Edinburgh, The Highlands & The Breathtaking North Coast 500
Join us on an unforgettable Scottish adventure, where we explore the iconic landmarks and historic attractions of the country’s capital, from the atmospheric Edinburgh Castle to the fascinating Royal Yacht Britannia, the Queen’s former floating palace. Combining cityscapes with breathtaking scenery, we delve deeper into Scotland and its spectacular Highlands, discovering a treasure trove of sites which played a key role in Scotland’s history (and looking out for the elusive Loch Ness monster along the way)! During part of our tour we weave along a stretch of the famous North Coast 500, one of the most stunning routes in the world and renowned for its wild beauty, awe-inspiring vistas and cultural heritage. Also featuring a private tour of Glen Moray Distillery and a wee whisky tasting, this is the perfect way to experience a real flavour of bonnie Scotland.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
Jul 9, 2023 - Jul 19, 2023
VACATION CANCELLATION BY YOU: If you want to cancel your booking after we have confirmed it with you either verbally, over the telephone or by email, you can do so over the phone or in writing. The following cancellation charges will apply:
365 to 182 days prior to departure
181 to 91 days prior to departure
90 days or less before departure
100% of the program cost is non-refundable
Arrival (depart U.S. on 7/8)
On arrival at Edinburgh airport, a private transfer will take you to the Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel in Edinburgh, our base for the first two nights of our tour. In the evening, join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.
Palace of Holyroodhouse, National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle
Our first visit is to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, where we go behind the ropes in selected rooms not normally open to the public. Next, we venture to the National Museum of Scotland with its significant collection of artifacts, where the fascinating galleries take us on a journey from prehistoric times to modern-day Scotland. We then head up to Edinburgh Castle, where highlights include the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the Royal Palace and the 16th-century Great Hall, which we discover on our audio-guided tour.
This morning we head to Perthshire’s Blair Castle. Home to the Atholl family for over seven centuries, the castle was sieged by Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1650 and was also used as an auxiliary hospital during World War I. We are then treated to lunch at the award-winning Old Manse of Blair restaurant, nestled in the spectacular landscapes of the Cairngorms National Park. Later we check in to the Rocpool Hotel, where we stay for the next four nights.
Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns, Brodie Castle and Glen Moray Distillery
This morning we discover Culloden Battlefield, scene of the final battle of the 1745-46 Jacobite rising, the short but bloody battle which changed the course of history. On the way to our next stop, we visit Clava Cairns, one of Scotland’s most historic landmarks, believed to be around 4,000 years old. We continue to Brodie Castle, set in tranquil parkland. As well as an extensive library, the house has a major collection of paintings that span the centuries plus fine antique furniture and ceramics. Our final stop today is Glen Moray Distillery for a private tour of the Speyside distillery that has been in operation for more than 120 years. We also have the chance to try a wee dram of whisky!
North Coast 500 Drive, Dornoch, Dunrobin Castle and Fortrose
Today we travel along a stretch of one of the most famous touring routes in the world, the North Coast 500, and make a stop in the charming seaside resort of Dornoch. Next we head up to Dunrobin Castle, a magnificent castle that resembles a French château with towering conical spires, and home to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland since the 13th century. We then head back to the hotel via the town of Fortrose, famous for its ruined 13th-century cathedral and a popular place for trying to spot bottlenose dolphins.
Abertarff House, Inverness, Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage & Museum and Cromarty
Today we journey back in time at Abertarff House, the oldest house in Inverness which has stood proudly during plenty of tumultuous events, where we enjoy coffee and cake. We then enjoy a guided walking tour of Inverness itself, known as the capital of the Highlands. This vibrant city is full of historical buildings, including Inverness Castle. Our next stop is Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage & Museum, the humble abode of the famous Scottish geologist, writer and folklorist, home to an intriguing collection of fossils. There is then some free time to explore Hugh Miller’s hometown of Cromarty, located close to the scenic Black Isle peninsula.
Urquart Castle and Loch Ness
After checking out of the hotel, we make our way to Urquart Castle. In 1689 government troops were stationed here and on their departure in 1692, they blew up the gatehouse to ensure the location could not be used by the Jacobites. Next we experience the sights, wildlife and history of Loch Ness on a scenic cruise. The loch is most famous for the legend of the elusive Loch Ness monster that is said to live in its deep waters! Later we check in to Cameron House, where we stay for the next two nights.
The Hill House and Loch Lomond
This morning we head to The Hill House, an exquisite building complete with original furnishings, and renowned as the finest domestic masterpiece of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. We then embark on a cruise of Loch Lomond, the largest expanse of fresh water on mainland Britain. Take in the stunning mountain backdrop and a variety of wildlife while enjoying the included tea and teacakes. After dinner back at the hotel, we are treated to a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.
Bannockburn Battle Experience, Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies
Leaving Loch Lomond, we head to the award-winning Bannockburn Battle Experience, located on the site where Robert the Bruce masterminded a crucial victory over the English in 1314. Next, we visit the Falkirk Wheel, the world’s only rotating boat lift, where we effectively sail through the sky during our unique journey! We continue to another of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions, The Kelpies, the largest equine sculptures in the world. Afterward, we enjoy a delicious lunch of Scottish tapas in a local restaurant. Later we return to Edinburgh and check back in to the Kimpton Hotel, where we stay for the remainder of our tour.
Royal Yacht Britannia and Edinburgh Underground Vaults
Today we step aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Queen’s floating royal residence for over 44 years. Our fascinating audio-guided tour includes the Royal Bedrooms, Crew’s Quarters, the Engine Room and more. We then take a trip beneath the bustle of Edinburgh’s Old Town, to the dark, damp and eerie Underground Vaults, once the main streets of Edinburgh until they were built on top of. Back at the hotel this evening we enjoy a farewell dinner together.
A private transfer will take you back to Edinburgh airport for your return flight home
Everything you need to know about the tour
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