Please note: Combination tours - These itineraries are made up of individual tours which are scheduled to link up en route without having to come back to their starting point. Passengers will be able to enjoy the individual styles and stories of the different driver/guides as well as a different group of travelling companions on each part of their trip.
Day 1 Depart Edinburgh at 09.00 and travel west passing Linlithgow Palace and Stirling with its imposing castle and views of the Wallace Monument. We pass Doune Castle, set of Monty Python's "Holy Grail" before stopping in Callander for refreshments. Crossing into the Highlands we head north towards the glorious scenery surrounding Loch Luibnaig then through Breadalbane (meaning the ‘high country of Scotland’) and up to the wild desolation of Rannoch Moor. We continue through the spectacular mountain pass of Glencoe, scene of the great massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. Leaving Fort William after lunch we drive past Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and into the Great Glen. Travelling west on the "Road to the Isles" we head through the splendour of the Five Sisters of Kintail, the mountains guarding the pass on the way to the Isle of Skye. We stop to visit the famous Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland’s most photographed castles, set at the junction of 3 lochs and completely surrounded by water. Crossing over the bridge to Skye, we follow the dramatic coastline north towards the island’s capital, Portree. You are then dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening where you are free to go out and explore the town.
Day 2 is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and your driver/guide's knowledge will come to the fore in developing the best day out for you on that particular day. North of Portree is the Trotternish ridge with its spectacular cliffs and rock formations, such as the famous landmark – the Old Man of Storr, the impressive sea cliff, Kilt Rock and the stunning mountain pass of the Quiraing. Amazing natural scenery, which is best enjoyed away from the bus by taking a walk through this unique landscape. Further west the scenery changes again with the emerald green valley of Glendale, the dramatic sea-cliffs of Neist Point (the most westerly point on the island, where you might get lucky and spot some whales or sharks!), and the 13th-century home of the Clan Macleod, Dunvegan Castle. We return to Portree in the evening.
Day 3 You will be collected from your accommodation and travel south through the Cuillin Hills and back over to the mainland for stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters of Kintail. Onto Loch Ness for lunch and the possibility of spotting "Nessie". There is a boat trip (Summer only) available here that will get you that bit closer! Heading south now through the Grampian mountains along Loch Laggan, famous now as "Monarch of the Glen Country" before passing Dalwhinnie, home to Scotland's highest whisky Distillery, and onwards past Blair Castle stopping for refreshments before heading back to Edinburgh past Perth and over the Forth Road Bridge. Arriving at 19.00 approx.
Day 4 is a free day to explore Edinburgh, the historic capital of Scotland. There are so many options available here - why not take a local open top city bus tour to familiarise yourself with the 'old' and 'new' towns of the city. No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to her medieval castle. Sitting on a volcanic plug there is no other city in Europe to offer a setting quite as unique as that of the castle rising high above the majestic Princes street gardens, to the hustle and bustle of the city’s first new town, and the main thoroughfare awash with designer shops. Or why not explore the largest urban park in Europe, home to our extinct volcano known locally as 'Arthur’s seat'. The park nestles beside the official royal residence in Scotland, Holyrood house. Another possibility to visit, or, you could also take a trip to visit the Queen's retired cruise ship- 'The Royal Yacht Britannia' anchored at the port of Leith. There are beautiful Botanic gardens if you wish to escape from the busy streets, and enjoy the tireless efforts of the numerous gardeners ensuring that this oasis remains a wonderful local feature. There are ghost, haunted and literary tours available to while away an evening, and of course the locals pubs offer a choice in music. There is so much to do; the list is endless for Edinburgh! This is just a taster!
Day 5 Depart Edinburgh at 09.00 and travel South into the Scottish Borders stopping at the world famous Scott’s view with stunning views over the River Tweed and the Cheviot hills that form the border between Scotland and England. We continue on to take a short walk to the William Wallace statue, the first ever statue erected to Scotland’s most feared warrior. Stopping briefly for refreshments by the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey we continue our journey towards the border crossing at Carter Bar. We follow the old Roman Road known as Dere Street into Northumberland and continue over the moors to follow the route of Hadrian’s wall, built by Emperor Hadrian to keep the Scots out of the Roman Empire. After lunch we take the opportunity to explore some of the Roman remains and walk in the footsteps of the Roman Centurians who patrolled this desolate frontier of the Empire. We head South West and travel over Hartside Pass, at over 1900ft - on a clear day the hills and mountains of Scotland and the English Lake District are clearly visible. We follow the route of the old sheep drovers road towards the lively market town of Keswick where you will be dropped off at your accommodation and are then free to explore this charming town.
