Palace of Holyroodhouse
Palace of Holyroodhouse

Scenic Scottish Tours


8 days From £1,495

13 June 2019

"Billow and breeze, islands and seas,
Mountains of rain and sun,
All that was good, all that was fair,
All that was me is gone."

Based on the historical time travel series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander has become one of the most successful and popular television drama series of the decade. It combines romance, action, history and time travel in an intriguing story, with a strong cast of talented and, it has to be said, extremely good-looking actors. The other element that makes Outlander such compelling viewing, is of course, the landscape in which it is filmed. The Scottish countryside is a location director’s dream, with a host of castles, glens, lochs and villages to choose from. Some are actual locations from the turbulent days of the Jacobite rebellions; others stand in, with a little artistic licence, for key places in the narrative.

On this new tour we will seek out some of the most recognisable locations from the novels and the TV series as well as sites with historical relevance to the period, as we travel from Edinburgh to Inverness and back. Highlights include the royal palaces of Falkland and Holyroodhouse; the historic village of Culross in Fife; Culloden Battlefield, the scene of the final chapter of the ‘45 Jacobite Rebellion and Doune Castle, the epitome of a Scottish mediaeval stronghold which has featured in many productions besides Outlander. And as a backdrop to it all, the ever-changing drama of the timeless Scottish landscape, which makes it very easy to imagine oneself transported to another era and another life…

What's included?

  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Train travel

Book Now £1,495

Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £395

Tour highlights:

  • Countless royal connections and even a murder scene at Holyroodhouse
  • Historic Culross, little changed since the days of the ‘45
  • The Highland Folk Museum, a time capsule in the Cairngorms
  • Culloden battlefield site whose excellent visitor centre brings the battle to life
  • The haunting beauty of Glencoe and Rannoch Moor

Tour details

Dates 13 June 2019 - 20 June 2019
Duration 8 days
Cost £1,495 Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £395 Balance due by 21 March 2019
Activity Level Moderate
Tour code BWOUT19A

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

13 June 2019: Itinerary

Travel independently to Edinburgh and make your way to our hotel. In the late afternoon you are welcome to join our introductory panoramic coach tour of Edinburgh, with its dramatic skyline dominated by the Castle.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Kings Manor Hotel, Edinburgh

We depart by coach and transfer to our first visit, the Palace of Holyroodhouse. In September 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie established his court at Holyroodhouse for six weeks. This is portrayed in the Outlander novels when Claire and Jamie visit the Prince at the palace and beg him to abandon his hopeless cause. Jacobite connections to look out for in the palace include: the Great Gallery, where Bonnie Prince Charlie held a lavish ball; The ‘Darnley’ bed which the Prince slept in during his stay. The bed was originally supplied for the Duke of Hamilton in 1682; portraits of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his brother, Henry Benedict Stuart, which were painted by Louis Gabriel Blanchet in 1739. The palace also has connections with Mary, Queen of Scots who lived her from her return to Scotland in 1561 to her forced abdication in 1567. It was in the Queen's private apartments that she witnessed the murder of David Rizzio, her private secretary, on 9 March 1566. The palace is still in use as a royal residence and HM The Queen hosts garden parties here in the summer.

Across the road is the Scottish Parliament, a modern building where MSPs gather from time to time to insult each other at the taxpayer’s expense, but we will ignore this.

Instead we will head up the Royal Mile where we have some free time for lunch (not included). You may wish to go to the World’s End, a historic, traditional Scottish pub which features in Outlander as Dougal MacKenzie’s favourite Edinburgh haunt.

In the afternoon we continue to the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street, whose diverse collections take the visitor on a journey of discovery through the history of Scotland, taking in the wonders of nature, art, design and science. On Level 3, in the Scotland Transformed section, there are items relating to the doomed Jacobite story, including a silver picnic set made for Bonnie Prince Charlie.

We return to our hotel, where dinner will be served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Kings Manor Hotel, Edinburgh

After breakfast we visit the grand stately home of Hopetoun House, part of which is occupied by the 4th Marquess of Linlithgow. The house was built 1699-1701 and designed by Sir William Bruce. It was then hugely extended from 1721 by William Adam until his death in 1748, being one of his most notable projects. The interior was completed by his sons John Adam and Robert Adam. The magnificent entrance hall dates from 1752.

In Outlander parts of the house and grounds double as the Duke of Sandringham’s stately home, the spare room in Jamie and Claire's Paris apartment, the Hawkins Estate and the backdrop for Parisian streets. Within the estate is Midhope Castle, which features as the exterior of Jamie’s beloved Lallybroch. (exterior view only).

We continue to nearby Blackness Castle, whose mighty fortifications make this 15th-century stronghold look like a ‘ship that never sailed’. Blackness was never just a peaceful noble residence – its enduring roles were as a garrison fortress and state prison. In Outlander it is used as the location for "Black Jack" Randall's Fort William headquarters, so it is aptly named.

We conclude today with a trip on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, a short heritage railway line which captures the essence of steam-hauled train travel in Scotland. In Outlander it appears as the wartime London railway station where Claire and Frank say goodbye before taking up their wartime duties. We also visit the adjacent railway museum which has several examples of Scottish steam and diesel locomotives.

