Scottish Island Highlights
12 day tour

  • Sligachan Bridge Isle of Skye
  • Queens View
  • Laphroaig Distillery
  • Ring of Brodgar
  • Calgary Beach Isle of Mull
  • Highland Cow
  • Torridon Man in Kilt

Explore the last great European wilderness on this comprehensive tour from Edinburgh.

Tour map

Highlights

Ferry
Gaelic Culture
Mountains
Lochs
Boat Cruises
Beaches
Abbeys
Distilleries

Places you explore


Oban -
This Victorian harbour town offers excellent seafood and a charming intimacy.

Kilmartin Glen - Return to the past at one of the richest areas in the UK for Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland.

Bowmore - Journey to the home of Islay’s oldest distillery, this charming place lies on the shores of the picturesque Loch Indaal.

The Islay Single Malt Whiskies - On an island known locally as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’, there is a regal quality to the distinctly peaty style of its single malt whiskies.

Sandy beaches of Islay - Stroll some of the most beautiful and rugged beaches in the UK along Islay’s West Atlantic coast.

Loch Lomond National Park - Enjoy the dramatic splendour of one of Scotland’s most famous lochs.

Magical Mull - Feel the tranquillity of the unspoilt blonde beaches and explore the brightly coloured fishing village of Tobermory.

Iona and Staffa - Visit the tiny Island of Iona, inhabited with just around 120 people.

Fingal's Cave - The cave is compiled of naturally assembled hexagonal pillars from Paleocene lava flow.

Isle of Skye - One of the world’s most stunning islands.

Eilean Donan Castle - An iconic and gorgeous 13th century castle that once warded off Viking invasions.

Orkney Isles - These beautiful islands are full of ancient history and wildlife.

Glencoe and Rannoch Moor - Be moved by the sheer beauty and tragic tales of one of Scotland’s most famous landscapes.

Skara Brae and Ring of Brodgar - Learn how people used to live in ancient times at these prehistoric monuments.

Cairngorms National Park - Gaze in awe at Scotland’s most beautifully rounded peaks.


Your journey


Scotland doesn’t do ‘half measures’.

The drinks are strong, the bagpipes are loud, and the landscapes are epic.

And it’s this ‘larger than life’ attitude that makes you fall in love with Scotland.

So on this tour we let you experience full strength Scotland. You explore the wild, remote landscapes of Orkney, a place where you can feel the Viking heritage. You visit Skye, an island that movie makers flock to for it’s unique and beautiful landscapes. And you sample the national drink in Islay, a beautiful Island that creates the smokiest whiskies you’ll ever taste.

So join this tour and take a strong, full, 12 day measure of Scotland’s culture, scenery, and stories.


Tour Details

Starts
Check-in closes at 08.15 (tour departs at 08:30) - Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Finishes (approx.)
19:00
Luggage
You’re restricted to 14kg (31lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items.
Discounts

Students and seniors over 60

Important information
  • This tour combines two of our trips. This means you swap your bus and guide during the journey
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
  • Unfortunately we don't carry anyone under 18 years old on this tour
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • Tour accomodation

Itinerary

Day 1

You escape the city of Edinburgh and head straight for the Highlands. Your first stop of the day is in the Trossachs national park. Here, you can admire Scotland’s scenic beauty and enjoy some local delicacies.

Your driver-guide may regale you with tales from Scottish folklore as you travel through the mountainous landscapes of the Western Highlands to Oban.

This port town was once the strategic heartland of great feuding clans. But today, Oban is famous for seafood sourced fresh off the boats. It also boasts its own distillery where you can sample whisky that’s been perfected for 200 years. Here, you will have time to enjoy a dram and indulge in delicious local seafood for lunch.

You then venture through the Kilmartin Glen where you see standing stones and strongholds that are over 1,500 years old.

At Kennacraig, you catch the evening ferry to Islay. The sail is around two hours; and if you peek out to the ocean, you may see the Paps of Jura. These mountains mark the way to Islay, Queen of the Hebrides.

Once you’ve arrived on the island, you settle into your accommodation in Bowmore.

Day 2

We know whisky tasting can be hard work, so you begin the day with a little sleep in.

After you’ve had an ample amount of breakfast, you enjoy a tour of Bowmore, the oldest licenced distillery on the island.

Your driver-guide takes you to a nice spot for a lunch of local treats before you head to Bruichladdich distillery. This forward-thinking whisky hub offers a wide-range of single-malts that celebrate the provenance of Islay’s ingredients.

Your next stop of the day is at Kilchoman Distillery. This is a proud and independent whisky-maker whose tastes are as bold as their environmental ethos. You have time for a tour and whisky tasting here, before a walk down the beautiful white beach that lies close by.

