Scotland's Highlands and Islands - 14 day tour
If you are seeking an all-embracing tour of Scotland, this is it! From Glasgow, travel to Scotland's historic capital, Edinburgh, for a relaxed 3-night stay. Discover Edinburgh and the delightful Border country before heading to Inverness and the rugged beauty of the Northern Highlands. Visit pre-historic delights in the Orkney Islands, then join the North Coast 500 route for unrivalled coastal scenery. On the Isle of Skye, discover the beauty of the Cuillin Hills and Trotternish, including Kilt Rock and the Old Man of Storr. On the mainland, head along the "Road to the Isles" to visit the Hebridean islands of Mull and Iona before visiting delightful Inveraray and Loch Lomond.
Edinburgh - contrast the splendid squares and wide streets of the Georgian New Town with the cobbled streets and narrow wynds of the Royal Mile.
Scottish Borders - travel through rolling hills and picturesque valleys to visit Abbotsford House, the treasured home of Sir Walter Scott
Orkney Islands - explore pre-historic treasures including Skara Brae and the mysterious Ring of Brodgar
Isle of Skye - experience the natural beauty of the magical isle, including Kilt Rock, Old Man of Storr and the towering peaks of the Cuillin Hills
Mull and Iona - enjoy a full-day excursion to the picturesque island of Mull and the serene Isle of Iona
Movie locations - 47 Ronin, Being Human and Rob Roy
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Say Hello to Glasgow
Welcome to Scotland. On arrival check-in to your city centre hotel.
This afternoon why not head out to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the recently restored Mackintosh at the Willow Building. This Charles Rennie Mackintosh gem is the epitome of art nouveau style and a real Glasgow institution.
Meet your fellow passengers and Tour Director at 6 pm for a pleasant dinner served in your hotel.
Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Central, Glasgow (or similar)
Day 2 - Glasgow - Culross - Edinburgh
There is an Outlander theme to today's activities. From Glasgow, we travel across the centre of Scotland to visit The Kelpies, the World's largest equine sculptures.
We then head to Culross, a delightfully well-preserved village. A local expert will give us a guided tour along the cobbled streets to see the 16 and 17th-century buildings that formed the backdrop for the fictional town of Cranesmuir. Look out for impressive Culross Palace; it's where Claire's herb garden was filmed.
Later we cross the Forth Estuary to visit historic Linlithgow Palace, once a favoured residence of the Scottish Kings and Queens. Overlooking a lovely loch, this was the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1542. The elegant courtyard and elaborate fountain will give you a flavour of its former glory. In the TV series, this was the location for Wentworth Prison, where Jamie was incarcerated.
A short drive brings us to Edinburgh for a three-night stay. Tonight why not attend a Scottish evening of bagpipes, dancing and the ceremony of the haggis?
Overnight: Hilton Edinburgh Carlton Hotel, Edinburgh (or similar) (3 nights)
Day 3 - Discovering Edinburgh
Today we explore Edinburgh in the company of a local expert. Our tour starts with a drive through the Georgian New Town to see impressive squares, stylish terraces and beautiful gardens. Later head over to the medieval Old Town to visit mighty Edinburgh Castle where we will see the Scottish Crown Jewels and Queen Margaret's Chapel, the oldest building in the city.
Later enjoy a walking tour along the famous Royal Mile to learn of the many interesting characters that lived here over the centuries. At the foot of this famous street, we will stop to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse, HM The King's official residence in Scotland (excluding August and other occasional dates).
This afternoon enjoy free time for independent sightseeing or join an optional excursion to visit Rosslyn Chapel. This remarkable 15th Century church is featured in Dan Brown's bestselling book The Da Vinci Code.
Day 4 - Scottish Borders Excursion
As well as writing famous novels such as "Waverley", "Ivanhoe" and "Lady of the Lake", Scott also promoted the wearing of tartan, saved the Scottish banknote and unearthed the Scottish Crown Jewels which were lost in Edinburgh Castle. During your guided tour, discover more about his fascinating life and see his eclectic collection of historical relics and curios.
