Extended Tour Itineries

There are so many options for touring Scotland and Scotguiding.com would be delighted to help plan an itinerary especially for you. Itineraries can be themed, can involve your favourite places or ancestral homes, or they can be very general – it's up to you. The length of the tour, the accommodation and the start/finish points can also be tailor-made to your needs.

Here's just a few of the kind of itineraries Scotguiding.com produce – but if it's not what you are looking for – just ask!

On The Trail of Mary Queen of Scots
Serious Castle 'Bagging'
Ultimate Whisky
Simply Whisky
Scotland on Film

On The Trail of Mary Queen of Scots


DAY 1

Arrive Edinburgh/Glasgow and spend free time enjoying this majestic city. Plenty to see and do, shopping possibilities and fabulous places to eat.

DAY 2

Visit Holyrood Palace, home of Mary Queen of Scots when in Edinburgh and site of the famous murder of her Secretary Rizzio and site of her later influential marriage to Earl of Bothwell.

See the famous sites of the Royal Mile on the way up to Edinburgh Castle. This will include St Giles Cathedral where Mary Queen of Scots often faced her archenemy John Knox. Visit Edinburgh Castle – a great visit to include the Royal Apartments where Mary's son James VI was born (later to also become James I of England), the Scottish Crown Jewels and some fabulous views over the city.

DAY 3

Head North of Edinburgh pausing for a photo of the majestic Forth Bridges as Mary did in 1564 on one of her many successful progresses around Scotland. Hear about the influence of the other influential Scottish Queen, St Margaret.

Enjoy a stunning visit of the charming Falkland Palace, Mary's favourite place in Scotland. Head to the picturesque town of St Andrews, where the vast ruins of Scotland's once most important Cathedral dominate this stunning coastal town with award winning beaches, ancient university and the world famous Old Course golf club. Learn how the Reformers of Scotland initiated their movement from this town, John Knox famously storming and attacking the cathedral in his 'fiery sermon'.

Overnight in Dundee (or area), Scotland's fourth city famous for it's three J's – Jute, Jam and Journalism. Lying on the Tay estuary, this town boasts Europe's longest rail bridge and is home to the Discovery, one of the world's most important explorer ships of the 19th Century.

DAY 4

Follow the Carse of Gowrie famous for it's vast fruit farms and into the centre of Scotland. Stop for a visit of the impressive Huntingtower Castle with its two impressive towers and honeymoon destination for Mary and Lord Darnley. Not to be left out of course is the impressive creamcakes and scones of Dobbie's Garden Centre (a Scottish institution!)

Stop for lunch at the quaint town of Dunkeld with its imposing Cathedral and Scotland's oldest library. The ancient oaks and firs of the the Churchyard along the River Tay must be enjoyed.

Your afternoon takes you to Blair Castle, arguably Scotland's most impressive Castle. Aswell as enjoying a close-up of the famous Highland Cow, a stroll through the Italian Garden, visit this vast Castle with packed full of souvenirs and art of the powerful Stewart and Murray Clans – a must on Mary's Royal Progress.

Overnight in Crieff, a charming Scottish town on the River Earn.

DAY 5

A wee dram to start the day? Enjoy a visit of Glenturret Distillery home to Scotland's most famous brand 'the Famous Grouse'. On the way to the imposing home of influential Lord Drummond, Mary passed through Tullibardine where she reached her 'majority' and was able to reign outright. A visit of the Drummond Castle Gardens is a must.

Follow the ancient Roman Road to Stirling for an overnight in this very important town perched on its volcanic rock.

DAY 6

Spend a morning in Stirling visiting Stirling Castle, hugely important in the story of Mary. Mary spent the first few years of her life in the Royal Nursery here as it was considered safer than Edinburgh. This was where she was christened and it was here she returned for the extravagant Christening of her son James VI.

