Essential Scotland Tour: Highlands History, Scenery and Culture

Cultural Tour

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    This tour is provided by

    Inspiring Travel Scotland

    Inspiring Travel specialise in offering Private Tours of Scotland for just you and your party.  You can book directly on our website or give us a call to talk things through, we would love to hear from you to help you create & book your dream trip to Scotland.

    • 7 Days
    • Private Tour
    • Scotland

    During this popular tour you will visit the must-see spots in Scotland and venture off the beaten track to hidden gems not offered by other Scotland tour companies.  At Inspiring Travel, we carefully designed this tour so that it would provide guests with the essential Scottish experience, ensuring you don’t miss out on any of the sites, stories or experiences that make ‘our wee’ country so special!

    Everywhere we take you to on your Essential Scotland Tour, you’ll have your Driver/Guide at your side, helping you unravel the myths and legends of many of Scotland’s most historically significant buildings and locations. You’ll board a classic steam train and travel at a sedate pace through the Scottish countryside, taking in some of the most majestic scenery Scotland has to offer. You could also go on a boat trip to see golden eagles and dolphins, and perhaps you’ll even take in a round of golf at the home of golf, if that’s your preference. It’s this element of customisation that makes Inspiring Travel stand out from other Scottish tour providers. If you’re looking for the fully customised experience, perhaps you’d be interested in our tailormade Scotland tours? You’ll also sample Scotland’s cuisine, eating in a Michelin-rated restaurant or even in a corner shop chippy in the beautiful Isle of Skye.  As you can tell, this tour has been carefully designed to appeal to all tastes and provide the most authentic comprehensive Scotland vacation experience. If you’d like something more specific, you may like to consider our Highlands Outlander tour of Scotland.

    Departure & Return Location

    • Glasgow or Edinburgh


    Stay in the awe-inspiring island of Skye and visit ancient sites and see its rugged beauty.

    Boat trip from the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

    Easy walk to discover where the legend of King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone was really born

    Try and marshal Scotland’s forces to victory in a digital re-enactment of the famous Battle of Bannockburn on the site of the battle.

    Visit majestic and atmospheric Glencoe and find out about the clan war between the Campbells and McDonalds

    Ride on a Steam Train over the Harry Potter Bridge

    Visit Inverness and see Loch Ness (Loch Ness Monster sighting cannot be guaranteed)

    See Stirling – visit the Castle and the Wallace Monument, separate the myths from the facts, learn about the great man and see his sword.

    Unique Heritage Accommodation – stay in Stately homes, Luxury Country Houses & Spa Hotels

    Optional Wildlife Boat trip – Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles, sometimes even Dolphins and Whales

    Visit an Ancient Coronation site going back 1500 years where you will be able to stand in the actual footprints of past Scottish Kings

    Visit a distillery and have a wee dram & Speak to locals in the pubs and have a wee dram (or 2 or 3).

    See the site where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his Standard

    Explore the atmospheric site of the last land battle in the UK – Culloden

    Discover the beautiful Trossachs National park

    Finish your tour with a visit to the site of King Robert the Bruce’s greatest Victory, Bannockburn

    Jacobite Train from Fort William home of the highest Mountain in the UK – Ben Nevis

    Stay in the home of Golf, namesake of the Patron Saint of Scotland – St Andrews

    Optional self-guided walk in Glencoe, (please note this is a moderate to challenging walk)

    Visit ancient Scone Palace – Where the Kings and Queens were crowned

    Lots of Castles – Edinburgh Castle, Armadale Castle, not the mention the atmospheric Eilean Donan Castle to name but a few that you will see.

    Visit the beautiful village of Dunkeld, short and scenic walk there.

