Quintessential Scotland (Summer)

Scotland harbours some of the largest areas of wilderness left in Western Europe, the imposing tundra plateaus of the Cairngorms, a land blessed with multilayered history, a divine devotion to culinary and an unmatched passion to its whiskies, not forgetting its proud locals. There's no reason not coming. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Witness astounding landscapes and highlands of Scotland

Savour exquisite whiskys and gastronomy 

Stay in refined boutique hotels 

Enjoy an insightful experience with the local characters

ITINERARY

DAY 1: GLASGOW / WEST HIGHLAND LOCHS & CASTLES / OBAN / PORT APPIN

Our journey begins with a one of the most iconic drives in Scotland from Glasgow to Oban where a series of stops along the journey gets things off to a great start. Our first stop of the day journeying north as the Scottish Highlands opens up is the stunning Inveraray Castle - seat of the Clan Campbell and the hereditary seat of the Dukes of Argyll since the 15th Century. Enjoy an insightful tour of the castle interiors with a well-maintained collection of exhibits and weapons. Thereafter, we head to one of the most photographed sites, the 14th Century Kilchurn Castle, built by Sir Colin Campbell - the first Lord of Glenorchy; overlooking the serene Loch Awe, the longest freshwater loch in Britain. We then arrive into the charming coastal town of Oban visiting its most iconic building, the Oban Distillery, one of Scotland's oldest established since 1794. Enjoy a tour of the facilities and a chance to witness the traditional craftsmanship of whisky production first-hand before enjoying sampling of its signature whiskys. Finally, a short drive away arrives us at the boutique Airds Hotel

Overnight: Airds Hotel, Port Appin

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: PORT APPIN (PUFFINS, CAVES & COASTAL SPLENDORS) / FORT WILLIAM

An exciting day begins with a "seafari" adventure as we board a private RIB boat for an excursion. We begin our day with a short drive to Easdale and embark on our boat cruising to Iona where we catch the imposing sight of the Iona Abbey - founded in 563 AD by St Columba, an Irish monk who spread Christianity throughout the western isles and Scotland and Iona is recognized as one of the most important Christian sites in Argyll, Scotland and the UK. Later, we then reboard on our boat heading to Staffa (no landing), and if the sea conditions allow, the skipper will nudge the boat into the surreal Fingal's Cave - named after the eponymous hero of a poem by 18th-century Scots poet-historian James Macpherson and renowned for its symmetry of its basalt columns. Nearby, we will visit a puffin colony that comes to breed from Spring to mid Summer at the north-west area of the island of Staffa before heading back to Easdale via the south coast of Mull, viewing the astonishing Carsaig Arches.

 

On arrival back at Easdale, we rejoin our vehicle and make a scenic and pleasant drive to Fort William where we spend the next 2 nights at the impressive Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Overnight: Inverlochy Castle, Fort William

Meals: Breakfast & Picnic Lunch

DAY 3: FORT WILLIAM (LOCHS, HIGHLAND WILDLIFE & WHISKY)

We spend the morning on a delightful wildlife and scenic tour in Achnacarry Estate - home to an abundance of wildlife including red deer, Highland cattle, pine martens, wild boar, foxes, otters, rare species of butterflies or many other wild animals. Get onboard a private and unique Argo 8 wheel vehicle, designed specifically for use on the hill where we then enjoy guided walks while taking in the gorgeous scenery of the surrounding lochs. Later, we make a visit to the Dalwhinnie Whisky Distillery, the highest distillery in Scotland on the western edge of the Cairngorms National Park. Enjoy a tour of the distillery where we get an insight into its production process and then sit down for a sampling of its whiskys with chocolate. 

This evening, we invite you to a sumptuous dinner at Inverlochy Castle's Albert & Michael Roux Jr Restaurant, a celebration of modern British cuisine with French influence.

Overnight: Inverlochy Castle, Fort William

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 4: FORT WILLIAM / MALLAIG / ISLE OF SKYE

All aboard the Jacobite Steam Train as we enjoy an experience on the "Hogwarts Express". The legendary  Jacobite Steam Train offers a magical opportunity to see the rolling Scottish countryside. A signature sighting on the train journey is crossing the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct (a location made famous in the Harry Potter films) which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument. The journey ends in the bustling port town of Mallaig - gateway to the isles, where we have time to chow down some fresh seafood for lunch before embarking on a short ferry crossing over to Armadale in the Isle of Skye and continue a short transfer to the stunning and impressive Kinloch Lodge. This evening, enjoy a delightful Michelin dining experience tucking into Chef Marcello Tully's exquisite creations. 