Take the High Road to Glasgow, Scotland's largest and most modern city. Mostly regarded for its impressive Victorian architecture, Glasgow is also home to the best preserved medieval Cathedral in Scotland. Mary's story continues here – adjacent to the Cathedral is Provand's Lordship, Glasgow's oldest house dating from 1471. Mary allegedly stayed here and it may have been here that the infamous Casket Letters were written – dangerous documents which ultimately lead to her execution.

DAY 7

Early morning departure to the place where it all began... A visit of the incredible ruins of Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary and architectural gem of her father and grandfather.

Transfer to Edinburgh or Glasgow Airport.

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Serious Castle 'Bagging'


Climbing as many high mountains as you can in Scotland is called ‘Munro Bagging', named after Sir Hugh Munro who first compiled a full list in 1891. For those scared of heights and blizzards, Scotland now enjoys a more gentle but equally exhilarating Castle Bagging sport where guests try to visit as many of our amazing castles as they can!

DAY 1

Arrive Edinburgh/Glasgow and enjoy a tour of this majestic city. Start your tour 'on a high' with a visit of Edinburgh Castle perched on top of an ancient volcanic rock. This great visit includes the Royal Apartments where Mary's son James VI was born (later to also become James I of England), the Scottish Crown Jewels and some fabulous views over the city and north to the Kingdom of Fife.

DAY 2

Start your 'progress' around Scotland like the ancient Stuart kings and head north to Fife. Take a boat over to the stronghold of Leven Castle and hear the dramatic story of Mary Queen of Scots' imprisonment in this isolated ruin where Mary was forced to abdicate and miscarried twins.

Back to the mainland and direction north again as we hear how 'Scotland' began. The striking unusual red structure of Scone Palace was built at the place of power in Scotland – once the crowning place of Scottish Kings and home to the Stone of Destiny now in Edinburgh Castle.

Make it a hat trick and for a real insight in to the traditional 'Tower House', visit Hungtingtower Castle which unusually boasts two towers in good repair and was honeymoon destination for Mary Queen of Scots and second husband Lord Darnley. Don't forget to look out for the bats!

Or if the strain of Kingship is enough for one day, why not relax like a noble at the end of the day with a 'wee dram' of our golden liquid at Scotland's smallest distillery. This intimate venue gives a real insight into the farm distillery and of course enjoy a taste of the wonderful 12 year single malt.

Overnight Pitlochry area.

DAY 3

Today its north again and this time in the footsteps of Queen Victoria. Victoria fell in love with Scotland and one of Scotland's most famous castles must be Balmoral Castle, Victorias' sanctuary and holiday home of the Royal family today. Enjoy an external visit of this grand castle and estate, part of the massive and important Cairngorms National Park.

Enjoy a lunch in the small town of Ballater, terminus to the Royal Deeside Railway and home to many shops and services boasting the 'Royal Warrant' above the door. Time permitting, enjoy a stroll to one of the charming iron footbridges across the Dee used by stalkers and ghillies to reach the deer forest.

A visit to Deeside must include one of the many picture perfect castles of Aberdeenshire where 16th Century saw many defensive structures blossom into elegant family homes. A visit to Crathes castle is an excellent example – this castle includes glorious gardens and a stunning 16th tower occupied by a single family for more than 350 years.

Overnight in Aberdeenshire/Grantown-on-Spey.

DAY 4

Again we head north, this time through barren countryside with abandoned cottages reminding us of the days when the Highlands were highly populated. Stop for a photo of Corgaff Castle, a striking beacon on this bleak moor. The history of Corgaff is tied up with Clan warfare and attempts by the Jacobite Clans to restore the Stuart Kings to the thrown after a coup in the late 17th C. Visit Cawdor Castle home to a branch of the famous Campbell Clan.

Though not a castle, the battlefield site of the Battle of Culloden in 1746 is a fascinating site with an awarding winning visitor centre and the best place to understand the importance of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites on the history of the Highlands and of Scotland as a whole. A poignant walk around the site where 1500 Jacobite soldiers were killed is a must before heading for Inverness, Capital of the Highlands.

