Scotlands Gaelic West Coast - 11 day tour
Scotland’s Gaelic West Coast
11 day / 10 night
The idyllic Western Isles lie off the West Coast of Scotland and feature dazzlingly white beaches, loch-dotted landscapes, pre-historic sites and an amazing array of wildlife. While the Hebridean isles are the focus of this tour you’ll also have time to discover Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness; visit stately castles; explore battlefield sites and enjoy a ride on the scenic West Highland Railway. This tour really has something for everyone!
Price range: £2,645 - £3,605
Inveraray - visit fairy tale Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of Clan Campbell
West Highland Railway - all aboard for a scenic journey on one of the World’s great rail lines
Isle of Barra - admire the white sandy beaches and enjoy free-time in the charming village of Castlebay
Isle of Lewis - experience a full day tour visiting the pre-historic sites of Dun Carloway Broch and the Callanish Standing Stones
Edinburgh - discover the elegant Georgian “New Town” and travel along the Royal Mile to visit Edinburgh Castle
Movie locations - Harry Potter, Whisky Galore and Downton Abbey
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Welcome to Scotland & Glasgow City Tour
Our tour begins at 2:00 p.m. from your hotel. Make the short drive into the centre of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city to see the impressive Victorian architecture of the city centre. Travel along the banks of the River Clyde, famous for its shipbuilding heritage then head to the vibrant West End to view Glasgow University and sprawling Kelvingrove Park. Later tour to the ancient Cathedral Quarter to see medieval Glasgow Cathedral and visit the oldest house in the city, Provand's Lordship, built in 1471.
In the evening join your group for a welcome drink before enjoying dinner at your hotel.
Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Spa and Golf Resort, Glasgow (Cumbernauld) (or similar)
Day 2 - Glasgow - Inveraray - Oban
Drive along the famous banks of Loch Lomond, enjoying amazing panoramas at every turn. Climb through Glen Croe to reach the “Rest and be Thankful” viewpoint then make for Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Argyll - Chief of the Clan Campbell. Tour the magnificent castle interior to view the armoury, many historic relics, and its famed portrait collection. There is free time in the attractive town of Inveraray to explore and to enjoy lunch.
Later make for the bustling seaside town of Oban which sits by a beautiful bay. Learn the traditions of whisky distilling during a tour of Oban Distillery. After the tour enjoy a wee dram before heading for your hotel.
Overnight: Muthu Alexandra Hotel, Oban (or similar)
Day 3 - Oban - West Highland Railway - Benbecula
Head northwards through Benderloch and Appin to reach picturesque Loch Linnhe. At Fort William board a train for the scenic journey along the spectacular West Highland Railway Line. Along the way see Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain and journey across the Glenfinnan Viaduct, famous for its appearance in the Harry Potter movies. Look out for the evocative Glenfinnan Monument built in tribute to Jacobite clansmen. Journey’s end is the fishing port of Mallaig where there is free time to explore before joining the ferry for the crossing to Lochboisdale on South Uist. On arrival travel to your hotel on the Isle of Benbecula. Enjoy dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Overnight: Dark Island Hotel, Isle of Benbecula (2 nights) (or similar)
Day 4 - Isle Of Barra Excursion
Tour through picturesque South Uist and board the ferry to Ardmhòr on Barra to admire the stunning golden sand beaches. Stop in Castlebay, the main community of this little island, to explore and admire the views of Kisimul Castle sitting on its island in the bay. Later continue on to Vatersay, an island just south of Castlebay. After a short tour, take the return ferry to Eriskay. Enjoy a drink with your group at The Politician Bar, named after the infamous shipwreck that inspired “Whisky Galore”, before returning to your hotel.
Day 5 - Isle of Benbecula - Harris - Stornoway (Isle of Lewis)
Tour the island of North Uist, a magnificent landscape of miles of sandy beaches dotted with fresh and saltwater lochs. Visit the Hebridean Smokehouse famed for its tasty smoked seafood that is shipped to connoisseurs throughout Europe. After your tour of this modern facility enjoy a taste of the finished product. Stop for tea at the Claddach Kirkibost Centre, a key community centre and favourite spot for visitors to the island, before heading to see work of local artists at Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum of Arts. Continue north to Berneray and board the ferry to Leverburgh on Harris. Travel on to Stornoway, the largest town in the Outer Hebrides.
Overnight: Caberfeidh Hotel, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (3 nights) (or similar)
Day 6 - Exploring the Isle of Harris
Today we explore the neighbouring island of Harris. Travel through the wild Harris Hills to visit Horgabost and Luskentyre beaches where there is a chance to take a stroll across the pristine white sands. Later head to Tarbert, the main village on the island. Visit the popular Isle of Harris Distillery to witness the distilling operation and enjoy a sample.
Harris is famed for the production of Tweed so there is an opportunity to visit a weaver to see the fabric being woven in the traditional way - a truly fascinating process. On return to Stornoway have a short orientation tour before returning to your hotel for dinner.
Day 7 - Exploring the Isle of Lewis
Today explore the rugged island of Lewis. At Bosta Beach see the Iron Age House, a reconstructed Iron-Age dwelling. A short drive away, overlooking Loch an Duin, visit Dun Carloway Broch, which is thought to be an ancient stronghold dating from around 200 BC.
Continue time- travelling with a stop to admire the ancient Callanish Standing Stones, which date from 2000 BC then discover how life was lived on these islands, not that long ago, with a visit to the fascinating Gearannan Blackhouse Village. This former community of traditional turf-roofed houses has been converted into a museum and visitor centre. Return to Stornoway for a free evening to dine and explore on your own.
