Evening departure from Toronto to Edinburgh with Air Canada direct. Dinner and breakfast served on board.
Morning arrival at Edinburgh's Turnhouse airport. Coach to Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, for brief tour including the adjacent Church of St. Michael before our hotel arrival in Scotland's capital. Opportunity to refresh...perhaps a light lunch and "forty winks" before we walk the battlements of Edinburgh Castle, regarded by many as the nation's most famous landmark. An early dinner in the immediate district.
Following a hearty breakfast, our morning walk on the Royal Mile will focus on the refurbished John Knox House, the High Kirk of St. Giles and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Independent lunch before a local doubledecker takes us to the old port of Leith for an afternoon tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia. Dinner at leisure.
Morning departure by way of the Tay Bridge and Dundee to Glamis Castle, the ancestral home of the late Queen Mother but inescapably associated with Shakespeare's Macbeth. Lunch on the coast before reaching the Keith ancestral home of Dunottar Castle precariously perched over the North Sea. A simple visit here, before entering the Highlands by Aberdeen and evening arrival at Huntly. Dinner in house.
We travel this morning to Deeside passing the Royals church at Crathie and summer residence at Balmoral before arriving at Braemar where, in 1715, the Stuart standard was first raised marking the family claim to the Crown and calling the clans to arms. Today the site of the world renowned Highland Games, our grandstand seats provide excellent opportunities to see “The Royals”, enjoy pipe bands, traditional highland dancing and tossing the caber! We return to Huntly in time to again enjoy the hospitality and dinner of the Castle Hotel.
Morning departure to Speyside with its magnificent landscape and clear running streams - an essential ingredient of Scotland’s best known export - whisky! We drive to Keith for lunch and a tour of Strathisla with tastings before motoring to the Moray Firth. Following the Firth towards Inverness, we stop to visit Cawdor Castle, one of the two legendary residences attributed to Shakespeare’s MacBeth. Still a private residence, it offers a perfect example of Scottish castle architecture adapted to 21st C. living! Dinner in house.
A morning walk through the late Neolithic Clava Cairns, with their peculiar geometric patterns and burial tombs – stark clues to the Stone and Bronze Age inhabitants of the Highlands. Later we also walk Culloden Moor where, in 1746, the troops of George II destroyed both the Jacobite Rebellion with its Stuart ambitions and the centuries old social fabric of clan life. The memorial cairns and plaques offer mute testament to the last battle on British soil and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s quest for the throne. Afternoon in the community …a cruise on Loch Ness, a woolen purchase (or two) or a stroll in the nearby hills, even a quick "nine" on the local links before dinner.
A full day excursion to Scotland's far north. Our first stop is Dornoch, not only the site of the nation's last witch burning in 1722 but also its golf links are considered second only to St. Andrew's ("A Season in Dornoch" by Toronto author and sportswriter Lorne Rubenstein's is worth a read!). A brief drive brings us to Dunrobbin Castle, hereditary home of the Earls of Sutherland and where a visit clearly demonstrates the wealth and stature of Scottish nobility. Noon finds us in John O'Groats, traditionally considered Scotland's most northern point. But following lunch we continue on to Dunnet's Head, the actual geographic northernmost point of the Island....a possible picnic site?? Later in the afternoon we stroll the Norse settlement of Thurso before returning south through the Highlands to Inverness by early evening. Dinner at leisure.
Leaving the capital of the Highlands, we travel through Drumnadrochit to Urquhart Castle with its unimpeded view of mysterious Loch Ness. Entering the Great Glen, a geological fault bisecting the Highlands through a series of natural freshwater lochs, linked by the Caledonian Canal, we continue on towards Fort Augustus and Invergarry to the quintessential poster castle of Eilean Donan. Time for a brief visit before continuing on to the Kyle of Lochalsh and the Hebridean Isle of Skye. Registration and dinner in our hotel located in the tiny community of Ardvasar.