Dinner is served in the evening back at our hotel.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we drive over the new Forth Road Bridge, known as the Queensferry Crossing, for a tour of Fife, beginning with a visit to Falkland Palace, which is closely associated with Mary, Queen of Scots. The Palace is a spectacular example of Renaissance architecture while the gardens have been beautifully laid out with lush green lawns, colourful herbaceous borders and many unusual shrubs and trees. Wandering around the gardens at Falkland, it’s poignant to reflect that Mary spent some of the happiest days of her life here, ‘playing the country girl in the woods and parks’.

If the village square with its ornamental fountain looks familiar, it’s because it features in the very first episode of Outlander, when Falkland doubles (somewhat unconvincingly) as Inverness.

In the afternoon we return to the north shore of the Forth estuary and visit the village of Culross (pronounced ‘Coo-russ’). With many original buildings dating from mediaeval times, the village has been carefully preserved, making it an ideal location for historical dramas. The distinctive buildings feature crow-stepped gables and red roof tiles, which were brought as ballast on merchant ships trading with the Low Countries. Culross Palace is an architectural gem in its own right, with its tiny rooms, connecting passages and painted ceilings. Look out too for the little stone effigies of an entire family, all in Jacobean costume.

The village appears many times in Outlander, with the Mercat Cross area in the centre of the town becoming the fictional village of Cranesmuir, where Geillis lives, while the garden behind Culross Palace stands in for Claire's herb garden at Castle Leoch.

We return to Edinburgh via the Kincardine Bridge and as we travel along the motorway we will catch a glimpse of the huge equine sculptures known as the Kelpies. Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Kings Manor Hotel, Edinburgh

After breakfast this morning we check out of hotel and head north, with a visit en route to the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore, which shows what life was like in the Highlands from the 1700s to the 1960s. In Outlander the museum's replica 18th century Highland crofts are shown when Claire joins Dougal and his followers on their task to collect rent from the clan's tenants.

We continue to Aviemore with an opportunity for lunch (not included). Afterwards, for those who wish, we will take a walk in nearby Tulloch Ghru, the wooded area which features in the journey Claire and Jamie take from Craigh na Dun to Castle Leoch, as well as in the opening credits of the show. Alternatively, you can have further free time in Aviemore.

We then continue north to Inverness, our base for the next two nights – you may notice it looks nothing like Falkland! Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Palace Hotel, Inverness

Following breakfast depart for a visit to to the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre at Culloden, built next to the site of the decisive battle of 16 April 1746, the last land battle fought on British soil. A 360-degree immersion theatre gives a vivid insight to the battle which lasted barely an hour but which altered the course of British, European and world history and changed the way of life in the Highlands forever. You may also walk onto the battlefield itself, which can be a spine-tingling experience.

Nearby are the Clava Cairns, an exceptionally well preserved group of prehistoric burial cairns and standing stones that were built about 4,000 years ago. Though not used as a location in Outlander, Clava may well have been the inspiration for the fictitious stone circle Craigh na Dun through which Claire time travels.

We continue to Fort George, one of the most outstanding fortifications in Europe. It was built in the wake of the Battle of Culloden as a secure base for King George II’s army, so is very much a part of the period in which Outlander is set. The imposing fort was designed by Lieutenant-General William Skinner and built by the Adam family of architects. Fort George took 22 years to complete, by which time the Jacobite threat had subsided. But it has served the British Army for the almost 250 years since.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Palace Hotel, Inverness

After breakfast we check out of the hotel and begin our journey back to Edinburgh, travelling via Loch Ness and the real Fort William, a former garrison town. We will drive through Glencoe, a hauntingly beautiful landscape which features in the opening credits of Outlander and has been used as a location in many other productions, from Highlander to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and James Bond’s Skyfall. At the end of the glen lies the desolate Rannoch Moor, used as the backdrop to the scenes featuring the imaginary stone circle Craigh na Dun.

Our final location visit is to Doune Castle, a perfect example of a medieval stronghold near Stirling, which was built in the late 14th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. It stands in admirably for the fictional Castle Leoch in Outlander, home to Jamie's uncle Colum Mackenzie and his clan. It has also been used as a location for productions such as Ivanhoe, Game of Thrones and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Following this we return to our hotel in Edinburgh, where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Kings Manor Hotel, Edinburgh

Following breakfast you are free to check out of the hotel and make your onward travel arrangements.

Meals include: Breakfast

Reductions are available for those not requiring hotel accommodation on the first and/or last nights – please ask for details.

13 June 2019: Additional Info

13 June 2019: Accommodation

Best Western Kings Manor in Edinburgh offers free WiFi, a 20 yards swimming pool and a gym. Portobello Beach is just 10 minutes’ walk from the building. The railway station is 5 minutes' walk from the hotel.

Guests at Kings Manor can use the Fountain Spa Leisure Club, which has a sauna, a steam room and a beauty therapy suite. There is also a spa bath and a tennis court to enjoy.

Best Western Kings Manor has spacious en-suite rooms featuring satellite TV and 24-hour room service. Rooms also benefit from a hospitality tray for tea and coffee.

Opposite Inverness Castle, Best Western Palace Hotel & Spa is located on the banks of the River Ness. Only a 5-minute walk from Inverness city centre, this hotel offers a swimming pool, leisure club, spa and free WiFi. Valet parking is available.

Each en-suite room at this independently owned hotel has a flat-screen TV, radio and tea/coffee making facilities. All rooms also feature a private bathroom with a power shower and hairdryer. The accommodation is located in either Victorian properties or garden cottage. Some rooms overlook the castle and river.

13 June 2019: Enquiries

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