Scottish Wilderness - 3 day tour
3 day / 2 night tour
This superb tour will introduce you to the beauty of the Northern Highlands. Along the way visit Glen Coe, site of the infamous massacre, and enjoy some monster-spotting at mysterious Loch Ness. As you travel to the Far North discover an area rich in pre-historic sites, amazing coastal scenery, attractive fishing villages. There is amazing nature to discover too including dolphin-spotting at the Moray Firth.
Price range: £330 - £575
Loch Ness - discover ancient Urquhart Castle and look for “Nessie” on a short cruise
Inverness - enjoy a relaxed two-night stay in the “Capital of the Highlands”
John O’Groats - capture a selfie with the famous sign
Duncansby Head - visit the mighty cliffs to see the impressive sea stacks and varied birdlife, including those cheeky puffins!
Cairngorms National Park - travel through this epic region of soaring mountains and ancient forests
Movie locations - Rob Roy, The Silver Darlings and Complicity
Guest house accommodation included - hotel upgrade available at extra cost
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Edinburgh - Loch Ness - Inverness
We start the day by making our way to remote Rannoch Moor and then into dramatic Glen Coe. We’ll make a photo-stop here so you can soak up the beauty of this special place.
Historic Fort William sits on the banks of Loch Linnhe and in the shadow of Ben Nevis - Britain’s tallest mountain.
The Caledonian Canal leads us through the Great Glen, with it’s wonderful loch-side views, all the way to Loch Ness. We’ll make a stop so you can visit Urquhart Castle and take a short cruise on Loch Ness - keep a close watch in case "you know who” makes an appearance!
Shortly we will arrive in Inverness, our home for the next two nights.
Overnight: Inverness (2 nights)
Day 2 - John O’Groats and the Far North Excursion
Our destination today is the very edge of mainland Britain as we head for the Northern Highlands.
We travel from Inverness over the Moray, Dornoch and Cromarty Firths to reach “Whisky Country”, a region home to several famous whiskies. These include Glenmorangie, which is produced in Tain, a town that can trace its history back to 1066.
On the outskirts of Golspie, we’ll stop to visit Carn Laith Broch, a well-preserved Iron-age broch which was built as a defensive settlement. With walls almost 4 metres high it makes an impressive sight overlooking the sea.
The Great North Road climbs “The Ord”, the gateway to the famous county of Caithness, where we reach picturesque Helmsdale, a village once the centre of a vast gold rush.
Historically, herring-fishing was the primary industry of Caithness. The importance of the “Silver Darlings”, as they were known, created little fishing villages such as Lybster and Dunbeath. Each has a natural harbour lying below the high and rugged cliffs. A stop here offers the opportunity to enjoy the seascapes.
After a souvenir photo stop in John O’Groats at the very tip of Scotland, it’s on to spectacular Duncansby Head to discover nature at its most striking. It’s well worth the short walk for the reward of beautiful views of the towering stacks, home to a large, varied, and noisy bird population.
We make a brief stop in Wick, before beginning the return journey to Inverness.
Day 3 - Inverness - Dolphin Spotting - Edinburgh
After breakfast, we make a visit to Clava Cairns, a group of three prehistoric burial cairns surrounded by standing stones. This picturesque setting is thought to have inspired the Outlander author, Diana Gabaldon, to create the cleft stone of Craigh Na Dun where Claire time travels all the way back to 1743.
After a short drive, there's a brief stop at Culloden Battlefield where you can learn about the famous battle, in 1746, between the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Government troops.
Our next stop is the attractive town of Beauly. It is thought that the town was named "Beau Lieu" - Beautiful Place, by the French monks. They built a Priory here in the 13th Century which was visited by Mary, Queen of Scots in 1564 and still stands in the centre of the town, surrounded by trees.
A scenic drive through the Black Isle will bring us to Cromarty, a historic fishing port which retains much of its Old World charm. At Chanonry Point, which overlooks the Moray Firth, we hope to see some of the Bottlenose Dolphins that call this stretch of water home.
Later we return to Inverness to join our coach for the journey south. Enjoy stunning views as you travel through the Cairngorms National Park then descend through the Grampian Mountains to reach Highland Perthshire. Enjoy a break in Pitlochry, an attractive Victorian resort, before heading for Perth.
