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8 Day itinerary in United Kingdom, Europe

Scotland Explorer self-drive road trip

This Scottish adventure explores some of Scotland’s must-see sights, featured in a host of films and series, as well as exploring more hidden corners with the help our itinerary and roadbook. Local guides on selected days will give you further insights into the countries rich traditions, history and... Read More

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WilliamStephenJustine

By William, Stephen and Justine

Overview

Physical Difficulty

Easy
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Recommended Age

Everyone

Operated in

English, French

GUIDANCE

On Some Day Trips

starting point

Edinburgh

trip type

Private

trip attributes

Visit markets

Meet local people

Rural home stays

Indigenous culture

Outdoors & Nature

Culture & Arts

Start/End

Night

Highlights

1

Visiting famous historic towns of Edinburgh, Stirling and Inverness,

2

Driving through the highlands, through stunning glens and passing beautiful lakes

3

The Jacobite steam train along one of the greatest rail way journey in the World

4

Flexible options to add walks and small guided tours

Itinerary

mid-range expand_more

Day 1

place Explore Edinburgh

We’ll provide you with all the information and advice to visit all the must-see highlights of the capital of Scotland. Edinburgh is a beautiful city which has two UNESCO designations, one for its wonderfully chaotic medieval Old Town and another for its planned Georgian New Town. We recommend visiting the city’s medieval castle, seeing Scotland’s crown jewels, going underground to explore some of the city’s medieval past, climbing an extinct volcano and visiting some of its museums housing world renowned works. Other sights which you will get to see include the Royal Mile, the medieval city’s main thoroughfare, St Giles Cathedral, Holyrood Palace, home of British monarchy in Scotland & Princess Street Gardens. Walking tours and guided visits can be booked on request.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 2

place Stirling and into the Highlands

Pick up your hire car and drive north to reach Stirling which lies at the intersection between the highlands and lowlands of Scotland. Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling is dominated by the imposing Stirling Castle. Another important historical site in the area is the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey, the resting place of King James III of Scotland. Close by is the National Wallace Monument commemorating Sir William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero, brought to the attention of the wider world by the film Braveheart. Continue north stopping in the pretty town of Perth on the banks of the River Tay. Perth is known as "The Fair City" due to the story Fair Maid of Perth by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott in 1828. Perth is also known for Scone Abbey, home of the Stone of Scone (also known as the Stone of Destiny) where the King of Scots was crowned. Pass through the pretty village of Pitlochry where you can stop for refreshment before reaching the beautiful Blair Castle. Home to the Duke of Atholl for more than 700 years. This pristine white castle has a large armory that includes weapons used during the battle of Culloden. Next drive through the mighty Cairngorm mountains to reach the picturesque town of Inverness on the Moray Firth Estuary.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3

place Tour from Inverness

Today you'll head east from Inverness and you can explore as much or as little as you wish according to your interests. Start today with a moving tour of Culloden Battlefield, where the final conflict of the Jacobean Uprising in 1746 changed the shape of the Highlands forever. Nearby Clava Cairns takes you further back in time, with Bronze Age standing stones and cairns arranged in peaceful ancient woodland. Just 15 minutes north lies Cawdor Castle, which holds a hallowed place in both history and literature as the home of Macbeth. Continue east along the Moray Coast. Moray has a stunning coastline with something of everything - wide sandy beaches, some dramatic cliffs, coastal formations, and attractive fishing villages. Next stop is Forres. Climb to the top of Cluny Hill in Forres and enjoy the views out across Moray Speyside from the top of Nelson’s Tower. Built in 1806 as a memorial to Admiral Nelson, the top deck of Nelson’s Tower offers stunning panoramic views. To the north, you’ll see the glittering Moray Firth and the distant hills of Caithness. Continue east to reach the historic town of Elgin. Discover Elgin’s past and present as you explore its historic streets. Dating from the early medieval period, Elgin has been a bustling town for centuries, with stories and history around every corner. Visit the site of Elgin’s long-gone castle, which was destroyed in 1308 shortly after the death of William Wallace, and see majestic Elgin Cathedral which dates from 1224. There are plenty of distilleries in the area, none more famous than the legendary Glenfiddich south of Elgin. Return to Inverness for your second night.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 4

