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Scottish Whiskey & Islands (Small Group): Edinburgh to Edinburgh

Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,174

This delicious Scotland tour takes you to the outer reaches of this wild and beautiful country, including Islay, Oban, the Isle of Skye, and the Orkneys, plus a couple of the highlights on the mainland.


This small group experience (maximum 16 participants) gets you off the beaten track so you get a real feel for the country. Our guides are hand-picked for their pride and passion for their country. Transportation is in modern Mercedes Benz mini-coaches and accommodation is in 3 star country hotels.

This 12-day tour through Scotland lets you sample some of the country’s finest tipples while admiring its windswept beauty. You’ll have the option of staying in hotels, or more intimate local B&Bs.

Set out from Edinburgh and catch the ferry to Islay. Some local sea life might even join you for part of the journey. Enjoy the island’s rugged beauty on any number of available walks, then recuperate with a visit to Kilchoman Distillery. Explore the town of Portnahaven before stopping in at Bowmore Distillery as well. The following day, explore the south of the island, where the whiskey takes a smokier turn with names such as Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardberg. Visit the ruins of Kildalton Church before you depart.

Basing yourself in the coastal town of Oban, take the ferry out on an all day trip to Mull and Iona, with the option of taking a boat to Staffa. These islands are steeped in Scottish history. In fact, Iona is the birthplace of Celtic Christianity. Return to shore and travel north to the delightful fishing village of Plockton, where you’ll spend the next two nights.

Visit the famous Isle of Skye, where, weather permitting, you’ll see a range of icons such as Dunvegan Castle, Glendale, Neist Point, Cullin, and Glenbrittle’s Waterfall. Then spend a day at another icon of Scottish lore, Loch Ness. While we can’t promise a Nessie sighting, you will visit Eileen Donan Castle, and enjoy great views of Loch Duich.

Make your way to the Orkney Islands, one of the most remote and beautiful parts of Scotland. Visit a 5000 year old village, the stone circle of Brogdar, and Maeshowe, an ancient Viking site. Returning to the mainland, explore the Assynt Mountains and stop in at the ruins of Arvrerk, as you weave your way back, first to Ullapool, then finally Edinburgh for departure.


 

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Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,174

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Edinburgh to Islay

Please make your own way to the starting point at Rabbie's Cafe (Waterloo Place, Edinburgh) for the 9:00am departure. Ensure you arrive at least 30 minutes early. Departing from Edinburgh we head west through Glascow, along Loch Lomond and west through the mountains. Sample some local seafood in Inverary or explore the town itself. The tour will take you through Argyll to the next stop in the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada. You will stop in Kilmartin to view the mysterious stone circles and visit the community museum. From here it is a short drive to catch the ferry from Kennacraig to Islay. On the two hour boat ride, look out for wildlife such a dolphins, whales and seabirds. Overnight in Islay.

Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Bowmore Cottages

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    Bowmore Cottages



    The single malt created here by generation after generation of Bowmore craftsmen has long been regarded as one of the finest in the world. A stay at Bowmore Distillery Cottages offers the chance to reflect on the heritage of these ancient practices in beautifully renovated ...

    The single malt created here by generation after generation of Bowmore craftsmen has long been regarded as one of the finest in the world. A stay at Bowmore Distillery Cottages offers the chance to reflect on the heritage of these ancient practices in beautifully renovated cottages, located at the centre of a charming village on a beautiful Hebridean island. The cottages are all beautifully renovated, all are located within or beside the distillery complex, and our guests are invited to join us for a complimentary distillery tour, to savour a dram, and to simply relax.

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Day 2

West Islay

Spend your first day on Islay, with a mixture of scenery, beaches, walks and Islay whiskies. In the morning there will be a short drive to the west of the Island for a visit to Kilchoman Distillery. After lunch, explore Portnahaven before taking the back roads along the west coast with its lovely sandy bays on the way back to Bowmore. Later on, at your leisure visit Bowmore distillery or explore the village.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

South Islay

Today you will visit Southern Islay, home to the smokiest of the whiskeys: Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardberg. You will stop at Ardberg distillery for a tour and lunch. Another tour is taken at Laphroaig, and then you will make a brief stop at Lagavulin for a tasting. Visit the ruins of Kildalton church and its famous Celtic cross before returning to Bowmore.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 4

Oban

Today you take the ferry back from the isle of Islay to the mainland. Travel through Argyll to Oban where your guide will drop you at your accommodation. Here you will be switching tour groups. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore Oban before meeting with your new guide tomorrow morning.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Wellpark House

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    Wellpark House



    The Esplanade of Oban retains all the charming character and appeal of its considerable age and history, and represents the premier place to stay when visiting the town and enjoying the wonderful rural landscapes beyond. The perfect location then for Wellpark House, an outstanding Victorian ...

    The Esplanade of Oban retains all the charming character and appeal of its considerable age and history, and represents the premier place to stay when visiting the town and enjoying the wonderful rural landscapes beyond. The perfect location then for Wellpark House, an outstanding Victorian establishment which has great views over the islands of Lismore, Kerrera and Mull and offers within its superb period interiors contemporary accommodation ideal for any stay in this popular coastal town. Enjoy all the town has to offer and return to the comforts, amenities and quiet spaces of Wellpark House.

    Facilities

    • Parking
    • Parking

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Day 5

Mull, Iona and Staffa

This morning you will be collected by your new group from the hotel, and you will depart on the ferry to Mull. The next ferry will take you to Iona, the birthplace of Celtic Christianity and ancient burial ground of Scottish Kings. There is a beautiful historic abbey on the island to explore, alternatively, take a boat to Staffa to see the famed basalt columns before returning to Oban by ferry.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 6

Oban to Plockton

From Oban you will north along the coast through Appin and past Castle Stalker. Pass through Fort William nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. From here you travel to Plockton, a picturesque fishing village where you will spend a relaxing evening.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Plockton Hotel

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    Plockton Hotel



    The West Highlands of Scotland in a bygone age enjoyed a reputation for a warm welcome and caring hospitality. Today in an age of changing values, the Plockton Hotel still maintains these much sought after but often now rare qualities. Family owned and run by ...

