Travel to Inverness and back visiting all the famous Castles of Scotland in 3 fabulous days of luxury private touring.
Duration: 3 days (starting in Edinburgh).
Day 1: Edinburgh to Inverness - overnight Inverness
Day 2: Inverness to Fort William - overnight Fort William
Day 3: Fort William to Edinburgh.
Travel over the Forth Road Bridge towards Perth where your first stop will be Scone Palace, the crowning place of Scottish Kings, now the cherished family home of the Earl of Mansfield. In the extensive grounds of Scone Palace there is a replica of the Stone of Destiny and the chapel on Moot Hill where the coronations took place. Travel through Coupar Angus and Meigle to Glamis Castle the childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. Spires, turrets, towers and statues will seize your attention initially, but there is so much more to explore in this legendary Castle with its strong links with history, royalty and fiction.
Turn back towards Dunkeld and onto the Highland resort town of Pitlochry, built on Victorian tourism and nestled amongst the mountains of Highland Perthshire. Just north of this beautiful town is Blair Castle near Pitlochry. This 13th century castle is another of the country's most popular. Inside, a series of rooms are on display including the Atholl Highlander Room, which commemorates Europe's only remaining private army which is headquartered at the castle. Continue north towards Inverness to your overnight accommodation at The Culloden House, a handsome Palladian country house which stands in nearly 40 acres. At the time of the Jacobite rising in 1745-46, Culloden House was requisitioned by Bonnie Prince Charlie and used as his lodging and battle headquarters prior to that fateful and final battle on Culloden Moor on the 16th April 1746.
Travel towards Nairn to visit Cawdor Castle which dates from the late 14th century and was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor. The ancient medieval tower was built around the legendary holly-tree and is not another cold monument, but a splendid house and the home of the Campbell family to this day. Returning towards Inverness you may wish to visit Culloden Battlefield where the last hand-to-hand battle was fought on British soil which takes on a whole new meaning with the opening of an exciting new visitor centre and interactive exhibition. The battlefield itself is now restored to as close as possible that marched on by the two sides on that fateful day.
Travel down the banks of Loch Ness to the Clansman Harbor for a 2 hour Jacobite Freedom Cruise to enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains from the loch and sail the deepest part using the Jacobite sonar then alight at Urquhart Castle where you will have the chance to explore for an hour before cruising back up the loch to the Clansman Harbour. Returning to land, continue down the west side of Loch Ness stopping in Fort Augustus on the southern tip of the Loch to marvel at Thomas Telford’s feat of engineering. The flight of 5 locks transport sailing vessels and boats from Loch Ness at the north end into the Caledonian Canal.
Just north of Fort William is The Commando Memorial dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II. It overlooks the training areas of the Commando Training Depot established in 1942 at Achnacarry Castle. Unveiled in 1952 by the Queen Mother, it has become one of Scotland's best-known monuments, both as a war memorial and for its stunning views of Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr. A short distance away is your stunning overnight accommodation at Inverlochy Castle Hotel nestling in the foothills of the mighty Ben Nevis. Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy sketching and painting where she wrote in her diaries 'I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot'.
Travel through Fort William and over the Ballachulish Bridge to reach the most scenically beautiful of all Highland glens, Glencoe, stopping at the visitors centre to view some of the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere. This area is steeped in history, and at the Visitors Centre you will hear about the infamous 1692 massacre of Clan MacDonald and see the new exhibition which gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Glencoe's starring role in the Bond movie Skyfall. Travel across Rannoch Moor and turning towards Loch Awe before reaching Crianlarich.
You will reach the little town of Inveraray where you can visit Inveraray Castle or ‘Duneagle Castle’, home to the Duke of Argyll and the recent Downton Abbey, with beautifully preserved interiors spanning many generations of Campbells. The Castle is a remarkable and unique piece of architecture featuring four imposing French influenced conical spires surmounting the stone castellated towers. Turn east and through some of the most stunning scenery, over the ‘Rest and be Thankful’ to Loch Lomond. Your last stop will be the historical Stirling Castle which overlooks the River Forth where William Wallace defeated the army of Edward I.
If you do not find the accommodations mentioned suitable then please do enquire about alternative choices.
This itinerary is only a guide as other historical sites can be incorporated into a tailored sightseeing tour of your own making. The Tour price does not include your entrance fees unless stated, lunches, dinners or the drivers gratuity.