Explore the last great European wilderness on this comprehensive tour from Edinburgh.
Oban - This Victorian harbour town offers excellent seafood and a charming intimacy.
Kilmartin Glen - Return to the past at one of the richest areas in the UK for Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland.
Bowmore - Journey to the home of Islay’s oldest distillery, this charming place lies on the shores of the picturesque Loch Indaal.
The Islay Single Malt Whiskies - On an island known locally as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’, there is a regal quality to the distinctly peaty style of its single malt whiskies.
Sandy beaches of Islay - Stroll some of the most beautiful and rugged beaches in the UK along Islay’s West Atlantic coast.
Loch Lomond National Park - Enjoy the dramatic splendour of one of Scotland’s most famous lochs.
Magical Mull - Feel the tranquillity of the unspoilt blonde beaches and explore the brightly coloured fishing village of Tobermory.
Iona and Staffa - Visit the tiny Island of Iona, inhabited with just around 120 people.
Fingal's Cave - The cave is compiled of naturally assembled hexagonal pillars from Paleocene lava flow.
Isle of Skye - One of the world’s most stunning islands.
Eilean Donan Castle - An iconic and gorgeous 13th-century castle that once warded off Viking invasions.
Orkney Isles - These beautiful islands are full of ancient history and wildlife.
Glencoe and Rannoch Moor - Be moved by the sheer beauty and tragic tales of one of Scotland’s most famous landscapes.
Skara Brae and Ring of Brodgar - Learn how people used to live in ancient times at these prehistoric monuments.
North Coast 500 - A rollercoaster road of ruined castles, pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs, and charming villages
Scotland doesn’t do ‘half measures’.
The drinks are strong, the bagpipes are loud, and the landscapes are epic.
And it’s this ‘larger than life’ attitude that makes you fall in love with Scotland.
So on this tour we let you experience full strength Scotland. You explore the wild, remote landscapes of Orkney, a place where you can feel the Viking heritage. You visit Skye, an island that movie makers flock to for its unique and beautiful landscapes. And you sample the national drink in Islay, a beautiful Island that creates the smokiest whiskies you’ll ever taste.
So join this tour and take a strong, full, 12-day measure of Scotland’s culture, scenery, and stories.
Students and seniors over 60
You escape the city of Edinburgh and head straight for the Highlands. Your first stop of the day is in the Trossachs national park. Here, you can admire Scotland’s scenic beauty and enjoy some local delicacies.
Your driver-guide may regale you with tales from Scottish folklore as you travel through the mountainous landscapes of the Western Highlands to Oban.
This port town was once the strategic heartland of great feuding clans. But today, Oban is famous for seafood sourced fresh off the boats. It also boasts its own distillery where you can sample whisky that’s been perfected for 200 years. Here, you will have time to enjoy a dram and indulge in delicious local seafood for lunch.
You then venture through the Kilmartin Glen where you see standing stones and strongholds that are over 1,500 years old.
At Kennacraig, you catch the evening ferry to Islay. The sail is around two hours; and if you peek out to the ocean, you may see the Paps of Jura. These mountains mark the way to Islay, Queen of the Hebrides.
Once you’ve arrived on the island, you settle into your accommodation in Bowmore.
We know whisky tasting can be hard work, so you begin the day with a little sleep in.
After you’ve had an ample amount of breakfast, you enjoy a tour of Bowmore, the oldest licenced distillery on the island.
Your driver-guide takes you to Ardnahoe Distillery for a tour and a lunch of local treats. This modern distillery is the passion project of the Laings, a family who have loved whisky for generations. Today, you can admire their vision, craftsmanship, and unique spirit.
Your next stop of the day is at Kilchoman Distillery. This is a proud and independent whisky-maker whose tastes are as bold as their environmental ethos. You have time for a tour and whisky tasting here, before a walk down the beautiful white beach that lies close by.
You head back to Bowmore where you can either stumble back to your room for the night or relax and explore the village.
Today you explore the southern side of the island, home to a few of the most famous whiskies in all of Scotland: Laphroaig*, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg.
After you’ve made it out of bed and eaten your breakfast, you visit Ardbeg. You stay here for a tour, tasting, and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy fine Scottish produce as you sip upon delightful drams.
You then visit Laphroaig. This 200-year-old whisky distiller is a favourite with the British royal family and bears the seal of the Prince of Wales to prove it.
Throughout the day, your driver-guide takes you to historical spots such as the ruins of Kildalton church and Dunyvaig Castle. And you can also stop at Lagavulin for some intensively flavoured, rich and smoky whisky.
You return to Bowmore for your last evening of the trip.