    The West Highlands of Scotland in a bygone age enjoyed a reputation for a warm welcome and caring hospitality. Today in an age of changing values, the Plockton Hotel still maintains these much sought after but often now rare qualities. Family owned and run by the Pearson family (Dorothy, Tom, Alan and Ann-Mags) for the last twenty years, the hotel is the sort of place difficult to leave and easy to return to. This is the Highlands - land of Clans and Castles, bitter rivalries and breathtaking scenery.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Complimentary WI-FI
    • Drycleaning
    • Garden
    • Ironing Facilities
    • Lounge
    • Restaurant

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Day 7

Isle of Skye

Today is flexible and will depend on weather, your group and the expertise of your guide. You will spend the day exploring the Isle of Skye which will include a combination of some of the following sites: Dunvegan Castle, Glendale, Neist point, Egol, Cullin, Talisker, and Glenbrittle's waterfall. Spend another evening in Plockton.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

Loch Ness

The day will begin with the short drive to Eileen Donan Castle, as featured in the movie 'Highlander'. Next, moving east, you will take in views of Loch Duich and the 5 sisters of Kintail before arriving in Loch Ness where you may just spot Nessie. Half an hour south of Loch Ness you will stop in the village of Spean Bridge and join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Orkney. Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions. Your tour will follow the Great Glen north past Urquhart Castle and to Inverness for the evening where you will be brought to your accommodation.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Craigside Lodge Guest House

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    Craigside Lodge Guest House



    This family run property boasts an unrivalled location right in the heart of Inverness with panoramic views over Inverness Castle and the River Ness, with distant hills and mountains beyond. Craigside Lodge is situated within a quiet residential area but is just minutes away from ...

    This family run property boasts an unrivalled location right in the heart of Inverness with panoramic views over Inverness Castle and the River Ness, with distant hills and mountains beyond. Craigside Lodge is situated within a quiet residential area but is just minutes away from everything Inverness has to offer. With shops, bars, restaurants, local tour pick-up points, and the train and bus station within easy walking distance, our guesthouse provides the perfect location for a holiday or a business trip and is the perfect base from which to tour the Highlands.

    Facilities

    • Complimentary Parking Based on Availability
    • Complimentary WI-FI

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Day 9

Inverness to Orkney

This morning leave Inverness and cross over the Black Isle then along the northeast coastline. Enjoy ancient landscapes and try to spot wildlife such as the Golden Eagle and Red Deer. Head onward through John O'Groats, Scotland's most northerly mainland village. You will board a ferry into the Orkney Archipelago. From here it is a short drive to the Italian chapel and then to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Royal Oak Guest House

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    Royal Oak Guest House



    The modern custom-built accommodation is about one kilometre from the centre of Kirkwall. All rooms are en-suite and a wide selection of facilities are available to help ensure that your stay in here is an experience that you will treasure for many years to come.

    The modern custom-built accommodation is about one kilometre from the centre of Kirkwall. All rooms are en-suite and a wide selection of facilities are available to help ensure that your stay in here is an experience that you will treasure for many years to come.

    Facilities

    • Garden
    • Laundry Service
    • Non Smoking Property
    • Parking

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Day 10

Orkney Mainland

Spend the day exploring Orkney's largest island, Orkney Mainland, including a visit to the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae, the mystical stone circle at Brodgar, and the standing stones at Stenness. Travel to Maeshowe where 12th century Vikings left a large collection of Norse inscriptions. Return to Kirkwall in the evening and overnight.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 11

Orkney to Ullapool

Leave Orkney back towards mainland Scotland. Travel the old road across the top of the country, passing Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains. Visit the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th century ruins of Ardvrerk. Arrive in Ullapool, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village situated at the mouth of Loch Broom.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Ladysmith Guest House

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    Ladysmith Guest House



    Shetlander Niv and Pauline McRobb would like to offer you a warm Highland welcome. LadySmith Guest house bed and breakfast, is a traditional Highland stone house built in 1888 and situated. The accommodation is extremely comfortable with fresh linen and luxury bathrooms. Relax in the ...

    Shetlander Niv and Pauline McRobb would like to offer you a warm Highland welcome. LadySmith Guest house bed and breakfast, is a traditional Highland stone house built in 1888 and situated. The accommodation is extremely comfortable with fresh linen and luxury bathrooms. Relax in the south facing garden surrounded by some of the largest trees in Ullapool.

    Facilities

    • Internet Access - Wireless
    • Parking Nearby ($)

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Day 12

Ullapool to Edinburgh

Today, depart from Ullapool and take in the drama of River Droma. You will visit Culloden Moor, the site of The Battle of Culloden and then at Cava Cairns. Spend lunch in the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest, then head through Perthshire arriving in Edinburgh. The tour ends back at at Rabbie's Cafe (around 6:30pm), and you are free to make onward arrangements from here.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2017: Friday 7 April to 29 December
2018: Friday: 6 April to 26 October*
* Trip does not operate: 25 May; 15 June

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Touring transportation in a Mercedes minicoach with a maximum of 16 passengers on tour
  • Services of a professional driver/guide
  • Breakfast daily
  • All road tolls

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • All other meals and beverages
  • Admission costs at attractions and monuments
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from", per person, based on twin share and include all taxes. Subject to availability.

TB RABBIESEDI0118SG: B and B
27 Apr 2018
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