Features Include - Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, Palace of the Holyrood House, Royal Mile Shopping, City Bus Tour of Edinburgh, Balmoral Hotel Afternoon Tea, Dunfermline Palace and Abbey, Falkland Palace and Kind Kyttock's Tearoom, St. Andrews Castle, Cathedral and Old Course, Glamis Castle, Crathes Castle, Craigievar Castle, Balmoral Castle, Glenlivet Distillery, Inverness and Loch Ness, Spean Bridge Woollen Mill, Highland Folk Museum, Pitlochry, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, The Queen's View, Blair Castle, Dunkeld Cathedral, Beatrix Potter Garden, Scone Palace, Balhousie Castle and Blackwatch Museum and much more!
13 Days on a small intimate tour of Edinburgh and the Royal Scottish Highlands limited to 8-10 people in order to provide a more personal experience. In keeping the tour size small we are able to take advantage of accommodation, restaurant and sightseeing options that would not be available to a larger group. With a small tour size we can veer off the main tourist areas and get a real feel for this warm wonderful country. We will not rush you from venue to venue and each tour is designed to spend as little time on the minibus as possible. We will dine in cozy pubs, delightful tearooms and lovely hotels. We will stay in delightful and elegant city guest houses and fine country houses.
Day 1, July 11th, 2009: Depart for Edinburgh, Capitol city of Scotland.
Day 2: Arrive Edinburgh with enough time for some shopping and sightseeing on Princes Street or the Royal Mile. This evening we will gather for a Welcoming Dinner. Overnight Edinburgh in a small contemporary city boutique guest house. Includes: (D).
Day 3: This morning you will board an Open Top Bus for a Tour of the City. The tour has 24 hour hop off and on service for you to enjoy the city at your own pace and leisure. Your ticket will include a stop at Edinburgh Castle standing on the basalt core of an extinct volcano. On display is the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. Afternoon Tea at the Balmoral on Princes Street. This afternoon you may also want to visit The Palace of the Holyrood House which is the official residence of the Royal Family when in Scotland. The afternoon is free to explore Edinburgh until this evening when we will gather for a Highland Evening with song, dance and the ceremony of the Haggis. Overnight Edinburgh. Includes: (B),(L),(D).
Day 4: We make our way out of the city today with our first stop taking in Dunfermline Palace and Abbey. King Malcolm III married Queen Margaret here in 1070 and Charles I was born here in 1600. Our next stop is Falkland and Kind Kyttock's Tearoom for Afternoon Tea before visiting Falkland Palace and Gardens which was the country residence of the Stewart Kings and Queens and a particular favorite of Mary Queen of Scots. The gardens contain the Oldest Tennis Court in Britain having been built in 1539. Our journey then takes us to just outside of St. Andrews to the wee fishing village of Anstruther. Dinner and Overnight near St. Andrews in an imposing Victorian stone built home. Includes: (B),(L),(D).
Day 5: Before departing St. Andrews we will visit the Castle and Cathedral in this bustling college town. We will also make a quick stop to get a look at the Old Course which is the oldest golf course in the world! We now cross the Firth of Tay as we make our way to Glamis and Glamis Castle. On the way we Stop in Kirriemuir for Tea before visiting the Castle. Malcolm II was said to have died here in 1034 and Duncan's Hall was the legendary setting for Shakespeare's Macbeth. The castle is most well known for being the childhood home of the Queen Mother and birthplace of Princess Margaret. Our journey takes us far north through the Cairngorm Mountains to Ballater. Dinner and Overnight Royal Deeside in an early 19th century Manse. Includes: (B),(L),(D).
Day 6: This morning our journey takes us into the Grampian Highlands and the Highlands Castle Trail. Our first stop is Crathes Castle. King Robert the Bruce granted the lands of Leys to the Burnett family in 1323 and the castle remains a splendid example of a Scottish Tower House. Our second stop is Craigievar Castle, Grampian's fairy-tale castle which exemplifies the best of Scottish baronial architecture. Following Afternoon Tea at Kildrummy Castle Hotel and Gardens. Before returning to Ballater we will take an excursion on the Alford Valley Railway, Scotland's first 2 foot narrow gauge passenger railway. Dinner on your own tonight. Overnight Royal Deeside. Includes: (B),(L).
