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Scotland on a Plate: Food, Drink, History, & Landscape
SUMMARY: A week-long tour of the best Scotland has to offer; culinary, historic and scenic. Soak up the atmosphere of Scotland’s dramatic landscapes while hearing the stories of her complex history and savouring the delights of some of Scotland’s finest local cuisine.
This is perhaps our most flexible tour and can be readily modified to meet our clients’ needs and interests. A change in emphasis? Just ask.
The starting point can also be changed between Aberdeen, Glasgow or Edinburgh.
DURATION: Seven Days
HIGHLIGHTS & KEY LOCATIONS: Scotland’s food and drink: whisky, gin, beer, seafood, venison and chocolate. Scotland’s towns and cities: St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow. Scotland’s iconic images: the Edinburgh skyline, Eilean Donan Castle, the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Scotland’s majestic landscape: Glencoe, Loch Ness, the Cuillin of Skye.
Day One: After collection from your hotel in Aberdeen, we will leave the ‘Granite City’ following the beautiful Angus Coastal Route to Arbroath. Here history buffs can choose to visit the ancient abbey where, in 1320, Scotland declared independence from England, while food lovers can explore the harbour area and sample the ‘Smokies’, a regional fish specialty, protected under European Law.
We continue to follow the coast southwards to St Andrews, arriving in time for lunch overlooking the famous golf course and 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; the castle tells stories of murder and intrigue.
Our coastal drive will be completed by a tour round the ‘East Neuk’ of Fife, stopping for a traditional High Tea at the famous Anstruther Fish Bar, before heading across the River Forth to your hotel in Edinburgh.
Day Two: A full day to explore the delights of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. A walking tour around the castle and Old Town in the morning will be followed by an afternoon at leisure for those wishing to meander through this delightful city at their own pace. For those looking to continue their exploration of 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.
Day Three: Today we leave Scotland’s capital behind and head west to her largest city, Glasgow. A panoramic tour will allow us to chart Glasgow’s change from a medieval religious centre to a flourishing centre of trade and commerce in the 1700s and subsequent growth into the industrial powerhouse known as ‘Second City of The Empire’. We will also have time to view some of the buildings associated with Glasgow’s most recent reinvention, as a conference and exhibition hub, before heading into the surrounding countryside for lunch at a local gastro-pub.
In the afternoon, we will visit the most southerly of the Highland Malt Distilleries for a tour providing a full step-by-step explanation of the distilling process. This will be followed by a special tasting, pairing whisky with artisan Scottish chocolates.
Day Four: Today we quickly leave the rolling farmlands behind us and follow the Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond into the Highlands. We will cross the desolate Rannoch Moor before stopping in the rugged and majestic Glencoe to hear of the infamous massacre of 1692. Our morning drive will be completed at the foot of the Mamores mountain range on the banks of Loch Leven, where we will have lunch at the Loch Leven Seafood cafe. This is a family run enterprise comprising everything from fishing boat to restaurant and international distribution centre.
In the afternoon, we continue north through Fort William for photo opportunities of Ben Nevis and the Caledonian Canal, before following the Road to the Isles to catch our ferry to the Isle of Skye. En route we will stop in Glenfinnan to hear how, in 1645, Bonnie Prince Charlie started the last of the Jacobite Uprisings on the shores of Loch Shiel; we will also have time to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a feat of Victorian engineering, now most famous as the ‘Harry Potter Bridge’.
Day Five: A full day exploring Skye. We will travel through the Cullin mountains, some of Scotland’s most iconic scenery, for a morning visit to Dunvegan Castle; home to the Chief of the Clan Mcleod and the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland.
Skye is a centre of the artisan food industry and a plethora of lunch options are available; we can make our choice between Michelin starred restaurants and open air oyster shacks, and everything in between!
Following lunch, we will spend the afternoon visiting the Talisker Distillery, currently Skye’s only distillery. Our second distillery tour of the trip will allow us to appreciate the subtle differences in the processes used by different distillers, while the tasting will allow us to try a range of spirits from one year old (too young to be called whisky!) through to the most recent taste ‘expressions’.
Day Six: Today we will leave Skye, returning to the mainland via the Skye Bridge and the Kyle of Lochalsh. We will visit the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, a fully restored 13th-century stronghold, before turning north towards the mountains of Applecross.
We will lunch at a small restaurant specialising in the local shellfish and venison before being treated to a private tour of the delightful Attadale Gardens. Our day is completed with a drive through the ever-changing Highland landscape to our hotel by Loch Ness.
Day Seven: No trip to Scotland is complete without a visit to Loch Ness and this morning we will take a cruise on the famous loch, hearing stories of its myths and monsters before heading east around the city of Inverness to Culloden Battlefield. Here the award-winning visitor centre provides a poignant reminder of the final confrontation in the Jacobite Risings and the last battle fought on British soil.
We return to our starting point in Aberdeen through the ‘Granary of Aberdeenshire’ stopping to visit a 400-acre, privately owned farm specialising in the cultivation of barley. The farmer will escort our guests on a tour of the farm, allowing them to see the growing crop (May to August growing season), visit the drying and storage facilities, and understand how farmers achieve the quality needed for barley destined for whisky production.
OVERNIGHT STOPS & ACCOMMODATION: 4* accommodation is available at all overnight locations on this tour, but we are happy to advise on a range of alternatives from family run B&Bs to restaurants with rooms.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Time will be available for photo opportunities at all the main locations.