Scottish Highlands, Islands and Cities - 13 day tour
Scottish Highlands, Islands and Cities
13 day / 12 night
This all-embracing touring experience will introduce you to many sides of Scotland. From the bustling cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow to the remote Orkney Islands, famous for their pre-historic history. Visit grand castles, peaceful abbeys and famous battlefield sites. Enjoy some of Scotland’s best scenery, including drives along the famed North Coast 500 route and the picturesque Road to the Isles.
Edinburgh - enjoy a city tour with a local expert, including a visit to Edinburgh Castle
Glamis Castle - let Shakespeare’s Macbeth take centre stage when we visit the childhood home of HM The Queen Mother
Isle of Skye - explore the breathtaking scenery of the Magical Isle with a tour of the picturesque Sleat Peninsula
Orkney Islands - visit pre-historic Skara Brae village and marvel at the Ring of Brodgar standing stones
The Trossachs - experience a memorable lunch served at a 15th Century farm by the banks of Loch Ard
Movie locations - Local Hero, Harry Potter and Highlander
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Welcome to Edinburgh
Welcome to bonnie Scotland! There are airport transfers from Edinburgh Airport at 09:00, 11:30 and 14:00 hrs. Conditions apply.
After checking into your hotel, why not take a stroll to explore the Georgian architecture of Edinburgh’s New Town.
This evening, meet and get to know your companions and Travel Director at a Welcome Reception.
Visit our Getting to Scotland page for more information on rail and air links to Edinburgh.
Overnight: Apex Haymarket Hotel, Edinburgh (or similar) (3 nights)
Day 2 - Edinburgh City Tour and Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh is a rugged and beautiful city, as we will discover when we are joined by a local expert guide for a morning city tour.
A highlight is our visit to the apartments at the historic Edinburgh Castle to view the Scottish Crown Jewels.
The remainder of today is free for individual sightseeing.
Day 3 - Scottish Border Excursion
This morning we head into the beautiful Scottish Borders to see impressive 12th century ruined Jedburgh Abbey, founded by King David I.
Day 4 - Edinburgh - St Andrews - Dundee
Take a photograph at the famous Old Course or enjoy discovering the ancient University - there is so much to enjoy in this bustling town.
Later visit Glamis Castle, the childhood home of the late Queen Mother and the birthplace of Princess Margaret.
Glamis was also the setting for Shakespeare's Macbeth.
During our visit, enjoy a guided tour of the castle and free time to enjoy the beautiful gardens.
Overnight: Apex City Quay, Dundee (or similar)
Day 5 - Dundee - Culloden Moor - Carrbridge
This morning, visit a local malt whisky distillery to learn more about the traditions behind Scotland’s national drink, then sample a wee dram.
Travel through dramatic Highland landscapes and then enter the rugged beauty of the Cairngorms National Park.
Our last visit of the day is to Culloden Moor, where, in 1746, a ferocious battle took place between the Jacobite Army of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Government Forces. The Jacobites were soundly defeated, and, as a consequence, life in the Highlands changed forever.
Lately, the site has featured in Diane Gabaldon’s fictional novel “Outlander”.
It’s a short drive to our hotel in Carrbridge.
Overnight: Carrbridge Hotel, Carrbridge (or similar)
Day 6 - Carrbridge - Loch Ness - Thurso
It is a short drive to admire the beauty of Loch Ness, home of “Nessie, the fabled Loch Ness Monster.
Drive through Inverness, then head through the Black Isle to visit Dunrobin Castle, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Sutherland. This fairy-tale castle resembles a French chateâu with its towering conical spires.
Stroll through the formal gardens, inspired by the Palace of Versailles.
Enjoy superb sea views as we travel northwards along the famed North Coast 500 to reach Thurso, our home for the next two nights.
Overnight: Pentland Hotel, Thurso (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 7 - Orkney Islands Excursion
Visit John O'Groats, the most northerly village in mainland Britain, then take the ferry from Gills Bay across the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Island of South Ronaldsay.
On arrival, see the Churchill Barriers, built as part of the naval defences to protect the anchorage at Scapa Flow during World War II.
Visit Skara Brae and walk through the remains of the famous Neolithic village thought to have been occupied in 3,000 BC.
Viking Kirkwall is our next treat, where we will see towering St Magnus Cathedral.
Later we will cross the sea back to the mainland and our hotel, where dinner is served.
Day 8 - Thurso - Ullapool - Isle of Skye
Rejoin the North Coast 500 route, where the landscape along the northern coastline is simply stunning!
Experience some of Scotland’s finest coastal scenery, towering mountains and pretty fishing villages. Visit the picturesque fishing port of Ullapool, which sits on Loch Broom. It was designed by Thomas Telford as a herring port in the 1780s.
Overnight: Kings Arms Hotel, Kyleakin (or similar)
Day 9 - Isle of Skye - Fort William - Oban
The main town on the island is Portree, which sits overlooking its attractive harbour. There is time to enjoy Portree for yourself before joining the ferry for the short sailing to Mallaig on the mainland.
