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1 / 61

Edinburgh & the Castles of Scotland

10 days
From its ancient castles to its rolling landscapes and blaring bagpipes, Scotland is undeniably intriguing. With ten days to explore, you’ll get your dose of well-known Scottish icons and then head a little off the beaten path, moving farther into the untamed Highlands and through craggy hillsides laden with lochs and Gaelic-speaking villages.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Edinburgh today.

Edinburgh 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Edinburgh

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Scotland! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Edinburgh

Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know Edinburgh in all its medieval beauty on a tour led by a local expert.

• View the elegant Georgian-style New Town and the Royal Mile, two UNESCO World Heritage sites

• Pass the Sir Walter Scott monument

• Enter Edinburgh Castle to view the Scottish crown jewels and Stone of Scone

Spend a free afternoon in Edinburgh or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Abbotsford House & Melrose Abbey $95*pp Details

Travel through the Scottish Borders region to Abbotsford, where you’ll enjoy an included lunch. Continue on to Abbotsford House, the 19th-century estate of Sir Walter Scott. The poet designed his home in the Romantic style to imitate the elaborate baronial estates of British aristocrats. Today it serves as a museum for the Scottish memorabilia and artifacts that Scott collected throughout his lifetime. Then, visit the ruins of Melrose Abbey, one of the most impressive of the four Borders abbeys. Please note: This excursion is seasonal from April through October.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

Optional Excursion - Royal Yacht Brittania $85*pp Details

For over 44 years, the Royal Yacht Britannia served as a floating residence for Britain’s Royal Family, playing host to world leaders during state visits and acting as a private escape for Queen Elizabeth II. Step back in time as you make your way through lavishly furnished royal apartments and the more modest crew’s quarters below decks. Please note: This optional excursion is only offered from November through March.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $95)

Day 4: Free day in Edinburgh

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend the day exploring on your own or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - St Andrews $79*pp Details

St Andrews may be most well-known as the home of golf, but it's also the site of Scotland's oldest university. On this excursion, you'll pass by the 16th-century grounds of St Andrews University, the alma mater of Prince William, who met Kate Middleton here. You'll also pass by the ruins of the town's cathedral and castle. Later, visit the British Golf Museum, where you’ll discover how golf transformed from a Scottish pastime into a global obsession. Please note: The British Golf Museum will be closed for renovations through May 2015.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Optional Excursion - Scottish Céilidh $119*pp Details

Enjoy a special evening of Scottish tradition as you witness an authentic céilidh, an age-old Scottish celebration. Along with a savory dinner of local favorites, the evening will feature folk dancers, bagpipers, fiddlers and the “Ceremony of the Haggis.” Please note: This optional is seasonal from May to September.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $129)

Inverness Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Travel to the Inverness Region

Included meals: Breakfast

En route to Inverness, stop in Perthshire, the gateway to the Scottish Highlands.

• Visit the historic Blair Castle, the home of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl that dates back to medieval times

• Explore Edradour distillery with a guide and enjoy a whisky tasting

Day 6: Free day in the Inverness Region

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend the day exploring on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Eilean Donan Castle & Isle of Skye $99*pp Details

After a scenic drive to the coast, hop a ferry and travel to the Isle of Skye, famous for its association with Bonnie Prince Charlie. Visit the stately Clan Donald Centre, which portrays clan life on the island and pays homage to Gaelic culture and Highland history. Make your way back to the mainland and over to the banks of Loch Duich to visit the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, arguably the world's most photographed castle.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Western Highlands 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: The Western Highlands via Loch Ness

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Continue westward along the Great Glen, making several stops before arriving in the Western Highlands region.

• Visit the Loch Ness 2000 Exhibition, where you’ll see a full-scale replica of the loch’s legendary monster

• View an audio-visual exhibit detailing the history, sightings and myths surrounding the loch

• Stop at the Caledonian Canal, which runs between Fort William and Inverness

Day 8: Free day in the Western Highlands

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a free day in the Western Highlands or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Duart Castle & Isle of Mull $75*pp Details

Board a ferry at the Oban Ferry Terminal and cruise to the Isle of Mull, the second largest island of the Hebrides. Here, you’ll disembark at the charming coastal village of Craignure and set out for a guided tour of the 13th-century Duart Castle. Then transfer to Tobermory, a small fishing village known for its brightly painted main street, where you’ll enjoy free time for lunch and exploring. Please note: This excursion is seasonal from April through November.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Glasgow 1 night Hotel info

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Glasgow

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Stop in Glencoe, site of the notorious 1692 MacDonald clan massacre, and take the high road past Loch Lomond on your way to Glasgow. Arrive in Scotland’s “second city,” where you’ll embark on a guided tour. 

• Discover local highlights, including George Square and the River Clyde 

• Admire the city’s university and medieval cathedral

• Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the Burrell Collection, which features everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to Rodin sculptures

Later, join your group for a farewell dinner in Glasgow.

Day 10: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or extend your stay to continue exploring Glasgow.

