SCOTTISH WESTERN HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS 9-DAY TOUR
SCOTTISH WESTERN HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS 9-DAY TOUR
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Hotels & Restaurants
Malmaison Hotel – Glasgow
This boutique hotel located in a former Greek Orthodox church is right at the heart of everything Glasgow has to offer, not that you really need to leave it for a fantastic stay. The 72 rooms and suites combine character and style with all modern conveniences and there’s a great restaurant serving contemporary French cuisine.
Ubiquitous Chip – Glasgow
The Ashton Lane restaurant offers the most unique dining experience in Glasgow. Dine in the verdant courtyard, the old stables or adjoining dining room, for a contemporary take on Scottish fine dining. Devotedly making their own haggis since 1971. provenance and seasonality are its mantra, celebrating Scottish produce, dishes and ingredients. Boasting one of the best wine lists in the country it has won countless awards over the years.
Colquhouns Restaurant – Loch Lomond
This waterfront restaurant on the banks of Loch Lomond can rightly claim to have spectacular panoramic views over both the Loch and Ben Lomond in the distance. There’s a relaxed atmosphere and their commitment to perfectly executed cuisine and memorable service makes this a go to restaurant for intimate dinners or celebrations with family and friends.
Ballachulish Hotel – Glenachulish
This laid-back hotel in a baronial-style building sits on the banks of Loch Linnhe and is flanked by the Glencoe Mountains. It has been serving traditional Highland hospitality for over 100 years and today makes the perfect base for exploring the history and scenery of the area. Rooms range from cosy to the luxurious that have sitting areas and views over the loch while the two restaurants, one speciating in locally caught fish make for a perfect beginning or end to the day.
Western Isles Hotel – Isle of Mull
Overlooking Tobermory harbour, this 19th-century hotel is a 6-minute walk from Tobermory’s Main Street and a short drive from Mull Theatre and Glengorm Castle. It has 28 bedrooms and two restaurants that offer stunning views and is also a Whisky Embassy, so there is a fine collection of malts served in an atmosphere conducive to their appreciation.
Ninth Wave Restaurant – Isle of Mull
Located in Fionnphort wild moors, the restaurant is owned by the 2019 Professionals MasterChef contestant Carla Lamont. An award-winning seafood restaurant it also offers island beef, pork and game cooked with flair and imagination. Fresh caught lobster, crab and fish arrive daily as your waiter leaves his fishing day job and dons the kilt for service. Hedonism on a plate! A visit to the Ninth Wave is not included in this tour but in our Scotland Western Highlands & Islands Foodie Break.
Inveraray Inn – Inveraray
A Best Western Signature hotel, this has all the amenities and comfort you would expect. It sits literally on the banks of Loch Fyne and has been welcoming guests with traditional Highland hospitality since 1755. It has recently undergone a £0.75 million refurbishment and has a delightful dining room with views over the Loch and two bars that both serve excellent local dishes.
Macdonald Holyrood Hotel & Spa – Edinburgh
Situated in the city’s historic and beautiful old town, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the world-famous Royal Mile and the Scottish Parliament building, this well-appointed 4-star hotel is the perfect base for exploring all that Scotland’s capital has to offer. There are 157 elegantly refurbished room and suites, restaurant, cocktail bar, spa, indoor pool and gym for you to enjoy when you return.
Pibroch Restaurant – Edinburgh
If you want to sample traditional Scottish cuisine such as cullen skink, haggis, neeps & tatties and Scotch beef fillet in a cosy setting, then this is the place to head for. Situated on the Royal Mile it’s right in the heart of Edinburgh and is easily accessible as it’s on the ground floor.
Places & Attractions
A city of many faces where a blend of internationally acclaimed museums and galleries, stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, fantastic shopping and a diverse array of restaurants and bars mixes with an industrial heritage, mainly based along the Clyde where historically shipbuilding was a major employer.
There’s a diverse and energetic arts scene which carries on the tradition that saw Glasgow being voted European City of Culture in 1990 while there are more down to earth pastimes such as a ‘pint of heavy’ the local name for beer and there’s usually an opportunity to catch a football match at Celtic & Rangers during your stay.
The mesmerising loch which lies in the heart of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, is one of Scotland’s most beautiful and iconic places, and the inspiration behind the love song “bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond”. Surrounded by charming villages, rolling countryside, hills its’ perfect for any trip, weekend breaks or longer holiday. At 190m deep with a shoreline of 153 km, and several small islands within the loch there are many ways to explore this exhilarating place, which include dedicated cruises and the Loch Lomond Waterbus ferry services. Less than an hour from Glasgow its easily accessible by train or bus.
