13 Day Scottish Isles & Glens – CIE
Scottish Isles & Glens 13 Days / 12 Nights
Day 1: Glasgow Arrival & Loch Katrine Cruise
Your Scottish trip starts at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour director at your hotel, located in the village of Drymen and 20 miles north of Glasgow. Set out from your hotel and take a short drive through part of the Trossachs, often called “The Highlands in Miniature”. Embark on the steamboat, “Sir Walter Scott,” for a short cruise on Loch Katrine to admire lovely scenery. Return to your hotel and relax for a time before joining your tour director and travel companions for a welcome drink before dinner.
Day 2: Isle of Arran & Whisky Distillery
Drive south to Ardrossan to take a ferry ride to the Isle of Arran, one of the most accessible of the Scottish islands and one of the most southerly. You will see how the northern half of the island belongs to the Highlands with rugged mountains which the south has the softer landscape of the Lowlands. Visit the Isle of Arran Distillery which was opened in 1997 and see how whisky is distilled and sample some of the finished product. Stop in Blackwaterfoot for lunch on your own and spend some free time at the Home Farm Visitor Centre. Return to the mainland and to your hotel in time for dinner.
Day 3: Loch Lomond & Eilean Donan Castle
Travel alongside the famous Loch Lomond, renowned for its unsurpassed beauty. Travel through the deep valley of Glen Coe, notorious for the Campbell massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. Continue through Fort William and stop at the Spean Bridge Woollen Mill, which offers a good selection of quality Scottish goods. Continue your drive north to visit the romantic Eilean Donan Castle. The first fortified castle was built in the 13th century, rebuilt several times and partially ruined in 1719. Check in to your charming family-owned hotel near Kyle of Lochalsh.
Day 4: Isle of Skye & Dunvegan Castle
Today explore the Isle of Skye and its strong Bonnie Prince Charlie associations. He fled to the island after his defeat at Culloden Moor. Travel to Dunvegan Castle, stronghold of the Chiefs of MacLeod for nearly 800 years, making it the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. View priceless family heirlooms and stroll through formal gardens. Stop in Portree for a look at brightly-painted houses that cluster around a large bay. Return to your hotel for free time before dinner.
Day 5: Inverewe Gardens & Ullapool
Enjoy Highland scenery as you drive north along the west coast to visit Inverewe Gardens, where a haven of trees and shrubs was created from 50 acres of bleak headland in 1862. The varied plantings thrive due to the warmth of the Gulf Stream. Continue to Ullapool, an active fishing and ferry port that was built in 1788 to provide a living for the people in this region. Take a brief drive around the town and check in to your hotel.
Day 6: Highland Scenery & Isle of Orkney
Today explore more of the Highlands as you travel through one of Scotland’s most sparsely-populated regions with huge tracts of bogland, rugged mountains and coastline. Drive around the coastline through remote hamlets and vast areas of open land. Learn about the Highland Clearances, a tragic period of history when many peasants were forced off the land and emigrated to the United States, Australia and other countries. Continue to John O’Groats, the most northern place on the British mainland and take a nearby ferry to the Isle of Orkney, enjoying dinner as you travel. Check in to your hotel in Kirkwall.
Day 7: Isle of Orkney & Skara Brae
Today explore the largest island of Orkney. Visit Skara Brae, a 5,000-year-old village, to see remains of dwellings. View the Ring of Brodgar, a circle of tall, prehistoric standing stones. Drive across the Churchill Barriers, created during World War II to deter German submarines and see the Italian Chapel, built from two Nissen huts with elaborate paintings. Return to Kirkwall to see 12th century St. Magnus Cathedral. Enjoy leisure time in the afternoon and evening to browse around the city center and dine on your own.
Day 8: Dunrobin Castle & Inverness
Return by ferry to the mainland and drive down the east coast to visit Dunrobin Castle, dating to 1275 but renovated in the mid-1800’s. With 189 rooms this is the largest mansion in northern Scotland. Visit the dining room, music room and library with over 10,000 volumes and all containing priceless artifacts. Watch a demonstration of falconry in the castle gardens to see trained birds of prey. Continue south to your hotel in the center of Inverness, the principal town in the Highlands.
Day 9: Urquhart Castle & Culloden Battlefield
Cruise into Loch Ness to visit the picturesque ruins of Urquhart Castle, once Scotland’s largest castle which was destroyed in Jacobite wars. Stop at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre to learn about the conflict where Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated in 1746. Walk around the moor and see monuments to the various regiments who lost men. Return to Inverness in time to relax, shop or walk alongside the River Ness in front of your hotel.
Day 10: Sheepdog Trials & St Andrews
Drive past the majestic scenery of the Cairngorm Mountains to visit Leault Farm where skilled dogs obey commands to round up sheep. Continue south to St Andrews, located on the east coast. This city is renowned as the “Home of Golf” and for its university, Scotland’s oldest, where Prince William and Kate Middleton studied. Spend some time to explore on your own. Drive south to Edinburgh and head straight to a Scottish Evening where you’ll dine on excellent Scottish cuisine followed by a lively show. Check in to your hotel afterwards.
Day 11: Edinburgh Castle & City Tour
This morning discover Edinburgh on a sightseeing tour. See the wide streets and elegant mansions of the 200-year-old Georgian “New Town” and walk along part of the Royal Mile, the oldest part of the city where some houses reach 11 stories tall. Tour the imposing Edinburgh Castle to see historic buildings, the Stone of Scone and the Scottish Crown Jewels. Also appreciate great panoramic views over the city from the ramparts. The afternoon and evening are free. On July 30 to August 15 departures enjoy the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.
Day 12: Extend your Stay in Edinburgh
Spend the day on an independent hop-on hop-off bus tour of Edinburgh; there are a number of different routes that you may choose.
Day 13: Depart Edinburgh for Home
Your tour ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
- Scottish Evening in Edinburgh
- Eilean Donan Castle
- Stay 2-Nights on Isle of Orkney
- 5,000-Year-Old Village of Skara Brae
- Whisky Tasting on Isle of Arran
- Highland Scenery
First Class & Highland
- The Winnock Hotel
Glasgow (2 nights)
- The Balmacara Hotel
near Kyle of Lochalsh (2 nights)
- The Royal Hotel
Ullapool (1 night)
- Kirkwall Hotel orAyre Hotel
Kirkwall (2 nights)
- Columba Hotel
Inverness (2 nights)
- Apex International Hotel
Edinburgh (3 nights)
- Sightseeing by luxury coach
- Professional tour director
- 12 nights in hotels listed
- Full breakfast daily (B) except on day 1
- 9 dinners (D) including- Scottish Evening in Edinburgh- 8 table d’hote dinners
- Welcome get-together drink
- Tour of Edinburgh
- Loch Katrine steamboat cruise and cruise on Loch Ness
- Round trip ferry rides to Isles of Arran and Orkney
- Isle of Arran Distillery whisky tasting and tour
- Sheepdog trials at Leault Farm
- Reserved seats for Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on July 30 to August 15 departures
- Edinburgh open-top bus tour
- Visits and admissions to Spean Bridge Woollen Mill, Eilean Donan Castle, Dunvegan Castle, Inverewe Gardens, John o’ Groats, Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, St. Magnus Cathedral, Italian Chapel, Dunrobin Castle, Urquhart Castle, Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, St Andrews and Edinburgh Castle
- Headsets for walking tours
- Deluxe carry-on backpack, ticket wallet, luggage tags & strap
- All local taxes, hotel service charges & porterage for one suitcase per person
- Free Wi-Fi on coaches and in hotel lobbies