A Great Romancing the Highlands Adventure in Scotland with the
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Castles, Tearooms,
Gardens and Many Rail and Sail Adventures
July 30th - August 12th, 2024.
Please join us on this great Romancing the Highlands Journey that will take us on the West Highland Jacobite Steam Train also known as the Hogwarts Express from Fort William to Mallaig, a journey on the Bo'ness and Kinneal Railway and a Stathspey Railway Old Fashioned Luncheon Train Journey. We will take a Boat Trip Through the World Renown Falkirk Wheel, a Moray Firth Puffin Cruises Wildlife Trip, a Private Loch Ness Cruise from Drumnadrochit, a Two Hour Private Charter Loch Linnhe Cruise aboard the Elsie, a Private Charter Boat Cruise on Loch Shiel, a Private Charter Cruise around the Island of Lismore from Oban, and a Loch Tay Safari Cruise.
We will also take in the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Scottish Kelpies, Blair Castle, the House of Bruar, Highland Wildlife Safari, Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier, Glamis Castle, Dunnottar Castle, Huntly Castle, Elgin Cathedral, Sueno's Stone, Culloden Battlefield, St. Conan's Kirk, Stirling Castle, Edinburgh's Georgian House, A Routemaster Vintage Afternoon Tea Bus Tour and it all begins with a Performance of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on Edinburgh Castle Esplanade!
Price includes 14 Nights Accommodation, 10 Dinners, 11 Lunches and Breakfast Each Morning, all activities, sightseeing and entrance fees as listed in itinerary, all taxes, fees and service charges. Guided minibus travel with airport pick up drop off and luggage handling. As with any tour that includes ferries and boat cruises we are at the mercy of the weather and things can and quite often do change. You must be willing to abide by any and all changes on this tour if you decide to travel with us.
$8495 per person.
$1295 Single Supplement.
$500 Deposit to book your spot.
Pre Tour - July 29th - You will have the day to relax at our Edinburgh Airport accommodation and get adjusted to the time change before the tour starts the following morning. Overnight Edinburgh Airport.
Day 1 – July 30th - 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 may also want to step into Dunkeld Cathedral which can trace its history to the ninth century when it emerged as an important religious centre for the early Celtic Church. No building of this period survives, the present Cathedral dates from 1318. 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 to our accommodation before dinner followed by a Performance at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Dinner and Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L,D)
Day 2 - July 31st - This morning we join Highland Safaris with our kilted Safari Rangers as as we head into the hills to experience this amazing Mountain Safari. We climb aboard our Land Rover or Pinzgauer and journey to the high tops through a land sculptured by the elements and steeped in history, culture, nature, and breathtaking views. 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. Even on those occasion when we don't see an abundance of wildlife this is a very special outing! When we return from our safari we will have Lunch in the Café and travel to Blair Atholl to visit Blair Castle, ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl. On the way we will stop at Grandtully and Legends of Grandtully, home to Iain Burnett, the Highland Chocolatier. Blair Castle is set in extensive parklands, including the recently restored Hercules Garden and Diana's Grove, and with 725 ears 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 make our way back home. Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L)
Day 3 - August 1st - Our first visit of the day takes us to the very heart of Angus in Scotland, Glamis Castle. This has been the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372. Once the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Glamis is renowned for its rich history and famous visitors, from Mary, Queen of Scots to James V. Glamis Castle was the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Her younger daughter, HRH Princess Margaret, was born here and was also frequent visitor during her childhood, alongside her elder sister HRH Princess Elizabeth. After lunch at Glamis we make our way 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 Overnight Moray Firth. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - August 2nd - This morning we board a boat for a Puffin Cruise Wildlife Trip. On these trips you often see Bottlenose Dolphins, Seals and Harbour Porpoise and sometimes Minke Whale. The bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth are the most northerly resident group of bottlenose dolphins in the world and a vital part of Scotland’s natural heritage. On this 3 Hour Wildlife Trip we will sail to Troup Head which is home to 4,000 plus gannets and is the only gannet colony in mainland Scotland. In Summer, approximately 22,000 Guillemots, 2,000 Razorbills, 15,000 pairs of Kittiwakes and 2,000 Pairs of Fulmars are present along with smaller numbers of Puffins and Sags as well as Seals. We will then stop for Afternoon Tea before visiting Huntly Castle. Huntly was the seat of one of medieval and Renaissance Scotland’s most powerful families, the Gordons. The earls of Fife built the original castle, the Peel of Strathbogie, around 1190, to guard the crossing-point where the rivers Bogie and Deveron meet. But it was the mighty Gordons who made the stronghold their own from the 1300s and eventually renamed it Huntly Castle. The surviving remains tell the story of the development of the castle in Scotland, from the motte and bailey of the 1100s, through the tower house of the later Middle Ages, to the stately stone palace of the Jacobean era. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight Moray Firth. (B,L)
Day 5 - August 3rd - On our way to Grantown-on-Spey this morning we stop to 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. Next we visit 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. Forres is a lovely town and while we are here we will take some time for you to find some lunch before making our way to Culloden Battlefield. This desolate stretch of moorland 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. The we get settled into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Grantown-on-Spey. (B,D)
Day 6 - August 4th - This morning we make our way to Strathspey to join the Stathspey Railway which was one of my family's favourite outings. We have booked the Chairman's Saloon and the Director's Saloon for a special luncheon journey traveling alongside the famous RIver Spey. Originally pulled by its own engine the LMS District Officer would travel around the rail network in style in this Officer’s Saloon Car which was restored by the Watkinson’s Trust. The Saloon Car consists of two Saloon compartments, one for the District Officer the other for his staff and there is also a compartment for the Guard and a galley for the Steward. Wood panelled with late 1940’s style fittings, red carpets and seating for 6 in each compartment, we will have a comfortable journey with excellent views of Strathspey. The Chairman's side of the saloon also allows you to watch people working on the footplate as the locomotive will be in front of the window on the return trip. Starting at the Aviemore Victorian Station there are stops at the other Victorian stations of Boat of Garten and Broomhill during the journey. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight Grantown-on-Spey. (B,L)
