North of England & Scotland
Following the ferry journey from Calais to Dover we head north to Preston, situated in the heart of the colourful county of Lancashire. This City is the gateway to Lancashire’s amazing landscape and historical sights. Overnight Preston.
Today we explore the Lake District with its beautiful scenery and a great literary and cultural heritage. Lunch can be enjoyed whilst taking the spectacular views of Lake Windermere and the fells. Following lunch we continue our journey taking in the endless breath taking views and on to Gretna, the gateway to Scotland intertwined with romance and history. Overnight Glasgow.
This morning there will be a guided tour of Glasgow which is one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan destinations in Europe. The city has been reborn as a centre of style and vitality set against a backdrop of outstanding Victorian architecture. We then travel north along the banks of Loch Lomond, the largest fresh water loch in the UK, stopping for lunch at the ancient Royal Burgh of Inveraray. Following lunch there will be a visit to Inveraray Castle, a remarkable and unique piece of architecture and still home to the head of the Clan Campbell family. A short journey will take us to the bustling and colourful port of Oban and then on to Ballachulish. Overnight.
A full day to enjoy the beautiful Island of Skye stopping at Eilean Donan Castle for a photo stop before crossing the bridge from the mainland. The spectacular mountain scenery, white sandy beaches tiny villages and a wealth of rebellious and unsettled history. Portree, the island capital, has a picturesque, pastel cottage-lined harbour. Museums of the Isles at Armadale Castle will keep the historian and families happy for days. Depart from Skye by way of the short ferry journey to the mainland across to the pretty fishing village of Mallaig and back to Fort William for over night.
Following breakfast we set off towards Spean Bridge and then we travel along the Caledonian Canal, through the Great Glen, and along the banks of the famous Loch Ness to the village of Drumnadrochit, where we have some free time and a stop for lunch. We continue along the Great Glen, passing through the City of Inverness and on to Cawdor Castle, a tower house set amid magnificent gardens. A short journey will take us back to Inverness, where we will be staying for the next two nights.
A memorable day touring the spectacular, rugged landscapes of the North West Highlands. This morning we will see Loch Maree, said to be the prettiest loch in Scotland and then continue on past the white sandy beaches of Gairloch before stopping at Inverewe Gardens. These gardens are set on a rocky peninsula beside Loch Ewe where some of the world’s largest growing trees planted into holes hewn out of the bedrock can be found. The garden is nurtured by the warm currents of the North Atlantic Drift, and is set amidst some of the country’s finest scenery. Lunch will be in the tiny hamlet of Dundonnell. We make a short stop at the Falls of Measach before returning to Inverness for a second night.
Heading south this morning, we pass the majestic mountains of the beautiful Cairngorm National Park. We continue south to Blair Athol Distillery. Established in 1798 in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, Blair Athol is one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. The distillery produces a 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, with a mellow deep-toned aroma, a strong fruity flavour and a smooth finish. Lunch will be at Pitlochry and then after a short drive, we arrive at Scone Palace. Scone is a place that breathes history like nowhere else in Scotland. Fifteen hundred years ago, it was the capital of the Pictish kingdom and the centre of the ancient Celtic church. In the intervening centuries, it has been the seat of parliaments and the crowning place of Kings. It has housed the Stone of Destiny and been immortalised in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Our final destination of the day is Edinburgh, where we be staying overnight.
This morning we have time to explore the city which has been described as “The Athens of the North”. You can visit the 200 year old new town and the medieval old town and of course Edinburgh Castle is a must. If you prefer, you can shop on the elegant Princess Street and perhaps savour one of the many delightful coffee shops Edinburgh has to offer. This afternoon we head off to the fine city of York and overnight.
Day 9 A morning in York one of the the country's most inspiring cities, steeped in history it offers stunning architecture, world class attractions, eclectic shops and stylish restaurants. This afternoon we set off for the Ferry port of Dover.