North East Explorer - 4 day tour
North East Explorer
4 day / 3 night tour
Take a unique journey around the grand cities of Dundee and Aberdeen, sampling the many secrets within and beyond. Marvel at traditional craft and modern ingenuity at the V&A. Soak up centuries of history at Dunottar Castle and Old Aberdeen. Follow in the footsteps of royalty in the village of Braemar. Our guided tours will ensure you don't miss a thing.
V&A Dundee - discover classics from around the World at Scotland's first dedicated design museum
Oor Wullie - hear the story of the loveable wee Scottish laddie from Auchenshoogle!
Aberdeen - join a local expert for a tasty walking tour of the granite city
Dunottar Castle - explore this atmospheric cliff-top fortress
Royal Deeside - visit the delightful countryside and attractive villages that amused Queen Victoria so much
Movie locations – Hamlet, Mary, Queen of Scots and Victor Frankenstein
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Edinburgh - V&A - Dundee
Our adventure begins in Scotland's capital, where an all-electric bus awaits to take us north on our zero-emission journey.
Crossing the famous Forth Road Bridge, we leave the city behind as we whisk through the Kingdom of Fife and rural Perthshire, which is famed for its gorgeous countryside. The rolling glens and towering pine forests slowly give way to the flatter stretches of the Carse of Gowrie before we spy the imposing hill known as The Law that overlooks Scotland's fourth largest city, Dundee.
After making ourselves comfy in our hotel, it's time to explore our new home's many attractions.
Stroll along The Waterfront and take in the sweeping views over the silvery River Tay, which flows 120 miles from west to east across Scotland. No visit to Dundee is complete without a tour of the V&A design museum. Opened in 2018, its striking exterior by architect Kengo Kuma was based on Scotland's sea cliffs. Inside is equally stunning, with a wealth of ever-changing exhibitions and permanent Scottish artworks, including Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Oak Room.
Further cultural delights can be enjoyed in the evening as we dine out in one of the city's fine restaurants and sample authentic Dundonian hospitality.
Overnight: Best Western Queens Hotel, Dundee or Similar
Day 2 - Dundee - Walking tour - Aberdeen
A traditional Scottish breakfast prepares us for the exciting day ahead, which begins with a fascinating guided tour of Dundee.
Hop aboard an open-top bus for grandstand views of this historic city and learn why it became renowned for its 'jute, jam and journalism'. Enjoy 360° views of the city and the River Tay from Dundee Law. See the DC Thomson building, then try and spot some of the statues of their famous comic book characters. Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan and Oor Wullie are all on the list!
After some free time for further sightseeing, we board the train for the next stage of our journey.
Settle back in your seat as we pass through Arbroath, famous around the world for its delicious 'smokies’. Hugging the east coast, keep an eye out next for the wide sands of Montrose and the charming harbour town of Stonehaven, which comes alive every Hogmanay with its blazing fireballs ceremony.
Finally we pull into the ‘Granite City’ of Aberdeen, where you can relax in your hotel before the second guided tour of the day. This time, our wanderings will see us enjoy an evening of gastronomic delights, sampling a selection of traditional fare in this captivating corner of northern Scotland.
Overnight: Aberdeen Altens Hotel, Aberdeen or Similar (2 nights)
Day 3 - Royal Deeside Excursion
History, pageantry and natural splendour await us on the third day of our adventure as we leave the city behind and head south.
Snaking our way along the coast road, we arrive at one of Scotland’s most unmissable attractions – Dunottar Castle. Perched atop 160ft cliffs, with mighty waves crashing on three sides, this medieval fortress was once home to the powerful Earls Marischal family.
Today, it’s the perfect location for photographs before we continue to another beaty spot at the Falls of Feugh, where salmon can often be spotted leaping through the rushing waters.
After working up an appetite, we head through Royal Deeside to the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and the charming 11th century village of Braemar. Famous for its royal links, Highland games and delicious local fare, we’ll rest awhile and watch the world go by.
Suitably refreshed, it’s time to see Scotland’s natural wonders at the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve. Wander the woodlands, heath and lochs, keeping an eye out for otters and wild birds as you search for the traces of the Iron Age village that once stood here.
After enjoying our stroll, the Cairngorms is our backdrop as we return to Aberdeen.
