9 Day Treasures of Scotland
9 Day Small Group Tour from Edinburgh to Edinburgh with Back-Roads
Enchanting lochs, haunting glens and soaring mountains: Scotland is home to many diverse treasures. On this tour of the historic Borders and scenic Central Belt, we’ll discover some of the country’s most spectacular views, fascinating stories and long-standing traditions – all of which are to be found in lesser-visited locations off the beaten track. Ready to discover another side to Scotland? This is the trip for you.
Day 1: Edinburgh – Lilinthgow – Pitlochry
Our journey into the unspoilt scenery of rural Scotland will begin in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities: Edinburgh, where we’ll meet the group and board the mini-coach for the first time. Our first stop? Linlithgow Palace, the magnificent countryside retreat where Mary, Queen of Scots was born. This afternoon, the royal theme will continue with a visit to the imposing Doune Castle, which featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and was used to depict Castle Leoch in Outlander. We’ll then roll through the spellbinding Sma’ Glen en route to today’s final destination: Perthshire, a region famous for its picturesque lochs and forests. Tonight we’ll come together for a welcome dinner – where we’ll get to know the group a bit better. Stay: TBC
Day 2: Pitlochry – Perthshire – Pitlochry
Who knew that you could hit the safari trail here in Scotland? We’ll explore the vastness of the highlands with a kilted safari ranger today – going off-road through wild terrain to take in the area’s spectacular mountain views (and perhaps glimpsing grouse, mountain hares and golden eagles with our binoculars as we go). After an adventurous ride, we’ll move on to the Red Deer Centre, where we’ll have the chance to see Britain’s largest native land mammal up close. Then: we’ll return to the hotel for an afternoon of leisure time.
Day 3: Pitlochry – Scottish Crannog Center – Luss
After this morning’s breakfast, we’ll bid farewell to Perthshire and continue our journey to Luss, a picturesque village on the western shore of Loch Lomond that’s famous for its neat cottages and flower displays. But before we get there, we’ve an appointment to keep with the Scottish Crannog Centre – where we’ll take some time to walk in the footsteps of the original Crannog dwellers. With craft, textile and cooking demonstrations on the agenda, this Iron Age experience will give us a unique insight into Scotland’s history. Tonight, there’s a private dinner and whisky tasting session to look forward to at the postcard-perfect Glengoyne Distillery. Stay: Lodge on Loch Lomond (or similar)
Day 4: Luss – Glencoe – Luss
More breathtaking scenery is on the cards today as we take a day trip through magnificent Glencoe – whose towering mountains were formed by volcanic eruptions and sculpted by glaciers thousands of years ago. While here, we’ll visit Glencoe Visitor Centre and learn more about the haunting story of the Glencoe Massacre of 1692. Before we return to Luss for the afternoon, we’ll have just enough time to visit the Inverawe Scottish Oak Smokehouse, where there’s a delicious smoked salmon tasting session in store for us.
Day 5: Luss – Alloway – Troon
We couldn’t leave Loch Lomond behind without taking some time to get up close and personal with its mysterious waters – and that’s why we’ll round off our visit to the area with a breathtaking loch cruise this morning. After losing ourselves amidst the views of islands, mountains and trees, we’ll head back to dry land for the journey to Alloway: the birthplace of National Bard Robert Burns (recently voted ‘the most iconic Scot of all time’). We’ll familiarise ourselves with Rabbie’s life, works – and even the cottage where he was born this afternoon. Then: onwards to charming Troon, where an included dinner awaits. Stay: Piersland House (or similar)
Day 6: Troon – Isle Of Arran – Troon
Often referred to as ‘Scotland in miniature’, the enchanting Isle of Arran is the next scenic stop on our itinerary. After our included ferry crossing, we’ll have the whole day to spend browsing the village shops, sampling the local fare in the restaurants, taking in the sweeping country views, and strolling past historic buildings and castle ruins. This evening we’ll return to Troon, where you’ll be free to do as you please.
Day 7: Troon – New Larnak – Scottish Borders
Our road will turn away from the coast and back inland today as we set a course for New Lanark, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home of the award-winning New Lanark Visitor Centre. After visiting the working textile machinery and discovering more about life in New Lanark in the early 19th century, we’ll move on to our next stop: Traquair House, the oldest inhabited house in Scotland. Here, we’ll have the privilege of meeting the house’s current owner, Catherine Maxwell Stuart, the 21st Lady of Traquair. We’ll even have the chance to take a look around Traquair’s historic brewery – and sample a taste of its produce, too – before we hit the road once more. Tonight, we’ll rest our heads at our accommodation in the Scottish Borders. Stay: TBC
Day 8: Scottish Borders
Today will begin with a visit to one of Scotland’s most famous landmarks: Melrose Abbey, the final resting place of the heart of Robert the Bruce. Don’t forget to look out for the famous bagpipe-playing pig sculpture while you’re here! Later, there’s more fascinating history in store in the Royal Burgh of Jedburgh, where we’ll visit Mary Queen of Scots’ Visitor Centre – a tower house that tells the story of the tragic queen. After a day of discovery, we’ll return to our accommodation – where we’ll raise a glass together one last time at tonight’s farewell dinner.
Day 9: Scottish Borders – North Berwick – Edinburgh
The final day dawns on our Back-Roads adventure – but there’s still plenty left to see! On the last leg of our journey we’ll stop off at the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, where we’ll use zoom-in cameras to get an up-close look at the local wildlife – including puffins, gannets and guillemots. Then: back to beautiful Edinburgh, where we’ll have some time to explore the quaint shops and cafés before we say goodbye.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
- Experience soul-stirring views on a Highland safari in Perthshire
- Take a day trip to the unforgettable Isle of Arran
- Meet the owner of Traquair, Scotland’s oldest inhabited house – and enjoy a guided tour of the property (with included tasting session at the house’s brewery)
- 8 nights in boutique accommodation
- Experienced Back-Roads Tour Leader and Driver
- Premium mini-coach transportation
- Included Meals: 12 Meals: 8 Breakfasts, 4 Dinners
- Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
- Prices are for land/cruise and internal flights as specified only. Flights not specified are not included.
- Lodge on Loch Lomond (or similar)
- Piersland House (or similar)