Country Roads of Scotland - Insight Vacations

Country Roads of Scotland (Summer 2017)

Duration: 9 days Visiting: Scotland

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
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From the great capital of Edinburgh to the Orkney Islands and Skye, you'll travel through 8,000 years of history and become immersed in Scotland's rich cultural heritage.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to Edinburgh

    Enjoy your complimentary private VIP door-to-door transfer to your UK departure airport. 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 & 13:00. Then the rest of the day is yours to relax before joining your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception - a pleasant evening of dinner and wine. On selected 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.

  2. Day 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 tour the 18th century New Town with its classical Adam façades. Over in the Old Town, visit the castle, home of Mons Meg, the Stone of Destiny and Scotland's crown jewels. 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?

  3. Day 3

    To St. Andrews and the Highland Capital of Inverness

    Cross the Firth of Forth into Fife and make your way to St. Andrews, where golf was born on the Old Course in the 15th century. After some time to explore, cross the Tay and drive to the charming Victorian resort town of Pitlochry, famous for its salmon leap. Continue via Blair Atholl and over the Grampian Mountains to the sparkling Spey Valley. The Scottish Border Collie is world-renowned for its herding abilities. Visit a working Highland farm for a personal insight into the daily life of a shepherd and his dogs. Continue to stately Inverness, where your luxury Signature Hotel is set within four acres of manicured grounds, offering the very best in Highland hospitality.

  4. Day 4

    Culloden, Loch Ness and onto Thurso

    See Culloden Moor in the morning, where Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite army was finally crushed in 1746. Visit the Culloden Visitor Centre before continuing along the shores of Loch Ness. Keep your eyes peeled for the 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. Stay in the town of Thurso, which looks out over the Pentland Firth towards the ‘Old Man of Hoy'.

  5. Day 5

    A Day in the Orkney Islands

    Start the day by driving to the most northerly town on the British mainland, John O'Groats. Board the ferry to the beautiful Orkney Islands - where the hardy locals live ‘below the wind and above the water'. Sightseeing with a Local Expert includes visits to the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae, the mysterious Ring of Brodgar, Kirkwall and the small chapel built by Italian prisoners of war during WWII. Return to your Thurso hotel for dinner.

  6. Day 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.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Through the Scottish Highlands to Glencoe

    (Relaxed Start) A chance to explore this wild and beautiful island, 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. We enjoy more spectacular scenery en route to the Valley of Glencoe, its dramatic peaks still echoing with the ghastly cries of massacred clansmen. At night, get together with your friends at a sumptuous grand-finalé Celebration meal. Don't be surprised if, by the end of the evening, you're 'Toasting to the Lassies'.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Along the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond to Glasgow

    (Relaxed Start) Spend time on peaceful Loch Lomond, ‘Queen of Scottish Lochs' 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 shows you the city's grand public buildings, including George Square and St. Mungo's Cathedral. Then the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

  9. Day 9

    Depart Glasgow

    Your tour comes to an end after breakfast. Departure transfers arrive at Glasgow Airport at 07:00 & 09:00. On arrival at your UK airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your return private VIP transfer home.

Highlights

 

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Edinburgh: A hush descends and eyes turn to the castle. The skirl of the pipes rises and drums crack the night air as a tide of tunics and tartan flood from the drawbridge. For a limited time in August, witness the incredible spectacle of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
  • Edinburgh: Walk with a Local Expert within the walls of the majestic castle perched on its rock, to view the Scottish Crown Jewels, Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg.
  • Highlands: Amid the stunning scenery of a real working Highland farm, watch as Neil Ross' sheepdogs are put through their paces and meet the collie pups.
  • Highlands: At the exciting Culloden Visitor Centre, discover why the Battle of Culloden lasted only an hour yet changed the Highland way of life forever.
  • Orkney Isles: Join a fascinating excursion of discovery with a Local Expert. Strewn across the windswept Orkneys are relics that span human history; from pagan stone circles to reminders of wartime tragedy.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Edinburgh: Enjoy a guided city tour along part of the Royal Mile to Holyroodhouse Palace and over to the beautiful New Town.
  • St Andrews: Visit the university town and see the golf course.
  • Loch Ness: Drive along the shores in search of the monster.
  • John O'Groats: Visit Britain's most northerly mainland town.
  • Isle of Skye: See the dramatic Cuillin Hills and stay in pretty Broadford.
  • Eilean Donan: Stop for a photo of this pretty castle.
  • Glasgow: Enjoy an orientation drive past the civic buildings and St.Mungo's Cathedral.
  • Scenic drives: Grampians, North West Highlands, Skye, Glencoe, Loch Lomond.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Wick: The Old Pulteney Distillery produces whisky with a distinctive flavour, bursting with the power and subtlety of the sea. Share a wee dram with a master distiller who imparts the age-old techniques of whisky production.
  • Glencoe: Your Scottish adventure culminates with the best Highland hospitality and a palate-pleasing Celebration Dinner with wine or beer.
  • 8 Full Breakfasts (FB), 4 three-course Dinners (D); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) both with wine, plus tea or coffee.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Inverness: The signature Kingsmills Hotel comprises of a sympathetically extended 17th century residence, presenting a seamless blend of style and substance and proud of its reputation for a warm welcome.
  • Highland Hotels: The Highland hotels are mainly traditional and much simpler in style, typical of the region.

ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR SERVICES

  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will guide you on your journey. Serving as your 'travelling concierge', this skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Optional experiences

Most Insight tours already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Tour Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your tour. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.

An Evening of Scots-Gaelic Culture

A rare opportunity to enjoy an introduction to the Gaelic culture that is so unique to the Highlands. Stories, song, music and Highland history await you in the warm atmosphere of a centuries-old Highland hostelry

Adult Price: GBP 25.00

Code: THU0002

Blair Castle

Journey into the fascinating past with a visit to the ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl. Brimming with treasures inside and out, magnificent Blair Castle is set in its own grounds against a backdrop of glorious scenery. During your informative tour, see how the castle has been transformed through the ages and learn how Queen Victoria's famous stay led to the creation of Europe's only private army.

Adult Price: GBP 20.00

Code: SCO0002

Castle Of Mey

Visit the much loved holiday home where the late Queen Mother spent many happy summers for nearly 50 years. Spectacularly set on the Caithness Coast with views across the Pentland Firth, Britain's most northerly castle is very much a family home and offers a rare glimpse into the relaxed Royal lifestyle away from the public eye. Your tour takes in the Queen Mother's bedroom, library, drawing room, Princess Margaret's room and kitchens. Of special interest are the greenhouses and the old fashioned shrub roses and climbers of the Shell Garden, where she loved to sit in the afternoon with her dogs.

Adult Price: GBP 20.00

Code: THU0001

Glasgow Dinner

In recent years, Glasgow has developed a fearsome culinary reputation. With its elegant and chic atmosphere, this restaurant is very much at the forefront. In the hub of Glasgow's vibrant cosmopolitan capital, enjoy an evening of Scottish fayre and experience the unique atmosphere of the city at night. This meal may be offered as a lunch.

Adult Price: GBP 37.00

Code: GLA0001

Isle Of Skye Tour

A wonderful opportunity to experience the spectacular scenery of the Trotternish Peninsula with a local expert. Hear about the way of life on this remote inner Hebridean island, steeped in myth and legend. While touring the 'Isle of Mist' see the Old Man of Storr, the red and black Cuillin Mountains, KiltRrock, and picturesque Portree, the largest town on the Island. This is an opportunity not to be missed.

Adult Price: GBP 15.00

Code: SKY0001

Lake Cruise

Enjoy a relaxing cruise around picturesque Loch Lomond - the largest stretch of inland water to be found in the British Isles. Settle with a complimentary cup of tea or coffee and enjoy the flawless natural beauty, while all the history and legend is brought to life by on-board commentary.

Adult Price: GBP 15.00

Code: LOC0001

Rosslyn Chapel

Enjoy a drive out of Edinburgh to the tiny village of Rosslyn, where you’ll discover the inside story about Rosslyn Chapel, famed for its associations with the Knights Templar, the Masonic movement, and more recently: 'The Da Vinci Code'.

Adult Price: GBP 17.50

Code: EDI0004

Royal Yacht Britannia

This magnificent ship has hosted some of the most famous people in the world. But, above all, Britannia was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family. For four royal couples, Britannia was to provide a honeymoon sanctuary before the onset of married life in the world's most photographed family. Now berthed in Leith, you are welcomed on board to discover the heart and soul of this most special of Royal residences.

Adult Price: GBP 18.00

Code: EDI0003

Scottish Dinner & Cabaret

Join us for a lively and memorable evening of traditional Scottish song, dance, tartan and bagpipes. In addition to wine and dinner, your kilted hosts will lead you through some of the best-loved Scottish music and songs. You'll learn a Highland dance or two and sample Scotland’s national dish - haggis. An exceptional Scottish experience!

Adult Price: GBP 58.00

Code: EDI0002

Accommodation

 

The Roxburghe Holyrood Hotel Edinburgh

Edinburgh (Central) - Scotland

The Roxburghe/Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh

Kingsmills Hotel Inverness

Inverness (Traditional) - Scotland

Originally the mansion of a prominent local family, today the Kingsmill Hotel is a luxury accommodation in the heart of the Highlands. Renovated with contemporary rooms, the hotel is well-known for it's impeccable hospitality.

