Take in the Highland sights and attractions of Glencoe, Cawdor Castle, Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle on this Highland tour. You even get the opportunity for Nessie spotting!
Duration: 3 days (starting in Edinburgh or Glasgow).
Day 1: Edinburgh or Glasgow to Inverness - overnight Inverness
Day 2: Touring Inverness and surrounding area - overnight Inverness
Day 3: Inverness to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
This morning your driver will collect you and you will depart for the Highlands. First stop will be Stirling Castle which overlooks the River Forth where William Wallace defeated the army of Edward I. You will now travel north west over Rannoch Moor to 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. Just north of Fort William is The Commando Memorial dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II. Your next stop is 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. Up the north bank of Loch Ness and into Inverness to The Kingsmills Hotel.
This morning you will travel the short distance to the Clansman Harbor for a Jacobite 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. 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. You may enjoy afternoon tea with some home baking in the Courtyard Café.
Round off today with a visit to 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. Nearby is Clava Cairns, or more correctly, Bulnaraun of Clava, one of the best preserved Bronze Age burial sites in Scotland and Culloden Viaduct, Scotland's longest masonry viaduct which was opened in 1898 and crosses the river Nairn at this point.
Continue into the Highland resort town of Pitlochry, built on Victorian tourism to Blair Athol Distillery, established in 1798 and one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. Join them for a distillery tour and see how they make their ‘uisge beatha’ or ‘water of life’. Your final visit is to 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. Your final night can be spent at the fabulous Dalhousie Castle a magnificent 13th century fortress set within acres of wooded parkland on the picturesque banks of the River Esk just to the south of the city.
Today you will return south through the mountains of the Cairngorms National Park. Your first stop is at the House of Bruar, nestling at the side of the famous Bruar Falls, for a variety of shopping opportunities in Scotland's most prestigious country store. Nearby visit Queens View, generally believed to be named after Queen Victoria who took tea here in 1866. The viewpoint actually commemorates Queen Isabella, wife of Robert the Bruce who ruled Scotland between 1306 and 1329. The stunning view across Loch Tummel to the Munro, Schiehallion is one of the most famous in Scotland.
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.