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Our Two Centre Tour: Edinburgh and The Highlands
SUMMARY: Edinburgh, Scotland’s historical Capital City, and The Breathtaking Scottish Highlands are the ‘must see’ locations for any traveler visiting Scotland. This two-center tour will take you to some of the very best that Scotland has to offer in terms of history, culture, scenery without the need to move accommodation on a daily basis. This is perfect for visitors wishing to unpack, relax and soak up the atmosphere of Scotland’s dramatic landscapes and stunning architecture. The tour commences with 2 nights in Edinburgh allowing plenty of time to enjoy the history and culture of Scotland’s capital city and surrounding area and time to explore the shops. We then travel northwards to our base in Perthshire for 5 nights exploring the dramatic scenery, rugged beauty and stunning landscapes of the Scottish Highlands where you will enjoy some fantastic Scottish hospitality and great local food and drink.
This is a flexible tour and can be readily modified to meet our clients’ needs and interests but has been specifically designed to visit the ‘essential’ locations in Scotland without the need to move hotel each day allowing clients the opportunity to unpack and really relax during their Scottish vacation.
The starting point can also be readily changed to accommodate client requirements.
DURATION: Seven Days but can be extended for clients wishing to spend more time in certain areas or can even be designed as a single location tour.
HIGHLIGHTS & KEY LOCATIONS: Our suggested ‘must see locations’ includes: Edinburgh’s Old & New Towns; The Borders and Sir Walter Scott ; St Andrews & Golf; Scotland’s Mountains and Lochs, Glencoe and the Trossachs; and Speyside and Whisky.
Day One: Edinburgh Castle and New Town: A full day to explore the delights of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, home to The Scottish Enlightenment.. A walking tour around the Edinburgh Castle and Old Town in the morning will be followed by an afternoon tour of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town which celebrated it’s 250th anniversary in 2017. If this is too energetic a start to your holiday why not spend the afternoon meandering through this delightful city at their own pace, or if you wish to explore the local food and drink, visits can be arranged to one of the new breed of gin distilleries or microbreweries that are flourishing across Scotland or perhaps a visit to a bespoke tweed shop to purchase something very special.
Day Two: Rosslyn Chapel, Abbotsford and Melrose Abbey: Today we head south from Edinburgh to the beautiful rolling hills of the Scottish Borders and the Tweed Valley. We will spend the day exploring this beautiful area steeped in history, hearing stories of the Border Reivers and the centuries of conflict between Scotland and England. Our day commences with a visit to see the stunning carvings at Rosslyn Chapel made famous in the Da Vince Code. From Rosslyn we then head south to visit historic Abbeys and, of course, Abbotsford House, home of Sir Walter Scott. We return to Edinburgh where we spend the night.
Day Three: Royal Yacht Britannia, The Kelpies and Stirling Castle: We start the day with a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia which was used by Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over 40 years. From Edinburgh, we will make our way to ‘The Kelpies’, these dramatic mystical horses are a simply stunning example of modern Scottish sculpture. We then travel the short distance to Bannockburn where King Robert the Bruce famously defeated the English army in 1314 who were trying to reach our next destination, Stirling Castle where we will have lunch. Sited upon a rocky crag, Stirling Castle is a truly magnificent example of a royal Scottish Castle. From Stirling we drive past The Wallace Monument which commemorates Sir William Wallace’s famous victory over the army of King Edward I in 1297 at Stirling Bridge. The life of Sir William Wallace more recently made famous in the movie ‘Braveheart’. Our final stop of the day will be Doune Castle, home to the Duke of Albany, one of the most powerful figures in 14th Century Scotland. The castle has also acquired more recent fame as a film location for Monty Python and The Holy Grail and also as Castle Leoch in Outlander. We will overnight in the Gleneagles area which will be our base for the next 5 nights
Day Four: St Andrews, Falkland Palace and East Neuk Fishing Villages Our first visit will be to Falkland Palace, the 16th century hunting palace of the Stuart Kings. There will also be time to stroll around the charming village of Falkland and admire the many different types of architecture present in such a small village. From Falkland we will visit St Andrews, famous as the Mecca of Golf, ‘The Old Course’ and enjoy a walking tour of the town. While St Andrews is internationally famous for its golf courses and university, it also provides a fascinating introduction to Scotland’s history; the ancient cathedral once housed the bones of St Andrew, the disciple of Christ, and was one of the most prestigious religious centres in Europe; Our tour will be completed by a drive round the ‘East Neuk’ of Fife stopping for a late lunch at the famous Anstruther Fish Bar before returning to Gleneagles. We can also adapt this day to include a round of golf on a famous Scottish links golf course.
Day Five: Glencoe and The Trossachs: Today we head north pass into The West Highlands, through The Trossachs and the desolate beauty of Rannoch Moor before stopping in the rugged and majestic Glencoe to hear of the infamous massacre of 1692. We will have lunch at the Loch Leven Seafood café, a family run enterprise comprising everything from fishing boat to restaurant and international distribution centre which is famous for fresh local seafood. From there we will head to Oban where we will visit Oban Distillery for our first taste of Uisge Beatha, Whisky, the ‘water of life’ before returning to our base at Gleneagles.
Day Six: Blair Castle, River Tay, The Queens View and Dunkeld: After breakfast we travel to the ancient cattle drover town of Crieff and then head north through the beautiful Sma’ Glen to our first stop of the day in the ancient town of Dunkeld whose cathedral dates back to 845 AD. Dunkeld was also the site of a bloody battle in 1689 between a large Jacobite army and a heavily outnumbered government force led by Col McLelland which although outnumbered, resisted the full brunt of the Jacobite attack on Dunkeld and despite the loss of their leader were victorious. From Dunkeld we will follow the River Tay northwards to arrive at Blair Castle ancestral home of the Dukes of Athol. After lunch we travel to the Queens View, famous for the fantastic views of Loch Tummel before heading back via Aberfeldy and Crieff to Gleneagles. We can also adapt this day to include a days salmon fishing on the famous River Tay.
Day Seven: Inverness, Culloden and Loch Ness: This is a long day but no trip to Scotland is complete without a visit to Loch Ness where we will take a cruise on the famous loch, hearing stories of its myths and monsters before heading to Culloden Battlefield. Our route to Loch Ness will follow the Caledonian Canal along the ‘Great Glen’ before taking a short cruise on Loch Ness past the iconic ruins of Urquhart Castle. From Loch Ness we travel to Culloden Battlefield where there is an award-winning visitor centre which provides a poignant reminder of the final confrontation in the Jacobite Risings and the last battle fought on British soil. Our final stop will be at Clava Cairns a Neolithic site over 3000 years old. We can adapt this day to visit a working sheepdog farm to see sheepdogs in action.
Day Eight: Arbroath Smokies, The Discovery and Glamis Castle: Our final takes us east from Perthshire to Glamis Castle, ancestral home of the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. Glamis Castle also claims to have more ghosts than any other castle in Scotland!! . From Glamis we travel to the picturesque fishing village of Arbroath where we will visit a smokehouse to see the famous Arbroath Smokies being made. There will also be plenty of opportunity to taste the finished product!! After lunch we will visit Dundee home to RSS Discovery, the ship used by Captain Scott on his ill-fated attempt to reach the South Pole. From Dundee we travel back to Edinburgh where our tour will end.
OVERNIGHT STOPS & ACCOMMODATION: 5* accommodation is available at all overnight locations on this tour, but we are happy to advise on a range of alternatives from bespoke hotels, family run B&Bs to restaurants with rooms.