This tour tells the story of Scotland through its castles. From battered ruins that echo the terror of turbulent times, to the ostentatious stately homes of wealthy Dukes.
The itinerary also includes options for exploring distilleries, stone circles, fishing villages and famous places.
Allow a minimum of 4 days to drive this tour route.
The guide contains extra day trip suggestions for extending the tour to 11+ days
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Guide Updated - 4 January 2023
Approximately 416 miles / 670 Km
4 to 11 Days
Discover Edinburgh -
Edinburgh is a compact city and easy to explore on foot. We provide directions for 3 walking routes that show you different sides of the Capital city; a walk down the historical Royal Mile, a riverside path to the Botanic Gardens that escapes the hustle & bustle of city life and a more energetic hike to Arthur’s Seat with the option to continue to a pub with lots of history.
Edinburgh boasts a great range of atmospheric old pubs and we steer you to a selection of our favourites.
The guide also includes options for day trips around the surrounding area by bus or train.
Stopover in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Day Trips -
Continue to explore Edinburgh, or head out of the city with a choice of driving day trips that cover:
Stopover in Edinburgh
Edinburgh to Pitlochry via Stirling Castle -
With its pivotal role in Scotland’s Wars of Independence, Stirling castle has to be featured in this tour plan. On the way to the castle, we guide you via Bannockburn Battlefield where the visitor centre uses clever technology to bring history to life. Travelling north from Stirling, you have a short drive to Perth where you can discover Scone Palace, Scotland’s ancient capital and the sacred crowning place of Kings. A back road route then takes you to Dunkeld cathedral and onto Pitlochry where you could end the day with a distillery tour, a visit to the famous "Salmon Ladder", or a gentle woodland walk in Scotland’s “Big Tree” country.
Driving Distance: ~109 miles
Stopover in the Pitlochry / Aberfeldy area.
Short tours around Pitlochry: If you arrive early, or you wish a longer stay in the Pitlochry area, you will enjoy the 2 short tour options supplied in this guide. These tours feature the grand Blair castle and beautiful Loch Tummel, as well as less obvious places such as a deserted Blackhouse village and a stone circle that is easily missed.
Pitlochry to Royal Deeside -
You could start this day with a visit to nearby Blair Castle as the drive to Braemar and Royal Deeside does not take very long. On the way to Braemar, you follow the path of an 18th century military road that was built through Glen Shee to enable the deployment of Redcoat troops into the “Jacobite” heartlands.
After a visit to Braemar, you can continue explore the quaint villages, verdant woodlands and wild mountains that Queen Victoria fell in love with. Balmoral castle is one of the attractions that you can visit in this area, but there are many more great castles to be discovered in this region.
Driving Distance: ~56 miles
Stopover in Royal Deeside area
Royal Deeside Day Trips -
We give you two day trip options for exploring the region at a leisurely pace.
Stopover in Royal Deeside area
Royal Deeside to St Andrews -
Travel east to meet the coast at Dunnottar castle which stands on a rocky promontory pounded by the North Sea. The stones of these windswept ruins have seen horrors that you can still sense. From Dunnottar, we guide you on a fast route south to Dundee and the Tay Bridge to Fife. You can break the journey with the suggested detour options which include Glamis Castle, but we must warn you that this is Scotland’s most haunted castle.
The day ends in St Andrews where there is much more than a golf course to be seen.
Driving Distance: ~125 miles
Stopover in St Andrews area
St Andrews to Edinburgh -
We provides 2 sets of route directions:
Both routes include the option to visit the historical Falkland Palace, which was the luxurious country residence of Mary Queen of Scots. The village centre will look familiar to fans of the “Outlander” TV show.
Driving Distance: ~56 miles / ~85 miles
Stopover in Edinburgh
To help you book the best places to stay, we offer a guide to Recommended Accommodation along the route of this tour.
We personally visit all the accommodation featured in the guides and only select places where we would wish to stay ourselves. Read More...
When you "Checkout", you will have the option to buy the Accommodation Guide.
When you buy a Secret Scotland Tour Itinerary you will receive a Discount Code that gets you a 10% reduction on the cost of Car Hire from Arnold Clark Rental.
Simply use the Secret Scotland code when you book via the Arnold Clark website and your car hire discount will automatically apply.
I convinced my other half to get the Scenic Tour 4-5 Days guide (even though he very much wanted to do it all himself), and it was the best experience ever. In fact, ever since this trip, we're trying to re-create the experience. Of course, Scotland can hardly let anyone down, but this guide truly made it an adventure. We found so many hidden and not so hidden gems, and everything was perfectly laid out for us so that all we had to do was decide how much time we had and what we wanted to see next. I can't recommend it enough and wish more guides like this existed!
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The itinerary Secret Scotland provided was a trip saver. We loved the suggestions for sight seeing, eating, and places to stay, but the best part was the detailed driving directions. Driving on the opposite side of the road from the opposite side of the car was a little easier without having to worry about how to get there! We will definitely use this service the next time we visit Scotland!
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