A Romancing the Highlands Taste of Scotland Tour!
With Whisky, Chocolate, Fudge, Ice cream, Pubs, Shortbread and Afternoon Tea. Along with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Castles, Cathedrals, Culloden, Loch Linnhe Private Cruise, Pitlochry Festival Theatre
and a Highland Safari.
August 14th - 29th, 2023
A real taste of Scotland with some of our favourite stops! I want everyone to experience Scotland in just this way and I am sure that if I take everyone to my favourite places that they will become their favourites too! So along with some of my favourite places to stop for whisky, chocolate, fudge, shortbread, ice cream and afternoon tea. I have included historical stops along with spectacular countryside and scenery to take in every essence of this wild, historic and romantic country. These are some of the best tastes in Scotland! My goal on every trip to Scotland, is for those we take with us to fall in love with Scotland and love it just as much! Come fall in love.
This is a small group intimate tour of Edinburgh, the Highlands and the breathtaking countryside. This tour is designed to accommodate only 10 people for a more personal experience to allow you to get the most of your holiday. Keeping the tour size small gives us the opportunity to veer from the beaten track and to take advantage of accommodations, restaurants and sightseeing venues that would not be available to larger groups. You may find yourself staying in a delightful city guesthouse, a small country house hotel, a comfortable farmhouse and an old coaching Inn all in the same visit. Our goal is to show you the real Scots people and some of the wonderful sights to be seen all over this country.
Highlights include - Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Hopetoun House, Alloa Tower, Stirling Castle, Scone Palace, a Highland Safari, Iain Burnett the Highland Chocolatier, Dalwhinnie Distillery and Dalwhinnie Chocolate and Whisky Pairing, House of Bruar, Blair Castle, Glen Lyon, Fortingall Yew, Kinnloch Rannoch, Road to the Isles. Hogwarts Express, Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns, Lossiemouth, Elgin Cathedral, Johnstons Cashmere, Delgatie Castle, Huntly Castle, Royal Deeside, Fraser Castle, Taste of Aberdeen City Tour, The Chocolate Bar, Dunnottar Castle, Arbroath Abbey, Edinburgh's Georgian House, Scottish Kelpies, Stirling Castle, Dunfermline Abbey, Linlithgow Palace and more!
Tour includes all accommodation, full Scottish breakfast each morning. All lunches and dinners as listed in itinerary. Porterage of one suitcase per person. Minibus travel including tour guide. Knowledgeable guide for all tourist venues. All sightseeing as indicated in itinerary including any entrance fees. All taxes and service charges. As with all of our tours we try to offer as many different kinds of accommodations as can be found.
$8495US per person.
$1295US single supplement.
$500 deposit to book.
Pre Tour - August 13th - Arrive a day early into Edinburgh International Airport and make your way to our airport accommodation. Spend the day getting over jet lag, rest up and get adjusted to the time change. The tour will start from the accommodation the following morning.
Day 1 - August 14th - This morning we make our way to Hopetoun House, Scotland's finest stately house. The atmosphere of warmth and vitality within the house reflects its status as the home of the Hope Family from its building in 1699 to this day. The magnificent interiors which have remained virtually unchanged for three centuries reflect the elegance of the Georgian era and are decorated with the best period furniture, paintings, tapestries and clocks, with beautifully crafted finishes of carving, gilding and plasterwork. After Afternoon Tea at the Stables Tearoom at Hopetoun we continue on to Linlithgow and magnificent ruins of Linlithgow Palace. The palace is the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Linlithgow Palace was built and added to over two centuries by the Stewart Kings, resulting in a Superb Renaissance Residence. This impressive retreat was an ideal place for royals to break the journey between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle. High towers look out over lush greenery and a loch brimming with wildfowl making it a delightful stop. We then make our way back to Edinburgh to get rested up before our Welcoming Dinner. Dinner and Overnight Edinburgh. (B,L,D)
Day 2 - August 15th - Today we will spent taking in the lovely city of Edinburgh. A must see while in the Georgian New Town of the city is Edinburgh's Georgian House, a magnificently restored Edinburgh New Townhouse with fine collections of paintings, costumes and period furnishings. The Georgian era produced some of Scotland’s most distinctive architecture. In the late 1700s, this grand townhouse was at the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town development. The house was designed by acclaimed architect Robert Adam and was a true statement of luxury in an era of enlightenment, for those who could afford it. After a tour of the house we will have Afternoon Tea on a Vintage Red Bus. Combining two Quintessentially British Classics with an afternoon tea aboard a Vintage Routemaster Bus, touring around the Scottish Capital. So whilst you are admiring the beautiful sites of Edinburgh city you can indulge in a gorgeous afternoon tea! The rest of the afternoon is free to take in more of Edinburgh's and to find some dinner on your own in the city before some amazing Scottish Entertainment at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. Overnight Edinburgh. (B,L)
