2014 Scottish Dream 8 Days/7 Nights
Your trip starts in Glasgow Airport with a group transfer to your hotel, departing Glasgow Airport at 8:00 am, 10:00 am or 12:00 noon. Passengers arriving later will transfer to the hotel at their own expense. At 2:30 pm take a coach tour to see the main attractions of Glasgow including red sandstone Victorian buildings, delightful parks, Glasgow Cathedral and the River Clyde, once famous for shipbuilding. Visit extensive collections in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, originally opened in 1901. Chat with your tour director about your trip with a welcome drink before dinner.
Depart Glasgow and drive north along the banks of Loch Lomond with views of Ben Lomond and other Highland peaks. At Tarbert embark on a short cruise to appreciate the beauty of this famous loch and admire panoramic views of the Highlands. Then travel across the mountains for time to browse around the town of Inveraray before visiting Inveraray Castle. This imposing Campbell family home with four conical spires was built between 1746 and 1789. A guided tour will reveal the history of the family and region as you view the magnificent Armoury Hall and many fine rooms with tapestries, porcelains and portraits. Journey across mysterious Rannoch Moor and through Glen Coe, a spectacular glen made famous by the Campbells’ massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692, to Ballachulish on the coast.
This morning head north via Fort William and take the “Road to the Isles” through some of Scotland’s loveliest scenery, stopping for photos at the Glenfinnan Monument. At Mallaig cross by ferry to the Isle of Skye, sometimes called the “Misty Isle.” Visit the Clan Donald Centre at Armadale Castle to discover the history of the Lords of the Isles and the most powerful clan of the Isle of Skye. Drive through part of the island and return to the mainland by bridge, stopping for photos at the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle. Then drive along the beautiful shores of Loch Ness, famous for its monster. Continue to your hotel in Nairn where a Scottish Highland evening will feature haggis and other traditional foods with bagpipe music and dance.
A short distance from Nairn is the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre. Learn about the battle and walk around the moorland where, on 16th April 1746, British Government forces defeated the army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in just one hour. This battle changed the traditional Highland way of life amongst the clans forever. Drive through pleasant farming country into the gentle rolling hills of the Speyside region. Many of Scotland’s famous distilleries are located here near the River Spey which supplies pure water for whisky making. Stop at one of the prominent distilleries to learn about whisky making and sample a “wee dram” at the end of the tour. Drive to your 19th century manor house hotel near Blairs to relax and dine in the elegant setting.
Drive along the charming River Dee Valley, called “Royal Deeside” as it was made popular by Queen Victoria. Visit the Royal Family’s Balmoral Castle set in its spacious estate (Apr-Jul). Visit Crathes Castle when Balmoral is closed (Mar & Aug-Nov). Stop in Ballater, where many shops show royal warrants to indicate that the Royal Family uses their goods. Near the village of Banchory stop at the Falls of Feugh, a charming tea shop, which is popular with local people. Sample delicious freshly-baked scones with tea and enjoy a talk on Highland life. Return to your hotel for some free time to relax before dinner.
Travel south through the lush countryside of Aberdeenshire to visit Glamis Castle, the legendary setting of “Macbeth” and childhood home of the late Queen Mother. Drive across the modern Tay Bridge to St Andrews, the “Home of Golf.” See the famous Royal and Ancient Clubhouse and the Old Course and enjoy free time to visit the British Golf Museum or browse through the medieval town with its cathedral and castle. Drive south into Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital and enjoy a Scottish Evening with dinner and entertainment.
This morning explore Edinburgh on a sightseeing tour. Compare and contrast the wide streets and elegant mansions of the Georgian 200-year-old “New Town” with the narrow lanes and medieval townhouses along the Royal Mile, the oldest part of the city. See Princes Street, the main shopping thoroughfare that separates the two areas. Learn about many prominent Scottish inventors, doctors and writers. Finish your tour at the imposing Edinburgh Castle where you can see historic buildings and enjoy splendid views of Edinburgh. The balance of the day is free for independent exploring, shopping and dining. On July 27 to August 17 departures enjoy the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at the Castle esplanade.
Your trip ends with a transfer to arrive at Edinburgh Airport by 6:30 am or 9:00 am. A transfer to
Glasgow Airport can be arranged in advance at an extra cost.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner