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Spirit of Scotland
Scotland Self-Drive Tours

2016 Rates on application Prices are in Australian Dollars and are subject to currency fluctuation.

Duration: 15 Days - 14 Nights

 
         
 

Description

Day 1 | Arrive Glasgow
Drive to your hotel in the Glasgow area.

Day 2 | Stirling & Trossachs
Stirling is Scotland’s heritage capital! Visit magnificent Stirling Castle, both in its situation on a commanding rocky outcrop and in its architecture. Drive towards Oban via Trossachs National Park. Trossachs was a favourite destination for Queen Victoria who had a house on the shores of Loch Katrine. The Trossachs, sometimes known as “The Highlands in Miniature”. Stop by Loch Lomond, the largest stretch of inland water in Britain. The landscape of this area has played a significant part in the history and literature of Scotland.

Day 3 | Oban & Isle of Mull
Oban, the “Gateway to the Western Isles”, has been a major port to the islands for centuries. Depart Oban for the Isles of Mull and Iona. Take the ferry across to the Isles of Mull. Cross the island to arrive at Fionnphort, to take the passenger ferry to the small and tranquil island of Iona. Late afternoon, return by ferry back to the mainland. Duart Castle is the family home of the 28th Chief of Clan MacLean and is one of the oldest inhabited castles in Scotland.

Day 4 | Glencoe Valley & Fort William
This morning drive to Tyndrum and then via Glen Coe Valley to Fort William. Glencoe is the dramatic and historic glen (valley), scene of the 1692 massacre of part of the MacDonald clan by soldiers of King William. Visit the eco-friendly Visitor Centre which houses fascinating exhibitions about the area, its human and natural history. Continue your journey via Port Appin to Fort William - the second-largest settlement in the highlands of Scotland and the largest town.

Day 5 | Glenfinnan & Isle of Skye
Depart for the romantic Isle of Skye journeying towards Mallaig. En-route see the Glenfinnan Monument, the statue of a Highland Chieftain. A short ferry-ride from Mallaig on the mainland brings you to Armadale, the southern tip of the Isle of Skye. Visit Armadale Castle and Gardens Clan Donald Centre, which is housed in a restored section of Armadale Castle, tells the story of the MacDonalds and the Lord of the Isles. The 40-acre grounds of 19th century woodland gardens offer superb nature trails and walks. Continue your journey northwards through the imposing Cuillin Hills to the small fishing town of Portree. The Cuillins of Skye are certainly the island’s best-known feature and though their tops are places only for experienced climbers, there are many viewpoints and island locations where excellent panoramas can be enjoyed. Skye also has other fascinating landscapes, notably around the Quiraing on Trotternish, as well as dramatic coastal features. The Sleat peninsula in southern Skye offers a gentler, greener and more-wooded perspective on the island.

Day 6 | Dunvegan Castle on Isle of Skye
Head on to Dunvegan Castle on the West Coast of the island. The Castle is the Seat of the MacLeod Clan and during your visit you will retrace the turbulent history over the last 700 years of one of Scotland’s most-famous clans.

Day 7 | West Coast
Journey south to Kyleakin to cross over the new “Skye Bridge” to the mainland enjoying a brief photo-stop at Eilean Donan Castle, the magnificent setting of the “Highlander” film. Visit Inverewe Gardens, the world-famous garden created from once-barren peninsula on the shores of Loch Ewe, by Victorian gardener Osgood Mackenzie. Exotic plants from many countries flourish here from the mild climate created by the North Atlantic Drift. Enjoy the spectacular lochside setting among pinewoods and superb views. Stop at Corrieshalloch Gorge, one of Britain’s finest examples of a box canyon. This dramatic mile-long gorge is 200 feet deep. The river, which carved out the gorge, descends 150 feet at the Falls of Measach. A suspension bridge a short way downstream from the falls was erected by John Fowler (1817-98), best-known as joint designer of the Forth Railway Bridge.

Day 8 | Outer Hebrides
After breakfast in Ullapool, take a morning ferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. On arrival, take the short 20-minute drive to Tiumpan Head, also known as the Butt of Lewis, which is about as far north as you can go in the Western Isles. Standing at the north tip of the Isle of Lewis, it achieves a mention in the Guinness Book of Records for being the windiest place in the UK! Look West from here and there’s nothing between you and North America: look north and it’s open ocean all the way to the Arctic. Here you can visit the dramatic 140 year old light house at the Butt of Lewis and perhaps visit some of the famous Harris Tweed weavers.