A full-day tour of the island - the perfect harbour of Portree, the Storr and Quiring Ridges, Kilt Rock, the community of Kilmuir with its Museum of Island Life. After lunch on to Dunvegan Castle, hereditary seat of the Clan Macleod. In the late afternoon, we return to our hotel by way of Colbost where Talisker is the local distiller (a wee dram here for what ails ye!!) and the Cuillin Hills. Dinner this evening in our hotel.
An early departure from Skye by ferry to mainland Mallaig where our route, aptly named The Road to the Isles takes us to Glenfinnan and the ‘45 Memorial to the Stuart’s second attempt to acquire the Hanoverian Crown. Passing Fort William and skirting Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest peak, we approach Glencoe and visit the infamous 17th-century massacre site of Clan MacDonald members. Late afternoon arrival in Oban and our ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. Dinner in our resort hotel.
A leisurely breakfast before crossing Mull to the tiny port of Fionnphort. Here, a small passenger ferry takes us to the Holy Isle of Iona, cradle of Scottish Christianity. Touched by Columba, fostered by Benedictines, lost in the Reformation, but reborn today as a Church of Scotland spiritual centre, the Isle’s ready serenity so moved the composer Mendelssohn while on his Scottish tour in 1829 such that “…when in some future time I shall sit in a madly crowded assembly with music and dancing around me, and the wish arises to retire into the loneliest loneliness, I shall think of Iona…” In the afternoon, weather and sea permitting, we sail to the island of Staffa and its hexagonally-jointed basalt Fingal’s Cave, the stunning setting for Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. For others, like Sir Walter Scott, it was… “…composed entirely of basaltic pillars as high as the roof of a cathedral, and running deep into the rock, eternally swept by a deep and swelling sea.” Late afternoon return to Mull and free evening...perhaps to walk into Craignure for dinner or a soothing spa at the hotel!
An early morning ferry to the mainland and follow the Banks of Loch Lomond to Glasgow for a day's tour that underscores Scottish appreciation for culture, education and achievement. By late morning we begin at the Burrell Collection, a truly unique collection of tapestries, carpets, furniture, ceramics, art works and ancient world artifacts. A casual lunch on site, then on to Charles Rennie Mackintosh House, well furnished with fine original pieces and to end the day, the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery. Late afternoon hotel registration. Independent dinner...but fish & chips in a "wee poke" is an easy and only recommendation! Evening stroll on Sauchiehall Street where a quick pub visit might end our day.
This morning a “double decker” step on-step off city tour of Glasgow’s highlight including George Square, St. Mungo’s Cathedral, Mercat Cross, Kelvingrove Museum and Sauchiehall Street. The afternoon at leisure for individual activities that could include possible public transit to Stirling to view the Wallace Monument and Bannockburn Heritage Centre or perhaps Rabbie Burn's cottage in Alloway. Golf enthusiasts may consider a brief visit to Turnberry or Troon!! But this evening, our Auld Lang Syne dinner.
Early morning transfer to Glasgow Airport and our direct return flight with Air Canada to Toronto. Breakfast and light lunch will be served.
- Economy class direct return flight as per itinerary. - Overland transportation by deluxe private coach. - Accommodation is superior tourist class (3 / 4 star) accommodation, based on double occupancy. Single room supplement...$1,555. - Daily full breakfast and 8 dinners/ lunches. - All hotel taxes and gratuities. - Porterage where available. - Full guided visits and sightseeing as itinerary. - All applicable admission fees as itinerary including Grandstand seating at Braemar Highland Games. - Pauwels tour escort
- The current combination of airport taxes, security fees, and fuel surcharges, is presently $563 (approx) but subject to change; the final amount will be reflected on final invoice. - Beverages & meals other than those outlined above. - Coach driver gratuities: approximately £30 – ($60.00CDN). - All expenses of a personal nature. - Travel insurance. Please contact the office for premiums