Day 7: Before leaving the area behind we will visit Balmoral Castle purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1848 and has been the Scottish Family Home of the British Royal Family ever since. Our northward journey today takes us Speyside and through the Scottish Whisky Trail. We'll visit the Glenlivet Distillery established in 1824 by George Smith and the home of this world famous Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Our next stop is Ballindalloch Castle, family home of the MacPherson-Grants since 1546. Ballindalloch is one of the most beautiful and renowned castles in Scotland and is known as the Pearl of the North. Dinner and Overnight Craigellachie in an imposing Highland hotel. Includes: (B),(D).
Day 8: This morning we take a drive north to Elgin and visit Elgin Cathedral which is known as the 'Lantern of the North'. Prior to its destruction is was the second largest cathedral in Scotland. It's picturesque ruins are well worth seeing. While in Elgin we will also visit Johnstons Cashmere established in 1797. From Elgin it is just a short drive to Lossiemouth with miles of excellent beaches and beautiful surrounding countryside. While in Lossiemouth we will lunch at Harbour Antiques and Tea Room. This afternoon we visit Huntly Castle in Huntly. Although in ruins this well-preserved five-story tower with an adjoining great hall and supporting buildings boasts splendid original ornate facade and interior stonework. Pub Dinner at Archiestown Hotel. Overnight Craigellachie. Includes: (B),(L),(D).
Day 9: Our first stop this morning as we head south is the Speyside Heather Centre. The centre has an antique shop, gift shop, art gallery and heather trail. The we are off to Kincraig to see Working Sheepdog Demonstrations at a Highland farm. We'll see some spectacular Highland Scenery along the way to Kingussie where we will have a Pub Lunch at the Tipsy Laird after visiting the Highland Folk Museum, an open air museum with special features on costume, musical instruments and Highland furniture. Then we are off to Pitlochry which Queen Victoria called one of the loveliest spa towns in all of Europe! Once here we visit Edradour Distillery, the smallest distillery in Scotland where whisky has been made in the traditional way since 1825. Dinner at the Old Armoury Tearoom. Overnight Pitlochry in a lovely Victorian country house. Includes: (B),(L),(D).
Day 10: This morning we'll take some time to enjoy this lovely Highland town. Of interest in town is the Heather Gems Factory where you can watch the production of this jewelry which is unique to Scotland. Then we are off to Afternoon Tea at Atholl Palace hotel in Pitlochry before taking in The Queen's View, one of the most spectacular sites in all of Scotland. No visit to the area is complete without visiting Blair Atholl and Blair Castle. Blair Castle exhibits over 700 years of history and over 32 rooms open to the public. Dinner in Pitlochry before taking in a Performance at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Overnight Pitlochry. Includes: (B),(L),(D).
Day 11: Our journey this morning takes us to Dunkeld and the 12th century Dunkeld Cathedral beautifully situated on the banks of the River Tay. We also stop in Birnum at the Beatrix Potter Garden and Visitors Centre. Afternoon Tea at the Ballathie Country House Hotel on the River Tay before our arrival at Scone to visit Scone Palace and Moot Hill, the site of the famous Coronation Stone of Scone. The Stone of Scone or Stone of Destiny was brought here in the 9th century by Kenneth MacAlpine. Dinner on your own tonight in Perth. Overnight Perth in a historic Perthshire hotel. Includes: (B),(L).
Day 12: This morning we visit Balhousie Castle which houses the Museum of the Black Watch commemorating the first ever Highland Regiment. We will also visit Church of St John, founded in 1126. It was here that preacher John Knox delivered the fiery sermons which led to the destruction of many local monasteries. Next we are out to Afternoon Tea at Royal George Hotel before we visit Branklyn Garden described as an oasis of peace and colour in the finest two acres of private garden in the country. It contains an impressive collection of many rare and unusual plants, among the most breathtaking are the Himalayan Poppies. This afternoon is free to enjoy the lovely downtown area of Perth for sightseeing and shopping. We will meet up this evening for a Farewell Dinner. Overnight Perth. Includes: (B),(L),(D).
Day 13: To Edinburgh International for your return journey home.
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Europe Scotland Local Culture Cultural Journey Sightseeing