Country Roads of Scotland - 9 day tour
Country Roads of Scotland
9 day / 8 night
This enchanting tour will introduce you to the best of Scotland in just 9 relaxing days. Start your journey of exploration with a two-night stay in Edinburgh, then move on into the Highlands to stay in Inverness before taking a drive along the North Coast 500 route, one of the most scenic in Europe. Discover the pre-historic treasures of the Orkney Islands before heading “over the sea” to visit the magical Isle of Skye. The tour ends with time by the “bonnie, bonnie banks” of Loch Lomond and a stay in the dynamic city of Glasgow. Could this be the ultimate Scottish experience?
Edinburgh - join a local expert for a guided tour of Edinburgh Castle
St Andrews - see the famed Old Course and the historic castle
Orkney Islands - visit 5,000-year-old Skara Brae and the ancient Ring of Brodgar
Highland Gathering - enjoy a celebration dinner with music and dancing in the heart of the Highlands
Loch Lomond - take a scenic drive along the “bonnie, bonnie banks”
Movie locations - Loch Ness, Highlander and Braveheart
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive in Edinburgh
Welcome to Scotland – a land of friendly people, vibrant cities, enchanting folklore and stupendous scenery.
There are convenient transfers this morning from Edinburgh International Airport (terms and conditions apply).
The remainder of the day is free for you to relax. As your hotel is located in the vibrant port of Leith, famed for its fashionable eateries, why not take a stroll to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea?
This evening join your tour director and fellow passengers at 5.30 pm for a welcome dinner with wine in a local restaurant.
Visit our Getting to Scotland page for more information on rail and air links to Edinburgh.
Overnight: Malmaison Hotel, Edinburgh (2 nights)
Day 2 - Edinburgh City Tour and Edinburgh Castle
Discover more of Edinburgh in the company of a Local Expert. First, travel along Princes Street to see the ornate Scott Monument, then meander through the Georgian New Town with its classical Adam façades and impressive squares.
Over in the Old Town, visit the mighty castle, to see the historic buildings, exquisite Scottish Crown Jewels and to admire the views from the battlements.
Take a drive along the famous Royal Mile to reach the Scottish Parliament and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of HM The King in Scotland.
The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 3 - Edinburgh - St. Andrews - Inverness
Leave Edinburgh behind and get stunning views of the Forth Bridges as we cross the Forth Estuary to reach the ancient Kingdom of Fife.
Travel through the quaint fishing villages of the East Neuk as we make for historic St. Andrews, widely regarded as the home of golf. With plenty of time to explore, why not head to the Old Course or visit the University, the oldest in Scotland and where Kate and William met while studying.
Later drive over the silvery River Tay and make for Highland Perthshire. There is a stop in the delightful Victorian resort of Pitlochry, where you can wander down to the River Tummel to spot the leaping salmon.
Next stop to visit white-washed Blair Castle, home to the Duke of Atholl, the only man in Europe allowed his own standing army. After experiencing the grandeur of the State Dining Room and the Victorian Ballroom, enjoy a delicious afternoon tea.
Later, travel over the Grampian Mountains and head into the scenic beauty of the Cairngorms National Park. Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, is our home for tonight.
Overnight: Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness (or similar)
Day 4 - Inverness - Loch Ness - Thurso
This morning we make the short drive to reach haunting Culloden Moor, the site of the last battle fought on British soil. Here, the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie was crushed by the British forces in 1746.
Learn all about this ferocious battle at the Culloden Visitor Centre before touring along the banks of mysterious Loch Ness. Can you spot the monster?
Next, join the famous North Coast 500 route, Scotland’s very own Route 66, to experience stunning seascapes and wild scenery all the way to the port of Wick.
Make a visit to the Old Pulteney Distillery to discover the traditions and heritage of whisky production before enjoying a taste of a wee dram. Alternatively, visit the acclaimed Wick Heritage Museum to learn the history of this once-thriving fishing community.
There is a two-night stay in Thurso, which overlooks the Pentland Firth.
Overnight: Pentland Hotel, Thurso (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 5 - Orkney Islands Excursion
After breakfast, travel to John O'Groats, the most northerly village in mainland Britain to join the ferry for the short 40-minute crossing to the Orkney Islands.
Join a Local Expert for a sightseeing tour through the islands.
See Scapa Flow, which played an essential part in both World Wars. Stop to visit the ornate Italian Chapel crafted by Italian prisoners of war who were working on the extensive Churchill barriers.
Step back in time to the Neolithic period when you explore the 5,000 year-old village of Skara Brae and the mysterious Ring of Brodgar.
Enjoy free time in Kirkwall, the main town of the Orkneys, before returning to the mainland by ferry.
Back at your hotel, relax before dinner.
