12 Day Essential Highlands & Orkney Islands Tour
Day 1 - Today you will board an overnight flight from Your home to Glasgow.
Day 2 - You will be greeted by your tour guide/driver and head north to the picturesque village of Dunked, once the capital of Scotland. Here we will visit its famous Abbey, walk across the River Tummel and take in the beautiful scenery. Then it's off to see the Queen's View, so named by Queen Victoria on one of her many trips to Scotland. We travel on to Pitlochry, home of the Edradour Distillery, before retiring for the evening.
Day 3 - Today, we stop at the Safari Lodge Visitor's Centre and travel by Landover high into the mountains, looking for wildlife like deer, golden eagles, osprey and grouse. In the afternoon, we're off to the Scottish Crannaog Centre to check out ancient loch dwellings from 5000 years ago. Finally, we arrive in Inverness, located in the centre of the highlands, where we will stay for 3 nights.
Day 4 - We go looking for the famous "Nessie" at Loch Ness, take in the award-winning Visitor's Centre before touring nearby Urquhart Castle. Then it's off to lunch in Fort Augustus, where Loch Ness flows into the Caledonian Canal and finally, we end our day with a scenic drive back to Inverness.
Day 5 - We begin our day with a visit to Culloden, the site of the famous battle between the Scottish clans and the English forces. The brand-new Visitor's Centre offers interactive exhibitions and an audio tour of the restored battle site. In the afternoon, it's off to Cawdor Castle and the grandeur of the walled garden and grounds, with an opportunity to have afternoon tea.
Day 6 - We're on our way to the Orkney Islands! We will drive north to Gill's Bay, the farthest point north on the Scottish mainland. Along the way, we will stop in Tain and visit the Tain Pottery Factory offering a large range of hand-made ceramics. Then we'll take a 1-hour ferry over to St. Margaret's Hope and drive through the largest town of Kirkwall to Stromness, where we will stay for the next 3 nights.
Day 7 - The Orkneys offer the largest collection of Neolithic ruins in the UK. Today we will visit in Skara Brae and Skaill House, Maisehowe, the Broch of Gurness, the Barnhouse and the Ring of Brodgar.
Day 8 - We continue our blitz of the island with a visit to the Bishop's & Earl's Palaces and St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, the Churchill Barriers and the Italian Chapel.
Day 9 - We depart the Orkneys, leaving the port of Stromness and sailing into Scrabster on the mainland. From here, we head south to Grantown-on-Spey where we will stop for the next 2 nights.
Day 10 - We are now in the heart of the Whiskey Trail. There are plenty of opportunities to visit the 22 distilleries- Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, Glenlivet to name a few. Then we make our way over to Aviemore. Here we can take the mountain railway to the summit of the Cairngorm Mountain range and take in a 60,000-mile panoramic view of the national park.
Day 11 - A trip to Scotland would not be complete without a visit to the Wallace Monument in Stirling. This monument commemorates Scotland's greatest freedom-fighter, William Wallace, made famous by the movie Braveheart. The views from the top of the monument are stunning and well-worth the climb. There will be time to explore the village and tour Stirling Castle to find out more about Scotland's turbulent history before arriving in Glasgow for our last night.
Day 12 - Our final day is spent exploring Glasgow, once voted the City of Culture. There is so much to do you will have a hard time choosing between its world-famous Art Museum, Transportation Museum, Glasgow Cathedral, or browsing Sauchiehall Street, known for its great shopping. What a grand city in which to end our tour! We will then drop you at your hotel at Glasgow Airport so you are refreshed for your early flight home.
Day 13 - Time to bid Scotland "farewell" as you board your flight home.
We would love to have you join us. For more information please contact us. The cost of this tour will depend on your option for meals plans and the type of accommodation you would prefer. All our 4 & 5 star B&B’s Small Inns and Hotel accommodations have been carefully selected.