Western Highlands, Inverness and Ballater - winter is a great time of year to visit Scotland with its winter lights, boughs of holly and decorative tartan sashes. Immerse yourself in the culture, nature and beauty of Scotland’s Highlands region, home to historic castles, kilts, whisky distilleries and the UK’s largest national park. Travel along the back roads of the dramatic west coast, learn how the Scots make their famous whisky and taste local Scottish cuisine. Enjoy some independent time in Edinburgh (or further afield) availing of any number of private tours or time to explore yourself, and join a small group multi-day tour to discover the surrounding areas.
Small group tours typically depart every Monday from November 25, 2013 - January 27, 2014. Tours are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 participants. In general, the maximum group size is 16.
Consider adding additional days to your trip with the services of a private guide and/or driver to see more of the country - your time on either side of your small group tour can be customized to suit your needs (and private guided tours can be added throughout your small group experience as desired).
Meet your driver for your private airport transfer today.
Enjoy a private half day tour with your own vehicle and local guide to show you around the city's top sights including Edinburgh castle, St. Giles Cathedral, Holyrood palace and Scott monument. Entrance fee and guide services at Edinburgh Castle are included.
The Royal Terrace Hotel in central Edinburgh is part of an impressive terrace of prestigious Georgian townhouses, overlooking Scotland's historic capital. Combining traditional charm with contemporary luxury, the hotel enjoys a tranquil location on a quiet city street and is only a short walk from Princes Street, George Street and The Royal Mile. Many of the rooms offer spactacular views of either The Firth of Forth or the private gardens to the rear of the hotel. Facilities include an onsite swimming pool, sauna & steam room. There is also an exclusive complimentary techno gym with cardiovascular equipment.
Meet up with your Guide and fellow travellers of your small group tour this morning. The rendezvous is at 08.30am (please be here 30 mins before this) at The Royal Terrace Hotel, Edinburgh, 18 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh.
This morning depart Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, and travel to Stirling. Known as the heritage capital of Scotland, Stirling boasts the finest concentration of historical buildings in Scotland. This is where the Wars of Independence were fought and won and three centuries of monarchs ruled. Here we wander through the old town and enter the spectacular cliff-top castle, one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. Driving by Loch Lomond, enjoy the breath-taking scenery on your way to the Western Highlands.
On arival, enjoy your first dinner together as a group.
Please note that your hotel will be confirmed prior to departure.
This morning, travel the back roads through glorious mountain scenery to Loch Ness. On the drive you will see Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, Neptune’s Staircase and the Commando Monument, a large statue commemorating thousands of allied troops from the Second World War. Continue to Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, passing by Loch Ness, famed for its elusive monster.
The Waterside Hotel is a privately owned hotel in Inverness which comprises of two river side properties located on the beautiful banks of the River Ness in the heart of Inverness, the capital City of the Highlands. The Waterside Hotel has 28 well appointed double, twin, single & family en-suite bedrooms, and extensive refurbishment has taken place over the last three years. Friendly & relaxed staff ensure each guest enjoys their stay.
Your first stop today is at Clava Cairns, an exceptionally preserved prehistoric burial site, built about 4,000 years ago. Travelling a short distance you will then visit Culloden, the site of the Battle of the same name, where you will visit the museum, which brings the battle vividly to life, and learn about the events that unfolded here.
This afternoon, visit the Black Isle Brewery, which makes world class beers using the finest organic ingredients. After a tour of the brewery enjoy a taste of the final product. After the tour, return to Inverness where you will enjoy an evening meal together.
This morning, visit Elgin, a lively market town full of character and charm, and home to a fine medieval cathedral. You will then explore Fort George, the largest artillery fortification in Britain and still a working British Army barracks. On your return to Inverness, visit the Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Centre to learn about the fascinating history of tartan, see displays of tartan dress throughout the centuries and see the highland dress worn by Liam Neeson in Rob Roy and Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
Leaving Inverness, travel through the beautiful Cairngorms National Park in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. The largest national park in the UK, it is home to traditional villages, ancient pine forests, arctic mountain tops, rivers, moorlands and a variety of fauna including eagles, otters, mountain hares, red squirrels and red deer. During the day you will visit the Royal Lochnagar whisky distillery, situated on the south side of the River Dee close to Balmoral Castle. Age old traditions and craftsmanship produce one of Scotland’s most exclusive whiskies, which was a favourite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. A tasting after your tour will confirm that this is a malt whisky worthy of the ‘Royal’ prefix to its name.
Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner together in the picturesque Victorian village of Ballater.
The Glen Lui Hotel is in a peaceful corner of Ballater Village on Royal Deeside in a tranquil woodland setting with wonderful views across Ballater Golf Course to majestic Lochnagar. At the Glen Lui Hotel there are 19 bedrooms. All of the rooms are en suite and equipped with colour television, complimentary tea tray, direct dial telephone and hairdryer.
Today we drive south to St Andrews, known as the home of golf, which attracts visitors from all over the world. The medieval centre, with its narrow alleys and cobbled streets, leads to the now ruined cathedral and the adjacent church of St. Regulus. The tour ends upon your return to Edinburgh.
Your Small Group Tour ends this afternoon upon arrival at The Royal Terrace Edinburgh Hotel at approximately 5:30pm. Bid farewell to your Guide and fellow travellers as you close the chapter on this part of your travels.
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Edwards Family ,
November 28, 2013
"People do not know what they are missing by not going to Romania. The landscape: beautiful, clean, untouched. The people: People exceeded friendly! Super safe. Wherever we went, we received the reception of "Welcome, welcome! You are our guest", by everyone. Food & Drink: Everything had such incredible flavor! They use only the freshest ingredients and everything is organic. Every meal was a new, exciting experience to our palettes. Architecture: The beauty, intricacy, history. One cannot help but appreciate the abundance of castles, churches and buildings boasting such incredible architecture. Experience Romania sooner than later! You’ll be so glad you did! Once again, Kensington Tours, and special thank you to Claudia.
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Mike Mikkelsen ,
November 15, 2013
"Lianne Kim did a great job for us (on our tour of Spain). Most enjoyable - thanks for all you did."
November 09, 2013
"My trip to Holland and Belgium was a lifelong dream and Kensington Tours made it greater than my dream. I was treated like royalty, even when I missed some of my connections. They quickly solved any problems that U had. All the drivers were courteous and helpful. My accommodations were top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better tour experience. Thanks to Richard Racicot for booking the best fo me."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery lWestlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bend over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangement made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Our time in Dubrovnik and Split were awesome, in hind sight we both wished we would have went back to Split from Plitvice Lakes rather than carry on to Zagreb. We both found Split much more appealing and would have definitely preferred to spend another night there rather than Zagreb. We’ll know for next time! Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
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