This afternoon enjoy free time for independent sightseeing or join an optional excursion to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia. This former floating palace served the Royal Family for over 40 years and was the venue for lavish state banquets attended by presidents and royalty.
Tonight, if your tour departure coincides with performance dates, tickets are included to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Day 5 - Edinburgh - St Andrews - Inverness
From Edinburgh, we make our way into the Kingdom of Fife. As we cross the Firth of Forth lookout for the magnificent Forth Bridge, completed in 1889, it has been designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
The historic university town of St Andrews is our first stop. Famed as the home of golf there will be free time to visit the Old Course, considered to be the oldest in the World. In addition to its golfing connections, St Andrews was an important centre of religious life so why not seek out the remains of the cathedral, once the largest in Scotland or the nearby castle, home to the nation’s leading bishop.
Our scenic drive continues through Highland Perthshire, known as “big tree country” where we will stop in the attractive resort town of Pitlochry.
Discover the secrets of whisky-making when we stop to visit a distillery. After a tour to discover the traditional methods used to produce Scotland’s national drink, there is a wee taste of the end product!
A drive through the Grampian mountains will bring us to the beauty of the Cairngorms National Park and the Spey Valley. Inverness is our home for the next two nights.
Overnight: Mercure Inverness Hotel, Inverness (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 6 - Highland Excursion
There are more Outlander connections today as we discover some of the many attractions that surround the Highland Capital of Inverness.
Our first stop is to Clava Cairns, an impressive bronze age burial ground which contains passage graves and standing stones. This ancient site dates back around 4,000 years. It’s thought that the Outlander author, Diana Gabaldon, took inspiration for the make-believe stone circle, Craigh na Dun from this historic site.
Next, we make the short drive to Culloden Moor, the site of the famous battle between Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army and the Government troops under the command of the Duke of Cumberland. The award-winning visitor centre tells the story of this 1746 battle and the bloody aftermath.
Ancient Cawdor Castle is our next visit. Famous for being mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, this grand fortress was built as a home for the Thanes of Cawdor in 1451. On our visit, discover the legend of The Holly Tree and view the sumptuous apartments whose walls are adorned with portraits and tapestries.
This afternoon is free so, you can explore on your own. If you would like to see more of the area, there is an optional Loch Ness cruise experience that includes a visit to Urquhart Castle.
Day 7 - Inverness - Dunrobin Castle - Thurso
After a hearty Highland breakfast, we leave Inverness and head over the Black Isle. There are beautiful seascapes to enjoy as we travel across the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths and make our way into the Northern Highlands.
Exquisite Dunrobin Castle is the home of the Dukes and Earls of Sutherland. During our visit, we'll see some of the castle's 189 apartments including the elegant dining room and extensive library which contains some 10,000 books. Step outside to visit the formal gardens, said to have been modelled on those found at Versailles. They make a great spot to capture the ideal photo of this fairytale chateau.
Our destination is Thurso, the most northerly town in mainland Britain. After resting at your hotel, why not join your tour director for a visit to a local pub before dinner.
Overnight: St Clair Hotel, Thurso (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 8 - Orkney Island Excursion
A fascinating day awaits as we visit the ancient Orkney Islands. We make for John O'Groats, and join the ferry for the short 45-minute crossing of the Pentland Firth. On arrival at South Ronaldsay, a local driver/guide and coach is waiting for us.
The Churchill Barriers carry us over the waters of Scapa Flow, which have played witness to monumental events during both World Wars. Italian prisoners of war built these causeways to defend the naval fleet that was based here.
The award-winning Orkney Brewery is famed for its excellent ales. We'll enjoy a light lunch in the Tasting Hall, then join an expert brewer for a guided tour followed by a tasting.
