Start Date: 21st September 2022
Duration: 11 nights
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Today is a fabulous introduction to the Scottish landscape, exploring the mountains, glens and lochs of Scotland’s first National Park and the picturesque village of Luss. Later, we travel over the mountain pass to the beautiful lochside town of Inveraray and visit the castle and gardens here. The journey north takes us through the stunning highland scenery to the mountains of Glencoe. Overnight Glencoe.
Step aboard the Jacobite steam train, now famous as the Harry Potter “Hogwarts Express”, for a morning of fine views along a section of the West Highland Railway, constructed to help open up this remote part of the Scottish coast. After a lovely lunch in the traditional fishing town of Mallaig we take the ferry “Over the Sea to Skye” and spend the afternoon at Armadale Castle & Gardens. The museum here tells the story of island life. Overnight nr Skye.
Explore the Isle of Skye, known locally as ‘The Misty Isle’. We pass the rugged Cuillin Mountains on our way to Skye Weavers and Neist Point for the view before visiting Dunvegan Castle & Gardens. A stop in the main settlement, Portree, with colourful houses and traditional harbour gives a chance to shop, photo-stop, and enjoy some lunch. Later, we head north to admire the spectacular scenery and views at the Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock Falls. Overnight nr Skye.
Today begins with a photo-stop at Eilean Donan Castle before taking a scenic trip over the “Bealach Na Ba” mountain pass to the remote Applecross Peninsula. This is a beautiful and tranquil place on the rugged coast with stunning scenery. After lunch, explore Wester Ross - an area well known for its spectacular mountain scenery. Enjoy a scenic woodland walk to the waterfall at Rogie Falls. Overnight nr Inverness.
This morning we head south through Inverness for photo stops, and along the west shores of Loch Ness to take the 11am cruise (50 min cruise across the mysterious waters of Loch Ness) and then travel to explore historic Urquhart Castle and its turbulent past. Later, we head south along iconic Loch Ness, visiting Invermoriston, to Fort Augustus village for a photo-stop before taking the road along the east shores back to Inverness. Overnight nr Inverness.
After breakfast we tour out to view Clava Cairns before heading south to explore the Cairngorms National Park. On the way, visit the highland village of Carrbridge and enjoy around 2hrs of free time in the Victorian tourist town of Pitlochry with an interesting array of shops and cafes. We spend the afternoon taking in the sights of Queens View and Faskally Wood, and Dunkeld village and Cathedral on the Tay River. Overnight Dunkeld.
This morning we take the scenic route east to St. Andrews, also known as the “Home of Golf, to see the Cathedral, the Castle, the University and the cobbled streets of this ancient town. Next, we tour south to explore the quaint East Neuk fishing villages of Crail and Anstruther, and visit Ellie for a look around the shops. Later, we tour to Stirling for a 2-hour tour of Stirling Castle to take in the castle's long and turbulent history. Overnight Stirling.
Today we tour south, taking in Rosslyn Chapel for a 2hr visit and Melrose Abbey for a visit and a look around Melrose town. Next, we continue further south crossing the border into England to Lindisfarne. We shall pause here to photograph Lindisfarne/Holy Island and where possible, castle/abbey from the mainland. Nearby is Bamburgh CastleBamb and we stop here for a short visit and photo stop. Overnight nr Bamburgh.
After breakfast, tour south for Alnwick Castle, dubbed the Windsor of the North, for a 2hr visit. When we are ready, we shall tour south to Durham and take a drive through Durham Old Town. Nearby is Durham Cathedral and we shall allow some time to take a mini tour here before taking in Durham Castle for a photo stop. Later, we tour south to York via Osmotherley village on the outskirts of the North York Moors. Overnight nr York.
Today is an exploration of the North York Moors National Park. We head out for photo stops of Rievaulx Abbey Ruins, Hemlsley Castle ruins, Helmsley and visit ‘Hunters of Helmsley’ store, Hutton-le-hole, and Thornton-le-Dale. Touring back to York, we spend the afternoon taking a tour and walk of the Shambles, and spend a bit of time at York Minster. If the weather allows, take a nice walk along some of the city walls. If time permits, also see Clifford Tower and St Mary’s Abbey ruins. Overnight nr York.
This morning we leave York and travel west for the tranquil Yorkshire Dales National Park taking in the traditional farming landscapes and drystone walls along the way. Arriving in the picturesque Lake District, we start to tour the area visiting the market village of Hawkshead and enjoy a scenic driving trip over Hardknott Pass. Overnight in Lake District.
After breakfast, head out to drive the scenic Honister Pass loop and then stop at Ullswater lake for a photo stop. Next, we leave the Lake District and head for Birdoswald Roman Fort, with views of Hadrian's Wall and a Roman fort, for a short visit. When we are ready, we shall journey back into Scotland and make our way to your hotel by Edinburgh airport. End of tour.