Book a 2018 holiday before 14 August and our home pick-up service is doubled to 100 miles.
Meals included: 4 breakfasts, 3 dinners
Make your way to Edinburgh train station to begin your trip to Scotland's historic capital, one of the most beautiful cities in the world with many museums, art galleries, theatres and cosmopolitan shops. The city's medieval 'Old Town' and Georgian 'New Town' was recently awarded World Heritage Site status. This evening, enjoy a platinum Taste of Scotland tour of the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre. Ride through history in a whisky barrel and discover the origins of Scotch Whisky and the secrets of whisky making, illicit stills, smugglers and the difference between malt and blended whisky. Your tour is complete with a sumptuous Scottish tasting menu in the centre's award-winning Amber restaurant.
After your full Scottish breakfast, explore Edinburgh Castle and its dramatic views before it is open to the public. The 'Honours of the Kingdom' exhibition housed in the castle consists of the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. Visit the official residence of the Queen in Scotland, The Palace of Holyroodhouse. This evening, dinner is at leisure. Alternatively, take an optional ghost tour.
Depart Edinburgh and travel west to Falkirk, located halfway between Edinburgh and Glasgow in the Forth Valley. Stop at the Helix Park, a 350-hectare green space famous for the Kelpies, the largest equine sculptures in the world consisting of two stunning 30-meter high horse head sculptures. Enjoy a private guided 45-minute walking tour of these impressive sculptures, taking you through the vision of Andy Scott, the story of the real-life working horses of the area, the local history and the history of the canals. From Falkirk, head north and stop by Perth to discover the beautiful Branklyn Gardens, set on the side of Kinnoull Hill, where the head gardener will give you a unique tour. Gardeners and botanists from all over the world come to Brooklyn to see the outstanding collection of plants, particularly rhododendrons, alpines, herbaceous and peat-garden plants. Branklyn is home to the National Collection of the unusual vivid blue Himalayan poppy, Meconopsis. Enjoy lunch at your leisure in Perth before continuing your journey into the Scottish Highlands, taking in the breathtaking scenery of the Cairngorms National Park.
This morning visit the tragic site of Culloden Moor, scene of the last battle between the English and the Scots in 1746. One of Culloden's 18th-century costumed character guides will meet you - it could be a Highlander, Government Officer or one of the many women involved in the battle. You'll have the chance to handle replica 18th-century weapons, shields and tools in an interactive weapons presentation. On your return to Aviemore, stop in the Speyside region, home to some of the oldest and most established whisky distilleries in Scotland. Visit one of these distilleries to learn about the whisky making process and have the chance to taste the true 'Water of Life’. We end the day in the Aviemore area for dinner and an overnight stay. After dinner, you'll enjoy a traditional storytelling experience, one of the oldest art forms.
Depart for Cawdor Castle near Inverness once lived in by King Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor. One of the stranger sights in the castle is the holly tree growing in one of the 14th-century rooms. The tree is believed to protect the castle and family. Join a guided tour of the house, or if preferred take a guided tour of the gardens by the gardener, followed by tea and cake. This afternoon, enjoy a journey on the heritage Strathspey Railway. Indulge in afternoon tea while you journey through the Cairngorm National Park as you pass historic forests, Cairngorm Mountains and the majestic River Spey. Return to the Aviemore area for an overnight stay.
After breakfast, travel along the beautiful banks of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus. Here you can take time out to enjoy the Caledonian Canal. Visit the Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre, a small but unique venue showcasing the history of Thomas Telford's Caledonian Canal from its beginnings to its present day rejuvenation. Meet a Lock Keeper who will talk about the history of the canal and the locks, and if you're lucky, you might get to see a Lock Keeper guide a barge through a series of five locks transporting boats to the lower levels of the Loch Ness. Continue to Fort William where you will enjoy a feast of sandwiches, scones with homemade preserves, mascarpone cheese, homemade cakes and a selection of teas or coffees, all in the surroundings of the beautiful 5* Inverlochy Castle Hotel. Continue towards Oban with a stop in Glencoe for a photo and onwards to your hotel in the Oban Area.
Depart for Stirling and travel through the spectacular scenery of the Trossachs National Park. Stop at the famous Stirling Castle, which played a dominant role in Scotland's turbulent history. A favourite of William the Lionheart and the Stuart Kings, you will be enchanted by the tales, legends and myths concealed within the walls. Have lunch in Stirling and then head to the Allanwater Brewhouse, one of 70 fascinating breweries across the country. Sample ales brewed on the premises as you enjoy a guided tour and learn about the history of brewing in the Forth Valley. Visit the smallest commercial brewery in Scotland where you can see the brewing process in action as well as touch and taste the raw ingredients. Continue onto Glasgow for short city tour. Glasgow has been a religious community, a University town, a trading port, an industrial centre and the second city of the British Empire. It was awarded the title of the European City of Architecture in 1996. Continue to Edinburgh and check into your hotel. Head to a Spirit of Scotland shows at the Jam House for your farewell dinner of an unmissable evening of Scottish music, costume, bagpipes, fiddles and dance.
Transfer from your hotel to Edinburgh Station for your return train trip.
There's no need to shop around. Find a cheaper like-for-like tour from another company, and we’ll not only match their price but also give you a £50 discount when you book with us.
They have in-depth knowledge of the places you’ll visit and will be on hand every step of the way with commentary entirely in English. 96% of customers rate them 'excellent' or 'good'.
We've been creating unforgettable holidays since 1994. We are a member of ABTA and all our flight-inclusive holidays are fully protected by the CAA's ATOL scheme.