Immerse yourself in the culture and majesty of the Scottish Highlands
Take advantage of our low deposit offer of £99 per person when booking your Europe, UK, Cruise & Worldwide 2018 holiday on or before 28th February 2018.
Immerse yourself in the culture and majesty of the Scottish Highlands. You take in the rugged landscapes on two of the UK's most famous train lines; the West Highland Line and the Jacobite. You also visit Loch Ness and castles that transport you through the history of this region. Our hotels are a highlight too, especially the 5-Star Fairmont St Andrews.
Today you arrive in Edinburgh to meet your Tour Manager and fellow travellers in your hotel, the Apex Waterloo Place. This evening we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.
This morning, we visit the majestic Royal Yacht Britannia, once the official yacht of the Royal Family. This fantastic ship sailed for forty years, and now enjoys life as an attraction for thousands every year. Regularly voted one of Scotland's best attractions, it is a delight to be able to explore this magnificent floating residence, which saw the Royal family sail majestically around the world. We enjoy a guided audio tour here, which grants some insight into what life must have been like onboard, including detailed explorations of the main decks, as well as the State Apartments, the Crew's Quarters, and the Engine Room.
Your afternoon is at leisure to venture into Edinburgh. Perhaps spends some time exploring the famous Royal Mile? Alternatively, the short climb up to Arthurs Seat might be worth a go, as from the top you are rewarded with spectacular views across the cityscape of Edinburgh.
Another iconic location to visit whilst here is Edinburgh castle, a magnificent and ancient fortress set solidly atop an extinct volcano, overlooking the beautiful city.
Our excursion today takes us to the wonderful Stirling Castle, a 12th century castle and one of the most historically important castles in Britain. Notably. this has previously been the site of many coronations of Scottish monarchs, including the infamous Mary, Queen of Scots, throughout the ages and remains a vital part of Scottish history. Like Edinburgh castle, this fortress is also located overlooking Stirling in a marvellous defensive position on top of Castle Hill. We enjoy a guided tour here before transferring by coach to our hotel in Loch Lomond, the Cameron House Hotel.
Today we begin by travelling from Helensburgh to Fort William on the famed West Highland line on a scheduled Scotrail service. From Fort William, we join the Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig, viewing the incredible scenery pass by on the line which is regularly voted as one of the most beautiful in the United Kingdom. Look out also for the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct.
This magnificent feat of engineering takes you across twenty-one spans, curving gently to perfectly compliment the surroundings. This famous viaduct has been featured in a number of films also, including the 'Harry Potter' series. After disembarking the train, we take a ferry to Skye and continue to our hotel, the Skeabost, where we stay for 2 nights.
Our first stop today is Dunvegan Castle. The castle is the oldest continually inhabited castle in Scotland and for 800 years has been the seat of the MacLeod Clan. We take a tour of this history rich building and its gardens. Contained within the castle are numerous heirlooms of the clan, including the Dunvegan cup, which dates back to 1493, the Fairy Flag, which is said to contain magical and mysterious properties, and also Sir Rory Mor's Horn, which aspiring clan chiefs drink wine out of to prove themselves to the clan.
We have some time here for lunch before we then transfer to Armadale Castle and Gardens, home to the Clan Donald Centre. This 20,000 acre estate in southern Skye was once home to the Donald Clan and was purchased in 1971 by the Clan Donald Lands Trust. The Trust's main role is to promote and restore the estate for the benefit of guests.
The estate is home to a number of scenic walks which take in the surrounding landscape and the wonderfully restored historic gardens. The on-site museum showcases a library and study centre and was opened in 2002. The estate is also home to a variety of wildlife including many of Scotland's most well known species, such as the roe deer, otters and a range of birds including the majestic golden and sea eagles.
Today we visit another spectacular Scottish castle, the Eilean Donan. Set on a tiny island in Loch Duich, joined to the mainland by a small, elegant bridge. The island was part of the Macrae Clan's territory and in the 13th century they built Eilean Donan Castle, which occupies almost all of the land space. It was initially designed to defend the clan's land from invading Vikings, who had previously seen the site - at the meeting point of three sea lochs - as a weak spot. Eventually the castle saw more battles between the warring Scottish clans.
Later we take a ride on the historic Kyle Line, first laid down in 1870 and taking twenty-seven years to complete. Despite being neither privately owned nor a preserved heritage railway, this marvellous line is a popular tourist attraction, thanks to it's fantastic route through many of Scotland's most dramatic natural landscapes.
Today, discover mysterious Loch Ness, famous for its prehistoric resident, the Loch Ness Monster. We enjoy a cruise across this shimmering expanse of water, the deepest freshwater lake in the U.K., before visiting the atmospheric ruins of Urqhart Castle that overlooks the loch. We have some time here to discover the Castle before we coach to Glen Ord, a distillery that produces one of Scotland's most favoured drinks - whisky. After enjoying a wee dram, we return to our hotel.
We travel by rail to Perth where we change to coach for the short transfer to St Andrews today, on arrival we check in to our 5-Star hotel, the Fairmont.
Glamis Castle is our main stop today, this beautiful castle was the former childhood home of the Queen Mother and proves to be an enjoyable visit with history and fine architecture in abundance. Later you have time to explore St Andrews under your own steam. Tonight we gather for a final farewell meal.
Following breakfast we transfer to Dundee for our rail service to Edinburgh where the tour concludes, and your Tour Manager bids you farewell. You are free to begin your journey home or enjoy more time sightseeing independently.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Immerse yourself in the culture and majesty of the Scottish Highlands