Route sections marked in red on the map are Day Trips.
This flexible itinerary covers most of Scotland and shows you the “WOW” factor places. You have lots of scope for adapting the tour with a wide choice of Day Trips at each stopover location. Ideal if you want to stay several nights in the same place.
This tour itinerary can be adapted from 5 days (at a push!) to 4 weeks depending on how many of the day trip options you wish to follow.
The itinerary guides you from Edinburgh to the Cairngorms, Gairloch, Skye, Fort William and ends in Glasgow or Edinburgh.
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Arrive in Edinburgh – Take in some of the city’s magical atmosphere by following our guide to the city’s many historical, cultural, supernatural, culinary and convivial charms. We provide 3 walking routes to explore the capital and a guide to some of the best traditional pubs.
Stopover in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Day Trips – There are enough attractions in Edinburgh to keep you busy for several days, however, we also provide you with directions for day trips out of Edinburgh that cover:
• the nearby castles of West & East Lothian,
• a journey south to Rosslyn Chapel and the Borders,
• a longer day trip to St Andrews and the coast of Fife,
• details of various day trips from Edinburgh by bus or train.
Stopover in Edinburgh
Edinburgh to Cairngorms – Heading north from Edinburgh and past the iconic Forth Rail Bridge. The route has opportunities for a visit to Perth and nearby Scone Palace, famous as the crowning place of Scotland’s Kings. We propose a scenic route via back roads with opportunities to visit 3 distilleries, an 18th century village, waterfalls where salmon leap and a grand castle where you may be met by a piper.
Stopover in Cairngorms National Park
Cairngorms Day Trips – The Cairngorms is a great area for outdoor activities and its central location makes it an excellent touring base for the east of Scotland.
• Discover the Cairngorms, a route around the many attractions of the Cairngorms. We guide you via the beautiful back roads of the Rothiemurchus forest. The route has options for woodland walks, steam train rides, a trip up the Cairngorms in a funicular train, sheepdog demonstrations and lots of outdoor activities.
• Loch Ness, we give directions for a loop around the famous Loch. You have options to explore lesser known places on the southern shore as well as the famous Urquhart Castle and “Nessie” attractions.
• Culloden and Moray Coast, Culloden Battlefield marked the end of 1745 Jacobite Rebellion and is still a moving place to visit. On a brighter note, this day trip visits Cawdor castle, Fort George, Elgin and some of the prettiest villages (and pubs) of the Moray Coast. A specialist distillery tour is also an option.
• Speyside Whisky Trail, The River Spey runs through the Cairngorms National Park and this day trip closely follows the course of the river. You have options to visit famous Speyside distilleries such as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas, Macallan and some that are less familiar names.
Stopover in the Cairngorms National Park
Cairngorms to Gairloch – We suggest a fast road to Inverness and then a route that meanders westwards via Loch Ness. Along the route, you can stop at a Victorian Spa village, cross a waterfall on a bouncy suspension bridge, picnic by the shores of a loch that we think is the most beautiful or explore some great beaches. Your day ends in the lovely mountain scenery of Wester Ross.
Stopover in Gairloch Area
Gairloch Day Trips – Gairloch is arguably one of the most beautiful corners of Scotland for beaches and wilderness scenery. We propose a choice of day trips with a relaxed pace.
• Taking it Easy, Suggestions for a relaxed day of walks, horse riding, exploring some of Scotland’s best beaches, or visiting the famous Inverewe Gardens.
• Gone Fishing, The guide supplies details of how to contact a local fisherman to arrange a trip on his boat. You can help him pull up lobsters pots and maybe enjoy a meal cooked by his wife using your super fresh catch of seafood.
• Day Trip to Ullapool and Inverpolly, Heading up the North West coast to the active fishing village of Ullapool, this route takes you past great beaches, dramatic gorges and the distinctive mountains of the Inverpolly Nature Reserve.
Stopover in the Gairloch Area
Gairloch to Skye Bridge – We suggest a route with some single track road sections that pass through scenery that we think is the best in Scotland, Glen Torridon! If you really want to explore away from the “beaten track”, you can follow an alternative longer route around the remote Applecross Peninsula. The journey ends at Skye Bridge with directions to Eilean Donan Castle and villages with a great choice of restaurants and bars for live music most summer nights.
Stopover on Skye or in Lochalsh Area
Skye Day Trips – We provide a choice of day trips around Skye and Lochalsh area. You really need a minimum of 2 days on Skye and our guide gives you enough to fill even more days.
• Discover Skye, a touring route around Skye with directions to craft shops, dramatic viewpoints, wildlife spotting locations, the Talisker distillery, tearooms (for the rainy days) and embarkation points for boat trips. More than you’ll be able to fit into just one day!
• Day trip around Loch Alsh, this route takes you to Eilean Donan castle, Iron Age Brochs, a coastline where otters can be found and returns via the Glenelg Ferry (April – Sept)
Stopover on Skye or in Lochalsh area
Skye to Fort William by Bridge or Boat – We suggest 3 options for the journey to Fort William:
1) - The classic route along the "Road to the Isles" from the Skye ferry to Fort William. This route passes Glenfinnan and locations from Harry Potter films.
2) - A longer route to Fort William that starts with the Skye ferry and then meanders through the scenic wilderness of Moidart and Sunart.
3) - An inland route past Eilean Donan Castle and then through Glen Shiel to the Great Glen and Ben Nevis.
Stopover in Fort William Area
Fort William Day Trips – Fort William has a good position for exploring the western Highlands. We supply several day trip options :
• Day trip to Oban & Standing Stones, head south down the Argyll coast to the busy harbour town of Oban with its distillery and great choice of seafood restaurants. You can choose between wildlife spotting boat trips, a drive to the standing stones of Kilmartin Glen or a longer drive that takes you via Loch Fyne and the lovely old town of Inveraray with its ornate castle.
• Day trip to the Isle of Mull, the trip starts with a drive through the rugged hills of Sunart to join a short ferry crossing to Mull. The island has distinctive castles, charming villages, a small distillery and opportunities for boat trips to Iona & Staffa.
• Jacobite Steam Train, Fort William is the departure point for the "Hogwarts Express" steam train that travels to Mallaig (May – Oct). This is one of the world's great scenic rail journeys and a must for “Harry Potter” fans.
• Day trip to Mallaig via wild Moidart, This day trip takes you through one of the least populated corners of Scotland. You can explore great picnic spots, find a haunted castle and walk along the “Silver Sands of Morar”. This part of Scotland is rich with connections to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the 1745 Rebellion.
• Get Active!, Fort William has the title of the “Outdoor Capital of Scotland”. The guide gives you details of options for mountain biking, white water sports, hill-walking, rock climbing etc.
Stopover in Fort William Area
Fort William to Glasgow / Edinburgh – We guide you to Glasgow or Edinburgh via Glen Coe, Rannoch Moor and Loch Lomond. After the dark and moody pass through Glen Coe, the landscape opens out to the wide empty expanses of Rannoch Moor. You continue south towards Loch Lomond and can take a drink in a haunted inn from the 1700’s. The routes also have options for a boat trip on Loch Lomond or a visit to Stirling Castle.
Stopover in Glasgow / Loch Lomond area OR Edinburgh