A Grand Tour of Scotland 2018
- Panoramic tour of the capital city
- Walk in the footsteps of Kings and Queens
- The Jacobite, the longest steam-hauled railway journey available in Britain
- Boat trips to the islands of Staffa and Iona
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Whether you’ve lived in Scotland all your life or you’re yet to have the pleasure of visiting, there’s always more to explore, with secrets to surprise even the most seasoned visitor — and this is just the tour to reveal them. Join us for our Grand Tour of Scotland and discover it all for yourself. Fàilte gu Alba!
Go on the trail of folk heroes, film sets, holy grails and mythical monsters on this awe-inspiring, all-encompassing, Grand Tour of Scotland, perhaps our biggest and best Grand Tour yet.
Designed with the first-time traveller in mind, this gateway getaway is everything you’d expect to find in Scotland — and a whole lot of things that you wouldn’t. World-famous wonders are represented in full force: the Royal Yacht Britannia, the legendary Loch Ness, the iconic Edinburgh Castle, and the esteemed Kelvingrove Museum.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of opportunities for surprise and delight: our scenic two-hour cruise on the scenic Loch Lomond, in the heart of the beautiful National Park, on the trail of infamous outlaw Rob Roy; our trip to the Dallas Dhu Distillery, a frozen-in-time testament to centuries-old methods of whisky-making; and our carefully-curated, locally-sourced Taste of Scotland dinner at the Amber Restaurant.
And the best way to see it all? By steam train through breathtaking mountain scenery; by coach to chocolate-box Highland villages; by ferry, gliding over waters clearer and more blue than you’d think you’d find in the British Isles — on this grandest of Grand Tours, we’ve got it all covered.
We make our own way to the hotel and check-in in the afternoon. There is an optional excursion for a panoramic introductory tour of Edinburgh, including visits to Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodhouse.
This evening we gather together for a welcome dinner as a group in the hotel.
Today we have the rare experience of following in the footsteps of Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi aboard a guided tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia. The all-access tour takes you from the bridge through the State Apartments, crews’ quarters to the Engine Room.
Following lunch we continue Rosslyn Chapel, which some of you may recognise from the Da Vinci Code. Late afternoon we have a Scotch Whisky Experience, where we’re privileged to receive a platinum tasting tour followed by a ‘Taste of Scotland’ dinner in the Amber restaurant.
Today we depart Edinburgh and visit Falkland Palace, a renaissance gem adored by Mary Queen of Scots. The lavish castle, was the former Pleasure Palace of Edward IV and James V and, still today, there are many pleasures to be found both out and inside the castle walls. The physic garden makes an unusual place to fix any of the bury heads from the whisky experience yesterday, with a collection of renaissance-era herbal remedies. Fans of ‘Outlander’ will recognise the square outside the Palace as the location for ‘Inverness’ in the opening episode.
Following lunch, we visit Scone Palace, for centuries the place where Scottish monarchs were crowned. Some of the prized contents are Rococo chairs by Pierre Bara and Dresden and Sèvres porcelains. David Douglas, the most famous of Scotland's plant hunters, was born at Scone and worked at the palace as a gardener. In the grounds today you can see a magnificent Douglas fir raised from the original seed he sent back from America in 1827, as well as other spectacular conifers.
This morning we travel to Blair Castle, home to Scotland’s only private army. The rooms allow you to walk back through 700 years of Scottish History. Peacocks roam the gardens, with an impressive walled garden, quaint wooden foot bridges over streams and wooden groves.
Later we take a nostalgic journey on the Strathspey Railway. We will board the maroon-liveried coaches which will evoke memories of train journeys in the 1950s and 60s and the train will be hauled by a lovingly restored steam locomotive from the collection which is housed in the engine shed adjacent to the station here. The line crosses heather covered moorland with the Cairngorm Mountains beyond, scenes which have changed little in the last hundred years. The train stops at Boat of Garten, a village created by the former railway companies that served the area and Broomhill, which doubled as ‘Glenbogle’ in the popular BBC TV series, Monarch of the Glen.
The train will then return to Aviemore, from where we continue our journey by coach to our accommodation in Inverness.
Today we start at the haunting moor of the Culloden Battlefield. We can experience the battle in the immersion cinema and have a look at the artefacts, weapons and clothing of the Jacobites.
After lunch we travel on to Cawdor Castle, the setting which inspired the story of the mad Scottish king, Macbeth. The castle, is in fact, the much-loved family home of the Cawdor family, with over 600 years of history if the form of art, furniture and intriguing objects which adorn the walls.
