Best of the Scottish Highlands - 7 day tour
Best of the Scottish Highlands
7 day/6 night
Experience the many highlights of the Highlands, from the heights of the Glenfinnan Monument to the depths of Loch Ness. Travel the Road to the Isles, cruise the Moray Firth and take an unforgettable trip on the Strathspey Steam Railway. The riches of Brodie Castle, Inverness, the Black Isle, Mallaig and a traditional distillery await your discovery.
Brodie Castle - explore the home of the Brodie clan for over 400 years
Inverness - enjoy free time to explore the Capital of the Highlands
Dolphin Spirit - take a wildlife-spotting cruise to see dolphins in their natural habitat,
Loch Ness - discover the legend of Nessie
Strathspey Railway - all aboard for a journey of nostalgia through the Cairngorms National Park
Movie locations - Loch Ness, Outlander and Monarch of the Glen
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrival in Inverness
Departing from Inverness Airport, you are instantly transported to the heart of the Highlands. It’s just a short journey to the beautiful village of Carrbridge, which will be our base for the next seven days.
Nestling below the brooding Monadhliath Mountains, this traditional Scottish settlement is famous for its annual Golden Spurtle Competition, which sees enthusiasts from around the globe competing to be World Porridge Champion.
After unpacking, why not spend the rest of the day exploring the village’s many delights in the lush Cairngorms National Park, including leafy forest walks and a stroll along the River Dulnain.
Just a stone’s throw from your hotel is the famous 300-year-old Packhorse Bridge, with its dramatic slender O-shape spanning the rushing river below. Built by local stonemason John Niccelsone in 1717, it’s the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands and has survived centuries of harsh Highland weather, despite its parapets being washed away by floods in 1839.
After admiring this example of ancient craftsmanship, spend your evening relaxing over drinks and dinner and looking forward to the discoveries that lie ahead.
Overnight: Carrbridge Hotel, Carrbridge or similar (6 nights)
Day 2 - Brodie Castle and Moray Coast Tour
A hearty breakfast sets us up for what will be an exciting day as we prepare to explore our Highland playground.
The first stop is the turreted splendour of Brodie Castle, home to a priceless collection of antiques and works of art. Surrounded by swathes of lush rolling countryside, its distinctive rose-pink walls were the ancestral home of the prominent Brodie clan for more than four centuries.
Why not take the opportunity to follow in their footsteps and enjoy a guided tour to discover more about its fascinating past? Explore the 16th-century guard chamber, with its thick stonework and formidable defences, then step into the neighbouring Victorian extension, complete with magnificent décor, fine furniture and dazzling array of paintings. The impressive library is worth the visit alone, with its towering shelves home to more than 6,000 volumes.
Leaving this unforgettable landmark behind, our journey leads us along the Moray coast where we stop to discover the many delights of the historic town of Elgin, which is said to mean ‘beautiful place’ in Gaelic.
Wander its maze of tiny alleys and admire the ruins of its famous cathedral, still standing after a fire in 1270. Known as the “Lantern of the North”, the cathedral is one of Scotland’s finest medieval buildings, famed for its ornate carved stonework.
Later we wind our way home to our cosy hotel in time for dinner.
Day 3 - Inverness - Black Isle - Dolphin Cruise
The capital of the Highlands is our first stop of the day as we discover the myriad delights of nearby Inverness.
Explore this thriving city during our extended visit, browsing the charming Victorian Market and its numerous independent shops.
Culture lovers will appreciate a tour of the city’s renowned Museum and Art Gallery, where the Highlands’ art, history, and heritage are displayed in all their glory.
Leaving the city behind, we take a short jaunt to admire the scenic Black Isle, which despite its name is a colourful peninsula surrounded by water on three sides.
Our day ends on the waves as we board the Dolphin Spirit on a quest to spot the bottlenose dolphins that inhabit these waters. Cruising the Moray Firth, a guide will point out these elusive creatures and ensure we catch plenty of photographs if they appear.
With our faces still tingling from the Firth spray, we head back to our hotel, where we can discuss the day’s many delights.
Day 4 - Exploring Loch Ness
No tour of the Scottish Highlands is complete without a visit to its most famous body of water – the brooding and beautiful Loch Ness.
Stretching 23 miles from top to toe, and 755ft at its deepest point, its icy surface is said to hide a mysterious monster affectionately known as ‘Nessie’ who has intrigued the world since her first sighting in 1933.
Our monster hunt begins at the southern end of the loch, among the many small boats in the village of Fort Augustus, where the Caledonian Canal Centre gives an absorbing glimpse into the tributary that feeds Loch Ness via its series of locks.
From here, we pass the ghostly ruins of Urquhart Castle, which has proudly stood guard over the surrounding area since medieval times.
Arriving in Drumnadrochit, we’re now firmly in the middle of Nessie country, so a trip to the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre is essential. Here, we can find out more about the loch and its prehistoric resident and even take a boat trip to hunt for Nessie herself. Even if she doesn’t appear, there is still plenty of wildlife around, with an abundance of graceful cormorants and ospreys to watch before we head home.
Day 5 - Strathspey Railway and Dalwhinnie Distillery
All aboard! After talking to the water yesterday, we will today be making tracks on one of Scotland’s most famous railways.
