Historic Castles and the Epic Highlands
From Edinburgh and Glasgow to the Highlands and West Coast, this is Scotland at its best
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Expert private guide
- Private transfers
- Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
- Private foodie tour of Edinburgh
- Private tour of Attadale Gardens
- Private tour of Inveraray, Stirling, Doune and Blair Castle
At a glance
The Highlands of Scotland are one of the biggest expanses of wilderness in Europe and yet Scotland retains a distinct and proud identity. Over the course of 12 days, discover what makes Scotland unique from the wild, open landscapes of the north to the cultured cities of the Central Belt.
Begin in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, the elegant city composed of the medieval old town and Georgian new town. Scotland is also a foodie destination and its culinary delights will be explored as you visit its delis and restaurants in the company of an expert private guide.
Explore the fishing villages of Fife and visit the home of golf at St. Andrews. From Fife, head west towards Perthshire and visit Stirling Castle and Doune Castle. You’ll then head northbound through the Cairngorms National Park, and visit a whisky distillery in Speyside.
Travelling west, discover the dramatic wilderness of the true Highlands. The West Coast is widely considered to be one of Britain’s most beautiful coastlines. It is subject to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream which has allowed sub-tropical gardens to flourish here, such as Inverewe Gardens and Attadale Gardens.
Spend a day on the Isle of Skye and experience the majesty of its landscapes and wildlife. From the haunting Glencoe, travel south through Argyll and the stately Inveraray Castle and continue to Glasgow, Scotland’s most modern city.
Example Trip Itinerary
Meet and greet at Edinburgh airport
Private transfer to your hotel in Edinburgh
Accommodation in Edinburgh
- 167 rooms
- 20 suites
- Michelin-starred restaurant
Standing proudly at No 1 Princes Street, this grand building, which started out as a railway hotel, blends the best of Scottish tradition and design with five-star contemporary luxury. The 167 charming rooms feature warm, welcoming hues and modern decor, while the 20 suites are spacious and stylish. Settle into a cosy turret alcove in one of the Grand Suites and gaze out at the historic city, or lose yourself in the lavishly furnished Scone and Crombie signature suite. When it comes to light lunches and dinner, book a table at Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux for sublime French cooking made with the finest Scottish produce. Or treat yourself to an extravagant gourmet adventure at the Michelin-starred Number One. This is modern Scottish cuisine at its finest. Find inner-city harmony at the award-winning Balmoral Spa. With five treatment rooms, an indoor pool, Finnish sauna, steam room and fully-equipped gym, it’s the perfect place to rejuvenate body and soul.
- 136 rooms
- Fitness centre
The only hotel of its calibre on the Royal Mile, this contemporary hotel is all about comfort, style and iconic design. With views out over the city, the 136 rooms are individually designed and feature elegant textiles and vibrant splashes of colour. Bespoke furnishings, luxury fabrics and modern conveniences combine to create an indulgent urban haven. Echoes of the city’s regal heritage run through the hotel’s eclectic design. Savour authentic, seasonal cuisine at the award-wining Cucina. Inspired by Italian flavours, the menu offers a modern take on classic dishes. There’s also a wide variety of wines to suite each course. And after a day of exploring the Scottish capital, discover the bright cocktails aromatic infusions of flowers and herbs at Epicurean. Take a break from the inner-city buzz and allow yourself to be pampered at the G&V Spa. The contemporary design of the rooms flows through into the spa, creating a stylish oasis in which relaxation and rejuvenation are the focus.
Explore Scotland's beautiful capital, winding your way through the cobbled streets of the old town; delving into its history at Edinburgh Castle; exploring the Walter Scott monument; and heading down to the waterside at Leith.
Head to Calton Hill or climb Arthur's Seat for the best views of the city.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city and nicknamed the Athens of the North for its grand Georgian architecture. It’s the New Town that earned the city this sobriquet: its elegant neoclassical terraces were inspired by the buildings of Ancient Greece and though it’s called the New Town, this neighbourhood is already nearly 300 years old.