Add Glasgow $269 pp

In Gaelic, Glasgow means "the Dear Green Place," a fitting title for the city with more parks per square mile than any other city in Europe. Famous for its passion for football (soccer) and its fabulous shops that beat those in Edinburgh hands-down, Glasgow is also renowned for its distinguished university, which is over 500 years old, and Kelvingrove Park, the vibrant meeting ground adjacent to it. Most impressive, though, are the Glaswegians, so genuine that their warmness and lyrical speech stay with you long after you depart Scotland's shores.

Glasgow 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Free day in Glasgow

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend the day exploring Glasgow on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Hadrian's Wall & Carlisle Castle $79*pp Details

Travel to the region bordering Scotland and England to discover the historic Carlisle Castle. This medieval fortress was once the site of many battles, as well as the holding place of the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots. After exploring the castle, head to Hadrian’s Wall at Birdoswald Fort. Originally a defensive wall constructed by the Romans in 122 A.D., Birdoswald Fort is the longest continuous stretch of the Wall remaining. From its elevated location, you’ll be able to catch stunning views of the Irthing Valley and the Lake District Fells.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 11: Free day in Glasgow

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Glasgow or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Historic Scotland & Stirling Castle $115*pp Details

Visit Stirling, a town steeped in the history of the Wars of Scottish Independence. For generations, Sterling Castle held off British advances and served as a rallying point for rebellious Scots. It was within Stirling Castle that the infant Mary Stewart was crowned Mary, Queen of Scots. In addition to the castle, you’ll also tour Stirling's quaint Old Town, which still retains its medieval look and feel. Then journey into the valley where "Braveheart" William Wallace beat back the British at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Your excursion also includes a visit to the Antonine Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in 142 AD, just 20 years after the completion of Hadrian’s Wall. Visit what remains of the wall at Falkirk before taking a ride on the famous Falkirk Wheel, an ingenious boat-lift that carries boats from one canal to another.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Day 12: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Glasgow, Scotland
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & Visa

In order to enter Scotland, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Scotland. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Transportation / Walking on tour

Round-trip flights arrive in Edinburgh and depart from Glasgow. Included transportation is by private motor coach. All of the cities and towns on this itinerary are accessible on foot, but you  may want to break up periods of walking by using both have a fairly efficient bus system. Passes and packages are available. If you decide to take an excursion outside the cities on your own, make use of ScotRail’s excellent train system. You can pick up trains at Edinburgh’s main station (near the Scott Monument, between Old Town and New Town) and at Glasgow Central and Queen Street Stations.

Clothing & Packing Tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Cuisine

Like the rest of Britain, Scotland often gets a negative reputation for its cuisine, but in truth the food here has been improving since an influx of international choices became available in the early 1990s. For traditional Scottish fare at a reasonable price, try a pub meal, which often features delicious vegetarian options. Specialties of Scotland include shortbread, kippers, smoked salmon, Scotch broth, venison, oatcakes, jelly, jam, and of course, haggis (made of sheep innards). Indian, Chinese and Italian food are widely available and delicious. Scotch whisky is a favored local spirit, and Scotch ales (especially from microbreweries) are some of the best in the world.

Currency

The British pound is the currency you will be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Scotland, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/debit cards and credit cards. They may be used at ATMs, which are widely available in Edinburgh and Glasgow (mostly on the Cirrus and Plus international networks). We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalency of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 7/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Too much bus riding

Trip was okay, too much time on bus, not enough seeing castles. Hotels were not real great in Killian and Iverness.

 

Dear Wendy, Thank you for traveling with Go Ahead, and for writing your review. As you know, when traveling in rural areas, there can sometimes be large distances between destinations. This can result in longer bus transfers, but we do our best to break up these long rides with scenic photo-stops or meal-breaks. We are sorry to read that you did not feel this was the case on your trip, and that you were underwhelmed with your hotels in two cities. We have passed your feedback along to our Operations Team that manages our itineraries, and revises them where necessary. Thank you again for your review, and we hope you choose to travel with Go Ahead again in the future!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 18, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

More Please!

The beauty of Scotland can't be described with mere words. Any preconceptions you may have, are sure to be exceeded by this land and its people. Our tour was well planned and our director, Harry, was not only knowledgeable but has a wonderful and inviting personality. Our driver, Collin, did a fantastic job getting us through and around every area with a laugh and sense of humor that is sure to make you comfortable. The itinerary allows a perfect balance of guidance and opportunity for independent exploration. This was an experience we will never forget and hope to have more of.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 7/16/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: IN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

On the bus a lot

It was wonderful to have everything planned out for me to make it stress free. The only bad thing about this trip was the time spent on the bus. We got to see several areas but it was all from a bus window, when we did stop we were rushed and didn't get to enjoy the sites. Our tour guide was very informative and friendly! Scotland is so beautiful!