Day 3 - August 16th - This morning we make our way out of the city and head into Stirlingshire. Our first stop will be just outside the city at Dunfermline Abbey and Palace. Dunfermline Abbey was founded about 1070 by Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore. Margaret was made a saint, and she and Malcolm are buried here. Many more of Scotland’s Great Kings and Queens are laid to rest here including Robert the Bruce (apart from his heart, which is at Melrose). The Abbey’s Great Nave is also the most visually stunning example of Romanesque Architecture in Scotland. After some time to wander around Dunfermline we will Stop for Afternoon Tea before making our way to Alloa where we find Alloa Tower. We will take a whistle-stop tour through 700 years of Scottish history at Scotland’s Largest and Oldest Keep, the ancestral home of the influential Erskine Family, the Earls of Mar and Kellie. As you explore the tower’s four floors, you’ll hear tales of an abbot’s curse, crib ghosts, fortunes and titles lost and regained, and the building’s ruin and restoration. Welcoming Dinner and Overnight Stirling. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - August 17th - Today our first stop will be Stirling and Stirling Castle, one of the finest examples of Renaissance Architecture in Scotland. Mary Queen of Scots was crowned here and the Great Hall and Chapel Royal are wonderful highlights. Here you will be able to step back into the sumptuous world of Stirling Castle’s Royal Court. An ongoing project has returned the six ground floor apartments in the castle’s Renaissance palace to how they may have looked in the mid 16th century. This afternoon we enjoy a lovely Afternoon Tea before a visit to Doune and Doune Castle, a magnificent late 14th century courtyard castle and famous for the filming location of Monty Python's The Holy Grail and more recently, the Outlander TV series as Castle Leoch. This is one of my most favorite places as it gives such a wonderful glimpse into 14th century Scottish castle living. Before returning to our accommodation, we will stop at the Kilmahog Woolen Mills for some shopping and also to visit Hamish Dhu and Honey, the resident Highland Cows. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight Stirling. (B,L)
Day 5 - August 18th - This morning we make our way to the Highlands Village of Pitlochry with a few stops along the way. The first stop will be Perth and Scone Palace, the home of the Earls of Mansfield. Once the crowning place of Scottish Kings, Scone Palace occupies a unique position in Scotland’s history. A breathtakingly beautiful place of power and mystery and the rightful home of the celebrated Stone of Scone, Scone Palace is regarded as a national treasure and is revered as the historic jewel in Scotland’s crown. We will take Afternoon Tea at Scone Palace before making our way further up the road to the delightful village of Dunkeld which sits upon the banks of the River Tay where you can walk along a variety of specialist shops or take a walk down by the river, which provides excellent views of Thomas Telford's Dunkeld Bridge. You can also take in Dunkeld Cathedral which can be traced to the ninth century when it emerged as an important religious centre for the early Celtic Church. The present Cathedral dates from 1318 and was partly destroyed during the Reformation. The choir is roofed and now serves as the parish church for regular Sunday worship. From here it is just a short way to our accommodation in Pitlochry where we get settled in before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - August 19th - This morning we will join Highland Safaris as we climb aboard our Land Rover complete with Kilted Guide and journey to the high tops through a land sculptured by the elements and steeped in history, culture, nature, and breathtaking views with no shortage of photo opportunities. We may even be lucky enough to see the Majestic Red Deer, the Famous Grouse, the elusive Mountain Hare or the soaring Golden Eagle as we travel through forests, mountains and moors on private hill tracks. Our safari includes Hot Chocolate, Coffee and Tea, a Dram of Dewars Whisky with Shortbread in their Mountain Bothy. When we return from our safari we will have Lunch in the Café and look through the shop before we experience a Red Deer and Barn Owl Encounter where we come face to face with Britain’s largest native land mammal – the majestic Red Deer and meet and encounter their tame Barn Owl in a hands on demonstration. On our way home we stop at Grandtully and the Legends of Grandtully, home to Iain Burnett, the Highland Chocolatier for a Flights of Chocolate Experience! We are out to the Pitlochry Festival Theatre this evening for a local performance. Dinner and Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - August 20th - This morning we head toward my favorite Glen in all of Scotland, Glen Lyon. On the way, we will stop in Fortingall to see the Fortingall Yew standing next to the wee church there. The yew tree which grows there has been estimated to be 5,000 years old and is the oldest living organism in Britain and possibly the world. The churchyard also has grave slabs and incised crosses that are hundreds of years old. The drive through Glen Lyon is mystical and magical with wee villages and breathtaking scenery around every turn. We then head north to the Spectacular Loch Rannoch and along the loch to Kinloch Rannoch where we Stop for Afternoon Tea. We then visit House of Bruar, home of Scottish Country Clothing with an extensive range of high quality products in both the Men’s and Ladies Clothing Halls. You can also find the Finest Country Fayre of Traditional Scottish Food and Drink in the Food Halls and Delicatessen. It also houses the largest collection of Cashmere in the UK. The Country Living Shop carries plenty of choice for decorating your home, or even the perfect gift. You are on your own for dinner this evening. Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L)
Day 8 - August 21st - This morning we head toward Fort William with a few stops along the way. The first stop is Blair Castle at Blair Atholl, ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl. Blair Castle is set in extensive parklands, including the recently restored Hercules Garden and Diana's Grove, and with 725 years of history and over 30 rooms open to the public, an absolute delight to explore! We will have a guided tour of the castle and then you will have some time on your own in the castle and on the grounds before we gather for a Traditional Highland Afternoon Tea nearby. We then make our way further north to the village of Dalwhinnie and to Dalwhinnie Distillery. The distillery stands in the Cairngorm National Park at the heart of the Scottish Highlands. From this remote location comes their Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, it is also known as the ‘gentle spirit’. We will have a sample of their single malt whiskies paired with specially selected Handmade Highland Chocolates! Then on to Fort William where we get settled into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Fort William. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - August 22nd - This morning we will take in the "Road to the Isles" with a stop at Glenfinnan which sits at the head of mysterious and beautiful Loch Shiel and is at the crossroads of four steep sided Glens. It was here that Prince Charles Edward Stuart or 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' as he came to be known, called for the local clansmen to assemble in August 19, 1745 and raised the standard proclaiming the throne of Great Britain to rightfully belong to his family, the Stewarts. You will also see the Glenfinnan Viaduct (a location made famous in the Harry Potter films) which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument. We will make a few more stops along the way at the picturesque Lochailort, Arisaig and Morar before ending up in Mallaig for Lunch. Mallaig is a busy fishing port and ferry terminal with services to Skye and the Small Isles. Then we make our way back to Fort William to board the Elsie on a 2 hour cruise of Loch Linnhe. Onboard we will enjoy spectacular views of Ben Nevis and the surrounding areas as we head off towards Corpach and Visit the entrance of the Caledonian Canal. We then head down Loch Linnhe to Black Rock which is home to common and grey seals before heading back up Loch-Linnhe. Along the way we will come across a Mussel Farm, a Salmon Farm and a large variety of wildlife including Seagulls, Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, Otters, and many others. Dinner and Overnight Fort William. (B,L,D)
Day 10 - August 23rd - This morning we make our way up the coast of Loch Ness on our way to Inverness. We will make some stops along the way including Fort Augustus before making our way to Culloden Battlefield, a desolate stretch of moorland that looks much as it did on 16th April 1746, the date of the Last Battle to be fought on British soil. Here Bonnie Prince Charlie made his last stand for the Stewart cause. The battlefield is restored to as close as possible as it was when the two sides marched on that fateful day. We will find out why this battle that lasted only one hour changed the way of life of the Highlands forever. Then on to 4000 year old Clava Cairns, one of Scotland’s most evocative sacred prehistoric sites. The cairns are dominated by a line of three exceptionally well-preserved burial cairns, each enclosed by stone circles. The actual remains of those buried within the cairns no longer survive because of overzealous archaeological digging in the early 20th century. Dinner and Overnight Inverness. (B,L,D)
Day 11 - August 24th - This morning we make our way to Forres where we stop to see the Sueno's Stone, a Pictish Stone that is the most remarkable sculptured monument in Britain. It stands over 20 feet high and dates to the end of the first millennium AD. Next we visit Elgin Cathedral, the superb ruin of what was perhaps the most beautiful cathedral in Scotland. Elgin Cathedral is Scotland's second largest cathedral behind St. Andrews and was known as 'The Lantern of the North'. If suffered many mishaps and then was rebuilt only to see the Reformation in the 1500's. Even in ruins, it is still one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Scotland. We then visit the Johnstons of Elgin, with a 220 year-old story of Scottish innovation and luxury, celebrating the skills of our Scottish Craftspeople and generations of herding communities from Mongolia, Afghanistan and Peru, and of natural fibres reaching their full potential. Before our visit we have Afternoon Tea at the Ditsy Teacup in Elgin before we drive a bit further up the road to Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth. This is a lovely seaside village where we can find some Great Ice Cream before a stroll on the beach. Dinner and Overnight Cullen on Moray FIrth. (B,L,D)