Day 9 | Outer Hebrides
First stop is the Gearranan Blackhouse Village, followed by a stop at the Black House of Arnol. At Gearranan, step back in time to the 10th Century and enjoy being immersed in a bygone era. The Blackhouse of Arnol is a traditional, fully-furnished, Lewis thatched-house that provides a unique insight into island life. There is also an attached barn, byre and stackyard. Beside the Blackhouse, a furnished 1920s whitehouse can also be seen. Enjoy the visitor centre with its interpretative displays explaining the history of the site and locally-made crafts. Continue on to visit the Standing Stones of Callanish which are famous worldwide. These ancient stones have an enigmatic, magical quality that never fails to move.

Day 10 | Inverness
Arriving back from the ferry into Ullapool, travel to Inverness to take a city tour. After the Battle of Culloden, the town was ransacked by Cumberland’s army and many atrocities took place. Today, it is an industrial, commercial and cultural centre. Visit Culloden Moor, the site of the battle on 16 April 1746, when the forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie were defeated by English government army, so ending the Forty-Five Jacobite Uprising. Visit the new centre, which includes an exciting, interpretive exhibition using interactive characters that witnessed or were involved in the battle. There are displays of authentic weapons and artefacts found on the battlefield. Visit Fort George, one of the most-outstanding artillery fortifications in Europe! The Fort includes the Regimental Museum of the Queen’s Own Highlanders.

Day 11 | Speyside & Whisky Distillery
Visit the ruin of Elgin Cathedral, which may have been the most-beautiful cathedral in Scotland, known as the Lantern of the North. Founded in 1224, it was burned down in 1390 by the infamous Alexander Stewart, the Wolf of Badenoch, after which it was modified. It fell into ruin after the Reformation. The octagonal chapter house is the finest in Scotland. A Pictish slab lies in the choir. Visit Glenfiddich Distillery, opened in 1887, producing the only Highland Single Malt whisky that is distilled, matured and bottled at its own distillery. Tour the distillery and bottling hall after an audio-visual introduction. Before you leave, you will have the opportunity to taste a sample.

Day 12 | Royal Deeside & Aberdeen
Take a city tour of Aberdeen, the granite city. It is a maritime city with a story going back to its foundations as a royal burgh in 1124. In olden times, the city had strong trading links with Scandinavia and the Low Countries across the North Sea. Today, Aberdeen’s harbour is a base for offshore oil and gas developments. Aberdeen has one of the most-distinctive townscapes in Scotland, thanks to the use of silver granite, used from the 18th century onward. See Duthie Park and its Winter Gardens, the largest covered display of roses (1 hectare) in Europe and Aberdeen University, one of the oldest in Scotland. Visit Stonehaven, a former fishing village with a picturesque harbour, and Dunnottar Castle, a spectacular ruin 50 metres above the sea and an impregnable fortress to the Earls Marischals of Scotland. The castle was the site for the successful protection of the Scottish Crown Jewels against the might of Oliver Cromwell’s Army. It was also the scene of Zeffirelli’s Hamlet.

Day 13 | St Andrews & Kingdom of Fife
Stop in St Andrews, the home of the oldest university in Scotland and capital of golf with its famous and prestigious Old Course. The remains of the 12th century cathedral, the largest in Scotland and the medieval layout of the town are still visible. You will also see the 13th century castle overlooking the North Sea, where, during the Reformation, many evil deeds took place in the “Bottle Dungeon”. Enjoy the traditional small shops and the beautiful sea views. Visit Falkland Palace built by the King James V in 1539. It became a favourite retreat of the Stuart Dynasty including Mary Queen of Scots. The gardens contain the original Royal Tennis Court and are the oldest in Britain!

Day 14 | Edinburgh
Enjoy a full day in Edinburgh. In the morning, go up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the Edinburgh skyline. The Castle is site of the oldest building in Edinburgh – St Margaret’s Chapel and the Crown Jewels of Scotland. Continue down the Royal Mile – take time to explore the many “closes” which run off this street and which hold so many secrets. There are many restaurants, pubs & souvenir shops on the Royal Mile for a lunch stop. In the afternoon, visit Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the Queen whilst she is in Scotland. The Palace has a wonderful ballroom and staterooms to visit. To end the day, go into the New Town to admire the Georgian architecture and the well-laid-out streets that are in complete contrast to those of the Old Town. Return to your accommodation.

Day 15 | Depart Scotland
It is now time to depart Scotland. Return to the airport for your flight home.

 

Price Includes:

  • 14 nights accommodation with Scottish breakfast daily
  • Service charges, taxes & VAT

Price does not include:

  • Car Hire
  • Ferries
  • Entrances detailed in itinerary (Contact our office for information on the Historic Scotland Pass)
  • Lunches, dinners and drinks
  • Personal expenses

Prices and Dates

Prices are in Australian Dollars and are subject to currency fluctuation.

Spirit of Scotland 15 Days / 14 Nights
Prices From
3-Star Hotel
Twin Single
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
CAR HIRE NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE:
Contact our office for further details
Dates valid except during the British Open  ().