Treasures of Scotland Escorted Tour

Tour highlights

  • Discover some of Scotland's finest castles
  • Explore the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh
  • Visit three contrasting islands of the Inner Hebrides
  • See the stunning hexagonal rocks of the Isle of Staffa and Fingals Cave
  • Take in the view of Ben Nevis, the UK’s tallest mountain
  • Cruise on Loch Ness and keep an eye out for the legendary monster
  • Enjoy a Scotch Whisky tour and tasting
  • Ride on the unique Falkirk Wheel
  • Step aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Visit Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens

Days 1 - 3: Culzean Castle and Robert Burns

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Day 1 - Arrive at Ayr Craigie Gardens Club Campsite

Settle into the campsite and meet your tour hosts and fellow members.

Day 2 - Culzean Castle and Robert Burns

The tour starts in earnest with a trip out into the Scottish countryside to Culzean Castle & Country Park. The estate was once home to the flamboyant 10th Earl of Cassillis. The castle itself has a spectacular setting  perched on top of a cliff overlooking the Firth of Clyde and across to the Isle of Arran. Inside the castle is a range of treasures and artefacts collected over the years spread through the elegant rooms and the sweeping Oval Staircase that, along with the imposing entrance hall, are the highlights of the castle. Out in the castle grounds you’ll discover one of Scotland's largest walled gardens and a country park, set across 120 acres of woodland, that features 17 miles of paths winding through the trees, clearings, glens and a deer park.

Leaving the castle the coach takes you to the birthplace of one of Scotland’s most famous sons Robert Burns. See the modest cottage where the country’s national poet was born and explore the museum that houses thousands of artefacts and some of Burns’ original writings.

Day 3 - Free day to enjoy at your leisure

Days 4 - 7: Glasgow

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Day 4 - Glasgow

We head into Scotland’s largest city today, the vibrant Glasgow. Enjoy a guided walking tour of the city learning about its history and culture from your guide and taking in some of the major landmarks as you discover the city’s streets and lanes. You’ll have some free time to discover more of the city at your own pace before we head to Mackintosh at the Willow for afternoon tea. The original Willow Tea Rooms building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and originally opened over 120 years ago.

Day 5 - Free day to enjoy at your leisure

Perhaps you’ll choose to head back into Glasgow to see more of the city or maybe take a shorter trip into the centre of Ayr or down to the town's beach and esplanade.

Day 6 - Free day to enjoy at your leisure

An excursion in the local area will be arranged for today. Check back for details of this excursion.

Day 7 - Travel to Bunree

Leaving Ayr, make your way north towards Fort William and the Scottish Highlands today, with your destination being Bunree Club Campsite situated on the shore of Loch Linnhe. The drive itself features some fantastic scenery, amongst the best in Scotland, as you travel through the spectacular setting of Glencoe. We recommend giving yourself some time to stop here to properly appreciate the beauty of your surroundings and perhaps enjoy a walk in the glen. 

Days 8 - 11: Three Isles Tour and Ben Nevis

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Day 8 - Three Isles Tour

It's an early start this morning as you leave the mainland behind to visit 3 of Scotland’s picturesque Isles in the Inner Hebrides. Take the ferry across to the Isle of Mull enjoying the views of the coastline along the way. Once you arrive on Mull enjoy a scenic coach tour across the island via Glen More taking in the landscape as you go. Your destination is Fionnphort where you’ll board the ferry to take you to the Isle of Staffa, possibly the highlight of the tour. The contrast with Mull couldn’t be more obvious as you near the small island. You might first spot the many seabirds that live on the isle's cliffs or it might be the hexagonal columns that form the cliffs of the isle. Similar to those found on the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, the columns were formed through volcanic activity and the subsequent cooling of the rock.  The columns are a stunning sight to behold and culminate in the unique Fingal’s Cave, a 70m high cavern, the walls of which are formed from the hexagonal columns.

