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 12 - October 11, 2015. 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.
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.
Transfer using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
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 Ballater, your base for the night.
This evening, enjoy a Scottish themed welcome dinner with other members of your small tour group.
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.
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, discover the history of the 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.
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 along the sands of Mallag and Morar and see Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain. You will also visit the beautiful village of Glenfinnan, where " Bonnie Prince Charlie" raised his standard in 1745.
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 continue along the back roads of this region before catching the ferry to the Isle of Mull, the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides and your base for the next two nights.
Today is dedicated to exploring the Isles of Mull and Iona. Travel to the charming village of 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.
After returning by ferry to the Scottish mainland, arrive at Stirling. 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.
The newly renovated Macdonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh is situated in the city's historic and beautiful old town, just a couple of minutes' walk from the world famous Royal Mile and the Scottish Parliament building. The hotel's convenient location in the city center also means that you're within easy walking distance of Waverley Railway station and the bustle of the city's main thoroughfare, Princes Street. Macdonald Holyrood Hotel is the ideal base for exploring this fascinating and unique city. The hotel features 156 elegant en-suite bedrooms - the perfect place to relax after the excitement and fun of Edinburgh. Pamper yourself at the luxurious spa, enjoy a meal in luxurious surroundings at Rocca@Holyrood or sample a cocktail or two in the new bar.
The Deeside Inn is situated in the centre of Ballater which is a beautiful village in the heart of Royal Deeside. Throughout The Deeside Inn period features are evident including wooden panelling and wooden beamed ceilings. The colours used in our lounge are warm, cosy and welcoming with the added bonus of a real fire to provide extra warmth when required. Sink into one of the large settees to catch up on the papers or relax throughout the day in comfortable surroundings.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
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.
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.
When you visit the Western Isles Hotel on the picturesque Isle of Mull, you’re guaranteed to enjoy one of the warmest welcomes in Scotland! Overlooking the harbour of Tobermory and facing out to Calve Island and the Sound of Mull, you’ll be treated to picturesque views from the harbour and sea-facing rooms, as well as from the Conservatory Bar.
Vanessa Oquendo ,
April 21, 2014
"Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
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."
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."
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 Westlund ,
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 bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements 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. 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. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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