Country Roads of Scotland - Insight Vacations

Country Roads of Scotland (Summer 2017)

Duration: 10 days Visiting: Scotland

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

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

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    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 & 13:00. Then the rest of the day is yours to relax before joining your Tour Director at 17:30 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.

  3. Day 3

    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?

  4. Day 4

    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.

  5. Day 5

    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'.

  6. Day 6

    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.

  7. Day 7

    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.

  8. Day 8 - 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'.

  9. Day 9 - 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.

  10. Day 10

    Depart Glasgow

    Your tour comes to an end after breakfast. Departure transfers arrive at Glasgow Airport at 07:00 & 09:00.

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 trips 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 Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trips. 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.

Accommodation

 

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
10076 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 24 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Excellent trip, fantastic scenery. Meg was excellent! Sid was awesome in driving the narrow roads in the Highlands.

    Service: Meg and Sid were excellent! Driving the narrow, Sid is an expert! Everything was scheduled, planned and executed on time and very well done. Really enjoyed our Scotland trip informational, specular and outstanding itinerary.

  • 24 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Good overview of the country side

    Service: Yes. Good communication

  • 22 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Good range of places to visit

    Service: Great tour. Would prefer to do a tour with 2 night stays

  • 21 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Scotland is a beautiful destination! We were fortunate to have had dry weather and were so impressed with the countryside and the excellent itinerary. Our tour guide was wonderful and our driver skilled and so personable! The hotels were great and our options great fun! It was a terrific holiday! We have recommended this tour to our friends.

    Service: Insight provides an excellent vacation experience! The tour guides and drivers we have met are impressive! Their skill and knowledge combine and contribute to a memorable holiday. The hotels are excellent (if sometimes a little far from city centres.) The extra cost options are always fun and something a person would never discover on their own. I recommend Insight to all of our friends.

  • 20 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great itinerary.....covered so many wonderful sights.

    Service: Overall a good experience for what we wanted. The tour guide was good. What we didn't care for was having to pay for so much on our own....extra excursions that should have just been included as well as so many lunches. But especially being asked to tip any new person that helped out along the way. All this should be included up front. But the tour itself was very good and we loved all that we did.

  • 19 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great scenery! Great little side trips!

    Service: The tour guide, bus drivers were great. The rooms in the rural parts of Scotland were worse than a cheap hotel in the US. The rooms were small and the bathrooms had mold around the tubs. This could be fixed easily by recauking. I realize there are only certain hotels in these areas that could accommodate a group this size, but you need to send an executive from Insight to do an inspection of multiple rooms in each hotel. We requested a king size bed in the hotels. When we arrived in Edinburgh two days early having booked the same hotel as the tour, we were told we had a queen size bed. The way we got a king size bed for the four nights was to pay extra each night. Why weren’t we informed about this ahead of time? Why weren’t we at least given a room with two twin beds in the other hotels? In some hotels we had queen sized beds and in one hotel we had a full sized bed that was so old we could feel the springs. Even in Glasgow in the very American Holiday Inn, we were assigned a room with a queen size bed. We booked Insight because it is supposed to be a step up from Trafalger, but the accommodations on our Trafalger were much better.

  • 19 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The Scottish Highlands was the best part of seeing Scotland. The countryside was lovely, the views amazing! However our most serious concern was a lack of time to see most anything! One hour at Skara Brae was no even close to enough time! Edinburgh was a very nice city but also very crowded. Glasgow might have had some interesting sights, but no time to explore. What we saw from our bus was nothing we cared to explore though!

    Service: It was wonderful to sit back and not worry about driving or getting to a destination.

  • 19 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great tour director and driver. Poor ensuite at many hotels. Would have liked a break mid trip as tiring. Liked Orkney Islands and country scenery a lot.

    Service: Face to face interactions were always respectful and friendly. Very informative tour Director and local guides.

  • 19 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Crammed in a lot. Just fabulous

    Service: Great guide and fabulous driver

  • 19 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It was a comprehensive itinerary that met my needs - namely, driving on mostly country roads, see as little of big cities as possible, a substantial part of the itinerary was in remote and unspoilt places (Scottish Highlands, Orkney Islands, Isle of Skye) that I thoroughly enjoyed. The drawbacks are that the pace was a little more hurried (two lunches literally on the go, hmm, not to my liking) than I expected and there was a little too much driving on Day 6 (although I understand we have to get from point A to point B).

    Service: We booked our Country Roads Scotland vacation fairly late, less than a month before tour commences. And yet we received our tour wallet with documents in Singapore before we flew off. That was commendable prompt service.

  • 18 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: a lot of bus time seeing spectacular scenery.

    Service: The best bus leg room. Liked our tour guide and bis driver.

  • 18 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Covered everything, good history lessons

    Service: Caring, on time, flexible, personable.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips 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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