11 Nights - Highland & Islands (Extended Version)
11 Nights - Highland & Islands (Extended Version)
From Edinburgh, discover the clan history of the Highlands and the natural wonders of the Outer Hebrides.
To the north and west of Stirling, the historic gateway to the Highlands, lie the magnificent mountains, glens and coastlines that are the epitome of Scottish scenery.
The Outer Hebrides are a chain of islands, with the main islands being Lewis and Harris. The Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis predate the Egyptian Pyramids. Lews Castle was built in the 19th century and used for accommodation to air crew during WWII.
Isle of Mull is known for its untouched wildlife, whilst Isle of Skye has everything you need wrapped up into one day’s touring.
This tour is available April to September. Restricted ferry times may mean the itinerary changes slightly at the time of booking.
Your Tour Details
Day 1. Walking tour of Edinburgh City.
Tour the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen, the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Palace was once the home of Mary, Queen of Scots and was the setting for many dramatic episodes in her short life.
Enjoy a walking tour of the famous Royal Mile with your guide - cobbled streets, tiny shops, mysteries and the stories of Scotland’s great figures of literature.
Tour Edinburgh Castle, dominating Edinburgh’s skyline and giving stunning views across the city and countryside. Home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, the legendary Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg, a giant cannon.
Leave the Old Town and explore the New Town.
Day 2. St Andrew’s, Kingdom of Fife.
Discover the home of golf, St Andrews. Visit this ancient university town steeped in history with its amazing silver sands.
See perfect views of the Forth Rail Bridge, thought by many to be among the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century.
The second day takes us through Dunkeld, the ancient religious capital of Scotland and out to the Kingdom of Fife. Travel through the coastal fishing villages with their own unique beauty.
Arrive at the Victorian town of Pitlochry for lunch. The town became a popular destination after the appearance of the railway.
Alternative option instead of St Andrew’s: You may want to visit Glamis Castle, the childhood home of Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the birthplace of the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret.
Day 3. Grampian Mountains, Balmoral Castle and Blair Castle.
The 14th century Balmoral Castle was purchased by Queen Victoria and rebuilt in the mid-19th century. In her journals she described Balmoral as, “my dear paradise in the Highlands”. It still is a private getaway for the Royal Family each summer.
Home of the Earls of Atholl since the 13th century, Blair Castle is situated in a beautiful wooded valley. The 30 state rooms contain a unique collection of furniture and armoury. The Cummings Tower is the oldest and tallest part of the castle, making it a historic landmark.
Day 4. Cairngorms National Park and the Whisky Trail.
Visit Edradour Distillery. The surviving farmhouse distillery opened in 1825 and is the smallest distillery in Scotland. With everything made by hand, the distillery produced eighteen casks a week.
Travel to Cairngorms National Park, following the Whisky Trail.
Day 5. Culloden Moor, Cawdor Castle a two hour Loch Ness Boat trip which includes Urquhart Castle.
Stop by the visitor’s centre of Culloden Moor and learn about the 1746 battle; the last battle fought on British soil and one of the bloodiest.
Visit Cawdor Castle, a 14th century private fortress with an ancient medieval tower. After touring the castle, wander around the gardens with views of Cawdor Big Wood.
In the afternoon, take a two hour boat trip on to the mysterious waters of Loch Ness, which also stop at Urquhart Castle.
Day 6. Corrieshalloch Gorge and Ullapool Fishing Port.
Depart Inverness and head to the west coast, passing Corrieshalloch Gorge along the way. See the River Dorma which flows through the tree-shrouded chasm. Many locals refer to the gorge as one of the natural wonders of the Highlands.
Arrive fishing port of Ullapool and gateway to the Northern Highlands. Stop for a stroll around before boarding the ferry to Lewis.
Please note, this day depends on the restricted ferry times. It may mean an early start.
Day 7. Explore the Isle of Lewis and Harris. Prehistoric Structures, Quiet Beaches and Rugged Horizons.