Tour along the scenic “Road to the Isles” and see the famous Railway Viaduct, which features in the Harry Potter movies and the Glenfinnan Monument, commemorating the Highlanders that fought during the 1745 Jacobite uprising.
At Fort William, you will see Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, in all its glory before following the coastal route to the Victorian seaside town of Oban, our home for the next two nights.
Overnight: The Royal Hotel, Oban (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 10 - Isle of Mull & Isle of Iona Excursion
Cruise from Oban across the mouth of Loch Linnhe to Craignure on the Isle of Mull, the fourth largest Scottish island and a jewel of moorlands, forests and cliffs.
Tour through the island to reach Fionnphort for a short ferry crossing to the island of Iona. It was here that St Columba built a monastery in 563.
During our time on Iona, visit the Abbey, one of the oldest and most important religious sites in Western Europe and see Reilig Odhrain, reputed to be the final resting place of the early Scottish Kings.
Later return to Oban in time for dinner.
Day 11 - Oban - Glen Coe - Glasgow
Enter dramatic Glen Coe, known as the Glen of the Weeping, after the tragic massacre of 1692 of the resident MacDonald Clan. There is a stop so you can savour the majestic beauty of this famous glen.
The beautiful scenery continues as we make our way over Rannoch Moor to reach Loch Lomond, where you can stop for photographs.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Theatreland, Glasgow (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 12 - Stirling Castle and Bannockburn Excursion
This morning head to Bannockburn, the scene of the famous battle in 1314 where the Scots under the command of King Robert the Bruce defeated the English Army of King Edward II during the War of Independence.
Next, travel to the city of Stirling for a guided visit of the historic Stirling Castle to explore the Royal Palace of King James V. See the recently restored Stirling Heads, Chapel Royal and the Great Hall, once a venue for extravagant banquets and celebrations.
Enjoy a Farewell Lunch on a 15th Century working farm with your companions and Travel Director in the heart of Rob Roy MacGregor country.
Return to Glasgow for free time and the opportunity to dine independently in one of the city’s lively restaurants.
Day 13 - Depart Glasgow
After breakfast say a fond farewell to bonnie Scotland as your wonderful holiday draws to a close.
Airport transfers are available at 07:00 hrs and 09:00 hrs. Conditions apply.
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?
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.
What kind of accommodation do you use?
The group will stay together in first class or superior tourist class hotels. Each has been carefully selected for comfort, quality and ambiance located in the best locations close to the shopping areas and the key sights.
You will discover a pleasant balance of familiar brand hotels such as Hilton, Marriott and Accor together with locally owned family-run hotels.
In rural locations your accommodation will be in the best available hotels. A full hotel list will be provided as part of your Tour Documentation.
Who travels on an escorted tour?
These tours are immensely popular so expect to be travelling in the company of like-minded travellers from around the world. It’s a great way to make new friends!
Age-wise it’s really difficult for us to give an accurate figure for any given tour departure, but experience has taught us to expect the median age to be between 45 and 50.
How do I arrange my airport transfer?
Complimentary airport transfers are included on the first and last day of your tour.
If you wish to avail of this facility, please provide your flight details (flight number, arrival/departure time and originating/destination airport) as soon as you have this information.
You will meet your driver or guide in the arrivals hall after completing the immigration and customs formalities.
Complete information will be included in your tour documentation.
Please note that you'll need to make your own transfer arrangements if you plan to arrange pre or post tour accommodation.
- 12 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Edinburgh (3); Dundee (1); Inverness (1); Thurso (2); Isle of Skye (1); Oban (2) and Glasgow (2)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (12)
- Welcome reception with your Tour Director
- Table d’hôte dinners (4)
- Farewell lunch on a working Scottish farm
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Admission to Edinburgh Castle, Glamis Castle, Culloden Battlefield, Dunrobin Castle, Italian Chapel, Skara Brae, Glasgow Cathedral and Stirling Castle
- City tour of Edinburgh
- Orientation tours of Dundee, Glasgow and Stirling
- Visit to a whisky distillery with tasting
- Touring by luxury air-conditioned coach with extra-legroom, reclining seats, on board washroom and Wifi
- Ferry to the Orkney Islands
- Ferry from the Isle of Skye
- Ferry to the Isles of Mull and Iona
- All baggage handling and hotel tips are included
- Services throughout the tour of a professional Tour Director
- Service charges and taxes
Please check your tour documentation for the commencement time of the tour
From Apex Haymarket Hotel
90 Haymarket Terrace
Edinburgh EH12 5LQ
The tour will end in Glasgow after breakfast on day 13
Check-in: 14:15 hrs
Tour Departs: 14:30 hrs
Tour Returns: 09:00 hrs
Child discount applies to children aged 5 to 17 years inclusive on the basis that they share a room with an adult.
We’re sorry but children aged under 5 years cannot travel on this tour.
Photo-ID may be requested to confirm discount entitlement.
The price of the tour includes hotel accommodation with en-suite bathroom.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.