Explore the last great European wilderness on this comprehensive tour from Edinburgh.
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.
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.
Students, and seniors over 60
Leaving Edinburgh you will head west to Stirling and into the Highlands with a short stop in the holiday town of Callander for refreshments. After travelling through the mountainous northern part of the Loch Lomond National Park you will arrive in the busy harbour town of Oban. You will have a couple of hours here with the chance to visit the Oban Distillery and sample some local seafood for lunch. You will then depart Oban mid-afternoon for the journey to Kennacraig to catch the evening ferry to Islay. The sail is just over two hours and you should look out for wildlife such as dolphins, whales and seabirds. On arrival on Islay it is a short drive to Bowmore for your three night stay.
A full day exploring Islay. The itinerary today is quite flexible with a mixture of beautiful scenery, white sand beaches, short walks and of course the famous Islay whiskies - renowned for their strong peaty flavours and nurtured by the salty sea air. In the morning you will take the short drive to the west of the island via Saligo Bay for a visit to Kilchoman Distillery (the newest and smallest on the island) with the option of a coastal walk to Machair Bay for any non-whisky lovers. After lunch you will explore the tiny harbour village of Portnahaven (look out for seals) before taking the back roads along the west coast with its lovely sandy bays, on the way back to Bowmore. You will have the chance to visit Bowmore distillery or just relax and explore the village.
Another day in paradise! Today you will explore the southern side of the island, home to the smokiest and peatiest of all whiskies – Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. We will visit Ardbeg for a tour, tasting and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy local produce as well as some unique whisky. We follow this up with a visit to Laphroaig and if time allows a short stop for a tasting at Lagavulin. It should also be possible to visit to the ruins of Kildalton church with its famous 8th Century Celtic cross. Alternatively we may stop in Bridgend where you could visit the community craft producers at Islay House Square or take a walk through the woods along the nearby River Sorn.
This morning you take the ferry back to the mainland and travel the short distance to Kilmartin Glen where we will have lunch. There are more than 350 prehistoric monuments within a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin and you will have the chance to see the mysterious stone circles and standing stones and visit the community museum. From here the tour continues 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.
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 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.
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.
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 west towards the 13th century home of the Clan Macleod - Dunvegan Castle, the emerald green valley of Glendale or the dramatic sea-cliffs and lonely lighthouse at Neist Point. 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 Talisker and its beautiful bay or perhaps Glenbrittle and 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.
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.
Is an early start, leaving behind the 'Capital of the Highlands', crossing over the Black Isle, and past Andrew Carnegie's Skibo 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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
Changes to accommodation cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability. An amendment charge will apply.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.
If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies.
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.
It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.
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.
Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We advise you take out travel insurance. You can click here for excellent rates.
Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or less
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