Explore Scotland’s ancient past from prehistoric to medieval. Royal residences will feature highly on this tour as well as the stories of epic battles, mystical legends and bravery. Enjoy the majestic scenery, lochs, glens, rivers and waterfalls of Scotland, land of the brave.
This morning you'll depart from the World Heritage City of Edinburgh and travel north, crossing the Queensferry Crossing and into the ancient Kingdom of Fife. Your first visit of the day is Falkland Palace, a palace built in the 16th century and set in the Medieval village of Falkland, which features in the television show, Outlander. Your tour continues to St Andrews where you have a chance to have lunch on your own and explore the cobbled lanes and ancient university buildings. Travelling north towards Aberdeen, you have a chance to admire the House of Dun, a beautiful Georgian mansion located within a woodland estate. In the afternoon, you'll visit Dunnottar Castle, a ruined cliff-top fortress and one of Scotland’s megastars which adorns the front covers of travel magazines everywhere. So, it’s a great spot to take in the view and test your photo skills. Today ends in the area of Aberdeen.
Today will be spent in the Royal Deeside area, famous for its many castles. Your first visit will be Castle Fraser, one of the grandest of the Scottish baronial tower houses. Begun in 1575, the present castle contains an evocative Great Hall, fine furniture and many Fraser family portraits. You can round this optional visit with a walk through the beautiful 18th century walled garden. The tour continues to Banchory where you might be able to see salmon jumping at the Falls of Feugh. Maybe take a short nature walk in Glen Tanar or the Burn o’ Vat. Lunch is on your own at a stop at Ballater before continuing with your afternoon programme in which Crathes Castle provides the highlight. Turrets, gargoyles and the ancient Horn of Leys given in 1323 by Robert the Bruce are just a few of the features of this historic castle. You are free to explore the house and the stunning gardens at your own pace. The gardens stay green irrespective of the time of year, as with the ancient Yew hedges that frame the upper parts of the gardens, particularly the fountain and rose gardens. Wandering through the outstanding, world-renowned June Borders, beautiful vistas of the castle can be seen through the fusion of colourful flowers. (B)
Your tour heads further north today and starts the day with a visit to Fyvie Castle near Turriff. Fyvie Castle dates back to the 13th-century and has a fine collection of arms and armour as well as 17th-century tapestries and opulent Edwardian interiors. You then continue travelling through beautiful scenery and on to Nairn. In the afternoon we travel to the Inverness area where you will be able to take the Clan Walk at the Culloden Visitor Centre. The Clan Stone Walkway is designed to commemorate the Scottish Clans and their clansmen who fought at the battle of Culloden with a special Insignia Stone. The Clans are represented with their individual Crest and personal inscription. After this visit, we continue to Forres where we will stay overnight. (B)
We travel south again through some of the most stunning scenery Scotland has to offer. You will travel to Kingussie for a photo stop at the Ruthven Barracks. From here you continue to Dalwhinnie Distillery. Dalwhinnie is the highest Distillery in Scotland and takes its waters right from the source of the River Spey. You can take an optional tour of the distillery and also have the chance to taste the ‘Water of Life’. After lunch on your own at a stop in Pitlochry, you'll head to Loch Leven by Kinross. In the middle of the Loch, you'll find Loch Leven Castle, a late 14th-century tower, which was the setting for the most traumatic year in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. It was in 1567 that she was imprisoned here and forced to abdicate her throne before her dramatic escape a year later. Here you can enjoy a short optional boat ride over to the castle, following in the footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots. Then explore at your leisure the island and tower house, before returning back to Edinburgh with a planned arrival time of 6:30 pm (B)
Guaranteed departures: Friday - May 15 to September 25, 2020