Pentland Hotel Thurso

Thurso (Scenic) - Scotland

Pentland Hotel, Thurso

Dunollie Hotel Broadford

Broadford (Traditional) - Scotland

A hotel boasting an incredible location by Broadford Bay, set at the base of outstanding mountains.

Ballachulish Hotel Isle of Glencoe

Ballachulish (Scenic) - Scotland

On the shores of Loch Linnhe and Loch Leven and situated amid breathtaking scenery at the foot of the dramatic Glencoe in the West Highlands, The Ballachulish Hotel is in a truly unique location and provides a warm welcome all year round.

Holiday Inn Theatreland Hallmark Hotel Glasgow

Glasgow (Central) - Scotland

Holiday Inn Theatreland/Hallmark Hotel, Glasgow

GUEST REVIEWS & EXPERIENCES

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on 7225 reviews received during the past year.

  • 10 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Again, went everywhere a visitor to Scotland would expect. I've been to Scotland several times before and was shown much in this tour that was new to me - top marks. But as in Ireland, while the food was always of a high standard, the choices were always the same and far too limited. Starters were either soup, pate or a salad - mains were a meat casserole, baked fish or a vegetarian dish.

    Service: Tour Director excellent. She went out of her way to keep her charges happy

  • 08 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: This tour gave me some knowledge of Scotland away from the populated areas. I thoroughly enjoyed this tour which included short introductions to Orkney and Skye which are surprisingly different to the mainland.

    Service: We're always happy with Insight customer service. The tour director's are second to none. They patiently answer questions no matter how often they are asked and deal with problems professionally and quickly.

  • 06 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: We had a wonderful Scotland experience -- traveling through beautiful countryside, ferried to the Orkneys and went over the sea to Skye!

    Service: Insight helped us change our flights when our plans changed unexpectedly. I was concerned that the changes would be very expensive but the Insight customer service team got a very reasonable price for us.

  • 05 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Excellent trip, excellent guide, convenient travel

    Service: Excellent trip and management of travel plans

  • 31 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: beautiful scenery and well selected excursions along the tour

    Service: Great guide and good choice of accommodation as well as support for us every day of the tour

  • 31 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Could leave the isle of Skye out

    Service: Overall experience was good

  • 25 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: The areas we visited were fantastic for history and beauty. The facilities were often in the middle of nowhere and, as such.....a bit rustic for some. The metropolitan facilities were quite splendid. But best of all was Ronnie McCorrisken our tour guide. Ever professional with a bright sense of humor and sincere concern for all onboard. Bravo Ronnie!!!

    Service: Our tour guide was the best there could be. He made the journey extraordinary.

  • 22 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary had something for everyone, a great mix of culture, geography, Scottish food, legends, land and water. Timing was perfect, and Ronnie provided excellent previews of what was coming so we always felt well-prepared and excited about what was ahead.

    Service: This was my first organized tour, and I was very impressed with the attention to detail: safety, comfort, convenience, knowledge of the region, timeliness, friendliness, our wonderful tour guide, Ronnie, and driver, Sid.

  • 22 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Very small rooms always on the second floor with no lift.

    Service: Tour Guide was excellent. She organized everything perfectly but took this time to use her initiative to deliver experiences above and beyond what the itinerary promised.

  • 22 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: This trip helped us visit all the major Scotland landmarks that were on our to-do list. We would not have been able to accomplish this goal in 2 weeks on our own (renting car, taking bus/train); I enjoyed going to rural areas and visit the small towns and far-away Optional Experiences-- we did all of them. Each place had a unique/different experience- so variety was always present on our day to day adventure. This trip was stress free, extremely enjoyable and relaxing!

    Service: My customer service begins and ends with our tour guide-- Micheal; he was always pleasant, full of information, easily available for questions/clarifications and addressed any concerns my husband and I had right away

  • 18 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: LOTS OF BEAUTIFUL SIGHTS AND EXPERIENCES. SEVERAL THINGS WERE CLOSED BUT MICHAEL SEEMED TO ALWAYS PULL THINGS THRU...

    Service: IM THE TA...ONE OF THE CLIENTS ON MY TRIP WAS HAVING SEVERE DIFFICULTIES, WANTED TO GO HOME, SHE WAS ACCOMODATED...THEN DECIDED SHE COULD STICK IT OUT..IT WAS HANDLED VERY WELL. IVE ALWAYS HAD GREAT RESULTS WITH INSIGHT.

  • 17 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: saw a lot in short time..

    Service: Yes , recommendable.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Note prices displayed reflect available discounted rates (i.e. Early Payment Discount, Last Minute Deals). All trip information is correct at time of tours going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
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