Overnight: Kinloch Lodge, Isle of Skye

Meals: Breakfast & Michelin Dinner

DAY 5: ISLE OF SKYE

We begin an inspiring day in Skye first with a visit to the Old Man of Storr - undoubtedly the most iconic natural landmark of Skye with its signature spiky pinnacles of rock set against the backdrop of rolling green hills and the coastline of the Isle of Skye. Enjoy a gentle hike to the viewpoint where we spend some time for a dramatic photographic experience. Thereafter, a short drive later takes us to the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls - made of basalt columns resting on a sandstone base where the falls plummet 90m. Not far away, we make a brief photo stop at the ruins of the Duntulm Castle at the northernmost end of the Trotternish Peninsula, once the seat of the Clan of MacDonald. Our journey then continues to the northwest of Skye where we make a visit to the Dunvegan Castle, a Hebridean stronghold of the Clan of MacLeod, first built in the 13th Century.

 

In the second half of the day, our next stop will be the Talisker Whisky Distillery - the oldest working distillery in Skye, set against the dramatic views of the Cuillins Mountains. Enjoy an informative tour of the distillery and then sample some of its signature whiskys that has been revered around the world. Finally, our our return back to Kinloch Lodge, we visit the Fairy Pools at Glenbrittle, beautifully crystal clear blue pools that are a photographer's dream. 

Overnight: Kinloch Lodge, Isle of Skye

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 6: ISLE OF SKYE / FORT AUGUSTUS / NAIRN

We leave Isle of Skye today as we head back to the mainland via the Skye Bridge where our first stop of the day will be the much-photographed Eilean Donan Castle, situated at the confluence of Loch Long, Duich and Alsh and the backdrop of the forested mountains of Kintail. Thereafter, we continue east towards the charming village of Fort Augustus - gateway to Loch Ness. Enjoy a stroll in the picturesque town where we will be greeted by the sight of the Caledonian Canal, designed by the famous civil engineer, Thomas Telford  in 1822. The lock system is part of the 60 mile Caledonian Canal that links Inverness to Fort William, built to 

provide a short cut for merchant skippers between the east and west coasts of Scotland. Worth a visit is the Clansman Centre where you gain insights into life and heritage in the 17th Century. From here, we head north along Loch Ness where we make a stop at the ruins of the Urquhart Castle, once one of Scotland’s largest castles on the banks of Loch Ness before eventually arriving to Nairn, not far from Inverness where we check in into the impressive Boath House Hotel

Overnight: Boath House Hotel, Nairn

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 7: NAIRN 

Today, our excursion highlights include Cawdor Castle with it’s beautiful gardens, the world-renowned 

Glenlivet Distillery which is one of the last independent whisky distilleries in Scotland and the charming town of Elgin set in a breathtaking scenery where amongst the sites we will visit include the ruins of the Elgin Cathedral - dedicated to the Holy Trinity. 

Overnight: Boath House Hotel, Nairn

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 8: NAIRN / DEPART INVERNESS 

We transfer today to Inverness Airport for your departure or continue your discovery of Scotland on a whisky trail or the spectacular North Coast 500. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

The Airds Hotel is set in Port Appin, on the west coast of Scotland, in one of the most stunning locations in the UK and is one of the AA's Red Star award winning luxury romantic hotels in Scotland. All 11 bedrooms and suites are all uniquely designed and an exceptional restaurant, rated as one of the very best in Scotland. 

Airds Hotel, Port Appin

Inverlochy Castle Hotel is a beautiful 19th century castle surrounded by the luscious green of the evergreen trees and the sparkling blue from the nearby loch. Dining at 'Albert and Michel Roux Jr at Inverlochy Castle is a culinary experience to savor, with the legendary father and son taking the helm of the kitchen and offering the finest dishes using local produce. 

Inverlochy Castle, Fort William

Kinloch Lodge is a historic destination hotel and restaurant on the Isle of Skye off the north west coast of Scotland. The family-run hotel combines the relaxed comfort of highland hospitality with world-class food at head chef Marcello Tully’s Michelin star restaurant. All rooms are individually decorated in colors and textures chosen to reflect Skye's distinctive landscape. 

Kinloch Lodge, Isle of Skye

The Boath House is a luxury country house, widely renowned for its style, quality and fine cuisine.  This 5 star Restaurant with rooms and an award winning garden is nestled on the Moray Firth coast  in the majestic Scottish Highlands. 

Boath House, Inverness

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