A wonderful car tour of some of Scotland's finest castles, lochs, islands, and gardens, with 7 nights accommodation included.
Day 1 Arrival - Edinburgh
Arrive at Edinburgh/Glasgow Airport and pick up your (hire) car (if required). Depart for the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. As one of Europe's must see destinations Edinburgh offers much for the visitor, great museums and art galleries, fantastic shopping, great restaurants and bars and one of the most unforgettable skylines with Edinburgh Castle dominating the centre of the city overlooking Princes Street Gardens.
Overnight in Edinburgh.
Day 2 Edinburgh – Inverness Area
Forth Rail Bridge
After your Full Scottish Breakfast depart Edinburgh heading north crossing the Forth Road Bridge with its dramatic views of that Victorian feat of engineering, the Forth Railway Bridge. Continuing north, visit Perth and Scone Palace, the family home of the Earl of Mansfield and also the site of the famous coronation Stone of Scone, brought there in the 9th century by Kenneth MacAlpine, King of Scots.
Continue on to Pitlochry, a small Highland town that is a gateway to the Highlands proper. Why not pause at the Salmon Ladder at the Faskally Dam where you may be lucky enough to see a salmon leaping!
From Pitlochry, travel towards Inverness. You will take the very scenic & dramatic road over the Drummochter Pass, one of the highest roads in Scotland. Descend into Speyside, an area of Scotland famous for its whisky producing tradition and distilleries. You can follow the Whisky Trail and visit one of the many famous distilleries in the area - Glenfiddich, McCallums, Grants, Cardhu and many more. Each gives an audio-visual show and then a guided tour of the distillery to learn of the whiksy distilling process and for many the highlight is a tasting at the end of the tour. The choice of what to see and do in the Speyside area is huge – there are castles – Brodie, Cawdor (made famous by the Shakespeare’s Macbeth), and Ballindalloch. You could visit the still baleful and bleak Culloden Moor, site of the last land battle on British soil and the site where Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion was destroyed under the musket fire of the "Butcher Cumberland" Hanoverian troops.
Continue onto Inverness Area for overnight.
Day 3 Inverness – Inverewe Gardens - Inverness
View of Ullpaool
Enjoy a day visiting the North West Coast of Scotland. Journey across to Ullapool, a quaint fishing village. Then travel down past the dramatic Corrieshalloch Gorge to the Inverewe Gardens, run by the National Trust. These magnificent gardens have a famous rhododendron collection and who would expect to find palm trees in Scotland - this is not global warming, but the bounty of the Gulf Stream which brushes up against the coast here. Return through the magnificent scenery of the Torridon area and past Loch Maree. Return to the Inverness area for overnight stay.
Day 4 Inverness –Dunrobin Castle
Today begins with a visit to the capital of the Highlands, Inverness before heading for a day trip into the northern highlands. Head for the Kessock Bridge and the Black Isle, in reality a peninsula decked out in a thousand shades of green. A maze of quiet country roads and forest tracks, the area is a delight to explore. It is a naturalist paradise with attractions such as the bird reserves and Munlochy and Udale Bay and the famous dolphins that can be viewed on cruises from Cromarty.
Motoring northwards visit Dunrobin Castle and Gardens bringing to life the easy lives through the centuries of the Earls of Sutherland. Here you can enjoy a display of the ancient sport of falconry in the gardens of the castle.
Return to the Inverness area for your overnight stay. Accommodation in Inverness area.
Day 5 Loch Ness – Fort William - Oban
Today travel south again going via Loch Ness. Loch Ness forms part of the Caledonian Canal a feat of great engineering by Thomas Telford that linked East Scotland with West by using a series of lochs connected by a canal system. Make a stop at Urquhart Castle, a very scenic spot on the North of the loch and also the place where the most sightings of “Nessie” have been made (supposedly).
Continue East towards Fort William, which nestles beneath the highest mountain in Great Britain – Ben Nevis. If time allows, why not take a ride up in a gondola at Aonach Mor; on a clear day you will enjoy stunning views over the west coast.
From Fort William, continue south for an overnight in Oban. You might want to take a diversion via the crags of Glencoe
And before reaching Oban, stop for a view of Castle Stalker situated in solitary and romantic splendour on its own small island.
Castle Stalker, North of Oban
Day 6 Isle of Mull
eagle over mull
Today take a day boat trip to Mull, Iona and Staffa. The tour leaves from Oban Harbour and is renowned as one of the best day tours in the UK, providing a scenic route through the beautiful island of Mull and a visit to the Isle of Iona where Columba landed in 563 brought Christianity to Scotland from Ireland. You can also visit the famous abbey founded by St Columbus before you continue on to the uninhabited Island of Staffa, which is famous for its basaltic formations, the best know of which is Fingals Cave, immortalised in Mendelssohn’s Herbridean Overture. Return to your ovenight in Oban area.
Day 7 Oban – Loch Lomond – Stirling
Today depart Oban passing through the Brander Pass travel through the beautiful and mysterious Rannoch Moor and into the heart of the Trossachs, known as the “gateway to the Highlands”. Follow the banks of Loch Lomond and then travel onto Stirling.
Finish today with a visit to Stirling Castle, which has played such an important role in much of Scotland’s vibrant history. The Visitor Centre has a very good audio-visual exhibition explaining much of the history.
Overnight Stirling area.
Day 8 Departure
Unfortunately it is time to leave Scotland. Return to the airport and leave your car but retain your memories