Breathtaking scenery awaits you on this beautiful Scotland itinerary. Start with two overnights in Glasgow, where you’ll enjoy a special welcome dinner, an orientation of the city’s highlights, and an excursion to Stirling to see its castle, the monument dedicated to Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace, and the beautiful Trossachs region. Next, follow the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond and the “Road to the Isles” to Mallaig, where you cross the Sound of Sleat to the Isle of Skye. Here, visit the Museum of the Isles at the Clan Donald Centre. Then, travel across the remote Highlands, taking in the breathtaking scenery and watching out for the mysterious Loch Ness monster as you make your way to Inverness. Stop at the Culloden Moor battlefield, enjoy a sheepdog display, and sample a ‘wee dram’ at a whisky distillery. Visit the mountain resort of Pitlochry and stay the night in Dundee, where you’ll appreciate the picturesque views of the Firth of Tay. Continue on to St. Andrews and hit a few balls at the St. Andrews Links Golf Practice Centre. At Scone Palace in Perth, enjoy coffee and shortbread as you hear about the crowning of Scottish kings. Finally, arrive in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh for two overnights and guided sightseeing featuring a visit of Edinburgh Castle with its magnificent Crown Jewels.
Day #1 Arrive in Glasgow, Scotland. Welcome to Glasgow! Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax in Scotland’s largest city. At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel. (D)
Day #2 Glasgow. Stirling Castle & Trossachs Excursion. Start your vacation with an excursion steeped in history: first stop this morning is at STIRLING CASTLE, a great symbol of Scottish independence and favored residence of Scotland’s kings and queens. Then, see the Wallace Monument, testimony to William Wallace’s victory over Edward I of England’s troops at The Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, as re-enacted in the film Braveheart. Leaving bloodied history behind, follow the route through Callander to the Lake of Menteith and Aberfoyle in the picturesque forested region known as The Trossachs. Back in vibrant Glasgow, an orientation drive takes in the fine 12th-century cathedral, imposing university buildings, and elegant Georgian squares built by wealthy tobacco barons. (B)
Day #3 Glasgow–Fort William–Isle of Skye–Inverness. Follow the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond, then proceed via Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe, and Fort William, and follow the “Road to the Isles,” passing Glenfinnan to Mallaig, where you board your FERRY for the crossing to the Isle of Skye. Visit the MUSEUM OF THE ISLES at the Clan Donald Centre, then return to the mainland and trace the shores of Loch Ness on the way to Inverness. (B,D)
Day #4 Inverness–Culloden Moor–Pitlochry–Dundee. At CULLODEN VISITOR CENTRE, hear the story of the crushing Hanoverian victory over Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish clans. Then, a unique treat: admire a champion shepherd as he manipulates his flock with up to eight border collies in a [LF] SHEEPDOG DISPLAY. Enjoy more spectacular Highland scenery as you drive through Cairngorms National Park and Glen Garry to the Victorian mountain resort of Pitlochry. This afternoon, visit a WHISKY DISTILLERY, where your guide explains the ancient art of converting barley, water, and yeast into a heart-warming liquor. Stay the night in the city of Dundee, overlooking the picturesque Firth of Tay. (B,D)
Day #5 Dundee–St. Andrews–Edinburgh. A leisurely start to the day with a drive across Tay Bridge to St. Andrews, whose Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, has given us the rules of golfing. A fun inclusion is the opportunity to hit a few balls at the [LF] ST. ANDREWS GOLF PRACTICE CENTRE. Continue on to Perth for a special visit to SCONE PALACE, the stately home of the Earl and Countess of Mansfield. During your welcome over [LF] COFFEE and SHORTBREAD, hear about the crowning of Scottish kings here, then join your guide on a private tour of the Murray family home. Plenty of time later to explore the palace grounds. Cross the mighty Forth Road Bridge to Edinburgh and tonight, don’t miss our optional Scottish evening with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and the Ceremony of the Haggis. (B)
Day #6 Edinburgh. Morning city sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town” and famous scientists, inventors, and novelists. In the “Old Town,” drive up the narrow Royal Mile to EDINBURGH CASTLE to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels. The afternoon is free to enjoy the Scottish capital at your own pace. Later, a unique optional experience: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia, once the perfect royal residence for the Queen’s glittering state visits and family holidays. Tour five decks and see how the Royal Family and crew of 240 lived and worked on board. Dinner rounds off this optional evening. For departures August 1, 8, and 15, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO, a vast spectacle of massed Scottish pipe bands that takes place in an arena on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. (B)
Day #7 Edinburgh. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)