Blue Horizon is excited to announce the most recent addition to next summer’s itinerary of trips: a visit to beautiful Scotland. Whether Scotland is on your travel wish list or you’re a frequent visitor, our trip, Scottish Clans & Castles, will run from July 26 through Aug. 4, 2018, and you don’t want to miss it.
This epic Scottish journey begins in Glasgow, where you’ll meet our tour director and drive a short distance from the hotel to embark on a cruise aboard the historic steamboat “Sir Walter Scott.” Passengers will take in the natural beauty of Loch Katrine before settling back in for the evening.
Day two begins with a quick drive east to visit Stirling Castle, where guests will take a private guided tour of the many chambers and halls of the castle. Visitors will learn about the Scottish nobles who used to call the castle home, like “Braveheart” William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots. A stop at Doune Castle is also on the itinerary. If you think it looks familiar, it very well may – it’s been featured in TV shows such as “Game of Thrones” and “Outlander.”
Day three takes you into the majestic Scottish Highlands, where guests will journey across the Ranoch Moor and through Glen Coe, one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in Scotland. There will be a stop at a wool mill and views of the narrow lakes that dot the Great Glen. The day winds down with a trip to the Eilean Donan Castle, a 13th century construction that has been partially ruined since 1719.
After spending the first of two nights in a family-owned hotel in the Kyle of Lochalsh region, day four is all about the Isle of Skye, including Dunvegan Castle – the former home of the Chiefs of MacLeod and the oldest continuously inhabited castle in the nation. A stop is also planned in the town of Portree to see Kilt Rock, a huge sea cliff with vertical basalt columns.
Day five starts with a visit to the Clan Donald Centre at Armandale Castle, where you’ll learn about the history of the Lords of the Isles and the powerful clan that ruled the Isle of Skye. Guests will take a ferry to Mallaig, and then transfer to a train for a ride through picturesque Scottish scenery, seeing Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan Monument and the Glenfinnan viaduct, the large 21-arched structure that will be easily recognized to fans of the “Harry Potter” movie adaptations.
After disembarking from the train and traveling to Inverness for the evening, day six takes guests on a cruise into Loch Ness on the hunt for Nessie. You’ll take in a few more castles and ruins, including a stop at Urquhart Castle, which was destroyed in Jacobite wars. The evening wraps with dinner and a walking tour of Inverness.
Day seven will be the whisky-lovers’ favorite day: you’ll drive through the Speyside area of Scotland which is filled with distilleries. The Scottish distilleries take advantage of the location to draw water from the River Spey, a vital part of the creation of the region’s fine liquor, and will have a chance to tour the facilities and have a sample. The day trip continues on to explore the 16th century Brodie Castle, which has turrets and towers to rival any fairytale, before returning back to Inverness for the night.
Day eight starts off with a drive south through the Highland scenery to Leaut Farm where Scottish sheepdogs help shepherds keep track of their flocks. From there, the drive continues onward to the town of Pitlochry in the high peaks and then to St. Andrews on the east coast, the home of golf. In St. Andrews, guests can see the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse and the Old Course and have a chance to explore the town, local golf shops and the charm of this medieval town. Wrapping up the day, the tour will head to a manor house for the night close to Edinburgh, and enjoy a relaxing dinner with live local music.
Day nine is dedicated to Edinburgh. Guests will take a sightseeing tour of the beautiful city, and discover medieval townhouses, Georgian mansions, the historic homes and haunts of of Scottish inventors and writers, and the contrasts of Old Town and New Town blended together in distinctive styles. A tour of the Palace of Holyroodhouse is also included. This official Scottish residence of the Queen is fully furnished and a sight to behold. The balance of this final day is free for guests to explore on their own before settling in for the last night.
The next morning, following breakfast, guests will depart for home and say so long to the beauty and majesty of Scotland.
In total, guests will spend 10 days, nine nights in Scotland as part of this amazing motorcoach trek through the castles, clans and history of the Scots. Learn even more about the Scottish Clans & Castles trip online now or call Bonnie Newman at Blue Horizon Travel at 309-737-0059 to book today!