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, celebrated for their pre-historic history. Visit grand castles, peaceful abbeys and famous battlefield sites. Enjoy some of Scotland’s best scenery too including drives along the famed North Coast 500 route and the picturesque Road to the Isles.
Price range: £2,425-£3,425
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 including the picturesque Slate Peninsula
Orkney Islands - visit pre-historic Skara Brae village and the 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. Relax after your journey. This evening, meet and get to know your companions and Travel Director at a Welcome Pub Reception, which includes a typical Scottish meal and drinks.
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. See Princes Street, the New Town, the Royal Mile, Scottish Parliament and Arthur's Seat during your morning sightseeing tour with an expert Local Guide. Visit the apartments at the historic Edinburgh Castle with views of Holyrood House, the former residence of Mary Queen of Scots. A highlight of our visit will be a viewing of the Scottish Crown Jewels. During the Edinburgh Festival, tickets for the spectacular Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo are also included.
Day 3 - Scottish Border Excursion
This morning into the beautiful Scottish Borders to see impressive 12th century ruined Jedburgh Abbey. Admire Melrose Abbey, where the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce is said to rest, before following the valley of the River Tweed back to Edinburgh.
Day 4 - Edinburgh - St Andrews - Dundee
See the spectacular Forth Bridge as we travel to St. Andrews, considered by many as the home of golf, take a photograph at the famous Old Course or enjoy discovering the ancient University - there is so much to enjoy. Later visit Glamis Castle, the childhood home of the late Queen Mother, birthplace of Princess Margaret and the setting for Shakespeare's Macbeth. Enjoy a guided tour of the castle and free time to enjoy the beautiful gardens. Later arrive in Dundee, a waterfront city in the Tay Estuary which is the UK's first UNESCO City of Design.
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 distillers art and to sample a wee dram. Travel through dramatic Highland landscapes and the rugged Cairngorm National Park. Visit the site of the Battle of Culloden where, in 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite army was defeated. 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 the fabled monster. Visit Dunrobin Castle, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Sutherland, which resembles a French chateâu with its towering conical spires. Stroll through the formal gardens, inspired by the Palace of Versailles. Enjoy wonderful sea views as we travel northwards to 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, then take the ferry from Gills Bay across the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Island of South Ronaldsay. See the Churchill Barriers, built as part of naval defence to protect the anchorage at Scapa Flow during World War II. Visit the ornate Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war. Visit Skara Brae and walk through the remains of the famous Neolithic village. See the prehistoric Ring of Brodgar en route to visit Viking Kirkwall where we will see towering St Magnus Cathedral. Later we will cross the sea back to the mainland. Dine tonight at your hotel.
Day 8 - Thurso - Ullapool - Isle of Skye
The landscape along the northern coastline is stunning! See misty valleys and glens and visit the picturesque fishing village of Ullapool, which sits on Loch Broom. View impressive Eilean Donan Castle then continue via the Kyle of Lochalsh and over the sea to Skye, where we will see the towering Cuillin Hills.
Overnight: Kings Arms Hotel, Kyleakin (or similar)
Day 9 - Isle of Skye - Fort William - Ballachulish
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. Tour the famous "Road to the Isles" and see the famous Railway Viaduct, which features in the Harry Potter movies and Glenfinnan Monument, where Bonnie Prince Charlie rasied his standard at the start of the 1745 Jacobite uprising. At Fort William you will see Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, in all its glory. Later arrive at your hotel in Ballachulish.
Overnight: Ballachulish Hotel, Ballachulish (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. Drive to Fionnphort for a short ferry crossing to the island of Iona. It was here that St Columba built a monastery in 563. Visit the Abbey, one of the oldest and most important religious sites in Western Europe, before returning to your hotel for dinner.
Day 11 - Ballachulish - 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. The beautiful scenery continues as we make our way over Rannoch Moor and via Tyndrum to Loch Lomond, where you can stop for photographs and perhaps take a cruise on the Loch. Later your orientation of Glasgow includes views of George Square, the impressive City Chambers and a visit to Glasgow Cathedral.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Theatreland/Novotel, Glasgow (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 12 - Stirling Castle and Bannockburn Excursion
This morning enjoy a guided visit of the historic Stirling Castle and explore the Royal Palace of King James V. See the Stirling Heads making your way to nearby Bannockburn - the site of the famous battle between King Robert Bruce of Scotland and Edward II of England. Enjoy a Farewell Lunch on a working Scottish farm with your companions and Travel Director and after you'll have free time to further explore Glasgow.
Day 13 - Depart Glasgow
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. All 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 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. You’ll have the chance to personalise your touring experience by participating in some carefully planned optional excursions. These are at additional expense and details will be provided with your tour documentation.
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 EDocumentation.
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. We regret that if you are planning pre or post tour accommodation you will need to make your own transfer arrangements. You will meet your driver or guide in the arrivals hall once you have completed the immigration and customs formalities. Full information is included in your tour documentation.
- 12 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Edinburgh (3); Dundee (1); Inverness (1); Thurso (2); Isle of Skye (1); Ballachulish (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
- Tickets are included for the World-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on 8 to 22 August, 2020 departures
- 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.
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Selected departures include a visit to this famous celebration of music, dancing and culture performed against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.