From its rugged sea-sprayed islands to its stately castles rich in history, Scotland’s treasures are as diverse as they are compelling. Learn how to play the bagpipes and enjoy dinner at the National Piping Centre’s farm-to-table restaurant. Take a cruise on famed Loch Ness. Visit a local family on their working farm and meet their sheepdogs. Marvel at the stunning Isle of Skye, the magnificent landscapes of the Highlands and the mountain wilderness of Cairngorms National Park. Explore the magical Orkney Islands’ ancient Skara Brae and prehistoric Ring of Brodgar. Visit Dunrobin Castle. Sample Scotch whisky during a distillery tour. Stop in St. Andrews, home of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. Explore the regal city of Edinburgh. Put a modern twist on traditional Scottish ingredients during an interactive cooking experience.
- Itinerary Type : Standard
- Activity Level : 3
- Number of Days:10
- Number of Meals:14
- Hotels:Radisson Blu (Edinburgh), Ballachulish Hotel (Ballachulish), Radisson Blu (Glasgow), Grant Arms Hotel (Grantown-on-Spey), Pentland Hotel (Thurso)
- Experiences:Visit a working farm and meet a shepherd and his sheepdogs.
Reflect at Culloden Battlefield, the site of the half-hour battle that changed history.
Discover the remains of a Neolithic village at Skara Brae.
- Must Sees:Experience the Orkney Islands during a full-day guided excursion.
Visit magnificent Edinburgh Castle, a stone fortress perched high above the city.
Explore the legendary Isle of Skye while soaking up the dramatic views.
- Culinaries:Learn the art of producing Scotch whisky during a distillery tour and tasting.
Enjoy an interactive cooking experience at one of Edinburgh's premier culinary institutions.
Itinerary (9 days)
Glasgow, Scotland - Tour Begins
Your tour opens in Glasgow, Scotland’s Victorian capital city. Start your Scottish adventure with a visit to the National Piping Centre. After a demonstration and lesson with a renowned piper, it’s your chance to give it a go! Then, join your fellow travelers for a lively welcome dinner at the Centre’s farm-to-table restaurant.
Glasgow - Glencoe - Ballachulish
This morning bid Glasgow farewell as we travel to one of Scotland’s renowned whisky distilleries. Taste and see for yourself why Highland malt whisky is considered the world’s finest. Continue on to the Highlands, through the breathtaking scenery of Glencoe and Rannoch Moor, before arriving at your hotel situated on lovely Loch Linnhe.
Ballachulish - Isle of Skye - Ballachulish
Take a stunning drive along the “Road to the Isles” and over the Skye Bridge to the legendary Isle of Skye, also known in poetry and song as Eilean a' Cheò (The Misty Isle). Enjoy dramatic views of the Cuillin Hills. Then, visit Armadale Castle & Gardens* and the Museum of the Isles to learn about island life and the history of Skye. Conclude your visit with views of the isle from yet another vantage point during a ferry crossing back to the mainland. Returning to Ballachulish, see Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied the clansmen for battle during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.
Ballachulish - Loch Ness - Thurso
Today, enjoy stunning and unspoiled landscapes as you journey further into the Highlands. Visit the striking ruins of Urquhart Castle before enjoying a cruise on Loch Ness, one of Britain’s most scenic bodies of water. Keep your eyes open — you never know when Nessie will appear! Travel through the Great Glen, famous for its many lochs (lakes). Your day concludes in Thurso.
Thurso - Orkney Islands - Thurso
A day of adventure awaits as you voyage by ferry to the Orkney Islands** – once a Viking stronghold off the coast of Scotland. On the crossing you’ll see abundant bird life and, if you are lucky, porpoises and seals. A local guide introduces this magical place that very few visitors to Scotland get to experience. Visit Skara Brae where you will discover the remains of a Neolithic village built at the same time as the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Next, pass the prehistoric Ring of Brodgar, reported to be older than Stonehenge. Visit the town of Viking Kirkwall before returning to the mainland.
Thurso - Eastern Highlands
Today you will visit Culloden Battlefield. On this spot in April 1746, a half-hour battle changed the course of Scotland’s history. We also stop at the majestic Dunrobin Castle*** which dates back to the 1300s. Take in the breathtaking views as you drive along the windswept cliffs of Scotland’s east coast. Enjoy an overnight stay in the Eastern Highlands.