You head back to Bowmore where you can either stumble back to your room for the night or relax and explore the village.

Day 3

Today you explore the southern side of the island, home to a few of the most famous whiskies in all of Scotland: Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg.

After you’ve made it out of bed and eaten your breakfast, you visit Ardbeg. You stay here for a tour, tasting, and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy fine Scottish produce as you sip upon delightful drams.

You then visit Laphroaig. This 200-year-old whisky distiller is a favourite with the British royal family and bears the seal of the Prince of Wales to prove it.

Throughout the day, your driver-guide takes you to historical spots such as the ruins of Kildalton church and Dunyvaig Castle.

You return to Bowmore for your last evening of the trip.

Day 4

This morning you take the ferry back to the mainland and travel round the coast to the beautiful little village of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne.

Here you’ll join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Oban. Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions.

Once we arrive in Oban you'll have a free afternoon to enjoy this bustling and busy highland town. For those who are partial to some retail therapy, there are numerous shopping possibilities, or for those who wish to continue their thirst for Scottish whisky, Oban distillery is nicely situated in the heart of the town. A hike uphill will bring its own rewards with stunning views from the most photographed structure in the west, McCaig’s folly. The folly built on instruction by a local banker in 1897 resembles the coliseum in Rome, and provides magnificent vistas over the distant Firth of Lorne. You will stay in this glorious highland town for two nights.

Day 5

Is an early start crossing on the ferry to Mull and enjoying an island adventure exploring her dramatic coastlines and wild beauty, before taking the small ferry to the peace and tranquility of Iona - birthplace of Celtic Christianity and ancient burial ground of Scottish Kings. Here you can visit the historic abbey with its intricate carved crosses in the churchyard or explore the rocky headlands and sandy coves of this island gem. There is also an opportunity to take a small boat out for an optional trip to the island of Staffa and view the dramatic basalt columns immortalised by Mendelssohn in his Hebridean Overture "Fingal's Cave". You then return on the ferry to Oban for your second night.

Day 6

Takes you north along the west coast around Appin, passing the impregnable Castle Stalker, and Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. You then pass through Fort William nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis which at 1344 meters is the highest mountain in the British Isles. We continue through the Great Glen a natural fault in the earth’s crust that runs through Scotland and on through Ireland. From here you travel north to the picturesque fishing village of Plockton. You are then dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening.

Day 7

Today is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and your driver/guide will use his/her local knowledge to decide on the best day out for the group. For example: heading North towards Trotternish you may have the chance to ascend the Quiraing and be rewarded with spectacular views. In the afternoon the tour may concentrate on the south of the island. Spend time heading down to Elgol for seascapes and views of the Cuillin. Or drink in the scenery at Loch Corruisk and Glenbrittle with its famed waterfalls. We return you to your accommodation in Plockton in the late afternoon for you to enjoy a free evening in the village.

Day 8

You will be collected from your accommodation for the short drive to the famous stronghold of Eilean Donan Castle, used in the film "Highlander", set at the junction of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. Then you travel east taking in the stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters of Kintail. Continue on to Loch Ness for lunch and the possibility of spotting "Nessie".

Half an hour south of Loch Ness you will stop in the village of Spean Bridge and join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Orkney. Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions.

With your new crew you will continue north following the Great Glen travelling the entire 23 miles of the famous Loch passing by Urquhart castle. You can expect to arrive in Inverness, the Highland capital, and the place of our overnight stay at approx 18.30 where you will be dropped off at your pre booked accommodation.

Day 9

Is an early start, leaving behind the 'Capital of the Highlands', crossing over the Black Isle, and past Dunrobin Castle. From here you drive through the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery, and enjoy amazing views of some of Europe's oldest landscapes and the chance to see wildlife such as Golden Eagles and red deer. Onwards through Scotland's most northerly mainland village, John o' Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago. From here it is a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where we stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney where you shall stay for 2 nights. Here you can visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking Cathedral and its historic winding streets.

Day 10

Is your chance to explore this fantastic, ancient island; a land of contrasts where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic ocean. You will visit the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae (older than the Pyramids of Egypt!), the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness. We stop in Stromness - one of Scotland's most picturesque seaboard villages and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions. Then its back to Kirkwall for our second night after what is sure to be a memorable day.

Day 11

Is a relaxed start to the day, as you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of our northern coastline. We then visit the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. From here we travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where we spent our last night's stay on tour.

