Day 1 – Edinburgh arrival
Arrive into Edinburgh or Glasgow Airport, and pick up your car at the car rental company desk and drive the short distance to your castle or manor house hotel, set in beautiful grounds on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Spend the remainder of the day enjoying your hotel and its facilities, or head into Edinburgh to start exploring Scotland’s capital city.
Overnight in Edinburgh area
Day 2 – Edinburgh
Today you have a full day to soak up the atmosphere of this exciting city. Edinburgh has a lot of shops, pubs and restaurants to offer the visitor, as well as a good selection of activities to choose from. You can explore the beautiful capital city of Scotland on a sightseeing tour or on foot, to see the orderly streets and mansions of the New Town, and the cobbled, medieval streets of the Old Town. Edinburgh Castle is situated high above the city on an extinct volcano, and houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland. Visit the castle or the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Family’s official residence in Scotland. For whisky connoisseurs, don’t miss the Scotch Whisky Experience at the top of the Royal Mile.
Overnight in Edinburgh area (see above)
Day 3 – St Andrews
This morning leave Edinburgh and drive to cross the Forth Road Bridge with its dramatic views over the Firth of Forth. Head east to St Andrews, the home of golf. Explore the beautiful university town on foot, and have your photo taken standing on top of the Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course. If you would like to play a little golf, you can play a round on the Himalayas, the practice course next to the Old Course. Continue north across the Tay Bridge, and you have the option to visit Glamis Castle, the childhood home of the Queen Mother, or Dunnottar Castle, one of the most dramatically situated castles in Scotland this afternoon. Check into your manor house hotel in the Aberdeen area.
Overnight in Aberdeen area
Day 4 – Royal Deeside
Today you have a full day to explore Royal Deeside, a magnificent valley of the river Dee and home to the Royal Family’s Highland retreat, Balmoral Castle. You can choose to visit Balmoral when the Royal Family are not in residence, but there are several other castles in the area for you to explore if they are. You can wander through the colourful gardens of Crathes Castle, a classic fairytale castle, or discover nearby Drum Castle with its 13th century tower and fine Jacobean mansion house. Spend some time exploring the villages on Royal Deeside as well, all with their own distinct character. Ballater is the nearest town to Balmoral Castle, which explains the many “By Royal Appointment” signs that you will see on local shops and businesses. Beautiful Braemar is an attractive Highland village overlooked by the majestic Cairngorm Mountains. This is where members of the British Royal Family attend the Braemar Gathering every year. Return to your manor house hotel to relax before dinner.
Overnight in Aberdeen area (see above)
Day 5 – Malt Whisky Trail
Travel northwards towards Inverness. Follow the Malt Whisky Trail and visit some of the distilleries behind the world’s most famous, and some would say, finest malt whiskies. Speyside is a must visit destination for any whisky lover, and this is where you find Glenfiddich, Macallan, The Glenlivet and several other famous distilleries along the river Spey. The area is also home to magnificent castles, such as Cawdor Castle, considered the most romantic castle of the Highlands, and Brodie Castle, connected to the Jacobite story. Continue to your castle hotel in in the Inverness area.
Overnight in the Inverness area
Day 6 – Highlands
Today, enjoy your day in the Highlands. Why not head north west to visit the famous Inverewe Gardens, the most northern Botanic Garden of the world. Or you can head north to visit Dunrobin Castle, a fairytale castle resembling a French chateâu with its towering conical spires. You may choose to stay in the Inverness area to visit Culloden battlefield, or stroll around Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. If you head south, you can take a ride on the Cairngorm Mountain Railway, to explore one of Scotland’s two national parks. You may also choose to take a cruise on Loch Ness, a short drive from Inverness.
Overnight in the Inverness area (see above)
Day 7 – West Coast
Leave Inverness and drive alongside the legendary Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle which dates back to the 12th century and is magnificently situated on the banks of Loch Ness. Follow the Caledonian Canal along Loch Lochy to Fort William. The town is set in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Continue through Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most legendary glens, and across rugged Rannoch Moor. Drive along Loch Lomond, the largest lake in Britain and known for the tranquil beauty of its wooded shores and islands. Check in to your hotel in the Loch Lomond or Glasgow area and enjoy a final evening in your luxury hotel.
Overnight in the Loch Lomond / Glasgow area
Day 8 – Goodbye
Return your hire car at Edinburgh or Glasgow Airport and catch your flight home.