Today, we travel to Skye, stopping briefly at Loch Ness for refreshments and having a rare glimpse of the monster itself (well, almost) at the Drumnadrochit Monster exhibition.
We continue on with our journey to the dramatic and much-photographed Eilean Donan Castle, in an awe-inspiring setting where three lochs meet and the castle is built on a remote island with only a single lane bridge for access.
We continue to the hotel in Portree and have the afternoon at our leisure to explore.
This morning is spent exploring Armadale Castle Museum set on the spectacular Sleat peninsula of South Skye.
We continue our journey, boarding a ferry to Mallaig where we pause for lunch then climb on the Jacobite Steam Train which will take us to Fort William on the shores of Loch Linnhe. The line runs through rugged mountains, past sea and inland lochs and over the massive Glenfinnan viaduct overlooking Loch Shiel, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745.
From Fort William we continue down the coast to Oban, which has mesmerising views across the bay, and check into our hotel. Dinner is served in the evening.
We depart today on the classic Three Isles Excursion, which departs from the Ferry Terminal in Oban on Caledonian MacBrayne’s service to Craignure. As we leave Oban on the ferry we see Dunollie Castle perched high on a hillside north of Oban, cross the Firth of Lorn and sail past the 800 year old Duart Castle before landing at Craignure on Mull.
We continue by coach on an hour-long scenic route through the southern part of Mull, via Glen More to Fionnphort, keeping an eye out for sea eagles circling overhead! At Fionnphort we board the ferry for the 45-minute boat ride to the Isle of Staffa. On the water keep an eye out for sightings of whales, dolphins, basking sharks and sea eagles. After landing on Staffa we can walk along the shoreline over the hexagonal basalt columns that make up the island to visit Fingal’s Cave. There's a short flight of steps close to the mooring we can use to climb up to the island and look for photo opportunities with the puffins. (Those who do not wish to land can stay aboard the boat).
Finally we sail south to the Isle of Iona, where we have time to explore on foot. Look out for the ruined, flower-covered Benedictine nunnery and the Reilig Oran burial ground on the route to Iona Abbey, which is a short walk from the pier (admission not included).
We return by ferry to Mull and by coach to Craignure in time for the ferry back to Oban at the end of a long but most rewarding day, which we round off in style with a dinner of freshly-landed seafood at the Ee-Usk restaurant on the North Pier.
After a hearty breakfast we travel to Tarbet where we embark on a two-hour Rob Roy cruise on Loch Lomond. We sail past the hidden caves and secret prison where he sat in hiding and are treated to a whisky coffee aboard the boat in true Scottish style.
We return to dry land where our adventure continues to Glasgow, where we are whisked on a guided tour of the city with its handsome Victorian architecture, followed by a visit to the Kelvingrove Museum, stuffed full of fascinating exhibits. We return to our hotel in Edinburgh this evening for a farewell dinner.
This morning our Grand Tour has come to an end and after breakfast we check out of the hotel and the group disperses. One transfer to Edinburgh Airport is provided for those who wish to make use of it.
- Nine nights’ dinners (with wine), bed and breakfast in 3- and 4-star hotels: three nights in Edinburgh, one night at in Dunkeld, two nights in Inverness, one night in Portree and two nights in Oban. All rooms have private facilities
- Seven lunches
- Comfortable coaching from/to Edinburgh
- Visits to Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh Castle, Rosslyn Chapel, Falkland Palace, Scone Palace, Blair Castle, Culloden Battlefield, Cawdor Castle, Armadale Castle Museum, Eilean Donan Castle and Kelvingrove Museum
- Trips on the Strathspey Railway, the Jacobite steam train, Rob Roy Cruise and the Three Isles Excursion to Mull, Staffa and Iona
- Services of a Brightwater holidays tour manager
- Gratuities (tour manager and driver)
- Bottled water on the coach
Supplements per person
Single room: £355
Travel and overnight accommodation before or after the tour available on request
2018 Insurance Prices
As part of our booking conditions, our travellers must have adequate insurance protection for any holidays overseas but we strongly recommend that you are covered for any of our tours. Our travellers are welcome to take out their own insurance policy, providing that we have the details of this before departure. Alternatively, we can provide our own recommended single-trip travel insurance for all holidays, please see the most upto date prices below:
Under 65, from £18.00 | 65-74, from £35.00 | 75 and over, from £52.00
Under 65, from £32.00 | 65-74, from £64.00 | 75 and over, from £96.00
Prices on application
06/06/2018 from £2495pp
Guests make their own way to the hotel.
|Check in 15:00||Check out 11:00|