This comprehensive tour (7 days & 6 nights!) of Scotland's Highlands and Islands is the perfect balance of discovery, travel and hospitality. Travelling in a small group you'll experience a magical blend of island life, historic castles and pre-historic legend. Price includes your accommodation & breakfast. This is the best extended tour for the Far North of Scotland! Departs Mondays from May to September.
Highlights: Loch Lomond, Inveraray, Kilmartin Glen, Oban, Glen Coe, Fort William, Isle of Skye, Cuillin Hills, Eilean Donan Castle, Torridon, Glen Affric, Loch Ness, Inverness, Ferry to the Orkney Islands, Italian Chapel, Scapa Flow, Kirkwall, Maeshowe, Skara Brae, Ring o’Brodgar, Culloden Moor and Pitlochry
Day One - Edinburgh to Oban
From Edinburgh we travel westwards across Scotland to reach Glasgow, Scotland’s most populous city. Turning North we enter the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, a natural wonder that is just waiting to be discovered. The "bonnie, bonnie banks" of Loch Lomond is a real highlight. This is Britain's largest lake and one of Scotland's loveliest. It has 30 islands, including one inhabited by a colony of wallabies!
The Argyll Forest Park is famed for its ancient trees, tranquil lochs and mountains. Look out for Ben Arthur, affectionately known as "The Cobbler” - it’s one of Scotland’s most popular climbs.
Soon our coach starts our ascent of the "Rest and be Thankful” mountain pass. You’ll soon realise why this road has such an unusual name when you look down on General Wade's original road that winds its way through Glen Croe all the way to the summit!
The 3rd Duke of Argyll built the "new" town of Inveraray at the head of Loch Fyne. The town sits in the shadow of his castle and, as we will discover, this pleasant town retains much of its 18th Century charm.
From Lochgilphead we enter Kilmartin Glen. This mysterious Glen is one of the most concentrated areas of prehistoric sites in Scotland including a linear cemetery – a line of burial cairns that stretch for over 2 miles. Nearby is Dunadd, a hill fort that dates from the Iron Age. Dunadd was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada so this part of Argyll has played an important part in the creation of modern Scotland!
After a little more motoring we arrive in the bustling, beautiful port of Oban, our stop for tonight. Oban is the gateway to the isles so why not take a pre-dinner stroll and admire the views over the busy working harbour.
Day Two - Oban to Skye (2 nights)
We bid farewell to Oban and make our way to the Connel Bridge. As we cross Loch Etive look out for the Falls of Lora below.
Glen Coe is arguably Scotland's most famous Glen partly because of its solitary, glowering beauty and, more sinisterly, because of the infamous massacre that took place here in 1692. The sad tale will be told as we make a short diversion to explore this special place for ourselves.
Fort William's glorious setting on the banks of Loch Linnhe has made it a popular tourist destination since the arrival of the steamships in the mid-1900's. The town sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis, which, at 4,406 feet, is the tallest mountain in the UK. If the weather is kind to us we should hopefully get a good view of "The Ben" as we leave the town.
We’re now entering the Great Glen, a valley that extends from east to west through the Highlands. The famous engineer Thomas Telford ingeniously incorporated the three lochs that make the Great Glen so special when he constructed the Caledonian Canal. The canal allows boats to sail between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and we will see large parts of the canal as we travel through this region called Lochaber.
Glen Shiel is home to the "Five Sisters", a range of five mountains of which 4 are over 3,000 feet high. Soon we will pass the site of the 1719 "Battle of Glen Shiel" which strangely involved Spanish troops and Scottish Highlanders fighting on the same side!
We stop to visit picturesque Eilean Donan Castle *. This is, without doubt, one of Scotland's most iconic sights. The castle stands on a little island situated at the confluence of Loch's Alsh and Duich. We'll have time to discover the castle for ourselves during our stop here.
Soon we’ll catch our first view of the Isle of Skye, home to some of Scotland’s finest landscapes. From Kyle of Lochalsh we make the short drive by bridge "over the sea to Skye” brings us to the little village of Kyleakin where we will spend the next two nights.
Overnight: Kyleakin, Isle of Skye
Day Three - Touring the Magical Isle
After breakfast we board our coach for a wonderful day of exploration of this fabled isle. From the little villages and gentle scenery of the southern part of the island the views will change dramatically as the Cuillin Hills come into view. Considered by many to be amongst the finest hills in Britain the Cuillins present a vista that is simply unforgettable.
A broch is a type of fortification that only exists in Scotland and date from around 2,300 year ago. Today we’ll visit Dun Beag which sits on top of a rocky knoll. With walls that are 4 metres thick this broch offered protection to Iron-Age farmers from what kind of threat we can only just guess at.
Our next stop is at grand Dunvegan Castle *, the ancestral home of the Clan Macleod. There has been a castle on this site since the 13th Century and its treasures include the Fairy Flag, said to bring good luck to the clan in times of trouble.
Set round its natural harbour the picturesque town of Portree is the island's largest community. The name of the town means the "King's Port" following a visit by King James V in 1540. Today, the pretty painted houses which surround the harbour give Portree an old fashioned appeal. During our stop there will be time to explore the town and browse the interesting shops that surround Somerled Square.
