The Scottish Castles and Whisky Tour is available from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Explore the majesty and ancient history of Scotland’s magnificent castles, fortresses, tower houses and royal palaces. Each imposing structure has its own story to tell, combined with rich and turbulent pasts, fascinating history and unique architecture.
On this tailor-made castle tour of Scotland, we travel through beautiful highland lochs and glens, high towering mountain passes and traditional highland villages. You can even spend a night or two in an enchanting medieval castle.
Day 1- Stirling Castle and St Andrews.
We begin our tour with a visit to the mighty 15th century fortress of Stirling Castle, Steeped in history and once home to many of Scotland’s Kings and Queens, including most notably Mary Queen of Scots. After a self-guided tour of the castle, we shall explore the old towns cobbled streets and medieval sights, before making the short drive to view the spectacular high towering William Wallace Monument. From here we travel along the scenic back roads to the ancient Kingdom of Fife, and the lovely medieval village of Falkland, home of the 16th century Royal Palace. We then make our way to the beautiful former royal burgh of St Andrews which is your base for the evening.
Highlights– Linlithgow palace ( photo stop), the Kelpies, Stirling castle and old town, national Wallace monument ( photo stop), Falkland village and Royal Palace, St Andrews.
Day 2- Glamis Castle to Royal Deeside.
After a hearty Scottish breakfast, we travel north to the majestic splendour of Glamis Castle, one of Scotland’s grandest castles and an architectural treasure. For over 600 years Glamis has been the family home of the Earls of Strathmore and the childhood home of the Queen Mother, although much of what you see today dates back to the 17th century. As we arrive at Glamis, you will have plenty of free time to explore the castle’s grand rooms each with a story to tell , extensive grounds and secret gardens.
Leaving Glamis, we continue north to Dunnottar Castle, perhaps one of the most evocative fortresses both visually and dramatically anywhere in Scotland. The castle sits perched on top of an impregnable high sea cliff on the edge of the North Sea, and is mostly in ruins but no less an impressive setting. Dunnottar Castle was also the inspiration for the Disney movie Brave and film location for Hamlet’s Macbeth.
Moving on, our journey takes us inland to Royal Deeside, situated on the edge of the Grampian mountains. Here our base for the next two evenings will be the lovely highland village of Ballater.
Highlights- Glamis castle, Aberlemno Kirk, and Pictish standing stones, Dunnotter castle, Falls of Feugh, Crathes castle ( photo stop), Ballater.
Day 3- Explore Royal Deeside.
An exciting day ahead exploring the hidden treasures and fairytale castles around Deeside and Aberdeenshire.
This is an area of Scotland, often overlooked by tourism. In fact Aberdeenshire, has the largest concentration of baronial castles, ancient Pictish standing stones and stone circles on mainland Scotland. Today, we will visit many of the must visit sights around the area including Balmoral Castle, a favourite summer retreat of the Royal family. It has been a favourite since Queen Victoria first visited Deeside in 1846. We then visit the stunning Castle Fraser. This is one of the largest tower houses in Scotland and dates back to the 15th century.
Highlights – Balmoral castle, Crathie kirk, Burn O Vat, Kildrummy castle, ( photo stop) Tomnaverie stone circle, Craigievar castle, Lumphanan, Castle Fraser, The Maiden Stone.
Please note- Balmoral castle is open to visitors between April-July,
Day 4- Castles and Whisky.
Today we visit the heart of Speyside, home to the highest concentration of some of the finest single malt whisky distilleries. Each has it’s own unique flavour and characteristics, traditionally preserved to create subtle differences. After a tour and tasting of a distillery ( or two) of your preference, we make our way to the enchanting fairytale castle of Cawdor. Cawdor has been immortalised as the fictional home of the Scottish king Macbeth. After a visit to the castle and its immaculate secret gardens, we then journey to the capital of the highlands, Inverness, your base for the evening.
Highlights– Speyside whisky trail, Balvenie castle, ( photo stop) Suenos pictish stone, ( photo stop) Cawdor castle & gardens. Inverness.
Day 5 -To the West coast and Eilean Donan Castle.
A real highlight of the tour today! We visit fairytale castles, witness high towering mountains and mystical highland lochs. We will experience the wild natural beauty of the west coast of Scotland.
Leaving Inverness, we make our way to the spectacular 13th century ruin of Urquhart Castle where you will discover 1,000 years of history. You will enjoy stunning views of the mysterious Loch Ness, home of “ Nessie” our resident monster.
From Loch Ness we continue west through some of the most spellbinding and dramatic Highland landscapes which rival anywhere in the world. As we travel, you will have plenty of opportunities to capture some memorable photographs that will last a life time.
Arriving on the west coast we visit the iconic 13th century Eilean Donan Castle. This is easily one of the most romantic settings and recognisable castles in the highlands of Scotland. Eilean Donan, was originally a seat of Clan Mackenzie and has witnessed many turbulent years since it was built in the 13th century. It has also been a location for many famous movies including James Bond and Highlander due to its idyllic setting.
Our overnight stay will be the tranquil area of Kintail, situated close to Eilean Donan Castle.
Day 6- Our journey home.
Our final day but no less exciting. Leaving the west coast, our journey takes us over the dramatic high mountain pass of Glen Garry onto the Great Glen. We will then arrive at the pretty highland town of Fort William. Here we will pay a visit to the impressive ruins of Old Inverlochy Castle, ( photo stop). Then we continue on, following the shores of Loch Linnhe to Glencoe, one of the highlands most awe-inspiring landscapes. Glencoe is an area of spectacular natural beauty, steeped in history and sight of the infamous 1692 massacre of Glencoe. As we explore the glen, your guide will bring to life the story of feuding clans and bloody battles. There will be plenty of photo opportunities.
Highlights – Glen Garry, the Great Glen, the Commando Memorial, Inverlochy Castle, Glencoe scenic route.
From here we continue our way through the beautiful scenic roads to your accommodation, where we sadly way our farewells.
Scottish Castles and Whisky Tour Highlights:
- Stirling Castle
- Falkland Palace
- Glamis Castle
- Dunnottar Castle
- Crathes Castle
- Castle Fraser
- Balmoral Castle
- Eilean Donan Castle
- Inverlochy Castle
- Speyside Whisky Distillery
We have a few blogs on Scotland’s lesser known castles and hidden gems. View them here