Edinburgh’s Old Town dominates the city from atop a volcanic outcrop and Edinburgh Castle balances perilously on the edge. The Royal Mile runs down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen in Scotland. The Windsor connections can be seen at a hidden location in the district of Leith, where the Queen’s Royal Yacht Britannia is now docked. Explore Edinburgh’s highlights with your expert guide and discover what makes this city perennially popular.
Scotland’s deserved reputation as a foodie destination is testament to its unique local dishes and delicious fresh produce. Join an expert guide on a private tour around some of Edinburgh’s top eateries to sample a series of tasting plates that showcase the best of Scottish gastronomy.
St. Andrews is the world’s premier destination for golfers, with the earliest documented evidence of golf in the town dating from 1553. It is also the spiritual and administrative home of the sport: the R&A is based here and Thomas Mitchell Morris Sr was born here. He is known as Old Tom Morris and worked as an apprentice and helped establish the first ever professional tournament. The legendary Old Course is located in the town and completing it is the ultimate achievement for the serious golfer. St. Andrews is also a university town, where Prince William and Kate Middleton both received their education. The cathedral and castle are two further historic landmarks in this picturesque coastal town.
Fife is a little-visited corner of Scotland, but has some of its most interesting sites. Falkland Castle was a residence of the Stuart monarchs and its majestic state rooms can be appreciated in full today. The quirky tennis court is the oldest royal tennis court in Britain and was built for King James V. The area of East Neuk has some of the prettiest fishing villages in Scotland, nestled along the coast of the North Sea.
Private transfer to your hotel in the Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands
Accommodation in The Scottish Lowlands
- 232 rooms
- Three championship golf courses
- Six restaurants and bars
- Equestrian school
- Swimming pool
Set on 850 acres, this Scottish countryside estate boasts three championship golf courses, fine-dining restaurants and a variety of outdoor activities. With a choice between traditional opulence and contemporary luxury, many of the 232 rooms offer views over the grounds. Soft fabrics and modern touches make even the more compact rooms into intimate and comfortable havens. Take a table at the Michelin starred Andrew Fairlie restaurant, or dine at The Strathearn, The Dormy Clubhouse or enjoy lighter meals and drinks at one of the hotel’s bars. Gleneagles is perfectly suited to guests of all ages, and there are outdoor activities to keep the whole family entertained. From it’s world famous golf to off-road driving, mountain biking, falconry, fishing, archery and horse-riding, you will be able to make the most of Scotland’s fresh air and beautiful scenery. You can also indulge in a selection of traditional therapies and alternative treatments at The Spa at Gleneagles by ESPA.
The Lowlands encompass the southern half of Scotland between the Highlands and the English border, along with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. This string of towns and cities along what’s known as the Central Belt between the Firth of Forth and the Clyde are home to most of Scotland’s population and is a region rich with history, culture and grand old architecture. Alongside traditional country pursuits such as fishing and grouse shooting, to which vast estates and stately homes are dedicated to, walking, rock climbing and mountain biking are increasingly popular in the area, the latter thanks to a fabulous network of forest trails across the region. Some of the most famous golf courses in the world can also be found here.
Doune Castle is an imposing 14th-century courtyard castle with well-preserved domestic quarters housed in the 100ft high gatehouse. It has many claims to fame, having featured in Ivanhoe (both the 1952 film and 1997 BBC adaptation), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (standing in for almost all the castle settings), in Game of Thrones as the original Winterfell, and in Outlander as Castle Leoch.
Blair Castle is unlike any other castle in Scotland. Its baronial architecture and beautiful setting in wooded grounds with mountainous backdrop are typical enough, but a couple of accidents of history have set Blair Castle apart. In 1844 Queen Victoria spent three weeks at Blair and during her stay granted the Duke a private army, the Atholl Highlanders, today the only private army in Europe. In more recent times, the castle passed to a branch of the family currently residing in South Africa.
The Cairngorms are blessed with some of Scotland’s best scenery. Over 55 Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet), incredible wildlife and native woodland, such as the Abernethy Forest with its original Caledonian pines, are just some of the reasons it is widely considered one of the UK’s best national parks.