    Visit the fantastic Culloden visitor centre for an immersive experience

    Stay in the Cairngorms National Park

    Price Includes

    • Pick up from any Edinburgh or Glasgow Hotel
    • Drop off at Airport or Hotel in Edinburgh or Glasgow
    • Private Tour for your party only in A/C Vehicle with dedicated tour Driver/Guide
    • Scottish Tourism Badge Awarded Tour Guide Your Driver/Guide comes with a coveted award and all have graduated from a multi-year assessment course ran by the Scottish Tourist Guide Association, having trained to a rigorous standard in terms of knowledge & guiding skills, this essentially means they have the ability to make Scotland come alive for you are going to add significant value to your holiday here.
    • Trips and entrance fees to parks, museums, castles as indicated on detailed tour itinerary (any optional trips that can be undertaken at guests own expense are indicated on the Itinerary)
    • Accommodation Various Luxurious 4 & 5 star hotels & fantastic Heritage properties, price based on accommodation stayed in and/or assessed by a Director of Inspiring Travel.
    • Additional nights can be added if needed as can accommodation in the citieswe can also arrange additional airport transfers or pick up drop off somewhere else, essentially we can deliver a bespoke itinerary and it can be for almost any date & duration.
    • Breakfasts

    What to Expect

    All these site & places described will be visited on your Private Tour with your personal Driver/Guide on hand to unlock all the secrets of the myths and reveal the history and truth behind them all.

    You will be welcomed to Scotland by your friendly Guide and Driver when they pick you up at your hotel. Only the best guides are used, all recipients of prestigious Scottish Tourist guide badge award’s and adhere to its code of conduct.  Giving you the peace of mind that you are in the right hands, they will be able to answer any questions you have on any subjects throughout the tour.  At Inspiring Travel we have little doubt you will arrive as a guest but go home as friends.

    As this is a Private Tour, the time is yours, the flexibility is part of the beauty.  Although we will have prepared a comprehensive tour that we hope you will enjoy, if one part isn’t floating your boat, feel free to tell your guide and move on to the next part, no dancing to anyone else’s tune.  Had enough sightseeing for today and want to chill out at the hotel, your guide will take you straight there.

    Your friendly guide will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the places you visit and the things you see.

    If you would prefer to extend your tour in order to have a wee dram and mull over all you have seen and learned over the course of the tour or perhaps you would like us to arrange a stay in one of Scotland’s cities before the tour commences,  we can Tailor this booking to suit you, simply call us and let us know.  We will then create your own Customised Private Tour to suit your needs. We would love to hear from you to help create your dream vacation to Scotland.


    Day 1Pick up - National Park

    Morning pick up from your hotel – Today you will journey through one of the most beautiful National Parks in Scotland, the Trossachs, on the way to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond where you embark on a scenic Boat trip. Following Loch Lomond, we will journey to an ancient coronation site that was once a Fort in the Iron Ages, over 2000 years ago.  More recently from 500 AD the site was a royal power centre of Gaelic Kings and possible coronation site that is believed give rise to some of the Mythology in the legend of King Arthur. Take an easy walk to the site where you can tread in the footprints of history, feel a connection with the ancient past as you stand in the actual footprints were ancient Gaelic Kings also planted there feet over 1 and half millennia ago. We will continue our journey to Oban, overlooking some of the Inner Hebrides, where you will spend the night at one of the finest hotels in the area.

    • Discover the beautiful Trossachs National Park
    • Visit an Ancient Coronation site going back 1500 years where you will be able to stand in the actual footprints of past Scottish Kings
    • Scenic Boat Trip from the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond
    • Luxurious hotel near Oban
    • Visit picturesque Oban – Gateway to the Hebrides

    Day 2Kinlochleven - Glencoe

    After Breakfast we will continue our journey through the beautiful countryside from marshy Moors into the dramatic scenery of Glen Coe. Scene of the infamous tale of clan warfare and rivalry between the Campbells and MacDonalds, the Glencoe Massacre. You will also see The Study and look out onto 3 mountains known as the 3 sisters, made famous in the TV program Outlander.  Now lets get off the beaten track again, literally.  There is now an optional unguided walk that will take around 3 hours, moderate to challenging walk that does require fitness and correct apparel as you will take on one of the steepest part of the West Highland Way,  ‘The Devils Staircase’ which will open out onto spectacular views. Your guide will leave you to the walk and continue onto Kinlochleven with your luggage and meet you there at the end of your  walk.  Alternatively you can visit the Glencoe visitors centre and maybe enjoy some time at leisure in picturesque Kinlochleven. Time for a dram or 2 in one of the pubs, then check into your fantastic Heritage style accommodation, a property steeped in history that used to be the home of a Laird.