Day 8 - Stornoway - Ullapool - Inverness
Enjoy a panoramic drive and short walking tour around Stornoway then there’s time to explore this busy town on your own. Head to the port to watch the landings from the resident fishing boat fleet or visit An Lanntair, a flourishing arts and exhibition centre which celebrates the Gaelic language and culture. Lews Castle features an interactive museum including the 900-year-old Lewis Chessmen. Or learn more about the history and traditions of Harris Tweed at the Lewis Loom Centre. Here you can see demonstrations of spinning wheels, the hand loom, and, browse the craft gift shop for a unique souvenir of your island travels. In the afternoon board the ferry bound for Ullapool on the mainland. On arrival tour to Inverness for dinner then join a local guide for a walking tour around the city centre.
Overnight: Glen Mhor Hotel, Inverness (or similar)
Day 9 - Inverness - Scone Palace - Edinburgh
On the outskirts of Inverness visit Culloden Battlefield to tour the Visitor Centre. It was here on 16 April, 1746, British Government forces defeated the army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie). The outcome of this bloody battle changed Highland life forever.
Tour through the majestic beauty of the Cairngorms National Park and across the Grampian Mountains to reach Highland Perthshire. Visit Scone Palace and admire the fine collections of antiques before travelling through the Kingdom of Fife to reach Edinburgh. Enjoy an evening of dinner and traditional Scottish song and dance.
On 31 July; 14 and 21 August departures enjoy the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at the Castle esplanade. On these dates attendance at the Scottish evening will take place on Day Ten.
Overnight: Hotel Indigo Edinburgh, Edinburgh (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 10 - Edinburgh City tour and Edinburgh Castle
Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Edinburgh, comparing the wide streets and elegant mansions of the Georgian 200-year-old “New Town” with the ancient closes and medieval buildings along the Royal Mile, the oldest part of the city. Visit Edinburgh Castle to see the spectacular Scottish Crown Jewels and enjoy the amazing views of Edinburgh from the battlements. The rest of the day is free to discover Edinburgh on your own.
Day 11 - Tour Ends
Your tour ends after breakfast. Airport transfers are available, 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 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 hear Gaelic being spoken?
The Outer Hebrides is the heartland of Gaelic culture and the majority of islanders will speak the Gaelic language, as well as English. Of course there is no need to learn Gaelic to enjoy your time in the Outer Hebrides but if you would like to learn a few words why not try:Hello. Halò. Goodbye. Mar sin leibh. My name is... Is mise...How are you? Ciamar a tha sibh? I’m fine thank you. Tha gu math tapadh leibh. Excuse me... Gabh mo leisgeul... Cheers! Slàinte!
Tell me more about Inveraray Castle?
Romantic Inveraray Castle Gardens sits on the shores of Loch Fyne and is one of Scotland’s finest stately homes. The ruggedness of the highland scenery serves as a spectacular backdrop for the sheltered tidal Loch, beside which nestles the present Castle built between 1745 and 1790.The ancestral seat of the Dukes of Argyll, Chiefs of the Clan Campbell whose family have resided in Inveraray since the early 15th century. Visitors enter the famous Armoury Hall containing some 1300 pieces including Brown Bess muskets, Lochaber axes and 18th century Scottish broadswords. They can also view preserved swords from the Battle of Culloden. The fine State Dining Room and Tapestry Drawing Room contain magnificent French tapestries which were woven especially for the Castle, fabulous examples of Scottish, English and French furniture and countless other precious artworks. The castle’s priceless collection of china, silver and family heirlooms spans generations which are illustrated by the fascinating genealogical display in the Clan Room. Fans of Downton Abbey will recall that Inveraray had a starring role during a two-hour special where the Grantham family and staff travelled north to the home of their cousins, the Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire in their mythical Scottish home, ‘Duneagle Castle’. Inveraray Castle is open to the public between April and October.
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.
- 10 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Cumbernauld (Glasgow) (1); Oban (1); Benbecula (2); Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (3); Inverness (1) and Edinburgh (2)
- Cooked/Continental breakfast (10)
- Welcome drink with your Tour Director
- Table d’hote dinners with wine (7)
- Scottish Evening in Edinburgh
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Admission to Provands Lordship, Inveraray Castle, Hebridean Smokehouse, Taigh Chearsabagh Museum of the Arts, Isle of Harris Distillery, Dun Carolway Broch, Gearannan Blackhouse village, Culloden Moor Visitor Centre, Scone Palace and Edinburgh Castle
- Tour and tasting at Oban Malt Whisky Distillery
- Harris Tweed weaving demonstration
- Single journey from Fort William to Mallaig on the West Highland Railway
- City tours of Glasgow and Edinburgh
- Walking tours of Inverness and Stornoway
- Tickets are included for the World-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on 31 July to 21 August, 2020 departures
- Touring by luxury air-conditioned coach with extra-legroom, reclining seats, on board washroom and Wifi
- All ferry fares and reservations
- 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 documention for the commencement time of the tour
From The Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Spa and Golf Resort
1 Saint Andrews Drive
Nr Glasgow G68 0EW
Please note that this hotel is located 24 miles from Glasgow Airport.
The tour will end in Edinburgh after breakfast on day 11
Check-in: 13:30 hrs
Tour Departs: 14:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 09:00 hrs
Child discount applies to children aged 8 to 18 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.