extra charge! Please make your selection during the booking process.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.