Eastern Highlands - Pitlochry - St. Andrews - Edinburgh
Begin your day with a visit to a family-run farm set in the heart of the Highlands. See sheepdogs at work while surrounded by the mountain wilderness of Cairngorms National Park. Continue on to the vibrant Victorian town of Pitlochry for some time at leisure before traveling to St. Andrews, the beautiful town in the Kingdom of Fife that gave the world the game of golf. See the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse and the famous Old Course. End your day in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh.
Today it’s your choice! Choose to get acquainted with this regal capital on a locally guided panoramic city tour, exploring both the Old and New towns before visiting the Palace at Holyroodhouse.**** the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh and former home of Mary Queen of Scots -OR- for a different perspective you may join a local expert and explore the Old Town and Royal Mile on foot; descend into the city’s vast underground vaults and uncover a world unchanged since the 18th century. Both choices include a visit to Edinburgh Castle, home of the Scottish Crown Jewels. This evening, give traditional Scottish ingredients a modern twist. Enjoy a lively and interactive cooking experience at one of Scotland’s premier culinary institutions. With a “wee dram” in hand, toast the end of a wonderful journey.
Edinburgh - Tour Ends
Your tour of Scotland comes to a close today.
Join an expert who will give you a short demonstration on how to play the bagpipes before letting you give it a try. Receive your chanter (the piece of the bagpipe that creates the melody) for a bit of practice. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have the opportunity to try out the full instrument. There’s nothing more Scottish than learning to play the bagpipes!
Whiskey distilleries are very popular in Ireland as traditional Irish whiskey is a popular drink throughout the country. Distilleries are a popular place to take tours and learn about the making and production of whiskey.
Isle of Skye
Skye, or the Isle of Skye, is the largest and most northerly large island of the archipelago of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. At 639 square miles, Skye is the 2nd largest island in Scotland. The island’s main industries are tourism, agriculture, fishing and whiskey distilling. Since 1995, the island has been linked to the mainland of Scotland by a road bridge called the Skye Bridge.
Armadale Castle is a ruined castle in Armadale, Skye, Scotland. A mansion house was first built here around 1790. Since 1925 the castle has been abandoned by its former owners, the Macdonald family, and has fallen into ruin. The gardens around the castle have been maintained, which is now home to a center and museum.
Loch Ness is a large, deep freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending approximately 23 miles southwest of the city of Inverness. Loch Ness is best known for the alleged sightings of the Loch Ness monster. While Loch Ness is not the largest Scottish loch by surface area, it is the largest by volume, with its deepest point at 755 feet.
Off the coast of Northern Scotland, 10 miles from Duncansby Head in Caithness, lies a stunning archipelago comprised of 70 islands that are famously called the Orkney Islands. This breathtaking spot off the beaten path is waiting for your discovery. Voyage by ferry to the islands, keeping an eye out for an abundance of bird life, porpoises and seals. A local guide reveals its Viking heritage and introduces you to the wonders around you. To make the visit even more wonderful, visit Skara Brae and find the remains of a Neolithic village built at the same time as the Great Pyramid in Egypt. It’s a journey through history – a true highlight of your tour to fascinating Scotland.
Dunrobin Castle is a stately home in Sutherland, on the east coast of the Highland area of Scotland. The castle dates back to the 13th century. Dunrobin castle is the largest castle in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. The castle’s architecture resembles a French chateau.
Begin your day with a visit to a bucolic family run farm located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Enjoy watching precisely trained sheepdogs do their work with the mountain wilderness of Cairngorms National Park serving as a most excellent backdrop.
St. Andrews is a former royal borough on the east coast of Scotland. It is home to the University of St. Andrews, the 3rd oldest university in the English speaking world, as well as the oldest university in Scotland. St. Andrews is known as the worldwide home of golf. Many visitors come to St. Andrews for the golf courses, which are ranked some of the finest in the world. The Open Championship, the oldest of golf’s four major championships, is frequently held in St. Andrews.
Choice on Tour
In Edinburgh, take a locally guided panoramic city tour that includes a visit to the Palace at Holyroodhouse or join a local expert and explore the Old Town and Royal Mile on foot. Both choices feature a visit to Edinburgh Castle!
Edinburgh Castle is a historic castle and fortress located in Edinburgh, Scotland. It sits atop Castle Rock in the city center and is an integral part of Edinburgh’s skyline. In present day the castle is a major tourist attraction for the city. It is the most visited paid visitor attraction in Scotland.
Scottish Cooking Experience
As part of your included culinary highlights we put a modern twist on traditional ingredients. Dive into Scotland’s cuisine at premier culinary institution. Your interactive cooking experience gives you a chance to learn hands-on about the trends in Scottish cuisine.