Duration: 2 days (starting in Edinburgh or Glasgow).
Day 1: Edinburgh or Glasgow to Inverness - overnight Inverness
Day 2: Inverness to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Travel north to Stirling, once known as the 'Key to Scotland', with its imposing position in the centre of the country, stopping at Stirling Castle. For centuries this was the most important castle in Scotland and the views from the top make it easy to see why. Stirling Castle played an important role in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. She spent her childhood in the castle and Mary's coronation took place in the Chapel Royal in 1543. From the ramparts you can see the Wallace Monument, perched high on the Abbey Craig around where Wallace camped before his heroic battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, built in 1869 to commemorate Scotland’s hero. Continue north to reach the most scenically beautiful of all Highland glens, Glencoe and take the chance to see the Paps of Glencoe from the viewpoint. This area is steeped in history, and you will hear about the infamous 1692 massacre of Clan MacDonald and see the new exhibition.
As an option you can lunch at Kinlochleven Seafood Cafe on the shores of Loch Leven before travelling through Fort William, site of the military post built during the Jacobite Rebellions in the 18th century, passing Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain. Continue up the Great Glen stopping briefly at 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.
Onto Fort Augustus on the southern tip of Loch Ness, stopping 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.
Continue up the west side of the Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle, the site of many battles led by the Clan MacDonald, which stands on a rocky promontory on the north shore with stunning views of the glen and a chance to spot the famous Loch Ness Monster. It has a turbulent history: seized by the English in 1296, sacked in 1545 by MacDonald Lord of the Isles and later left to decay after 1689.
Relax overnight at one of the beautiful hotels in this area. Culloden House Hotel is a handsome Palladian country house which stands in nearly 40 acres of elegant lawns and parkland. 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.
After a hearty breakfast, your first port of call is the Clansman Harbour for a one hour Jacobite Inspiration Cruise to enjoy the stunning views of Urquhart Castle and sail the deepest part of the loch enhanced by audio commentary which guides you through the landscape.
Turn north through Inverness to Culloden Battlefield, a desolate stretch of moorland which looks much as it did on 16 April 1746 when the last hand-to-hand battle was fought on British soil. See the exhibits at the new visitor centre and interactive exhibition and view the battlefield itself which is now restored to as close as possible as that marched on by the two sides on that fateful day.
Turn south over the Drumochter Pass towards the Victorian town of Pitlochry, stopping at the House of Bruar, nestling at the side of the famous Bruar Falls, for a variety of shopping opportunities and refreshments in Scotland's most prestigious country store. 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 Schiehallion, (1081 metres/3547 feet), is one of the most famous in Scotland. Alternatively, in the hills above Pitlochry is Edradour, the smallest distillery and last of the original farm distilleries in Scotland. You'll be welcomed with a "wee dram" of Edradour in the Malt Barn where you will hear the history of Edradour and the whisky maker's art. Then you will be taken around the distillery to see the traditional methods of whisky making, where you'll see Edradour being hand-crafted today as it was in Victorian times. This is the final stop before returning to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
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.
Chauffeur Tour Scotland's Loch Ness Tour
Visit the scenically beautiful Glencoe and Loch Ness. Stay overnight in this romantic location and visit Urquhart Castle and Culloden and take a cruise on the loch and a chance at spotting Nessie.
Seafood at Loch Leven
Stenness Standing Stones