Set in idyllic, undiscovered surroundings overlooking picturesque Loch Fyne, a 19th century Baronial Castle awaits you on this magnificent tour. Cruise the open waters to the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, explore nearby Oban and Inveraray.
Our tour begins in the bustling city of Glasgow, where you meet your Tour Manager at the 4-Star Indigo hotel. There is some free time to explore this city before enjoying dinner at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, located in our hotel.
Today we enjoy a journey on one of the world's most spectacular scenic railway lines, travelling on the West Highland Line - known as the 'Iron Road to the Isles'. We reach the coast at Oban, which is set in an idyllic bay. Here you have time at leisure. Perhaps you may wish to visit the local War & Peace Museum, detailing the history of the local area, especially its usage as an important naval port during World War Two.
Alternatively, you could visit the famous McCaig's Tower, based on the design of the Roman Colosseum, the tower is the focal point of the town provides wonderful views of Oban and the harbour below. The town is built around the Oban Whiskey Distillery, which holds regular tours of its inner factories. The Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel is also within walking distance and the vivid colours of the castle grounds and stoneworks are really something to behold. Later, we travel by coach to Stonefield Castle. We spend four nights here.
This morning we sail from nearby Kennacraig to the beautiful Isle of Islay, the southernmost island in the Inner Hebrides. Islay is the fifth-largest Scottish island and the seventh-largest surrounding Great Britain. The crossing, made aboard the Calmac Ferry, is accompanied by incredible views of the rugged coastline. On arrival in Port Ellen, we transfer through the craggy grassy plains to Bruichladdich, where we enjoy a guided tour of the distillery.
Islay is one of five whisky distilling locations in the country whose identity and heritage is protected by law and its produce has become famous the world over. Bruichladdich produces mainly single malt Scotch whisky, but has also created its own artisanal gin. Owned by Rémy Cointreau, it is one of eight working distilleries on the island. Later we continue across the heart of Islay, visiting Port Askaig for a short stop.
We then continue by ferry to Kennacraig and by coach to Tarbert. You have some free time in this Scottish village, built around an inlet to the nearby Loch Fyne. Interestingly, Tarbert is a Gaelic word for a small stretch of land joining two larger pieces, similarly to how the titular village lies.
Whilst in Tarbert, you may wish to visit the ruins of the ancient fort, built in the 13th century and a former home of Robert the Bruce, who looked to defend it against the fabled Lords of the Isles.
Today we take the short ferry crossing to the Isle of Bute to visit one of the world's most spectacular Victorian Gothic mansions, Mount Stuart. The ancestral home of the Marquesses of Bute was designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson for the 3rd Marquess of Bute in the late 1870s, replacing the earlier home which had been lost in a blaze.
The house is the seat of the Stuarts of Bute, direct male-line descendants of John Stewart, the illegitimate son of King Robert II of Scotland, the first Stuart King. Through this bloodline, they are also descendants of the infamous Robert the Bruce. The main part of the house provides a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture and is rather imposing with its red stone walls. Mount Stuart's main features include the colonnaded Marble Hall and the elaborate Marble Chapel, with its spiraling spired tower.
Two other parts of the home are quite different in style, and reflect more of a Georgian era of architectural design. Much of the interiors and garden areas were redesigned by one Robert Wier Schultz in the first years of the 20th century. Interestingly, Mount Stuart was the first house of any kind to contain an indoor heated pool and was also the first home in Scotland to experience electrical power. We enjoy an afternoon tea here, relaxing in the charming grounds of this heritage home.
On today's excursion we enjoy a scenic drive to Inveraray Castle, the imposing, turreted ancestral home of the Dukes of Argyll. During our guided tour we explore the lavish stately rooms and learn about the folklore and legends that have shaped this region of Scotland. Mid 18th century neo-Gothic in design, the castle is surrounded by 16-acres of verdant gardens and boasts an estate of 60,000. The castle has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell since the 17th century.
The Duke and his family currently live in private residence set between the castle's two circular towers whilst the remaining wings are open to the public, resplendent in their neo-classical design, originally made for the 5th Duke by Robert Mylne. We then have some free time in the nearby town of Inveraray. Situated on the western shore of the mighty Loch Fyne. Here you could visit the Georgian Inveraray Jail, a 19th century prison that is now a replica museum.
Perhaps you may like to wander down to the pier to view the vast iron Arctic sailing ships that are moored here, before they set off on their voyages to the poles. The Bell Tower dominates the town and contains the second-heaviest ring of ten bells in the world. The bells are rung at regular intervals and the tower itself is open to the public. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the nearby Argyll Folk Museum and learn a little of what life was like for the inhabitants of the region in years gone by.