After lunch head to the amazing Stone-age village of Skara Brae. This 5,000 year-old Neolithic village is one of the best-preserved in Europe. During our visit see the ancient houses complete with stone beds and dressers.
Another pre-historic gem is the Ring of Brodgar; an impressive Stone age henge thought to be a gathering place for ceremonies and rituals. Later discover the Viking influences of Kirkwall, the main town on Orkney before returning to the ferry for our crossing back to the mainland.
Day 9 - Thurso - Ullapool - Isle of Skye
Today, just sit back and relax as the stunning scenery of the North West Highlands unfolds around us. Much of our travelling will be along the famous North Coast 500 route, one of Scotland's most picturesque drives.
As we travel along the far north coast, we will discover picturesque sealochs, golden beaches and heather-clad hills. We break our journey in the attractive fishing town of Ullapool, on Loch Broom, where there is a tasty treat of freshly landed fish and chips for lunch.
Later we travel through beautiful Glen Carron to reach Kyle of Lochalsh before using the graceful road bridge to cross over to the Isle of Skye and our hotel in the village of Broadford.
Overnight: Dunolie Hotel, Isle of Skye (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 10 - Exploring Skye
As the sun rises on the magical isle we have an enjoyable day exploring Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides. Our tour starts with a scenic coastal drive to reach Sligachan, where there are wonderful views of the towering red and black Cuillin mountain ranges to enjoy.
There are more picturesque landscapes to savour as we tour through the Trotternish Peninsula. Look out for the Old Man of Storr, a rocky pinnacle and Kilt Rock, where the impressive Mealt waterfall cascades 60 metres into the sea below.
We will stop to visit the traditional thatched cottages of the Museum of Island Life, whose fascinating exhibits tell the story of life on this island over the centuries. Nearby we will see the grave of Flora MacDonald, the Jacobite heroine who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape "Over the sea to Skye".
Later enjoy free time in Portree, where you can browse the independent craft shops for a souvenir or take a stroll down to the attractive harbour to enjoy the views. After our break return to our hotel with time to relax before dinner.
Day 11 - Isle of Skye - Glenfinnan - Isle of Mull
Our day starts with a drive through the Sleat Peninsula, a centre of Gaelic culture on the island. We will stop at Armadale Castle to visit the Museum of the Isles which tells the story of the Clan Donald, whose power and influence was said to rival those of the King, himself.
Later board a ferry for a short sail across the Sound of Sleat to reach Mallaig, a historic fishing town. The next part of our journey will take us along the Road to the Isles with stunning views at every turn.
We will break the journey at Glenfinnan to view the impressive viaduct that has been featured in several Harry Potter movies. We will also see the poignant Glenfinnan Monument, which commemorates the Highlanders who lost their lives during the Jacobite uprisings.
A scenic drive will bring us to the Victorian seaside town of Oban, our home for the next two nights.
Overnight: Royal Oban Hotel, Oban (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 12 - Isle of Iona excursion
After breakfast, we join a ferry for our short crossing to the Isle of Mull. On arrival, we tour through Glen More and along the banks of Loch Scridain to reach the little ferry port of Fionnphort. It is a short sail across the sound to reach Iona, famed for its religious significance. St Columba landed here in 563, bringing Christianity to Scotland.
During our visit, there is time to explore the restored Abbey and see the impressive Celtic crosses. Seek out the Relig Oran graveyard, where 48 early Scottish Kings are said to have been buried.
Iona is famed for its sparkling white beaches, so why not enjoy a relaxing stroll before we bid farewell to this idyllic island?
After returning to Mull, we retrace our journey to Craignure, where we catch the ferry to Oban. Tonight dinner will be served in our hotel.
Day 13 - Isle of Mull - Inveraray - Glasgow
Leaving Oban, we'll follow the banks of Loch Etive, an attractive sea loch, to reach the narrow Pass of Brander.