After being amazed by Staffa, the 3rd isle you’ll visit is the Isle of Iona, another contrast from Mull despite only being a short hop over the water from its larger neighbour. Once you land on Iona you’ll visit the Isle’s Abbey, which dates back to medieval times, as well as Reilig Oran - the burial place of kings - an ancient burial ground. Then it's time to return back to Mull and onto the mainland after a long but enjoyable day.

Day 9 - Free day to enjoy at your leisure

After a busy day yesterday, spend a relaxing day enjoying the view out over the loch. Fort William is close by if you’d like to do some shopping or perhaps you’ll want to return to Glencoe to have a second chance to admire its beauty.

Day 10 - Ben Nevis and Glenfinnan

Travel by coach along the shore of Loch Eil today towards Fort William and Britain's tallest mountain Ben Nevis. You won’t set foot on the mountain itself, it's a long way to the top! Instead, we’re including a trip on the Nevis Gondola, an enclosed cable car that whisks you up the nearby mountain of Aonach Mor. Once at the top you can enjoy views across to Ben Nevis and out across the Scottish countryside. Head outside of the gondola station to walk across the mountain top or enjoy the views from inside the cafe. Afterwards we take you further along Loch Eil to Neptune’s Staircase, a series of 7 locks that takes the boats and barges down from the Caledonian Canal to the loch.

Then it's onto Glenfinnan as you enjoy the views along the edge of the loch. Glenfinnan is famous for the curving viaduct which carries trains across the valley and was featured in the Harry Potter films with the Hogwarts express passing over. A few minutes' walk takes you right up to the viaduct to enjoy a close up view of this feat of engineering. Turning round from the views of the viaduct your eye will be drawn to the views down to picturesque Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan monument, erected in tribute to the Jacobite clansmen who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The nearby visitor centre explains the story of the prince and the battle, giving you an insight into one of Scotland's most famous sons.

Day 11 - Onto your next site

Travel further north across Scotland towards Inverness and Culloden Moor Club Campsite. Be sure to take the A82 towards Inverness as it follows the shore of Loch Ness, giving you a chance to keep an eye out for the infamous ‘Nessie’.

Days 12 - 14: Loch Ness and Cawdor Castle

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Day 12 - Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and Inverness

This morning takes you on a cruise out onto Loch Ness itself. Tales of the Loch Ness monster often dominate any mention of the Loch and you’ll have a chance to try spotting the monster, with the assistance of the boats onboard sonar, as you venture out onto the Loch. However there’s much more to Loch Ness. Deemed the largest loch/lake in the UK, in terms of the volume of water it holds, the Loch is reputed to contain more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. Situated in Scotlands ‘Great Glen’ the loch affords picturesque views of the surrounding countryside, which you’ll get to enjoy as the boat crosses the Loch on its way to Urquhart Castle.

Situated on the western shore of the Loch, Urquhart Castle is one of the largest in Scotland and dates back to the 13th-century. You’ll have just over an hour to explore the castle and its grounds, admiring the views out over the Loch, before returning to the boat to continue your cruise back to the harbour. The coach will be waiting for you to take you into nearby Inverness, the capital of the highlands. Explore the city at your own pace, and take the opportunity to sample the local cuisine, haggis anyone? Inverness is also home to the Scottish Kiltmaker centre which you might like to visit (at your own expense)  to gain an insight into the history and tradition of this most Scottish of clothing items and see how they are made. Other attractions include the city’s cathedral and indoor Victorian market or you might like to walk alongside the river Ness as it flows through the city.

Day 13 - Free day to enjoy at your leisure

Do as you please today. You can take it easy at the campsite or you might like to make the short journey to the nearby Culloden battlefield, where the Jacobite Rising came to a head, now a National Trust site with an informative visitor centre. Or if you’re feeling adventurous perhaps make the 1 hour drive into the Cairngorms National park. There are numerous walks to enjoy as well as Scotland's only funicular railway that takes you high up into the Cairngorm range.