Day 6 After breakfast we head a short distance out of town to the mysterious Castlerigg standing stones, thought by many to have been built over 5,000 years ago and the scene of ancient rituals. We then travel on to the shores of Ullswater described as England’s most beautiful lake where we take a forest walk to see the mighty Aira Force waterfall. Continuing south over the narrow and winding Kirkstone Pass we stop at Lake Windermere where you have the option to take a leisurely cruise on the Lake or simply eat lunch while enjoying views of the mountains and lakes. After lunch we travel around the southern tip of Windermere and on towards Coniston Water and shortly afterwards we arrive at the picturesque conservation village of Hawkeshead, where the poet William Wordsworth attended Grammar School. After free time to explore the village we take the narrow country lanes north towards Grasmere, which Wordsworth described as “the loveliest spot that man hath found”. There is free time to visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage or enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden by the River Rothy. In the late afternoon we return to Keswick.
Day 7 You will be collected from your accommodation and we head for the Whinlatter Forest Park and over the Whinlatter pass and into some of the most dramatic landscapes that the Lake District has to offer. Our journey takes us through the rural village of High Lorton and past Crummock Water and Buttermere and on towards the Honister mountain pass. Stopping amongst the mountains we have the opportunity to visit the old slate workings where a small number of Cumbrians continue to make their living. Following refreshments we continue through the forests of Borrowdale, passing Derwent Water on our return to Keswick where there is free time for lunch and shopping. Following lunch we begin our return journey by heading north towards the border. After crossing into Scotland we make a stop in Moffat, one of Scotland’s oldest Spa towns. From here it is a leisurely drive through the Galloway Hills back to Edinburgh. Arrival Approx 18.00
On the last day you have the option to be dropped off in the afternoon at Penrith train station if you are wanting to continue on to London or other destinations south.
207 High St, Edinburgh. Click here to see map.
Transportation by top of the range Mercedes minicoach for a more personal experience with a maximum of 16 passengers on tour.
We believe a small group tour with a maximum of 16 passengers really does make a big difference to your trip. It allows us to give you a more personal service and remain the only 5 Star operator to offer this personal guarantee. Touring with a maximum of 16 passengers you get more for your money, more personal attention, more time with the locals, more time off the bus, more time on the back-roads and just more of an authentic, friendly experience. The smaller groups allow you to meet people from all over the world and make friends for life.
Forced air ventilation as standard.
Services of a professional Rabbie's driver/guide
All ferry and bridge crossings.
Rabbie's Discount Card - money off restaurants, shopping and attractions.
Lunch and refreshments.
Entrances to all Visitor Attractions.
Your tour does not include accommodation in the price. By giving you a choice of accommodation it allows you to choose your budget, stay in smaller places and get closer to the local people. This also means you help to sustain the communities you visit in the long term. Choose a hotel, B&B or a hostel and we will book it for you.
Typical prices per person per night:
Hostel £15-£20, Guest House B&B £30-£45, Hotels - more.
Based on 2 people sharing (except hostel). Single occupancy will be higher.
The accommodation prices above are for guidance only and we cannot be held responsible for any variation in the cost of accommodation, but we always do our very best to satisfy your personal requirements and have an amazing track record of providing our customers the best value and quality accommodation available. We do advise that single supplements usually apply and at times in peak season double room rates are charged for single occupancy.
Accommodation is dispersed around various towns and villages, rarely more than a 10-15 minute walk from the centre, although on occasions this can be 20-30 minutes. Taxis are available for a small fee if necessary. If you have access needs or specific requirements please let us know when booking. Late bookings and/or peak season may limit the choice and location of available accommodation.
When you go on tour your driver/guide will drop you off at your booked* accommodation and pick you up in the morning so you have no need to worry about shifting luggage or getting lost on tour. It’s a small group tour so we won’t let you get lost in the crowd.
After you’ve stayed at your accommodation you pay for it directly to your host. Cash is preferred amongst smaller B&Bs but don’t worry if you run out. There are plenty of Automatic Cash machines in the places you stay overnight.
We’ve found that this way of touring means you can really get in touch with the locals and your choices can be looked after far more effectively and you can stay in the best and most affordable places.
*Please note that if your accommodation has already been booked by Rabbie’s, as per your initial request, and you change your booking, there will be a charge for amendments. Changes to booked accommodation cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability.
Please note that in the case of late bookings accommodation availability and choice may be restricted and we cannot guarantee to find your first choice. There is usually a supplement for single rooms. By giving you a choice of accommodation it allows you to choose your budget, stay in smaller places and get closer to the local people. This also means you help to sustain their communities in the long term.
For more information click here
*NB On occasions, when villages we stay in have events on, accommodation can be scarce and expensive so we may use other locations for your accommodation on the tour. We will always inform you of this when this is necessary.
Students, Seniors over 60 and Children between 5 and 16.
Because we believe in time off the bus and give you opportunities to take nature walks we recommend you bring suitable clothing and footwear for your tour. Accommodation on the Skye part of the tour is dispersed around Portree which is small, but hilly. If you have mobility problems or special requirements please let us know when booking.
Photography Credits: VisitScotland, VisitBritain (Rod Edwards: Keswick, Hadrian's Wall, Derwent Water and Coniston; Joe Cornish: Honister Pass).