    • Some of the most spectacular scenery Scotland has to offer
    • Visit majestic and atmospheric Glencoe and find out about the clan war between the Campbells and McDonalds
    • Optional unguided walk through ‘The Devils Staircase’
    • West Highland way
    • Visit Kinlochleven and gaze in awe at its beautiful surroundings
    • Stay in fantastic luxury Heritage style accommodation

    Day 3Jacobite Steam Train - Skye

    After an early breakfast we will leave spectacular Glencoe area behind to travel to Fort William, home of the highest peak in the UK, Ben Nevis.  From here you will board the Jacobite Steam Train, passing through arguably some of the best scenery so far.  En-route you will pass over the Glenfinnan Viaduct or Harry Potter Bridge as it is now known, made famous by the Harry Potter films inspired by JK Rowling.  Glenfinnan is also the site of the raising of the Stewart standard by Charles Edward Stewart otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, the catalyst to an ill-fated Jacobite rebellion leading to the final battle fought on British soil, Culloden. Your guide will meet you off the Train and take you on a short ferry crossing, over the sea to Skye, as you arrive in Skye look out for Armadale Castle, visible on your port side.  The Isle of Skye is as steeped in history as it is ruggedly beautiful.  Every corner you turn and hill you climb the more it will strike you.  Check into your luxurious hotel in Skye, some rooms look out onto the harbour out to the sound of Raasay and onwards to the dramatic and atmospheric Cuillin Hills, at the hotel we like to recommend talking to the knowledgeable bar staff and ordering a flight of whiskeys. If you haven’t found your favourite whiskey yet this may be a good way to find out. (Breakfast Included)

    • See Ben Nevis – Scotland and the UK’s highest peak
    • Jacobite Train
    • Over the sea to Skye
    • Classic steam train over the Glenfinnan Viaduct
    • See where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Stewart Standard
    • Monument of the lone Highlander
    • Beautiful Glenfinnan
    • Luxurious accommodation in Skye
    • Views to Raasay and Cuillin Hills

    Day 4Raasay

    In the morning take an optional scenic wildlife watching boat trip out onto the sounds of Raasay, don’t sail too far due north as the next landfall would be the Arctic. Here you will be on the lookout for Golden Eagles as well as any visits from White Tailed Sea Eagles, at certain times of year you may be lucky enough to spot Dolphins or even Orca or Humpback Whale or other Cetaceans.  Enjoy a leisurely drive around the rest of the island taking in the beauty and majesty of the island stopping to take in a tour of the famous Talisker Whiskey Distillery and enjoy a wee dram or 2 or 3.  In the evening, you may enjoy an optional visit to one of the Michelin rated restaurants on the island, like the Kinloch Lodge or the Three Chimneys (due to popularity of these restaurants please let us know well in advance if you plan to book a table and we will assist you). (Breakfast Included)

    • Spend the entire day exploring the rugged and immensely beautiful Isle of Skye and taking in all the majestic sights
    • Visit Talisker Distillery at the end of the day
    •  Enjoy a few drams
    • Optional Scenic wildlife Boat trip (at own expense)
    • Optional visit to Michelin rated restaurant (at own expense)