See the Callanish Standing Stones, a complete stone circle, unlike anything else in the whole of Europe. You may want to see the Carloway Broch, an Iron Age defence structure built for a tribal leader. The Steinacleit Stone Circle is another popular location for prehistoric enthusiasts; the site dates back to the Neolithic age.
Overlooking Stornoway Harbour is Lews Castle. Built in the 19th century, it has since been used as WWII accommodation for air crew.
Make your way down Lewis to North Harris, seeing the hundreds of lochs which make up the island.
Day 8. Transfer to Isle of Skye and spend an afternoon in the main fishing town of Portree.
Part of the Scottish Highlands, Isle of Skye has it all – ancient structures, natural miracles, unspoiled countryside and magnificent coastlines broken by lochs. Portree is the main town on Skye and a working harbour, with unique shops to walk around and charming places to eat. Skye locations appear in films such as Stardust, Highlander and Made of Honour. Within fiction, the ‘Pride of Portree’ Quidditch team in Harry Potter come from the Isle of Skye.
Overnight: Isle of Skye.
Day 9. Discover Skye, including Dunvegan Castle, The Old Man of Storr and Fairy Rockpools.
Isle of Skye has it all - ancient structures, natural miracles, unspoiled countryside and magnificent coastlines, broken by lochs. Portree is the main town and a working harbour.
Tour Dunvegan Castle; owned by the MacLeod clan since the 13th century. A wall surrounds the property, except for the sea gate entrance which was used in times of siege. The Fairy Flag is one of the castle’s most notable relics, legend states it has magical properties.
Explore the spectacular rock formations of the Old Man of Storr and the Quaraing and visit the enchanted Fairy Glen.
Overnight: Isle of Skye.
Day 10. Transfer to Mallaig for the Jacobite Steam Train.
Transfer to Mallaig to board the Jacobite Steam Train. Described as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world. See the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis. Cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct (a location made famous by the Hogwarts’ train in Harry Potter).
Your driver-guide will meet you at Fort William after your train journey. See views of Castle Stalker, a 14th century castle in the middle of Loch Laich.
Day 11. Discover Isle of Mull (Extended Day).
Take the ferry from Oban over to Craignure on Isle of Mull – full of wildlife, stunning scenery and true Scottish heritage. Visit Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean for over 400 years. Standing on a clifftop, enjoy some of the spectacular views of the West Coast of Scotland.
There are a couple of options: Take a short ferry over to Lona, and visit Lona Abbey – one of Scotland’s most sacred sites. Or take a wildlife trip and see puffins and seals.
Day 12. Inveraray Castle & Jail, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
The Gothic stone castle of Inveraray sits alone surrounded by 16 acres of greenery. Episodes of Downton Abbey were partly filmed at Inveraray Castle.
Within the town is Inveraray Jail, a 19th century prison with 3 foot thick walls. The jail holds 4345 former prisoner records, so there are many stories to be told by the costumed characters walking around the jail.
Made up of mountains, forests, rivers and lochs, the Trossachs National Park is a miniature version of the Highlands with historic connections to Rob Roy. The Corbetts mountains are between 2,500 and 3,000 feet, and break the horizon in a zigzag manner.
Return to Edinburgh.
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About Luxury Vacations UK
Since 2002, we have created British travel experiences for individuals, families, groups and corporations. Driver-Guided Tours, Chauffeur-Driven Transfers and Behind-the-Scenes Tours, Unique Accommodation, Customised Group Programmes and VIP Experiences, Premium Tickets to Theatres, Sporting and Cultural Events
And why we do it!
Our aim is always to be an ‘upgrade’ to anything else available, but without going ‘over the top’ with our prices. We started our business by offering simple day tours and deliver them well. It was not long before our clients were asking us to include more services and events – this we took as a compliment and felt it showed they trusted us and had confidence that we would deliver to a high standard, without the fuss.