The last part of the journey is through the Kingdom of Fife, then across the Firth of Forth to reach Edinburgh.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Freestyle Mini Tour?
These tours are ideal if you are an independent spirit as they offer the ideal blend of structured sightseeing and relaxing free time. Instead of spending your entire tour with the same group you’ll join a different party of fellow passengers each day to explore different aspects of the Highlands. All Freestyle Mini Tours are based in Inverness, which is an excellent base offering good quality accommodation, great shopping plus a wide choice of dining opportunities and evening diversions. A bonus is having to unpack, just once, plus there is no luggage restrictions. On the journeys between Edinburgh/Glasgow and Inverness you’ll travel in a large motorcoach allowing you to relax and enjoy the journey in comfort. Once you are based in Inverness you will travel on a different excursion each day by air-conditioned mini or midicoach. Each tour is led by a local driver/guide who will provide an entertaining and informative commentary. 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. Breakfast is included during your stay in Inverness. Each morning you’ll be picked up from your lodgings by the tour coach. After a day of discovery you’ll be dropped in Inverness City Centre where you can get something to eat before returning, independently, to your accommodation. If you are a free spirit that likes to get behind the tourist veneer then a Freestyle mini-tour is just for you.
Can you tell me more about the optional extras on this tour?
Admission fees are not included in the cost of the tour so to complement your itinerary you can choose to participate in these exciting options:
Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness Cruise
Visit hauntingly beautiful Urquhart Castle, once one of Scotland’s largest castles. The castle boasts a commanding presence overlooking the loch. After time to explore the castle and admire the views take to the water for a cruise on Loch Ness. Please note that for operational reasons it’s not possible to visit Urquhart Castle only.
The cost of the ticket is £19 per adult and £15 per child.
Glen Ord Whisky Distillery
Please note that not all attractions take payment by credit/debit card so it is recommended that you carry sufficient cash should you plan to make a visit. In some cases discounts are available to tour passengers. Your driver/guide will provide you with more information if this applies.
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.
Will I see puffins?
The best time to spot puffins is from late April to late July. We recommend bringing binoculars with you as they can be difficult to spot, as for much of the time they are in burrows where they lay their egg.
Can I reserve specific seats on the coach?
Seating on this tour is on a first come, first served basis and cannot be pre-booked. If you are travelling as part of a group please make sure that all members of the party arrive at the departure point together.
- 2 nights guest house or hotel accommodation
- Location: Inverness (2)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (2)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Full day excursion to John O'Groats and the Far North with local driver/guide
- Transportation by luxury air-conditioned touring coach or mini/midi coach
- Live commentary in English
- Services of an experienced guide and/or 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: 07:45 hrs
Tour Departs: 08:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 20:30 hrs
Child discount applies to children aged 3 to 15 years.
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.
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.
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Customer Reviews Overall Rating:
Rating:(5 /5) 15 Aug 2016
This was a fabulous tour. I have nothing but good things to say about my entire trip. The buses were on time always, plenty of washroom breaks, well chosen eating spots and the scenery en route, spectacular. As I was travelling alone I felt safe at my accomodation's and included in al the activities and tours. Duncan and Malcom were fabulous at sharing their passion and knowledge of Scotland's history.Dori from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Rating:(4 /5) 14 Aug 2016
Re: vehicle: coach from Edinburgh to Inverness (and back) not as comfortable as the smaller buses on the individual daily tours. In addition there was some organizational "chaos" in the beginning: the coach from Edinburgh to Inverness was overbooked by one person with one passenger having to volunteer to take the day tour to Loch Ness the next day. Lunch stop in Fort William (on the coach from Edinburgh to Inverness) not recommendable: low quality food and slow service that could hardly handle the bus load of people during the 1h break. All other food stops were ok. Overall, a highly recommendable tour with well selected destinations and many exciting and interesting places and animal sightings (seals, dolphins, and even a puffin).Michael from Groebenzell, Germany
Rating:(5 /5) 07 Jul 2016
I am not sure what portion of the tour I am being asked to review. We were on a large bus, then switched to a small for the highlands. The smaller highland tours were the preferred tours vs the large bus tour.Cindy from Cranbrook, Canada