    Day 5Eilean Donan Castle - Inverness

    After Breakfast say goodbye to beautiful Isle of Skye, feeling suitably relaxed after your island break, you will cross back onto the mainland, stopping to view the astounding  Eilean Donan Castle, after which continue onto Inverness and a view of Loch Ness home of the Loch Ness Monster or Nessie as she is affectionately known.  From here the next stop will be the site of the final land battle in Scotland and the UK, Culloden.  The end of the Jacobite rebellion and the beginning a brutal repression of the highland culture and way of life. The atmospheric battle site is sure to leave an impression. Once you have seen enough you will continue on to your stay in a remote country house in the Cairngorms National Park. (Breakfast Included)

    • Visit the atmospheric Culloden Battlefield
    • Visit Inverness
    • See Loch Ness & look out for Nessie
    • Eilean Donan Castle – arguably the most dramatic looking Castle in Scotland
    • and the modern and interesting visitors centre
    • Stay in a beautiful luxury Country House in spectacular Cairngorms National Park

    Day 6Cairngorms - St Andrews

    Travel through the Cairngorms taking in the majestic scenery and stop in the picturesque village of Dunkeld where you will have the opportunity to go on a short and easy but magical woodland walk.  With the river tumbling past, you reach Ossian’s hut go through the door and get taken aback by the roar of the waterfall, you could almost find yourself transported to another time.  You will also visit Dunkeld Cathedral, a 750-year-old church set on the banks of the beautiful River Tay.  Next you will travel on to Scone, where Kings of Scotland were crowned for nearly 1000 years and originally the home of the Stone of Scone, here you will visit the Palace of Scone a place of immense historical significance.  The next stop is St Andrews the home of Golf where you will spend the night at the Fairmont Hotel (if you want to play the old course we advise adding another night in St Andrews – please call or click the Tailormade – Customised Tours button so we may amend this itinerary for you). (Breakfast Included)

    • Visit picturesque village of Dunkeld
    • Leisurely Walk to Ossian’s Hut taking in the wonderful views as you go
    • Visit Dunkeld Cathedral
    • See Scone Palace – Coronation site of Kings and Queens
    • See River Tay
    • Stay in St Andrews – The Home of Golf
    • Accommodated at the Fairmont in St Andrews
    • Make time for a Spa if not for Golf

    Day 7Stirling - Bannockburn

    Leave behind the Spa and the Greens of St Andrews and venture on towards the gateway of the highlands, the key historically strategic town of Stirling. Visit the castle which dates to the early 12th Century.  Stirling Castle has withstood as many as 8 sieges with several of these during the Wars of Independence, with the latest by 1746.  Spend some time walking the ramparts to take in the views as well as visiting viewing the halls and armouries with your guide, but make sure to leave enough time for the rest of this busy day.  A wee pit stop in the picturesque village of Bridge of Allan before moving on to the Wallace Monument to learn more about  Scottish hero Sir William Wallace, where you can also view the sword allegedly wielded by the great man himself and separate some Braveheart myths from the facts.  Sadly, now we will be nearing the end of the tour, but where else to end such a tour as the site of Scotland’s most famous victory over the Auld Enemy at Bannockburn, your guide will make sure to arrive in time for the tour to see if you can also lead Scotland’s forces to victory in a digital re-enactment of the famous day.  The tour ends here and you will be dropped at any hotel in Glasgow or Edinburgh that you specify or Edinburgh or Glasgow airport if required. (Breakfast Included)

    If you would prefer to extend your tour in order to have a wee dram and mull over all you have seen and learned over the course of the tour or perhaps you would like us to arrange a stay in one of Scotland’s cities before the tour commences,  we can Tailor this booking to suit you, simply call us and let us know.  We will then create your own Customised Private Tour to suit your needs. We would love to hear from you to help create your dream vacation to Scotland.

    • Visit Stirling Castle
    • Lunch in picturesque Bridge of Allan
    • Visit Wallace Monument
    • Visit Bannockburn battlefeild
    • Finish the tour by trying your hand at marshaling Scotland’s forces to victory again at the interactive Bannockburn visitors centre