 

Dear Tina Thank you very much for your review of your recent trip to Edinburgh and the Castles of Scotland! From your review it seems that you had an informative and stress-free trip, and that is exactly what we want to hear! As you know, when touring any rural region, points of interest can sometimes be far apart from one another. We are sorry to hear that you felt you had too much time on the bus, but we hope that the rolling hills and stunning scenery of Scotland were worth the drive. We do appreciate you taking the time to review your trip, and we hope that you join us on another Go Ahead tour in the future.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 30, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Driver and Tour Director

This is the second tour I have been on which Harry led, and he is the best. He arranged a couple of extras, sheep herding and shearing exhibition and boat ride across Loch Lomond that were truly special. Our driver, Colin, took that coach down narrow one lane roads like he was threading a needle. We always went one way and came back another when we were on day tours so we really saw the countryside. Hotels were very convenient and modern, except one in a resort area which was charming.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 5/31/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: KS

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great Tour

This was my first tour with Go Head and I will definitely book more. Our tour director was excellent, with lots of information of the region we were in.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 5/21/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: ON

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Best Tour Director

Just completed the Edinburgh - Castles tour. It was a wonderful tour, plenty of planned events and free time to do your own thing. The tour director Ronnie went above and beyond to make our trip a success. There were minor problems, he was great at finding solutions. Our bus driver Dave was beyond the best, always there, very helpful, calm cool and collected on those very narrow roads. One day he drove through snow, sleet, rain and sun. Didn't realize just how smoothly he drove until on a Hop On/Hop Off bus with another driver. The hotel in Edinburgh was a delight, huge room, excellent location. Inverness was cozy but good. Fort William the staff and food were good, the room needed some upgrading, the hotel in Glasgow was wonderful, great location, friendly staff, good food. I would definitely recommend this tour company.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/7/2015

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: MI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wonderful Tour of Scotland!

I decided on this tour after researching several tours of Scotland. It has the best itinerary. Also, I had had wonderful experiences on Go Ahead's English Countryside and Wales tour and their Walking Tour of Ireland. This tour was fantastic! In addition to the exceptional itinerary, most hotels were centrally located and the optionals were worthwhile. The other travelers on the tour added to the enjoyment. The tour director and bus driver were very knowledgable and funny. You always meet the nicest people on a Go Ahead Tour! (The Scottish people are the sweetest people you will ever meet as well!)

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2 / 5

2 / 5

Traveled On: 5/7/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: TN

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

My Not So Fabulous Surprise Birthday Present

I was extremely excited about this trip as my sister-in-law and husband set this tour up for me as a surprise for my big 40 birthday. Wow Scotland! The pictures are great and the sites wonderful. However, on my first excursion to the Abbot House we were late, the numbers were off so there was not enough food for everyone, and then I was rushed through to the tour and refused the option to take pictures of the house and garden because the group was running late due to lunch confusion. Not what I paid for, I have no pictures to remember this place. The Scottish Ceilidh was great and so much fun. You must try this! The Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle were wonderful and breathtaking. The Isle of Mull and Duart Castle excursion was another story. Due to being the first time to the Castle the road was unfamiliar and we were late getting there and the driver afraid to stay and miss the boat back so we had 25 minutes for the castle and that was all. We were robbed on this excursion! Although our driver did an outstanding job on those horrible roads and got us there and back safe. Hadrians Wall and Castle Carlisle was great, wear boots as you will be in the fields with mud and the sheep. It can be very messy! The Historic Scotland and Stirling Castle tour excursion was not what we paid for. We saw the castle, had 5 things on itinerary and only did 2 since tour director was changed and no info given to him. No refund issued either. Overall, the trip was stressful and a bit of a let down. The luggage issue was bad. Bring only one bag. My sister in law brought two and the director removed the second and left it in the lobby of hotel and never told her. I spotted it at last minute and got it on bus. Later director told us that my sister would have had to pay a taxi to bring luggage to her. Not very nice when a simple announcement would have been better than leaving her luggage behind to make a statement to the group! The lack of time to see the sights and take pictures on some of the excursions I think was inappropriate, since we paid for the trips and it happened on more than two. As well as us not getting the full day we planned for on one day. A refund and an apology should have been made. I hope to have the chance to go back and see the sights and do it right. The people were great and the sights beautiful.

 

Kristen, Thank you for taking the time to write your review. We were sorry to hear that certain aspects of your tour were disappointing to you, and we will certainly be passing your feedback, along with that of your fellow travelers, to our Operations and Product Developments teams in order to continuously improve our tour experiences.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 17, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/7/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: GA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great Tour

Had enough planned activities and free time. Good choices of places. Hotel in Inverness had very small rooms. Overall, wonderful!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/30/2011

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: IL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Scotland Highland Adventure!

After reading the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon my friends and I were intrigued with Scotland, especially the Highlands. Go Ahead did not disappoint. Although this tour was not in conjunction with the books, it covered so much! Without reading this series, I would highly recommend this trip! Our tour director was well informed, entertaining, and added so many personal touches.

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