Day 4 - Old Aberdeen - Free Time - Edinburgh
Our final day begins with the promise of more historic discoveries as we head out after breakfast on a tour of Old Aberdeen.
Today your phone is your guide – simply download the easy-to-use app and let it steer you around the ancient cobbled streets at your leisure. Along the way, you’ll learn the fascinating history of this part of the city, which was founded as a separate community in the Middle Ages by monks, scholars and traders.
Wander the campus of the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495 and now home to 14,000 students. Admire the sturdy stone arches and intricate stained glass in the 13th century Cathedral Church of St Machar. The splendour of King's College is a particular high point, its imposing walls standing proudly as the original university, with its many jewels including the Crown Tower and ornate King’s College Chapel, complete with rare decorations dating back 600 years.
After touring these ancient granite stones, your time is your own to sightsee a little more before we board the train south.
A final treat before arriving in Edinburgh is the iconic Forth Bridge as we glide between its iconic red girders and bring our odyssey to a close.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Eco Tour?
These tours are ideal if you are an independent spirit as they offer the perfect blend of structured sightseeing, point to point travel by train or coach and relaxing free time to explore on your own.
Each carefully designed itinerary embraces the concept of responsible travel. Our travel planners have selected eco-friendly hotel accommodation that offers comfortable and friendly lodgings in convenient locations for sightseeing and onward travel. Most are recipients of a VisitScotland Green Tourism Award.
Inter-city travel is by scheduled train or coach, including the UK’s first all-electric coach service between Edinburgh and Dundee. Seat reservations are included, where available, and all tickets are electronic - just show and go!
Discover the history and heritage of Scotland’s great cities on an informative walking tour led by a local guide. If your itinerary includes a visit to a whisky distillery, you’ll join an expert for a behind the scenes tour followed by a tutored tasting of some fine malts!
Excursions are provided by air-conditioned mini or midicoach hosted by a local driver guide who will provide an entertaining commentary. There will be stops along the way to visit attractions and take in the local scenery.
The tour documentation will be emailed to you approximately 7 days prior to travel. Your train tickets will be conveniently downloaded to the ScotRail App on your IOS or Android smart device, so all you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.
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.
We’re two people booking independently. How do we make sure that we are travelling together?
We ask that each party sends us a brief email to email@example.com. prior to making your bookings. Tell us the name of the tour you are going to book, date of travel and the name of the second traveller.
Once you’ve done this please go ahead and make your reservations.
We’ll do our very best to have you seated together and, if you are travelling on a multi-day tour, accommodated in the same lodgings.
What sort of weather can I expect?
Ah, this is the $64,000 question! It may surprise you to know that we have a very temperate climate in Scotland. The geography of Scotland means that it does rain more frequently in the west of the country and there are stronger winds in the east. If it does rain on your tour we will not be too concerned and neither should you be – we need it to make our whisky!
I would like to buy a tour as a present. Can you help?
Yes we can. We can issue you with a gift voucher for any monetary value that can be used as payment or part payment for any tour featured on this website. Vouchers are valid for 24 months from date of issue. Please email us for details - firstname.lastname@example.org
- 3 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Dundee (1) and Aberdeen (2)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (3)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Dundee city tour
- Excursion to Dunottar Castle and Royal Deeside with local driver/guide
- Aberdeen Walking City and Food Tour
- Visit to the V&A Dundee
- Single standard class train tickets between Dundee and Aberdeen and Aberdeen and
- Seat reservations (where available)
- One-way coach ticket from Edinburgh to Dundee
- Customised tour itinerary and Official Guide
- Service charges and taxes
- Admission charges unless stated above
- Meals, snacks or items of a personal nature
- Gratuity to your driver/guide
From Bus Stop YD
28 St Andrew Square
Edinburgh EH2 1AF
Check-in: 08:40 hrs
Tour Departs: 08:58 hrs
Tour Returns: 18:33 hrs
Child discount applies to children aged 3 to 15 years inclusive.
We’re sorry but children aged under 3 years cannot travel on this tour.
Photo-ID may be requested to confirm discount entitlement.
IMPORTANT: Once booked this tour cannot be changed or cancelled
The price of this tour includes hotel accommodation with en-suite bathroom.
In order to give you maximum flexibility admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour.
In order to receive the train ticket, a smart device with IOS or Android operating systems is required.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.