Day 7 - August 5th - This morning we make our way to Fort William with a first stop at Drumnadrochit where we will take a cruise on Loch Ness. We’ll head out and our skipper will start their live commentary as we make our way to the deepest point of Loch Ness. Our skipper will show us the marker posts used by John Cobb during his water speed record attempt, tell you all the secrets of Urquhart Castle and of course our skipper will tell you all about our shy monster, they may even tell you some first hand stories about their own sightings! You can find some lunch in Drumnadrochit before we make our way to Fort William where we take a two hour Private Charter Cruise along Loch Linnhe aboard the ship Elsie. 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 near Fort William. (B,D)
Day 8 - August 6th - This morning you will board the Jacobite Steam Train, also known as the Hogwart's Express, from Fort William to Mallaig. Described as the Greatest Railway Journey in the World, this 42 mile trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near the Highest Mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain's Most Westerly Mainland Railway Station, Arisaig passes close by the Deepest Freshwater Loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the Shortest River in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the Deepest Seawater Loch in Europe, Loch Nevis! The train crosses the 21-Arched Glenfinnan Viaduct (a location made famous in the Harry Potter films) which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite Monument. We will have Afternoon Tea before making our way to Loch Shiel for a one hour Loch Shiel Private Charter cruise. There are three Golden Eagle territories that edge on Loch Shiel and, weather permitting, there are regular sightings of this beautiful and elusive bird. There is also White Tailed Eagles, Black Throated Divers, Red Throated Divers and often Peregrine, Sparrow Hawk, Kestrel, Osprey and Hen Harrier. Ducks on the Loch are Dabchick, Goosander, Red- breasted Merganser, Mallard, Goldeneye and Tufted. We then return home to enjoy the surrounds before gathering for dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Fort William. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - August 7th - This morning we make our way south to Oban, known as the Gateway to the Isles. While here we will take a Private Charter Cruise which will take us around the Isle of Lismore. This fertile, low-lying island was once a major centre of Celtic Christianity, with a monastery founded by Saint Moluag. Our cruise around the island will reveal wildlife including Sea Eagles, Seals, Porpoise and some seabirds. We will also see the Lismore Lighthouse and make a stop if the tides allow. We then cruise by the Isle of Mull where we will see Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean. We will also see Glensanda Castle on our way to Port Appin. Glensanda is a late 15th century simple, two-storey tower of local granite and originally the stronghold of the Macleans of Kingairloch who emigrated to Canada in the late 1700's. Sited atop a grassy mound looking out to Appin across Loch Linnhe, it was probably abandoned for good around 1780-1790. We will stop for lunch at Port Appin before returning to Oban where you will have some free time before we get checked into our accommodation and then gather for dinner. Dinner and Overnight Oban. (B,L,D)
Day 10 - August 8th - This morning we stop at Dunstaffnage Castle, one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland. Built around 1275 on a huge rock overlooking the Firth of Lorn, Dunstaffnage was the mighty stronghold of the MacDougalls. Built around 1220 by Duncan MacDougall, the son of Earl Somerled, known also as the ‘King of the Isles’, Dunstaffnage Castle was built at the height of the battle between Scotland and Norway for control of the Hebrides and was even once besieged by Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Independence. We next make our way through the striking mountains of Glencoe with its assemblage of peaks, ridges and valleys which rise up above the peat hags and scattered lochans of Rannoch Moor. The waters which tumble from these high mountains give rise to a series of spectacular waterfalls that gather initially at the 'Meeting of the Three Waters' to form the River Coe. We will stop at the Clachaig Inn for Lunch before we visit the site of the Glencoe Massacre. Against a backdrop of craggy peaks and the tumbling River Coe, the Glen offers some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery but has also seen one of the most violent acts in Scottish history when in 1692 the Clan McDonald were massacred on this very spot! After more spectacular scenery we return to Oban for you to find some dinner on your own. Overnight Oban. (B,L)
Day 11 - August 9th - This morning we begin our journey back to Edinburgh. Along the way we will stop at St. Conan's Kirk, spectacularly sited over Loch Awe. You will fall in love with this wee Romanesque Church! Designed and built by Walter Douglas Campbell, the kirk is unique in having an example of almost every style of church architecture. Highlights include the Norman Doorway, the Gothic Flying Buttresses, a Celtic Cross, the Arts and Crafts Carvings, the Saxon Tower and even a Stone Circle. We then stop in Callander for you to find some lunch before we visit 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. We then make our way to our accommodation in Edinburgh before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Edinburgh. (B,D)
Day 12 - August 10th - 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! Then the rest of the afternoon and evening are free for you to take in more of the city and find some dinner on your own before we gather for a Performance at Edinburgh Castle of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Overnight Edinburgh. (B,L)
Day 13 - August 11th - This morning we make our to the village of Bo'ness to take a journey on the Bo'ness and Kinneal Railway where we soak up the atmosphere of this heritage railway steam train and enjoy a scenic ten mile return train journey to Manuel along the Forth Estuary, through woodlands, past waterfalls and over the Avon Viaduct. After our journey, we will stop for Afternoon Tea in Grangemouth before we visit Helix Park to see the Scottish Kelpies, the world's largest equine sculptures. We will have a Guided Walking Tour that takes you 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 return to our accommodation to get rested up before our Farewell Dinner. Dinner and Overnight Edinburgh. (B,L,D)
Day 14 – August 12th - Return to Edinburgh International Airport for the journey home.