For the ultimate experience overnight in the haunted Castle Stuart where your host will share the secrets and legends of this amazing luxury tower house.

For a more modest journey, overnight at the Palace Hotel underneath Inverness Castle on the banks of River Ness.

DAY 5

Today we head South West down the Great Glen, once the most important route through the Highlands of Scotland.

Stop for a visit at one of Scotland's most visited sites – the imposing ruins of Urquhart Castle on the banks of the famous Loch Ness. If you are not lucky enough to spot our monster today, perhaps you will at least get a glimpse of the ghosts of the Lords of the Isles, heads of powerful Clan MacDonald who frequently wrought havoc on this castle in their attempt to gain more power and land from the Stuart Kings.

Enjoy a lunch in Fort Augustus once home to a major fort where enemy of Bonnie Prince Charlie brutally controlled the Highlands of Scotland after the Battle of Culloden. See the many locks of Telford's famous Caledonian Canal which linked the west and east of Scotland through the Great Glen.

Follow the route of the canal down the Great Glen and head to the coast stopping for a visit of one of Scotland's earliest types of castle – the two 'Brochs' at Glenelg.

Like Bonnie Prince Charlie 'escape' on to the Isle of Skye over the stunning Skye Bridge.

Overnight Skye.

DAY 6

Today we take an early ferry from Armadale on Skye back to the mainland and back down south stopping for an essential photostop at Glenfinnan Monument where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard for the Jacobite cause.

Enjoy a snack at the Glencoe Visitor Centre at the head of the infamous Glencoe, tragic site of the 1692 massacre of Glencoe.

If you are needing to stretch your legs an optional walk at the Glen is available or if you prefer to keep up the castle momentum head to Inverarary and visit the ancestral home of the Campbells, Dukes of Argyll in this stunning whitewashed planned town on the shores of Loch Fyne.

Make sure to stop for a photo stop on the 'Bonnie Bonnie banks of Loch Lomond' at the picturesque town of Luss before heading to Glasgow for overnight.

DAY 7

Transfer to Glasgow or Edinburgh airport (with a visit of Cathedral (or another castle!) time permitting.

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Ultimate Whisky


Take this opportunity to sample the 'Best of Scotland' on this tour of the best of Scotland's distilleries. The island malts are a great part of our whisky map, so this tour includes some great island hopping. For those who know what they like, an individual tour can be arranged to incorporate distilleries of choice.

For whisky on terra firma see Simply Whisky.

DAY 1

Arrive Glasgow Airport and time permitting enjoy a day trip to the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, of course stopping for your first 'dram' at the Lowland Auchentoshan Distillery.

Enjoy a whisky themed meal in the exciting city of Glasgow – a whisky tasting at a local pub or a more elegant evening in the Arisaig restaurant. If you come in September you can join in the Whisky Live event – one of biggest whisky dates in the Scottish diary.

Overnight Glasgow.

DAY 2

After a taste of the Lowlands, let's head for a taste of the South Islands. Today we start our tour with a ferry over to the Isle of Arran to enjoy this beautiful landscape and of course a taster of the Arran Malt, Scotland's newest single malt.

It's on to the boat again, this time over to the Kintyre Peninsula where the capital of this region Campbeltown used to be home to over 30 distilleries with with salty sea and peaty landscape influencing these whiskys. Today the industry is concentrated on three distilleries and at Springbank, a small distillery where things appear to be done as close as possible to the old methods.

Overnight Kintyre.

DAY 3

Today's destination is the Island of Islay (pronounced eye-la). A beautiful coastal route takes us up to the North of Kintyre where we enjoy a longer ferry crossing to the famous whisky island. The island is very largely composed of peat, the water on Islay is brown, even the water in the burns is brown, and winter gales drive salt spray far inland. All these characteristics go into the 8 malt whiskys of Islay, which produces the strongest whisky in Scotland.

Enjoy a visit of the famous Laphroig distillery .