Enjoy views of ruined Kilchurn Castle, sitting overlooking Loch Awe as we make our way towards Inveraray. This elegant 18th-Century town sits on the banks of Loch Fyne and was built by the Duke of Argyll, whose castle we will see as we leave the town. Fans of the popular TV series Downton Abbey may recognise it as the fictitious "Duneagle Castle", from the 2012 Christmas special.
Our travels take us through the dramatic "Rest and be Thankful" mountain pass to reach the beautiful shores of Loch Lomond. We'll tour along the "bonnie, bonnie banks" to reach Glasgow once more.
On arrival, enjoy a panoramic tour showcasing the many attractions of Scotland's largest city including medieval Glasgow Cathedral and the city's oldest house, Provands Lordship. Next tour through the city centre, to see the magnificent Victorian architecture, then head to the bustling West End to view the imposing façade of Glasgow University.
Later make for our city-centre hotel and some free time for last-minute shopping or sightseeing. Tonight join your tour director and fellow travellers for a farewell dinner.
Overnight: Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow (or similar)
Day 14 - Homeward bound
Sadly, our tour ends after breakfast.
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.
Tell me what the visit to a whisky distillery will be like?
A visit to a traditional whisky distillery is a feast for all the senses. After a warm welcome you’ll normally have a short audio/visual presentation on the the history of the distillery and the traditional methods used in the distilling process.
Next is a tour of the distillery where you you will experience all stages of the whisky making process from mashing and fermenting to distilling and maturation.
Your tour will end with a tutored tasting of a malt whisky and the opportunity to buy a souvenir of your visit in the distillery shop.
Where can I purchase travel insurance?
We strongly recommend that you have travel insurance in place for your trip to Scotland, especially if you are visiting from overseas. To purchase a policy speak to your insurance broker or undertake a search on-line.
We would also suggest checking your home policy or credit card contract as many suppliers include travel insurance as part of their offering.
What is a typical tour schedule?
Usually the tour will depart the hotel between 08:00 hrs and 08:30 hrs in the morning. During the course of the day you’ll normally be travelling for no more than 2 hours at a time before making a stop to enjoy a visit to an attraction or for a comfort break/meal stop.
Usually the coach will arrive at the overnight stop between 16:30 and 17:00 hrs each day.
In some cases, due to ferry or other travel connections, the tour may depart earlier or arrive later – your tour director will advise you if this will be happening on your tour.
- 13 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Glasgow (2); Edinburgh (3); Inverness (2); Thurso (2); Isle of Skye (2) and Oban (2)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (13)
- Welcome dinner with your Tour Director
- Lunches (2)
- Table d' hôte dinners (7)
- Farewell dinner in Glasgow
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Admission to Linlithgow Palace, Edinburgh Castle, St Giles Cathedral, Abbotsford House, Culloden Visitor Centre, Brodie Castle, Dunrobin Castle, Skara Brae, Skaill House, Museum of Island Life, Armadale Castle, Museum and Gardens and Iona Abbey.
- Visit to Clava Cairns
- Tour and tasting at a Malt Whisky Distillery
- Tour and tasting at the Orkney Brewery
- Walking tour of Culross
- City/orientation tours of Edinburgh and Glasgow
- Tickets are included for the World-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on 5 to 19 August 2023 departures
- Touring by luxury air-conditioned coach with extra-legroom, reclining seats, onboard washroom and Wifi
- Ferry from the Isle of Skye
- Ferry to the Orkney islands
- Ferry to the Isle of Mull
- Ferry to the Isle of 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 Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow City Centre
36 Cambridge St
Glasgow G2 3HN
The tour will end in Glasgow after breakfast on day 14
Check-in: 15:00 hrs
Tour Departs: 18:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 09:00 hrs
Child discount applies to children aged 8 to 17 years, inclusive on the basis that they share a room with an adult.
We're sorry but children aged under 8 years cannot travel on this tour.
Photo-ID may be requested to confirm discount entitlement.
The price of this 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.