Scottish American Heritage: A Very Special Relationship

SUMMARY: A multi-day tour exploring the historic relationship between Scotland and the United States of America. With over 9 million Americans declaring Scottish ancestors the links between Scotland and the USA have never been stronger.

Find out how Scots and Scotland have influenced the history, people and success of the USA. Soak up the atmosphere of Scotland’s dramatic landscapes whilst hearing the stories of famous Scots who emigrated to the USA and the impact they had in America and across the world.

This is a very flexible tour and can be readily modified to meet our clients’ needs, interests and even ancestry. The starting point can also be changed to any of Scotland’s major towns or cities.

DURATION: Four Days with options to extend.

HIGHLIGHTS & KEY LOCATIONS: Famous Scots-Americans, Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell, John Muir; Famous Visitors President Eisenhower, President Trump; Famous Places, Edinburgh Castle, Culzean Castle, Arbroath Abbey.

Day 1: Edinburgh Walking Tour

Our tour will start at South Charlotte Street where, in 1847, Alexander Graham Bell, the world-famous pioneer of the telephone, was born. Charlotte Square is also the location of ‘Bute House’ official residence of the Scottish First Minister. Crossing Princes Street and into Princes Street Gardens we visit the Scottish-American War Memorial which serves as a monument to the soldiers of WWI and features a seated and kilted soldier. The Memorial was donated by the United States and is familiarly known as “The Call.”


Travelling back along George Street we pass the Royal Society of Edinburgh, to reach South St David Street where Benjamin Franklin stayed in 1771 whilst visiting the famous Scottish philosophers David Hume and Lord Kames. Franklin was highly respected by these great Scottish Enlightenment philosophers, corresponding with them regularly and meeting with both on several occasions. In his first visit to Scotland in 1759 Franklin received an honorary degree from the University of St. Andrews and was honoured by the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh; he was later elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh as an honorary fellow in 1783.

From South St David’s Street, we make our way to Calton Hill and the Edinburgh Civil War Memorial which commemorates the Scottish men who gave their lives fighting in the American Civil War and comprises a statue of President Abraham Lincoln sheltering a crouching slave. From Calton Hill we head to The National Museum of Scotland which, amongst many fascinating exhibits, holds a copy of the Declaration of Arbroath, said to have been a direct influence on the American Declaration of Independence; one-third of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent.  From there we head to Edinburgh Castle and the Prisoner of War Museum where American Prisoners of War were held during the American War of Independence from 1776 to 1781. Overnight in Edinburgh

Day 2: Dunfermline, Perthshire, & St Andrews

We leave Edinburgh, crossing the Forth Road Bridge to Dunfermline and a visit to the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum. Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American steel baron who died the richest man in the world after founding what would become U.S. Steel. Carnegie is now famous for his philanthropic fund which has provided many libraries throughout Scotland and which also preserved his birthplace in Dunfermline.  From Dunfermline we head north to Scone Palace and Perthshire, Scotland’s ‘Big Tree Country’ home to the first Californian Redwoods planted outside of California.


We will take time to visit Scone Palace, historically the site where Scottish Kings were enthroned. It is also the site of a large Douglas Fir grown to commemorate the life of David Douglas, a Scottish naturalist and explorer, who traveled across the United States collecting plant species before meeting his death in Hawaii. The Douglas Fir planted with a seed sent to Scone by Mr. Douglas. We return to Edinburgh via St Andrews, Home of Golf, perhaps Scotland’s most famous sporting exports to America. Overnight in Edinburgh

Day 3: Dunbar, The Scottish Borders, Langholm, Dumfries

Leaving Edinburgh, we travel east along the coast to Dunbar starting point of the John Muir Way the newest long distance walking trail in Scotland. John Muir was born in Dunbar and was the founder of the U.S. National Park system. From Dunbar, we head south through Langholm, ancestral ‘home’ of astronaut Neil Armstrong, before visiting Arbigland Estate and the John Paul Jones Cottage Museum. John Paul Jones, a Scottish born American naval officer, waged war on British trading ships during the Revolutionary Period and is considered the founder of The US Navy. Overnight in Dumfries.

Day 4: Burns Country, Culzean, Turnberry, Glasgow

Leaving Dumfries, we head north through Robert Burns Country to Alloway, birthplace of Scotland’s national Bard, before heading to the magnificent Culzean Castle.

In 1945, the Kennedy family gave the castle and its grounds to the National Trust for Scotland. They stipulated that the apartment at the top of the castle be given to General Dwight D. Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. The General first visited Culzean Castle in 1946 and stayed there four times, including once while President of the United States. Visitors can now stay at the Eisenhower Hotel located within the Castle.

From Culzean we travel the short distance to have lunch at the Turnberry Golf Course and Hotel, now owned by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States, whose mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, was from the Hebridean Island of Lewis.

After lunch, we follow the coast to Glasgow, past the Royal Burgh of Paisley, birthplace of Alexander Wilson the scots-american ‘Father of American Ornithology’, and Greenock, ancestral home of Samuel Wilson the original ‘Uncle Sam’. Our tour will end in Glasgow where we will explore Glasgow's links with the United States in the Merchant City, home to prosperous tobacco and sugar importers in the 18th Century.


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.


There will be many photo opportunities throughout the tour including Edinburgh, Dunfermline, St Andrews, Culzean Castle and Burns Country.


For those with additional time to spend explore the connections between Scotland and the US we can extend the tour to include:

  • The Highlands to investigate the Highland clearances, early Scottish settlers to North America, and the highland influence on American culture and music.
  • Rosslyn Chapel and Orkney, to discuss the claims of Henry Sinclair, explorer and discoverer of America?
  • Visits to Skibo Castle near Inverness, the magnificent private home of Andrew Carnegie
  • Donald Trump’s Menie Estate near Aberdeen, location of the famous Trump International Golf Course.
  • St Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Aberdeen, under who's auspices the first bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, Samuel Seabury was ordained in 1784.
  • The ancestral home of the Davidsons, founders of Harley Davidson Motorcycles, in Angus; or, most importantly,
  • Your own Scottish Ancestral links.

We can also include more conventional tour extensions; for golfers, the chance to play golf on some of Scotland's world famous links courses; for Malt Whisky lovers, distillery visits and exclusive tastings.

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