Before retiring for an overnight on the island, get to know the other aspects of island life with a visit to the Islay Woolen Mill, The Finlaggen Centre which tells you about the amazing history of the Lords of the Isles, or if you like try another dram, this time a local ale in the Islay Ales Brewery.

DAY 4

Today we head back to the mainland to Oban, Gateway to the Isles. Enjoy a lunch and a shop in this lovely coastal town. If it's whisky all the way, a visit to the Oban distillery can be incorporated!

Our route takes us to the end of the Great Glen, at the foot of our largest mountain Ben Nevis (4406ft / 1344m) and then a longer drive through stunning scenery and the Cairngorms National Park takes us to Aviemore at the foot of the 4085ft (1245m) Cairngorm mountain.

Overnight (tired but happy!) at Aviemore.

DAY 5

Today is ultimate whisky day. Of all the whisky territories, Speyside is the most famous producing world famous gems like Macallan, Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Glenlivet. A tour through lush rolling hills of this region along the banks of the River Spey is a pleasure in its own right, but with some of the best distillery tours worldwide, a day in Speyside is a joy.

Overnight Aviemore (an extra day here may be an idea if you would like to spend more time in Speyside).

DAY 6

We leave Speyside behind us and head down South towards Edinburgh.

Although whisky is our main theme, no visit to Scotland would be complete without a proper castle so we stop for a visit of the stunning Blair Castle.

There is plenty to do in the lovely Highland town of Pitlochry where we will enjoy a break here for lunch/stroll/shop before having our final 'dram' in charming Edradour Distillery – Scotland's smallest distillery and arguably the prettiest.

Back to Edinburgh tonight and why not finish off with an elegant dinner at the Scottish Malt Whisky Society in the heart of the city.

Overnight Edinburgh.

DAY 7

Transfer to Edinburgh or Glasgow airport. For later flights there is an option to visit Glenkinchie Distillery south of Edinburgh and enjoy one of the best of the smooth, peat-free Lowland Malts.

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Simply Whisky


This tour offers a few days around Scotland getting a taste of the best. Add this on to a few days in Edinburgh or Glasgow or even a relaxing walking holiday in the Highlands.

DAY 1

Depart Edinburgh or Glasgow for Tullibardine Distillery, one of the first of the Highland Distilleries. Learn about its 1488 royal claim to fame!

From one dram to another, and at the iconic Dalwhinnie Distillery we enjoy a good lunch and a tasting.

Head up the A9 to Inverness and stop of course for a monster-spotting photo on the shores of Loch Ness with an optional boat trip on the Loch and/or a visit to Urquhart Castle overlooking this vast loch.

Overnight Aviemore

DAY 2 & 3

Days 2 & 3 are dedicated to 'uisge beatha' – Gaelic word for whisky meaning 'water of life'. Of all the whisky territories, Speyside is the most famous producing world famous gems like Macallan, Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Glenlivet. A tour through lush rolling hills of this region along the banks of the River Spey is a pleasure in its own right, but with some of the best distillery tours worldwide, a day in Speyside is a joy.

If any of the party are less whisky and more action, there are plenty of other visitor attractions on offer including iconic castles, historical places of interest, beauty spots and sports opportunities.

Overnight Aviemore.

DAY 4

We leave Speyside behind us and head down South towards Edinburgh.

Although whisky is our main theme, no visit to Scotland would be complete without a proper castle so we stop for a visit of the stunning Blair Castle.

There is plenty to do in the lovely Highland town of Pitlochry where we will enjoy a break here for lunch/stroll/shop before having our final 'dram' in charming Edradour Distillery – Scotland's smallest distillery and arguably the prettiest.

Back to Edinburgh tonight and why not finish off with an elegant dinner at the Scottish Malt Whisky Society in the heart of the city.

Overnight Edinburgh.

DAY 5

If your timetable permits, a visit to Glenkinchie Distillery south of Edinburgh is quite unique. Here you can enjoy one of the best of the smooth, peat-free Lowland Malts. A day-trip can include the world famous Rosslyn Castle or a visit to one of the beautiful fishing villages on the East Coast.