The Scottish Highlands feature many wonderful views, but the magnificent Glen Etive offers some of the very best. Surrounded by the mountains around Ben Starav to the southeast and the Glen Coe mountains to the north and west it is a magnet for climbers and hillwalkers as well as those marvelling at the spectacular scenery. It is one of the most photographed beauty spots in Scotland with visitors coming to the area to seek out the famous James Bond’s Skyfall and Braveheart film locations and is approached by the stunning Glen Etive road which affords twelve miles of magnificent Scottish scenery. The single-track road winds through breath taking countryside, ending at Loch Etive itself.
A village in western Scotland which lies in the steep-sided Glencoe valley. The area is known for waterfalls and trails that climb peaks such as Buachaille Etive Mor and Bidean nam Bian. In the village, Glencoe Folk Museum occupies 18th-century thatched cottages, with displays on local heritage and the Glen Coe massacre of 1692. Wildlife in the area includes red deer and golden eagles and was also the setting for the fictional James Bond family estate ‘Skyfall’.
Glen Coe Visitor Centre – Glencoe
This eco-friendly visitor centre is nestled in a woodland glade, a short distance from Glencoe Village. It provides a wonderful insight into Glencoe, which make the Glencoe National Nature Reserve so special. A huge 3D map, the Info Hub provides useful information on walks, the weather and seasonal wildlife. The cinema space plays an unmissable short film – The Glen Revealed – three times every hour, narrated by Game of Thrones actor Rory McCann, takes you on an inspirational journey in support of the National Trust for Scotland. With staff on hand to answer your questions and help you make the most of your visit.
Glenfinnan Viaduct – Glenfinnan
Even if you have no interest in railways you will recognise this magnificent piece of engineering from the Harry Potter films as it carried the Hogwarts Express. The famous viaduct carries the railway to Glenfinnan Station across a 1,000 ft span, 100 ft above the ground. The Jacobite steam train runs from here to Fort William and Mallaig in summer months with regular trains available the rest of the year.
Glenfinnan Monument & Visitor Centre – Glenfinnan
No visit to this area would be complete with a visit to this Monument that was erected in 1815 in tribute to the Jacobite clansmen who fought and died in the cause of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Apart from the history, there are panoramic views of Loch Shiel, the dramatic mountains and, especially for ‘Harry Potter’ fans, the Glenfinnan viaduct. The modern exhibition in the visitor centre tells the story of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and the 1745 Jacobite Rising.
This charming historic town sits at the Northern end of Loch Linnhe and gives the visitor ample opportunity to eat, drink, shop and soak up the local history which is why most people exploring the Highlands end up coming here. Notable places include The West Highland Museum, the Old Fort, and several churches to name but a few along with an abundance of walking trails and for those of a more energetic disposition there is kayaking and of course climbing in the Ben Nevis mountains, No wonder it is often described as the Outdoor Capital of the UK.
Ben Nevis Distillery – Fort William
Nestled at the foot of Ben Nevis, this distillery is one of the oldest in Scotland dating back to 1825. It produces a typical Highland malt as well as some excellent blends including the Dew of Ben Nevis. A Visitor Centre is incorporated within the distillery where you can meet mythical giant Hector McDram and your conducted tour ends with a complimentary tasting. Full whisky tasting tours are also available.
Isle of Mull
The second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides lies off the west coast of Scotland and is well known for its wildlife including whales, dolphins and sea eagles. Also, its culture, scenery and outdoor activities makes it a charming and beautiful centre for a Highland holiday away from the cares and pressures of modern life.
Duart Castle – Isle of Mull
On the Isle of Mull, this is the seat of Clan Maclean and was the home of Fitzroy Hew MacLean, a World War Two hero who is widely believed to have been one of the main inspirations for Bond himself. The castle has also featured as a location for other movies including the 1991 ‘Entrapment’ starring Sean Connery who has Maclean ancestry and of course also famously played James Bond.
Tobermory Distillery – Isle of Mull
Established in 1798, nestling in the heart of Tobermory itself, it is the only distillery on the Isle of Mull and one of the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland. It is unique for producing two different, but alluring, single malts, the fruity, unpeated Tobermory and the more robust and smokier Ledaig. Unusually they also produce a Hebridean Gin that contains a splash of whisky to give it a very distinctive flavour. No visit to Mull would be complete without a visit and tasting experience.
Fionnphort & Kintra – Isle of Mull
Kintra, meaning ‘end of the beach’ in Gaelic is a very picturesque little hamlet and is worth a visit, just for its attractive bay and row of small cottages. Fionnphort, the final village at the end of the road from Craignure, is Mulls most westerly village. The name comes from the Gaelic for “white harbour”. Best known as the place where pilgrims and tourists cross Iona, its pier and slipway being the centre of the village’s activity. This is, where you find the ferry and boats trips, and where the fishing fleet land their catch of crabs and lobsters most days, before being loaded into big trucks for the continent.