Day 14 - Cawdor Castle

The beautiful Cawdor Castle awaits you today. Built as a residence as well as a fortress, the castle features a moat, drawbridge and turrets but has a more homely feel, which you’ll discover as you step inside and explore the rooms and hear about its history. The castle grounds are home to 3 very different types of garden with the Walled garden and the Flower garden dating back to the 17th & 18th centuries respectively plus the more recent Wild garden created around 60 years ago. Enjoy a relaxing walk through the gardens to appreciate the variety of each one. Afterwards return by coach to the campsite and take it easy ahead of a driving day tomorrow.

Days 15 - 17: Edinburgh

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Day 15 - Head south to Edinburgh

It's time to say goodbye to the Scottish Highlands today with a final chance to take in the scenery as you head to Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh. On arrival in the city make your way to Edinburgh Club Campsite situated a short distance from the city centre and close to the shores of the Firth of Forth.

Day 16 - Historic Edinburgh

Enjoy a guided walking tour of Edinburgh this morning as you discover the city’s Old Town with an expert Blue Badge guide. As you explore the city’s streets and alleys, including hills and steps, you will visit iconic places like the Royal Mile and lively Grassmarket, as your guide regales you with tales about the past of this historic city and the people who’ve made it their home. You’ll have some free time to have lunch (at your own expense) before exploring the iconic Edinburgh Castle. Situated at the top of the Royal Mile high above the city, enjoy the views from the battlements and then head into the castle's buildings to see the Honours of Scotland - the Scottish crown jewels.

Day 17 - Free day to enjoy at your leisure

You could head back into the city centre today and explore at your own pace or perhaps you’d prefer a leisurely walk along the Firth of Forth a few minutes from the campsite.

 

Days 18 - 21: Firth of Forth, Whisky and Royal Yacht Britannia

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Day 18 - Forth Bridges, Falkirk Wheel and Scotland’s National Drink

Head out onto the Firth of Forth today for a cruise that offers spectacular views of the 3 bridges that cross the Forth. From the famous and historic Forth Bridge (that's forever being painted according to the saying!) to the modern Queensferry Crossing that opened in 2017, the bridges are an impressive sight spanning 1.5 miles from bank to bank. In addition to the bridges, enjoy views across the water to the Edinburgh skyline to the south plus the island of Inchcolm with its ancient abbey, before paying a visit to the Falkirk Wheel. A one of a kind rotating boatlift that links 2 canals, the wheel only takes 5 minutes to raise a canal boat 35 metres higher to the Union canal replacing a set of locks that previously took hours to navigate. Experience the lift for yourself and be amazed by this feat of engineering.

Your focus switches from scenery and engineering to one of Scotland’s most synonymous items, Scotch Whisky. Enjoy a fascinating insight into the world of Scotch Whisky, one of Scotland’s leading exports, as you learn how whisky is made, discover the art of blending the perfect whisky and visit the amazing whisky collection, home to over 3,000 varieties of the liquid gold. At the end of the tour, you'll get to sample a selection of single malts as your guide talks you through the different flavours and enhances your appreciation of these famous spirits.

Day 19 - Free day to enjoy at your leisure

Day 20 - Royal Yacht Britannia and Botanic Gardens

Spend this morning exploring the stunning Royal Yacht Britannia, moored in the nearby Leith docks. With a self-guided tour of Queen Elizabeth II's favourite ship, visit each of the five decks and learn all about royal life on board.

Afterwards, visit Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Situated close to the centre of Edinburgh but with 70 acres of grounds, as you wander through the gardens you might forget that you’re in Scotland’s capital city. The gardens are home to a wonderful collection of plants from all over the world, just waiting for you to come and discover them. Explore the garden at your own pace, enabling you to enjoy it in your own way.

Day 21 - Goodbye Scotland

Your tour comes to an end this morning as you depart Edinburgh club campsite. We hope you’re taking home many wonderful treasured memories of this wonderful part of the world.

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