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Scotland on Film


Harry Potter, 39 Steps, Braveheart, Chariots of Fire, The Da Vinci Code, Entrapment, Highlander, Gregory's Girl – the list is endless.

Scotland has frequently been used as the set for many hugely successful films and on this tour we indulge in visits to some of the most famous scenes for example:

DAY 1

Arrive Edinburgh and enjoy a tour of the city's film connections including the New Town flats of Shallow Grave (1994), the elegants suburbs of Miss Jean Brodie's Edinburgh (1969) and of course the statue of Disney's Greyfriars Bobby (2005) which tells the legend of Edinburgh's most famous dog..

Overnight Edinburgh.

DAY 2

Head north of Edinburgh and stop at beautiful South Queensferry nestled under the famous Forth Bridges, iconic landmarks in 39 Steps (1935).

For many Braveheart (1995) put Scotland on their map, so a visit of Wallace territory is a must with a climb up the indulgent Victorian Wallace Monument, before a visit to Stirling Castle which not only tells the story of William Wallace, but was also used as a film set in other films including Kidnapped (1971).

From here we head north into the Highlands and an essential stop is the formidable Glencoe, site of the infamous Glencoe Massacre but also breath-taking backdrop to numerous films including Braveheart (1995), Complicity (2000), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Rob Roy (1995) and 39 Steps (1935).

Overnight Fort William.

DAY 3

Today head along the Road to the Isles stopping for a walk on the beach at Arisaig where Macleod (Christopher Lambert) perfected his weaponry skills in Highlander (1986).

We enjoy a beautiful ferry crossing to the famous Island of Skye, another of Macleod's haunts and backdrop to many other films including The Governess (1998).

After a day exploring the South of the Island we enjoy an overnight on Syke or Kyle.

DAY 4

Taking the Skye Bridge back over to the mainland, our first stop of the day offers the most spectacular wake-up call! Eilean Donan Castle is the most photographed castle in Scotland and is the back-drop to one of Highlander's most famous scenes. It appears in a host of movies including Entrapment (1999), The World is Not Enough (1999), Elizabeth (1998), The Golden Age (2007) and many more.

This afternoon our destination is the famous Loch Ness, not only home of a monster, but also home to a number of films including Loch Ness (Ted Danson - 1995) and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970). Enjoy a visit to Urquhart Castle to hear about the real life stories of the area including the fight between the Scottish Kings and the famous Lords of the Isles.

Overnight Inverness

DAY 5

Today we follow in the footsteps of 'Mrs Brown' (1997) and visit the beautiful area of Deeside by the Balmoral Estate. Hear how local ghillie (servant) John Brown encaptured Victoria's heart after the death of her husband Prince Albert.

This stunning route takes us through the Cairngorm National Park and along the river Dee to Aberdeenshire where we take a visit of the impressive Dunnottar Castle, film setting for Mel Gibson's Hamlet (1990).

DAY 6

Leaving the north behind, we head south stopping for a visit of my favourite of Scottish Castles – Glamis Castle. This stunning mansion was childhood home to Elizabeth Queen Mother and hosts an eerie room where Macbeth is said to have murdered King Duncan (ask your tour guide to point out the inaccuracies!).

Pass through the town of Dundee including a photo-stop of the Firth of Tay and the Discovery Ship, explorer ship of Scott of the Antartic.

Enjoy a lunch at Blackness Castle before taking a visit of this formidable defensive structure protecting the Firth of Forth Estuary and holding royal prisoners since the 15th Century. This castle was also used for filming Hamlet (1990) and Macbeth (1997).

Overnight Edinburgh or Glasgow.

DAY 7

Transfer to the hotel – many options available for later flights.


Note re visitor attraction prices: Prices to visitor attractions can be included in your quotation or left separate to be paid on site by the client. Many of our many museum and art galleries in Scotland are free of charge, but there is generally a fee for visits to castles and palaces.

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