Private transfer to your hotel near Loch Ness
Your lodge on the banks of Loch Ness
- Seven rooms
- Spa and therapy suite with pre-bookable treatments
- Hot tub and sauna
On the northern shores of the eponymous lake, Loch Ness Lodge is an intimate and luxurious guest house. Owner run, it’s a personable and quiet retreat, well located to explore the northern Highlands. There are seven individually designed rooms with views out across the water, all a contemporary and welcoming take on Scottish luxury. Elegant reception rooms include a cozy lounge and garden terrace, fine settings for delightful afternoon teas, while the sumptuous breakfasts of locally sourced produce in the dining room are a great way to start the day. Staff are on hand to recommend and book restaurants in nearby Inverness for evening meals. With Loch Ness on your doorstep, the crumbling Urquhart Castle, dolphin spotting cruises in Cromarty and Moray Firths, world famous whisky tastings and celebrated golf courses are all within easy reach. There’s also innumerable hikes in the area, excellent mountain biking, fishing and canoeing for the more active.
Whisky is one of Scotland’s most successful exports and with good reason: this famous beverage evokes the spirit of Scotland and nowhere is more intrinsically linked to it than the region of Speyside. Barley is distilled in fresh Highland water, and the region in which it is grown gives a different taste to the final product. In Speyside the whiskies have either a light and grassy or rich and sweet palette and the region has no shortage of producers with largest concentration of distilleries in Scotland based here. Join your guide to learn more about one of Scotland’s finest products.
The West Coast is one of the most inaccessible parts of Scotland. Its isolated and northerly geography bely the microclimate that allow gardeners to plant sub-tropical plants in a region lying at a higher latitude than Moscow. Just north of the picturesque town of Poolewe, Inverewe Garden is a perfect example of such a garden and lies at the heart of an estate managed for conservation.
Private transfer to your hotel on the West Coast
Your hotel on the West Coast
- 18 rooms
- Whisky bar
Set within 58 acres of parkland at the foot a sea loch, Torridon Hotel enjoys a truly idyllic location that lets guests really appreciate the rugged beauty of the Highlands. 18 bedrooms feature bold prints and quirky accessories, many coming with freestanding bathtubs and views out across the loch and towards the Torridon Mountains. The 1887 Restaurant offers a daily changing three, four or seven-course menu using ingredients sourced from the kitchen garden. Apples, blackberries and raspberries help make the sweetest of pudding, and vegetables and herbs make their way onto the plate within hours of being picked. Highland cattle, chickens and Tamworth pigs are also reared on the estate. For a pre or post-dinner tipple, make your way to the whisky bar – with over 350 labels you’re certainly not going to go thirsty. With such a formidable landscape on your doorstep, you’ll want to check out the range of activities offered by the hotel. The adventurous may with to go mountaineering, gorge scrambling or coasteering; take to the loch in a kayak or canoe; or try your hand at archery or clay pigeon shooting. Of course, curling up in front of the fire or enjoying afternoon tea while looking out across the ever-changing landscape is as fine a way to spend your times as any.
Applecross is widely considered to be one of the most picturesque locations on the West Coast. Located on a peninsula looking out towards the Isle of Raasay and Isle of Skye, the Applecross Peninsula is home to just a couple of hundred people. A place of peace and tranquility, but also of drama and power in the huge landscapes and variable weather, this is one of Scotland’s most evocative places.
Attadale Gardens sit tucked along the side of a wooded valley, overlooking a picturesque inlet. The gardens are an extraordinary series of rooms, reflecting the creative talents of its succession of owners. The gardens now belong to a local branch of the Macpherson clan from nearby Skye. Explore the gardens on a private tour and discover how the varied planting scheme thrives in the climate of Scotland’s West Coast.