Day 12

Leaving Ullapool behind you, you take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60m down into Corrieshalloch Gorge, before taking in the beautiful Loch Glascarnoch, on the way past the 'Capital of the Highlands' Inverness. You can then visit Culloden Moor, the site of The Battle of Culloden in 1746, one of the bloodiest events in our history and the last battle to have been fought on the British mainland, before taking a short drive to the ancient standing stones at Clava Cairns, made famous by Diana Gabaldon in the "Outlander" books. This prehistoric and stunning Bronze Age burial ground is one of the oldest in Scotland. From here you travel through the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest, hugging the Cairngorm mountain range. Lunch will be spent in these beautiful surroundings before travelling through big tree country of Perthshire, through the Kingdom of Fife, and back to Edinburgh.

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Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay three nights in Islay*, two nights in Oban, two nights in Plockton, one night in Inverness, two nights in Orkney, and one night in Ullapool.


*On this part of the tour we reserve you rooms in the beautiful Bowmore Distillery Cottages.

The cottages have between three and six twin bedrooms. Due to the shared nature of the accommodation, individual bedrooms don't have lockable doors.

The kitchen and lounge facilities are shared with other passengers, and basic self-service breakfast ingredients are provided. Full Scottish breakfasts are available at the nearby hotels if you prefer, payable locally.

Prices are £42.50 per person per night twin/double share or £75 per night for a single**. For this option, please select 'B&B en-suite' as your first choice when booking the tour online. When these rooms are full, we book you into a nearby B&B. Rooms at the cottages are limited and are reserved on a first come first served basis. Local B&B charges are £50 per person per night.

There's also a limited number of 3* hotel rooms available on this tour. For this option, please select three star hotel as your first choice when booking.

We contact you afterwards to arrange payment for the accommodation.

** These prices change in April 2020 to £47.50 per person per night for twin share or £82 per night per single. The rate of a family room (3 people) is £120 per night.


How does the accommodation work?

Your tour excludes accommodation; but when you book, you can ask us to reserve local accommodation for you, or you can choose to reserve your own accommodation in the overnight locations.


I want Rabbie’s to book my accommodation, what happens now?

Once you've booked your tour, we'll reserve all your accommodation, and your driver will drop you off with your hosts. You’ll pay your accommodation directly. Most don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.


What if I want to change my accommodation booking with Rabbie’s?

Plans can change, so we let you alter your accommodation choices for free within the first 48 hours of booking. After this time, amendments aren't guaranteed and carry a surcharge. Please contact rooms@rabbies.com if you have any questions.


I booked my own accommodation is there anything I need to do?

You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central.


What if I cancel my tour at short notice?

You may be liable for the cost of your first nights’ accommodation for each separate accommodation booked. If you cancel less than three days before departure, you may be liable for all your accommodation costs.


What are the accommodation types?

We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre. We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard.

For the remaining part of the tour you can choose from the following options:

B&B (Bed and Breakfast) Standard

The toilet and showering facilities are shared with at least one other room in the house, and the price includes breakfast. The cost is £35 - £40 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single standard room is £40 - £60 per night.

B&B En suite

The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £45 - £60 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single en suite is £60 - £80 per night.

Hotels

Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £70 - £85 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single is £85 - £130 per night.

Hostels

A hostel consists of dormitory rooms with 4 to 16 bunk beds. The bathroom facilities are a short distance from the dorm room. Kitchen facilities are equipped so you can make your own meals. The cost based on dorm beds is £19 - £27 per person per night.

Please note that SYHA hostels only offer same gender dorms. Some independent hostels will offer mixed rooms (males and females together).


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, you can read our FAQs, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, or email rooms@rabbies.com.


FAQs

Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

The UK and Ireland's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure, we only pick up from our central meeting points. What's more is leaving the city using the most direct route also reduces the carbon footprint of our tours.

Is there parking close to the departure point?

We don't recommend bringing your car into the centre of our departure cities. It can be hard to find parking, and there are excellent public transportation services.

When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.

What happens if I'm late or miss the tour?

If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies.

What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of three days for our one day tours, and 21 days for longer tours. If cancelled outside this period, we'll give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this period, refunds are at our discretion. Click here to view full terms and conditions.

What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.

Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable 16-seat mini-coaches have huge windows. So, you'll always get a good view.

Are there toilets on the bus?

Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.

How do you cater for people with accessibility needs?

We aim to accommodate everyone. To read more information on how we do this, click here to go to our accessibility guide.

Do you take children on your tours?

We regret we don't carry children under the age of five on our scheduled tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.

How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy Britain and Ireland. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of time to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.

Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.

Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to. We stop in small towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.

Should I tip the driver-guide?

Let's be honest, our driver-guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.

What about travel insurance?

We advise you take out travel insurance.

What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you chose to let us reserve your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we become bankrupt. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com , or check out our full FAQs .

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities



BTA_2017.png Green Tourism Award Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 TC_2018_WHITE_LL_R-112x105.png queens-award.png Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars
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