This morning, you take the ferry back to the mainland and replace the intoxicating fumes of whisky with the replenishing fresh air of Scotland’s West Highlands. You travel through coastal scenery to the beautiful village of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne.
Here you join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Oban. Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions.
Once you arrive in Oban, you'll have a free evening to enjoy this bustling Highland town. You can absorb the atmosphere and visit the local pubs. Or, if you prefer to explore the area, hike uphill and admire the views from the most photographed structure in the west, McCaig’s Tower. Built in 1897 on instruction by a local banker, it resembles the Colosseum in Rome and provides magnificent vistas over the distant Firth of Lorne.
You will stay in this glorious Highland town for two nights.
Today you have an early start, beginning the day crossing on the ferry to Mull for a chance to explore dramatic coastlines and wild beauty.
You take the small ferry to Iona, the birthplace of Celtic Christianity, and ancient burial ground of Scottish Kings. Here you can visit the historic abbey with its intricate carved crosses in the churchyard, or explore rocky headlands and sandy coves.
There’s an opportunity to take a small boat for an optional trip to the island of Staffa and view the dramatic basalt columns immortalised by Mendelssohn in his Hebridean Overture "Fingal's Cave".
You then return on the ferry to Oban for another night.
You ramble north along the west coast around Appin, passing the impregnable Castle Stalker. Next, you head to the gorgeous Glencoe, one of the most famous natural landmarks in all of Scotland. This beautiful area boasts steep slopes and photogenic peaks. Your driver-guide may reveal to you the tragic tale that’s haunted this valley for over 300 years.
You then venture through Fort William and under the shadow of Ben Nevis, which at 1,344 meters is the highest mountain in the British Isles.
We continue through the Great Glen, a natural fault in the earth’s crust that runs through Scotland. From here, you travel north to the picturesque fishing village of Plockton. You’re dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening.
Today is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather, and your driver-guide will use their local knowledge to decide on the best day out for the group.
You may ascend the Quiraing along Trotternish Ridge and be rewarded with spectacular views. Alternatively, you could drink in the scenery at Loch Corruisk or drive through the dramatic Red Cuillin to the little hamlet of Elgol.
We return you to your accommodation in Plockton in the late afternoon for a free evening to explore the village.
You’re collected from your accommodation for the short drive to the famous stronghold of Eilean Donan Castle.
Then, you travel east taking in the stunning views over Loch Duich and the Five Sisters of Kintail. You continue to Loch Ness for lunch and the possibility of spotting "Nessie’.
Half an hour south of Loch Ness you 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.
With your new crew, you continue north following the Great Glen travelling the entire 23 miles of the famous loch. You arrive at Inverness, where you’re dropped off at your accommodation. The evening is free for you to explore the 'Capital of the Highlands'.
It’s an early start, leaving behind the 'Capital of the Highlands', crossing over the Black Isle, and continuing past Dunrobin Castle.
From here, you drive along the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery.
Onwards through Scotland's most northerly mainland village, John o' Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, and cross the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago.
It’s a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where you stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney. Here you can visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking Cathedral and enjoy its historic winding streets in the evening.
Today is your chance to explore this archipelago’s fertile green pastures, fringed by shores of golden sands and washed by waters of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
You visit the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness.
You stop in Stromness and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions.
Then it’s back to Kirkwall for your second night after what is sure to be a memorable day.
After a relaxed start, you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here, you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains, following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches.
You then visit the far northwest Highlands and the wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th-century ruins of Ardvreck Castle.
From here, you travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you spend your last night's stay on tour.
Leaving Ullapool behind, you take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60m down into Corrieshalloch Gorge. You then admire the beautiful Loch Glascarnoch, on the way past the 'Capital of the Highlands', Inverness.
You can visit Culloden Moor, the site of The Battle of Culloden in 1746, one of the bloodiest events in our history and the last battle to have been fought on the British mainland. Next, you take a short drive to the ancient standing stones at Clava Cairns, made famous by Diana Gabaldon in the ‘Outlander’ books.
From here, you travel through the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest, hugging the Cairngorm mountain range. You enjoy lunch in these beautiful surroundings before travelling through The Big Tree country of Perthshire, the Kingdom of Fife, and back to Edinburgh.
*Itinerary and distillery visits are subject to change.
You stay three nights in Islay*, two nights in Oban, two nights in Plockton, one night in Inverness, two nights in Kirkwall, and one night in Ullapool**.
*On this part of the tour we reserve you rooms in the beautiful Bowmore Distillery Cottages.
The cottages have between three and six twin bedrooms. Due to the shared nature of the accommodation, individual bedrooms don't have lockable doors.