The town of Inveraray itself was completely rebuilt from scratch in the 18th century and is one of the best examples of a new town from that time period in Scotland, with the vast majority of properties in the town now considered worthy of protection status due to their ancient architectural significance. In the afternoon, we take a coach to the Crarae Gardens. Tonight, we enjoy a final farewell dinner together.
Today we transfer by coach to Oban at the edge of the Highlands. From here we retrace our route to Glasgow, enjoying another spectacular journey on the West Highland Line. After breakfast on Day 7, the tour concludes, and you are free to depart at leisure.
We recommend that for this tour you arrange flights to and from Glasgow Airport (GLA), which is approximately 8 miles from your base in Glasgow.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
|30 August 2020||From $1,445|
|6 September 2020||From $1,565|
|20 September 2020||From $1,515|
|4 October 2020||From $1,445|
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
Providing the entirety of mainland Scotland with transport links, Abello Scotrail is a fantastic commuter service that means even the farthest reaches of this wild and wonderful country is easily accessible. Running since 1983 under a variety of operators, this service has numerous lines, including one that stretches from the tip, Thurso, down to Edinburgh.
The lines on the Scotrail service are some of the most scenic in the world. The Kyle Line, the West Highland Line, and the Hadrian's Wall line are all services by Scotrail trains. The West Highland Line, stretching between Glasgow to Mallaig, stopping off at Fort William and with an offshoot line to Oban, is arguably the most famous of this line. There are numerous stunning sights to look out for on this route - from the breathtaking wilds of the highlands, to the peaks of the craggy mountains, to the iconic 21-spans of the beautiful Glennfinnan Viaduct.
Another famed line that we utilise on the Scotrail network includes the Kyle of Lochalsh line, running 63 miles between Dingwall and Kyle of Lochalsh. With spectacular views of the Isle of Skye as you come towards the pretty Kyle of Lochalsh, this particular line is certainly a glorious introduction to both of the Highlands of Scotland and the Hebrides. Other particularly beautiful places that the network explores include the Cairngorm National Park, on the Inverness to Edinburgh line, which passes through magnificent and verdant pine forests, as well as nearby the iconic Cairngorm Mountain.
The stock that traverses the lines are comfortable and modern, with spacious carriages and seating, as well as large windows through which to see the passing beauty of the Scottish countryside. New trains will be coming soon in the next few years, with more services, power sockets, Wi-Fi, and improved accessibility.
Also known as 'the Iron Road to the Isles', a journey on the West Highland Line is an epic rail adventure that takes passengers through some of the world's most beautiful and dramatic landscapes. In fact the line has twice been voted the world's best rail journey by readers of Wanderlust magazine.
Running from Glasgow's Queen Street station, the train runs through the city's outskirts and on to Helensburgh. From here the train begins its ascent into the famous Highlands.
Soon the train skirts the beautiful Loch Long, followed by the immense Loch Lomond, as it makes its way up the ever-increasing gradients. The journey continues alongside the Loch - Britain's largest body of inland water - whilst winding through pretty wooden slopes.
Continuing northward through charming isolated villages, the train then climbs more than 500 feet (150 m) in just five miles, before arriving at the tiny hamlet Crianlarich. Here the West Highland Line splits into two branches. One continues to Fort William and Mallaig, the other heads west to Oban.
Glasgow's Hotel Indigo is a boutique 4-Star establishment based in the former Scottish Power building and decorated with the work of local artists. Hotel Indigo offers air conditioned rooms with a telephone, an LCD satellite television, radio alarm clock with an Ipod docking station, a walk-in rainfall shower, hairdryer, free Wi-Fi and a complimentary mini-bar. The hotel has a health and fitness centre and the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse. The Hotel Indigo was awarded 'Glasgow Hotel of the Year' at the 2012 Scottish Hotel Awards.
Stonefield Castle was built in 1837 for Mr Charles Campbell, who - according to legend - inherited the site from the disgraced Constable of Tarbert after the previous building fell into disrepair. Little has changed since the castle was completed - its grand interiors of wood panelling, ornate ceilings and marble fireplaces have been carefully maintained. Many of the original furnishings have also been very well preserved, and blend with the modern conveniences. The castle is also surrounded by acres of private woodland gardens, which include a private island in Loch Fyne. The wild scenery around the loch has remained unspoilt by development of any kind, and very little has changed throughout the splendid landscape.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!