The fishing village of Elgol lies at the end of a spectacular route through the heart of the Red Cuillin Hills. On our visit to Elgol you’ll have the chance to take a wildlife spotting cruise * and enjoy stunning views of the high peaks of the Black Cuillins.
Day Four - Kyleakin - Trotternish – Loch Ness
This morning we tour the famed Trotternish Peninsula. From Portree we travel northwards to the little ferry port of Uig from where ferries sail to the Outer Herbrides. At little Kilmuir there is a monument to Flora MacDonald who, famously, assisted Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape the Government Troops who were hunting for him.
We'll stop to explore The Quiraing, a dramatic terrain formed by a landslide. We'll stop so you can walk through a landscape that dates from Jurassic times! See if you can identify the rock formations that are known as the "Needle", "Table" and "Prison". A short drive brings us to Kilt Rock, so named because the basalt columns of this rock fall to resemble the pleats of a kilt - we will stop so you can snap an "I was there" photograph!
After a break for lunch in Portree we bid farewell to the Isle of Skye and return to the mainland. Wildlife thrives in this part of Scotland so as we drive through this striking scenery keep a watch out for local residents such as red deer, golden eagles and pine martins. A relaxing drive brings a late afternoon arrival in Fort Augustus, which sits on the banks of Loch Ness.
Overnight: Fort Augustus
Day Five - Loch Ness to the Orkney Isles
Today sees an early start, crossing through the Black Isle, and past the famous American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie's Skibo Castle. From here we drive along the northeast Highland coastline, travelling through some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery. These are some of Europe's oldest landscapes and here we have another chance to see wildlife such as Golden Eagles and red deer.
We board the ferry, crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago. On our arrival it is a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where few will fail to be moved by the dedicated workmanship of the Italian prisoners of war who crafted this place of worship from a humble Nissan hut. Their story and many others will be told as we view Scapa Flow, the scene of momentous events during both World Wars.
The Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, is our home for the next 2 nights.
Day Six - Exploring Orkney
Orkney is home to many outstanding historic treasures and today will be a unique day of discovery. On our itinerary today are visits to Maeshowe *, a magnificent tomb built almost 5,000 years ago and the Ring of Brodgar, a stone circle that once comprised of 60 megaliths. Today with 27 stones still standing, some over 5 metres tall, it takes little imagination to visualise the extent of this historic monument.
Uncovered by a storm in 1850 Skara Brae * is one of the best preserved groups of Stone Age houses in Western Europe and our visit will reveal the stone furniture, hearths and drains that present such a remarkable picture of Neolithic life.
The day will finish with a visit to beautiful St Magnus Cathedral, one of Europe’s great architectural achievements and over 800 years old.
Day Seven - Orkney to Edinburgh via Inverness
It’s an early start as we board the ferry and bid a farewell to the Orkney’s. There’s time to explore Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands before travelling the short distance to visit tragic Culloden Moor *. It was here that the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie was routed by Government troops in a bloody battle in 1746.
The Cairngorm National Park is Britain’s largest and contains five of Scotland’s six highest peaks. The park provides stunning backdrop to our travels through the Spey Valley then we descend through the Drumochter Pass to reach the pleasant Victorian tourist town of Pitlochry where we will stop for refreshments.
The dramatic scenery of Highland Perthshire gives way to rolling farmland as we reach the "Fair City” of Perth then we join the motorway for our journey through the ancient Kingdom of Fife. The final part of our drive offers wonderful views of the Forth Rail Bridge as we make our way into Edinburgh.
* Admission fees extra
• Admission charges unless otherwise stated in the itinerary
• Meals, snacks or items of a personal nature
• Gratuity to your driver/guide
• 6 nights accommodation in twin rooms with private bath/shower
• Full Scottish breakfast (days 2 to 7)
• Live commentary in English.
• Excursions as detailed in itinerary
• Transportation by air-conditioned minicoach
• Services of an experienced tour host
• Service charges and taxes
Luggage Allowance: One medium sized suitcase/bag per person (maximum weight: 12 kilos)
Min Age3 years
Tour Vehicle TypeCoach
Departure PointHighland Experience Tours @ Caffé Nero,1 Parliament Square, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF
Departure TimeCheck In: 08:15 Departs: 08:30
Expected return TimeReturns: 19:00 (day 7)
Duration of Tour7 days
Months of OperationMay, June, July, August, September
Rates & Dates
|Tour (Per Person in GB Sterling )|
11 & 25 May, 2015
|Sharing a Twin/Double Room: £925.00
Single Room: £990.00
|Sharing a Twin/Double Room: £775.00
Single Room: £840.00
Cancellation Policy: For cancellations more than 30 days prior to departure date - 90% refund. 30 to 15 days - 50% of tour cost will be refunded. 14 days or less - no refund.
Full payment is required at the time of booking. We strongly recommend that you take out appropriate travel insurance to cover any need to cancel.
- Prices are quoted per person per tour
- Customers must provide a valid credit card number.
- Limited availability : advanced booking required.
- Any booking is subject to our Booking Terms.
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