1 Welcome To Edinburgh.
Welcome to Scotland - land of legends and romance, from the great cultural cities in the south, to the dramatic mountains and misty lochs of the Highlands. On arrival at Edinburgh airport, transfers depart for your hotel at 09:00, 11:00 and 13:00. Then the rest of the day is yours to relax before joining your Travel Director at 17:30 for a Welcome Dinner with wine. On select departures, you will also attend the spectacular Military Tattoo - a colourful mix of pipes and drums, dance and display, set against the floodlit backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. (DW) Stay Two Nights: Malmaison Hotel Edinburgh
2 Edinburgh, The Capital Of Culture.
Join a Local Expert to see the highlights of the city. Drive along Princes Street to the ornate Scott Memorial, then wander the 18th century New Town with its neoclassical Georgian facades. In the Old Town, visit Edinburgh Castle, home of Mons Meg, the Stone of Destiny and Scotland's Crown Jewels, the Honours of Scotland. At the bottom of the Royal Mile stands the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of the Queen. The rest of the day is at leisure; why not visit the art treasures in the National Gallery? (B)
3 To St. Andrews And The Highland Capital Of Inverness.
Cross the Firth of Forth into Fife and journey to St. Andrews, passing the Old Course, home of golf since its creation in the 15th century. Enjoy free time to explore. Perhaps stroll to West Sands Beach where the famous 'Chariots of Fire' scene was filmed? Alternately, wander to St. Andrews University where the love story of Kate Middleton meeting her Prince Charming began. Cross the Tay and journey to the charming Victorian resort town of Pitlochry, famous for its salmon run. Continue via Blair Atholl and pass the Grampian Mountains on the way to the sparkling Spey Valley. Stop at Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens, one of the only occupied castles in Scotland, inhabited by the same family since the 16th century. As guests of the castle you will be treated to an authentic Farm-to-Table experience, in the tradition of a Scottish Tea and Scones. Continue to Inverness, where your luxury hotel is set within four acres of manicured grounds offering the very best in Highland hospitality. (B/AT/D) Stay: Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness
4 Culloden, Loch Ness And On To Thurso.
See Culloden Moor in the morning, where Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite army was crushed in 1746. Visit the Culloden Visitor Centre before continuing along the shores of Loch Ness. Keep your eyes peeled for the legendary monster! Next, follow the rugged coast north to the fishing port of Wick. Pause at the Old Pulteney Distillery to taste a wee dram of whisky and learn about the production of this national drink. (B/D) Stay Two Nights: The Pentland Hotel, Thurso
5 A Day In The Orkney Islands.
Start the day by driving to the most northern point of the British mainland, John O'Groats. Board the ferry to the beautiful Orkney Islands where the countryside is breathtakingly majestic and the tranquility supports a quieter pace of life. Here the hardy locals say they live 'below the wind and above the water.' Your Local Expert accompanies you as you visit the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae, the mysterious Ring of Brodgar, Kirkwall and the small chapel built by Italian prisoners during World War II. Return to your Thurso hotel for dinner. (B/D)
6 Over The Sea To Skye.
Travel through stunning, pristine landscapes along the northern coast with its white sandy beaches, and further inland to misty valleys and glens, lochs and rushing waters. Then it's 'Over the Sea to Skye,' the largest and most beautiful island of the Inner Hebrides. On the way to Broadford, hear romantic tales of how young Flora MacDonald helped rescue Bonnie Prince Charlie to see the dramatic Cuillin Hills. (B/D) Stay: The Dunollie Hotel, Broadford, Isle of Skye
7 Through The Scottish Highlands To Glencoe.
Explore this wild and beautiful island on your own, before crossing to the Kyle of Lochalsh. Stop for a photo at remote Eilean Donan Castle, which under a clear sky offers a perfect reflection in its loch. Move on to the WWII Commando Memorial where there is a fine view of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain. You'll enjoy more spectacular scenery en route to the Valley of Glencoe, its dramatic peaks still echoing with the ghastly cries of massacred clansmen. In the evening, enjoy market-fresh Scottish ingredients and wine as you get together with your newfound friends for a sumptuous Celebration Dinner. Don't be surprised if, by the end of the evening, you're 'Toasting to the Lassies' or singing 'Auld Lang Syne'. (B/DW) Stay: Ballachulish Hotel / Isles of Glencoe Hotel & Leisure Centre
8 Along The Bonnie Banks Of Loch Lomond To Glasgow.
Spend time around peaceful Loch Lomond, 'Queen of Scottish Lochs' according to Sir Walter Scott and the largest in Great Britain. Perhaps experience the beauty and tranquillity of the loch with an optional cruise before continuing to Glasgow? An orientation drive through the city will show you the grand public buildings, including George Square and St. Mungo's Cathedral. Then the rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore as you wish. (B) Stay: Holiday Inn Glasgow - City Centre Theatreland
9 Depart Glasgow.
Your travels come to an end after breakfast. Departure transfers arrive at Glasgow airport at 07:00 and 09:00. (B)