Day 12 - August 25th - This morning we make our way to MacDuff for a Wildlife Sea Cruise. We will explore all that the surrounding area has to offer, from Cullen to the west to Fraserburgh in the east. This colourful coastline has everything from 13th century ruined castles at Findlater to the site of a promontory hill fort near Pennan, as well as the historic harbours of Banff, Portsoy and Whitehills, and the traditional fishing villages of Sandend, Gardenstown, Crovie and Pennan. The highlight of the trip will be Scotland’s only mainland gannet colony, the RSPB Reserve at Troup Head where there is an abundance of birdlife which can be seen including guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, shags and puffins. Add to this the most “famous” residents; the bottlenose dolphins, porpoises, grey and common seals and summer visitors including minke whales you’ll never be short of something to see. We then stop for lunch before making our way to Huntly Castle in the village of Huntly. It is a magnificent ruin of a castle, from the 12th century motte to the palace block erected in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Gordon Family. The architectural details and heraldic enrichments are particularly impressive. Dinner on your own in Cullen. Overnight Cullen. (B,L)
Day 13 - August 26th - This morning we make our way south and to Castle Fraser and Gardens, one of Scotland’s largest tower houses, with an impressive portrait collection. Home of the Fraser Family for more than 400 years, the castle is filled with family portraits, ornaments and mementos – all of which have their own colourful stories to tell about the lairds. The traditional walled garden includes specimen trees, herbaceous borders, a medicinal border and organically grown fruit and vegetables. From the striking simplicity of the Medieval Great Hall to the well-stocked library and Victorian Bedrooms, a guided tour of the castle gives a sense of walking through history. Each laird stamped his personality on the family seat, from the various ways of spying on those in the Great Hall to trophies gathered on global adventures. After a tour of the castle we then make our way into Aberdeen for a Taste of Aberdeen Walking Tour. On the tour we will see Architectural and Cultural Highlights, as well as Tasting Regional Foods. Sample local delicacies, sweet treats, and snacks from different cafes and eateries. We then make our way to our accommodation to get checked in before meeting up for dinner! Dinner and Overnight Aberdeen. (B,L,D)
Day 14 - August 27th - This morning we make our way to my favourite Stone Circle anywhere in Scotland! It is situated on a farm just outside of Echt in Aberdeenshire. The stone circle remains today just as it looked over 4000 years ago and has not been manicured or changed in any way! We then make our way back into Aberdeen, a port city built where the Dee and Don Rivers meet the North Sea. You can have a wee wander around the Granite City before Afternoon Tea in the City. We then make our way south to Dunnottar Castle, a spectacularly situated coastal castle with breathtaking views. This dramatic and evocative ruined cliff top fortress was the home of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Steeped in history, this romantic and haunting ruin is a photographer’s paradise, a history lover’s dream and an iconic tourist destination for visitors the world over. Oliver Cromwell's Army laid siege to the castle in 1652, but The Honours of Scotland were smuggled out of the castle and taken to Kinneff Church, where they remained until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Dinner on your own this evening in Aberdeen. Overnight Aberdeen. (B,L)
Day 15 - August 28th - Our first stop today is Arbroath and Arbroath Abbey, founded by William the Lion in 1178, in memory of martyr Thomas Becket. Here we explore the origins of the most famous document in Scottish history – the Declaration of Arbroath. Scotland’s nobles swore their independence from England in this letter to the Pope, sent from Arbroath Abbey in 1320. The abbey remained one of the nation’s grandest monasteries for almost 400 years and much later, the Stone of Destiny had a starring role in Arbroath Abbey’s story. We will stop for lunch on our way to Helix Park to see the Scottish Kelpies, the world's largest equine sculptures. We will have a Guided Walking Tour that takes us through the vision of artist Andy Scott and how history and industry impacted on his designing of these breath-taking sculptures. The pinnacle of the tour is that you get to experience a Kelpie from the inside, and see for yourself the breathtaking engineering and design of the Kelpies. We then continue on to just outside of Edinburgh where we get settled into our accommodation before our Farewell Dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Edinburgh. (B,L,D)
Day 16 - August 29th - This morning we return you to Edinburgh International Airport for your journey home.