Scotland is one of the most beautiful and historically fascinating countries in the world. From refined Edinburgh to thriving Inverness, you'll find gentle rolling hills, dramatic coasts, towering mountains, breath-taking lochs and heather covered highlands. Its landscape is richly peppered with ancient castles, villages and abbeys that tell the tale of its often turbulent history. Beyond the mainland, the Western Isles retain much of their Norse character and offer some of Scotland’s most seductive scenery. 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 Sunday from April 13 - October 12, 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.
This is a fantastically central hotel, located in the heart of Grassmarket, steps away from Edinburgh Castle in the Old Town. The Apex City (4*) is located next door to its sister hotel, the Apex International. One of the best hotels in Edinburgh, the Yu Spa leisure facilities are based at the Apex International Hotel next door, and are available to residents free of charge and open daily. Facilities include ozone pool, tropicarium, plunge shower and gym with state-of-the-art technogym 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 The Place, 34-38 York Place Edinburgh, EH1 3HU.
Depart Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, and travel to the picturesque fishing villages of the East Neuk region including Pittenweem, one of Scotland’s best preserved and most attractive villages, home to brightly-hulled fishing boats and a jumble of red pantiled grey slated houses. Continue 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.
In the afternoon travel north towards the picturesque Victorian village of Dinnet, your base for the night.
This evening, enjoy a Scottish themed welcome dinner with other members of your small tour group.
The Glen Lui Hotel is located 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. Their aim is to provide you with a warm, friendly, comfortable, Scottish experience along with a high standard of food, accommodation and service that will persuade you to return time after time to enjoy their quiet location and magnificent views. The property is a Malt Whisky Embassy and there is a good varied selection of single malts from all regions of Scotland on their Whisky Menu. The Wine List has a good selection of Old and New World varieties to suit most palates.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
Leave Ballater and travel through the beautiful Cairngorms National Park to Nairn. Here you visit Cawdor Castle, a superb fairy-tale castle dating from the late 14th century. You will have time to explore the castle and its gardens before you will continue on to Clava Cairns, an exceptionally preserved prehistoric burial site, built about 4,000 years ago.
Travelling a short distance and you you will stop at Culloden, the site of the Battle of the same name, where you visit the museum, which brings the battle vividly to life and learn about the events that unfolded here.
Waterside Hotel is located on the beautiful banks of the River Ness in the heart of Inverness, the capital City of the Highlands and has 28 well appointed double, twin, single & family en-suite bedrooms. RefleXions conservatory restaurant with views of the River Ness from every seat serves innovative food with traditional heritage. Their open plan bar and lounge areas with wooden floors and leather sofas offer a contemporary and relaxed atmosphere.
After a leisurely start to the day, you will be met by a local guide for a walking tour of one of Scotland’s smallest cities where you learn the history of its iconic landmarks. At the Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Centre, find out about tartan throughout the centuries and see the highland dress worn by Liam Neeson in Rob Roy and Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
This afternoon, the time is yours to explore independently, go shopping or simply relax.
Today you travel to the mysteriously beautiful Loch Ness, the largest body of fresh water in Britain and known around the world for ‘Nessie’, the legendary Loch Ness Monster. As you enjoy your scenic drive through Glen Sheil you will see some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland.
Then travel to Plockton, a charming little village comprised of neatly painted cottages and a tiny harbour before enjoying a seafood lunch experience in the Kyle of Lochalsh.
Later today, drive to the stunning Isle of Skye, your base for the next two nights.
Hotel Eilean Iarmain on the beautiful Isle of Skye is small and privately owned, situated on a sheltered bay in the south of Skye, with expansive views over the Sound of Sleat to the hills of Knoydart on the mainland. The hotel is decorated in cotton and linen chintzes, with traditional furniture. There are log fires in the reception rooms, and a wood panelled dining room where candlelit dinners can be enjoyed overlooking the bay and the island of Ornsay. The hotel has a 2 AA Rosette restaurant offering excellent a la carte dining, and a well-stocked bar which serves a particularly good selection of malt whiskies and local real ale.
Today is devoted to the Isle of Skye, renowned for its wildlife, history, geology, and incredible scenery. The north Highlands delivers scenery on a grand scale and today you see examples of this as you enjoy some of Skye’s most startling geological features including the extraordinary Quiraing, the famous Kilt Rock and the spectacular Old Man of Storr. During the day you will explore Portree, the Island’s main town. This lovely, pastel cottage-lined harbour has a thriving culture and a bustling port.
No visit to the Isle of Skye would be complete without a visit to a whisky distillery. Talisker Malt Whisky Distillery is the only distillery on the Isle where you can still see single malt whiskey being produced. Enjoy a complimentary dram after your tour to learn about the history of Scotland’s most famous export and how it is produced.
This morning you will travel through glorious Scottish highland scenery as you pass Glen Garry, with fantastic views of its loch. You should have time to reflect on the Commandos Memorial near Spean Bridge and to see Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, as you follow the Caledonian Canal.
Visit historic Fort William and enjoy the splendid isolation of the pass of Glen Coe, where the Campbells tragically massacred the MacDonalds. You will then travel the back roads through the wooded Glen Orchy before arriving in Oban, your base for the next two nights.
Overnight in the Queens's Hotel (or similar) in Oban tonight. The hotel has been restored to its original Victorian elegance and has 2 suites and 44 rooms in total, in three buildings, with a number of Twin, Double, Single and Family rooms. Most of the rooms have Jacuzzi baths with overhead showers. All suites and rooms are finished to a 4 star standard.
Today you will take the ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull, the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides. From Craignure you travel to Fionnphort, which means 'Port of the White Sands' in Gaelic. This charming village is home to approximately 100 people and is famed worldwide for its unique red granite which is quarried just north of the village.
After lunch you will continue your tour with a short ferry ride to the mystic Island of Iona, a tiny island widely recognised as a spiritual haven attracting many pilgrims and tourists each year. Iona is steeped in history and is renowned for its natural beauty and serenity. It is here, that you visit Iona Abbey and Nunnery, one of Scotland’s most sacred and historical sites.
After spending time in Iona make your way to Duart Castle. This 13th century castle is the oldest inhabited castle on Mull and is dramatically perched on a cliff overlooking the rugged coast. Walk through the dungeons and staterooms or explore its grounds before heading back to Oban.
Later in the evening, return to Oban.
Most of today is spent exploring 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. 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. Then travel back to Edinburgh where your tour comes to an end.
Your Small Group Tour ends this afternoon upon arrival at The Place, 34-38 York Place Edinburgh, EH1 3HU, 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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