The kitchen and lounge facilities are shared with other passengers, and basic self-service breakfast ingredients are provided. Full Scottish breakfasts are available at the nearby hotels if you prefer, payable locally.
Prices are £55 per person per night for twin share or £97 per night for a single. Family Rooms are unavailable at Bowmore Cottages. Groups of 3 or more will need to stay in 2 or more rooms. Please budget accordingly. For this option, please select 'B&B en-suite' as your first choice when booking the tour online. When these rooms are full, we book you into a nearby B&B. Rooms at the cottages are limited and are reserved on a first come first served basis. Local B&B charges are £45 - £65 per person per night based on shared accommodation.
There's also a limited number of 3* hotel rooms available on this tour. Prices are £70 - £90 per person per night in a twin or double room or £120 per night for a single. For this option, please select three star hotel as your first choice when booking.
We contact you afterwards to arrange payment for the accommodation.
*Please be aware that Ullapool is busy all year round and Kirkwall is busy between June and August . You may need to be flexible with rooms we're able to reserve for you here. If you'd prefer to find your own accommodation for this location, please choose the 'book your own accommodation' option when you book your tour.
Your tour excludes accommodation; but when you book, you can ask us to reserve local accommodation for you, or you can choose to reserve your own accommodation in the overnight locations.
Once you've booked your tour, we'll reserve all your accommodation, and your driver will drop you off with your hosts.
We'll reserve your room(s) with one of our preferred accommodation suppliers and you'll pay them directly when you check-in. Most accommodation hosts don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.
You won't be able to choose which Hotel/B&B you stay in, but we will confirm the named property and exact prices on your first day of tour. If it's important for you to know where you're going to be staying in advance, or if you want to stay in a specific Hotel/B&B, we recommend that you select the option to book your own accommodation.
Plans can change, so we let you alter your accommodation choices for free within the first 48 hours of booking. After this time, amendments aren't guaranteed and carry a surcharge. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central.
You may be liable for the cost of your first nights’ accommodation for each separate accommodation booked. If you cancel less than three days before departure, you may be liable for all your accommodation costs.
We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre. We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard.
The prices below are for guidance only and are based on 2022 rates. We’re working with suppliers to bring you the most up to date pricing for tours departing in 2023.
For the remaining part of the tour you can choose from the following options:
B&B (Bed and Breakfast) Standard
The toilet and showering facilities are shared with at least one other room in the house, and the price includes breakfast. The cost is £35 - £50 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single standard room is £40 - £70 per night.
B&B En suite
The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £45 - £65 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single en suite is £75 - £90 per night.
Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £75 - £90 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single is £90 - £150 per night.
* The cost of accommodation in Inverness is higher, it's £70 - £100 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single is £100 - £175 per night.
Please note, we're unable to book hostels for this tour at the moment. You may still be able to book hostel accommodation yourself if you choose to the option to book your own accommodation for your tour.
A hostel consists of dormitory rooms with 4 to 16 bunk beds. The bathroom facilities are a short distance from the dorm room. Kitchen facilities are equipped so you can make your own meals. The cost based on dorm beds is £19 - £30 per person per night.
Please note that SYHA hostels only offer same gender dorms. Some independent hostels will offer mixed rooms (males and females together).
The UK and Ireland's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure, we only pick up from our central meeting points. What's more is leaving the city using the most direct route also reduces the carbon footprint of our tours.
We don't recommend bringing your car into the centre of our departure cities. It can be hard to find parking, and there are excellent public transportation services.
Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.
If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies.
We have a cancellation period of 48 hours for our one day tours, 15 days for two to nine day tours, and 21 days for 10+ day tours. If cancelled outside this period, we'll give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this period, refunds are at our discretion. Click here to view full terms and conditions.
Your tour will always follow the itinerary as closely as possible. While there are ongoing coronavirus restrictions throughout the UK and Ireland, itineraries are more likely to change than usual as opening hours and capacities at many visitor attractions are reduced and subject to change. Your driver-guide will keep you up to up to date on the road, and we'll try to get in touch about any large changes prior to your departure.
Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable 16-seat mini-coaches have huge windows. So, you'll always get a good view.
Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.
We aim to accommodate everyone. To read more information on how we do this, click here to go to our accessibility guide.
We regret we don't carry children under the age of five on our scheduled tours.
You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.
We want you to enjoy Britain and Ireland. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of time to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.
We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.
You don't need to. We stop in small towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.
Let's be honest, our driver-guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.
We advise you take out travel insurance.
You're protected by ABTOT when you chose to let us reserve your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we become bankrupt. Read our terms and conditions for more information.
Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer
You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back
Guaranteed departures: We’ll never cancel your tour because of minimum numbers
Our eco-friendly tours support local communities