Climb aboard this beautifully restored vintage locomotive and enjoy the stunning scenery as we journey through the delights of the Cairngorms National Park.
Steaming past five of Scotland’s highest peaks, we’ll take a magical 45-minute journey through the wonders of the Spey Valley, chuff-chuffing beside rich pine forests and moors alive with glorious purple heather.
Keep your eyes peeled for the abundant wildlife that lives in these parts as we travel in style through the Highlands of yesteryear.
Here, you can take a guided tour to learn more about uisge beatha or the ‘water of life’ and sample a golden dram – or three! The charming village of Dalwhinnie itself is also worth a visit before we turn our eyes northwards and start for home.
Day 6 - The Road to the Isles
After adventuring north and south, our compass is set for all points west today as we plot a course along the romantic Road to the Isles.
Leaving our hotel, we travel through Glen Spean, enjoying a variety of landscapes, from lush woodland to deserted white sands and moorland bursting with bright heather.
Look out for fairy-tale Ardverikie House at the head of Loch Laggan. It recently played the part of Balmoral Castle in the Netflix series “The Crown”.
Our first stop along the way is the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre, which stands in the shadow of the world-famous Glenfinnan Monument. Standing silently atop his 60ft high pillar, this proud Highlander looks out across the waters of Loch Shiel to the rolling mountains beyond.
After pausing to absorb the history in this tranquil spot, it’s just a short uphill walk to another famous view – this time the Glenfinnan Viaduct. If you’re lucky, a train may be passing across its dramatic arches!
Our adventure ends at the thriving fishing port of Mallaig, where a portion of its famous kippers are top of every visitor’s to-do list before returning eastwards.
Day 7 - Return home
Dawn breaks on our final day in the Scottish Highlands, but for some of us, the adventure is still not over.
Your tour manager will advise the timings of the transfers back to Inverness Airport and the end of your tour. If your flight home departs later in the day you can stay a bit longer to enjoy a little more of the Highlands.
If you plan to delay your departure, you can spend the morning in the ancient market town of Nairn. Once a popular Victorian seaside resort, the area is famed for its award-winning beaches and two championship golf courses, including Nairn Golf Club, home to ‘the Grand Old Man of Golf’ himself, Old Tom Morris.
Nairn hosts an annual jazz jamboree and arts festival, as well as one of the biggest Highland games in Scotland.
Stroll along the numerous riverside trails or take in the sweeping views across the Moray Firth while enjoying the seafront promenade. With three beaches to choose from, it’s the ideal opportunity to sample the clean Highland air before it’s time to leave.
The town’s charms are a fitting finale as you depart, reflecting on an unforgettable visit and returning home with cherished memories of the very best of the Highlands.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Air-Inclusive Escorted Tour?
These holidays are the perfect blend of value and convenience. Fly directly from many regional airports to your highland gateway, where your tour director is waiting to greet you.
Everything is taken care of so you can sit back and relax in the knowledge that your tour has been expertly planned and that nothing has been left to chance. Each package includes return flights to Scotland, quality accommodation, many meals, luxury coach transport and the services of an experienced tour director.
You'll find these tours to be well-paced with the perfect balance of organised sightseeing and free time so you can do your own thing. Not sure where to go? Your friendly tour director will be on hand to give you guidance.
A comprehensive tour itinerary will be issued as part of your tour documents which you'll receive around three weeks prior to travel.
If you prefer, you can purchase this tour on a land only basis making your own transport arrangements. Land only customers should make their own way to the first night's hotel.
What airports can I fly from?
The departure airports vary by tour departure and itinerary. Here is a list of the airports used in the tour programme: Belfast City George Best (BHD), Birmingham (BHX), Bristol (BRS), Exeter (EXT), London Gatwick (LGW), London Heathrow (LHR), London Luton (LTN), London Stansted (STN), Manchester (MAN) and Southampton (SOU).
Please contact us for air-inclusive prices
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.
How many people will be on the tour?
The number of people travelling on an Escorted Tour will not normally be more than 50 passengers. On a Premium Escorted Tour you will travel with around 38 fellow passengers.
How much luggage can I bring?
You can bring one suitcase and one carry-on bag per person. The maximum weight allowance and luggage dimensions varies by tour so you should check the tour documentation for the luggage policy that applies to your tour.
- 6 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Carrbridge (6)
- Cooked/Continental breakfast (6)
- Table d’ hote dinners (6)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Wildlife spotting cruise
- One-way journey on the Strathspey Railway from Aviemore to Broomhill (or v.v.)
- Touring by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats
- All baggage handling and hotel tips are included
- Services throughout the tour of a professional Tour Director
- Service charges and taxes
Belfast City George Best/Birmingham/Bristol/London Gatwick/London Heathrow/London Luton/Manchester Airports
Check-in: TBC hrs
Tour Departs: TBC hrs
Tour Returns: TBC hrs
Please contact us for information on child prices.
The price of this tour includes hotel accommodation with en-suite bathroom.
Return economy flights to either Edinburgh or Inverness Airports from Belfast City George Best, Birmingham, Bristol, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton or Manchester Airports are available.
The prices quoted are based on land only. Please contact us for air-inclusive prices
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.