place Loch Ness and Isle of Skye

To start the day you can explore Inverness and its Cathedral, before heading out for your busy day on your way to the Isle of Skye.. Next head West to one of Scotland’s most famous sights, Loch Ness. Famed for the Loch Ness Monster, it is a beautiful location to enjoy walks along the lake. Urquhart Castle sits proudly on the lochside and is a very photogenic spot. Once the largest castle in the Highlands, the now ruined building has an eerie presence which has seen over 500 years of conflict between the 13th and 17th centuries. We can organise a one hour boat trip on the lake to get all the best views. In the afternoon you'll make your way west through the rugged mountain wilderness to one of Scotland’s best viewpoints at the Ratagan Pass. This allows you to take in the spectacular scenery of the 5 sisters of Kintail. This well-known landmark is surrounded by 5 distinct summits and is a popular expedition for hill walkers. You'll continue west to visit Scotland’s most photographed castle, Eilean Donan. It features in many movies including James Bond, Highlander and Maid of Honour. Finally, you'll cross the land bridge to the magical Isle of Skye, which is one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland with dramatic coastal and mountain scenery.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 5

place Explore Isle of Skye

You have a full day on the isle of Skye to explore its wonderful landscapes, some of the finest in the whole of Scotland. If you wish to have a more relaxing day (rather than driving yourselves), we can book a tour with a private guide around the island, first going around the geological wonder of the Trotternish peninsula including the Old Man of Storr and the 200ft Kilt rock waterfall. Next visit the strange landscape of the Quiraing. This volcanic wonder is one of the most beautiful sites on the island. Continue west across the island to the only remaining inhabited castle on Skye. Dunvegan Castle and Gardens is a great place to immerse yourself in history, boasting the longest continuous habitation of any castle in Scotland. Last but not least you will visit the beautiful Fairy Pools at the base of the stunning Black Cullin mountains.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 6

place Jacobite Steam Train

In the morning, drive back over the bridge to mainland Scotland and onto Fort William at the base of Scotland's highest peak, Ben Nevis. Fort William is the outdoor capital of Scotland. We will bok you on the Jacobite steam train between Fort William and Mallaig on the West Highland Line, which many consider to be the greatest rail journey in the world. The Jacobite Steam train had a starring role as the Hogwarts Express taking Harry from platform 9 ¾ all the way to Hogwarts. Take the journey over the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct, whilst enjoying views of Loch Shiel from your window, another key location in the films. At the end of the line, Mallaig was founded during the 1840s when the owner of the North Morar Estate divided up the farm on the coast here into a series of parcels of land and encouraged his tenants living around Loch Morar and Loch Nevis to resettle in what became Mallaig and establish a fishing village. Today Mallaig is a busy fishing port. Arriving in Mallaig you have over an hour and a half to enjoy a walk around and take in the atmosphere: there are shops, bars, restaurants and plenty of fish and chips to be enjoyed during the late afternoon stopover. Return train journey to Fort William.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 7

place Glen Coe, Loch Lomond and return to Edinburgh

Head into the Highlands from Fort William. First stop is Glen Coe. which is one of the most photographed mountain scenes anywhere dominated by the impressive Buachaille Etive Mor which stands like a sentry to this stunning glen. The views are breathtaking with waterfalls tumbling down the rugged mountain slopes. Glencoe is one of the most dramatic glens in Scotland, famed for The Glencoe Massacre in 1692 where the MacDonald’s were slaughtered by The Campbells. The scenery here is just incredible and breath-taking, the tragic story from this glen will live forever. The Glen also has a nickname of The Scottish Hollywood with a massive amount of blockbuster movies being filmed here over the years since 1935, some of the movies include The 39 Steps, Braveheart, Harry Potter, Rob Roy, Skyfall & The period drama Outlander. From Glen Coe head back west and reach the coast before heading south and stop for lunch in the delightful coastal village and the busy port of Oban. Turning east, you’ll pass through the stunning Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, skirting the misty banks of the largest freshwater loch in the UK. There are also quaint villages with small houses and colorful flowerbeds around loch Lomond. Return Car hire car in Edinburgh.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 8

place Edinburgh and departure

A last chance to explore Edinburgh before the end of your Scottish adventure

Meals: Breakfast

What’s Included

Meals expand_less

  • Breakfast (8)

Transport expand_less

  • Rental Car

Activities expand_less

  • As mentioned.

Extras expand_less

  • Roadbook and telephone service.

Not Included expand_less

  • Anything not mentioned.
  • Insurance.
  • International flights.

About William

TEAM LEAD

+2 Local experts

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star_outline 5 (2 reviews)

Expertise: 

Cycling

Hiking

Visit markets

Outdoors & Nature

An avid walker and traveller with a love for the outdoors and the mountains, I share my time between the UK and France. I have been creating and organizing unique active trips with a truly local experience for the last 13 years or so.

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FROM PRICE PER TRAVELER

$1,300.00 USD