Iona Abbey – Iona
This restored medieval abbey lies on the small island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland which has been of special significance to Christians since AD 563 when Columba and his followers arrived from Ireland to spread the gospel. St Oran’s Chapel and Reilig Odhram is reputed to be the burial place of 48 kings of Scotland, including Macbeth.
The approach to Staffa, which means ‘pillar island’, by sea is breath taking with great basalt columns flanking the deep caves. During spring and early summer, the cliffs and grassy slopes provide nesting sites for various seabirds including guillemots, razorbills and puffins.
Fingal’s Cave – Staffa
This spectacular sea cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa, is known for its natural acoustics. The 69m-long cavern was described by Sir Walter Scott as ‘one of the most extraordinary places I have ever beheld’ and after a visit to Staffa in 1829, the German composer Mendelssohn was inspired by the astonishing acoustics to compose his Hebrides Overture.
This group of islands lie just west of Mull and have been landmarks for travellers through the Hebrides for at least 1000 years. Apart from the scenery of the Treshnish and their mystique as a group of uninhabited islands, they hold nationally important treasures in the form of a mediaeval castle as well as a thriving community of wildlife. Landing on the island is not possible between March and the end of July to protect the Puffin breeding season.
Inveraray Castle & Jail – Inveraray
The neo-Gothic Inveraray Castle was built in 1877 and remains the family home of the Dukes of Argyll. The castle, which is set in extensive grounds, overlooks the waters of Loch Fyne and was used in the popular TV series Downton Abbey. It has a wealth of antiquities gathered by the family and a tour is a must when visiting the area, as is a visit to the Georgian Inveraray Jail that houses a living museum that re-enacts trials and the life of prisoners.
Isle of Bute
Beautiful Bute only 15 miles long and 5 miles wide is one of the most accessible Scottish islands, just a short ferry ride across the Firth of Clyde its full of history, culture, wildlife, arts, and music. Rothsay the island “capital” with its palm trees and promenade is where Victoriana meets art deco-style. Amongst its attractions is a unique Scottish castle for both its early date and unusual circular plan, is also famous for its close links with the Stewarts, and to this day, the heir to the throne still has the title Duke of Rothesay. However, Its major attraction remains Mount Stuart, the ancestral home of the Marquess of Bute.
Mount Stuart House – Isle of Bute
This spectacular Gothic house was the ancestral home of the Marquess of Bute. Mount Stuart is an award-winning attraction featuring magnificent Victorian Gothic architecture and design together with contemporary craftsmanship, surrounded by 300 acres of gloriously maintained grounds and gardens.
Wemyss Bay Rail Station
Since 1865, when the Caledonian Railway Company built its line with a ferry terminal, Wemyss Bay has become a well-known and loved railway station, forever linked to sailing across the Clyde, holidays on the beautiful Isle of Bute, fresh air, fun and relaxation. It is stunning architecturally and worth a visit even if you’re not catching a train or one of the ferries to Rothesay and beyond.
Capital of Scotland and home of the Scottish Parliament, it has been the centre of Government for many centuries. Awash with magnificent buildings, restaurants, and arts venues, it is the home of ‘The Fringe,’ an internationally renowned comedy festival where many of today’s comedians started out.
Stroll along the famous Royal Mile that connects the Castle to the Palace of Holyrood and learn the country’s history on the way, eat at Michelin starred restaurants on Princes Street, wander the cobbled wynds of the Old Town or scare yourself on one of the many ghost tours. It’s certainly not a place you can do in a day!
General Tour Information
There is only one word that can describe the scenery that awaits you in this most northerly part of the British Isles – stunning! Soaring cliffs, crashing waves and delightfully quiet beaches come in equal measure along the hundreds of miles of coastline and the rugged, rocky landscapes of the mountain areas of the true High Lands have an appeal of their own.
Throw in the beautiful, tree covered glens and the serene atmosphere along the many lochs, and you have a destination that can amaze and satisfy every traveller’s wish.
Meet & Greet
This is between 2-3pm at the Glasgow Malmaison Hotel, clients are expected to make their own way to Glasgow, but bespoke travel arrangements, and or a door-to-door service is available on request, at a cost to be agreed. Similar arrangements are also available at the tour end in Edinburgh, which is effectively after Breakfast at the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel & Spa Hotel on the last day.
Staffa & Treshnish Isles Tours
The time, duration of these boat tours is reduced between the beginning of March to the end of July. Landing is not permitted on parts of the Treshnish Islands during that period to protect the Puffin breeding season. From the 1stAugust these tours do include a landing which adds to the duration of the tour.
Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries
Caledonian MacBrayne, usually shortened to CalMac, is the major operator of passenger and vehicle ferries, and ferry services, between the mainland of Scotland and 22 of the major islands on Scotland’s west coast using a fleet of over 30 vessels of varying sizes.
If you would like to any other information, or if you have a mobility problem or disability, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can call on 020 7118 2110 or send us a message via our Contact page and we will be happy to assist you!