Private transfer to your hotel in Fort William
Your hotel in Fort William
- 17 rooms
- Fine dining restaurant
- Extensive whisky library
- Full-sized snooker table
- Extensive landscaped gardens and private loch
Backed Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and reflected in its own loch, the setting of Inverlochy Castle is more than matched by the great house’s grandeur. Built 1863, a visiting Queen Victoria commented, ‘I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’, and it is certainly as impressive today. Arrive to an aristocratic welcome, perhaps after pulling up in the hotel’s Rolls Royce, and step into the aptly named Grand Hall. This is a place that has unashamedly stuck to its guns décor-wise, an eclectic mix of opulent 19th century styles, and it is all the better for it. Combined with the surroundings and impeccable service, it simply feels ‘right’. There are 17 unique rooms in the main house, all spacious and thoroughly comfortable with unobtrusive modern features and delightful bathrooms. Dining is a full country house experience, starting with a drink by the fire, followed by a multi-course dinner courtesy of Albert and Michel Roux Jr celebrating modern British cuisine with French influences, perhaps ending sampling some of the extensive whisky collection. Spend your days here walking in the surrounding hills, fishing on the loch or enjoying afternoon tea. The array of outdoor activities in the Fort William area are within also all easy reach such as pony trekking, golf, mountain biking, climbing and white-water rafting.
Skye’s rugged landscapes and dramatic mountain scenery are unrivalled among the islands of the West Coast. There are a only few roads crossing the island and its isolated position has ensured it retains a strong and proud Gaelic identity. There is a thriving arts and crafts tradition on the island and photographers from far and wide are attracted not only for the peaks and valleys but for the extraordinary abundance of wildlife, both on dry land and in the sea, that Skye is famous for.
Glencoe is undoubtedly one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the whole of Scotland. Site of the 1692 Massacre of Glencoe, today it is a hauntingly beautiful Highland glen which evokes the spirit of the clans who ruled this land for centuries.
The Gothic Revival mansion of Inveraray Castle is one of Scotland’s grandest stately homes. Ancestral seat of the Dukes of Argyll since the 18th century, it featured as Duneagle Castle in the television series Downton Abbey. The Castle contains an impressive collection of swords, muskets and other weapons.
Made famous by the song The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond, this freshwater loch is one of Scotland’s most evocative sites. The loch marks the beginning of the Highlands and the magnificent scenery of the Trossachs forms the backdrop to this spectacular location.
Private transfer to your hotel near Glasgow
Your hotel near Glasgow
- Nine rooms
Immerse yourself in history in this renovated 17th-century castle. The hotel’s period features have been carefully restored using traditional methods and materials. From detailed cornices finished with gold leaf to a romantic turret room, this opulent hotel offers guests not only luxury, but also old-world grandeur. Each of the nine rooms is individually designed and crafted, and named after the castle’s historical custodians. Oversized beds and antique furniture add to the indulgent atmosphere. For a charming, fairy-tale experience head up a spiral stone staircase to the four-storey bridal tower which dates back to the 16th century. Savour creative Scottish fare by French chef Albert Roux and son Michael Roux Jr surrounded by antiques in the opulent Baillie Room. The menus change according to which ingredients are in season and locally available. The surrounding woodlands are ideal for long nature walks and hikes. Explore the river’s edge, admiring waterfalls, or spend time fishing.
Scotland's largest city is a thriving metropolis renowned for its culture and style. It is home to world-class museums and galleries, a vibrant arts scene and some of Scotland's best shopping and nightlife. The city itself has a rich and diverse history, reflected in its architecture which ranges from the 18th-century warehouses of Merchant City to the red sandstone Victorian buildings that line its squares and crescents. Then there are the silver space-age constructions of the Glasgow Science Centre and the Clyde Auditorium, affectionately known as the Armadillo.
Glasgow is the beating heart of modern Scotland. The country’s sporting, music and financial capital, Glasgow is a hard-working and thriving city. The city packs in a fair amount of culture too, from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to Glasgow Cathedral and the historic Provand’s Lordship, the oldest house in the city. The creations of Glasgow’s most famous son, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, can be seen all over the city from the Willow Tea Rooms to the Mackintosh House at the Hunterian Museum.
Private transfer to Edinburgh airport
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Historic Castles and the Epic Highlands
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We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.