Day 6 - Thurso - Ullapool - Isle of Skye
Join the North Coast 500 route once more and tour through dramatic and un-spoilt landscapes.
Look out for attractive sea lochs, towering mountains and quaint villages as we make our way towards the beautiful Isle of Skye, the largest and most scenic island of the Inner Hebrides.
See the dramatic Cuillin Hills and as we head to Broadford, hear the romantic story of how young Flora MacDonald helped the fugitive Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, escape by sailing “over the sea to Skye”.
Overnight: Dunollie Hotel, Broadford (or similar)
Day 7 - Isle of Skye - Glen Coe - Ballachulish
Today, we explore the wild and picturesque Isle of Skye before returning to the mainland.
Stop to capture the picture-postcard scene of beautiful Eilean Donan Castle, which stands on its little island on the loch.
Move through the highland scenery to reach the WWII Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge where, if the weather is kind, we should get an excellent view of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain.
Our drive continues through Fort William to reach the glorious scenery of Glen Coe with its striking peaks and fast-flowing rivers. Amongst this inspiring scenery, listen to the grisly tale of the infamous massacre that of the MacDonald Clan that took place here in 1692.
Tonight, enjoy a specially created Highland themed dinner with wine to celebrate your Scottish vacation.
Overnight: Ballachulish Hotel, Ballachulish/Royal Hotel, Oban (or similar)
Day 8 - Ballachulish - Loch Lomond - Glasgow
After a relaxed start journey across the vast and desolate great Moor of Rannoch, to reach the picturesque Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
Spend time by the "bonnie, bonnie banks" of Loch Lomond, where there is a chance to take an optional cruise on the 'Queen of Scottish Lochs'.
Glasgow is Scotland's largest city. A panoramic tour will highlight many of the city's opulent Victorian buildings, including George Square and the City Chambers (Town Hall).
Later, head for the Cathedral Quarter to see Glasgow's oldest house, Provands Lordship and St Mungo's Cathedral.
The remainder of this afternoon and evening is at leisure, so you can explore on your own.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Theatreland, Glasgow (or similar)
Day 9 - Depart Glasgow
Sadly, your tour ends after breakfast.
Departure transfers arrive at Glasgow Airport at 07:00 hrs & 09:00 hrs - terms and conditions apply.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Premium Escorted Tour?
If you enjoy the art of travelling in comfort and style then a Premium Escorted Tour is for you.
You’ll travel in a group that is restricted to around 40 fellow travellers.
Travel is aboard a state of the art motorcoach with air-conditioning, on-board WiFi, reclining seats and oversized windows. For your comfort there is an emergency washroom on-board too.
An experienced tour manager will lead the tour and your coach will be expertly driven by a professional driver.
In certain cities you’ll be joined by a local guide who will provide local insight and show you the highlights.
These tours are fully inclusive of first class/superior class accommodation, transportation, admission fees and most meals.
Savvy travellers appreciate that these tours have no hidden extras – all the ingredients needed for a great tour are included in the tour price. There are no optional extras for you to budget for during your holiday.
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.
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.
Can I reserve specific seats on the coach?
Seats cannot be pre-booked however your tour director will implement a seat rotation system which will allow all passengers the opportunity of experiencing spectacular views from different seats on the motorcoach.
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.
- 8 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Edinburgh (2); Inverness (1); Thurso (2); Skye (1); Ballachulish (1) and Glasgow (1)
- Cooked/Continental breakfast (8)
- Welcome drink and dinner with your Tour Director
- Table d’hôte dinners (4)
- Celebration dinner with wine in Ballachulish
- Traditional afternoon tea
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Admission to Edinburgh Castle, Blair Castle, Culloden Moor Visitor Centre, Skara Brae, Italian Chapel and Ring of Brodgar
- City tour of Edinburgh
- Tour and tasting at Old Pulteney Whisky Distillery
- Touring by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats, on board washroom and Wifi
- Ferry to the Orkney Islands
- 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 Malmaison Hotel
1 Tower Place
Edinburgh EH6 7BZ
The tour will end in Glasgow after breakfast on day 9
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 this tour includes hotel accommodation with en-suite bathroom.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.
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Customer Reviews Overall Rating:
Rating:(5 /5) 09 Aug 2016
I liked this Tour, the landsacpe was magnificient and the ways we took were good. What I would have liked were some more Stopps for taking pictures from the bus. Michael Doughty was a careful and responsible Guide!Ursula from 40699, Germany
Rating:(5 /5) 22 Jul 2014
We really enjoyed this holiday, the tour manager was excellent along with the various specialist guides used. The scenery was breath taking, the Scottish show is a must for everyone and the hspitality of the Scots is amazing. The only negatives were the accommodation in Thurso and the visit to the town in Fort William. The accommodation in Thurso was very poor and Fort William town is very scruffy.Mrs from Pembroke, United Kingdom