Historic Scotland6 Days & 5 Nights
- Discover Scotland's rich historical heritage on a self-drive tour
- Ancient St Andrews, home to the oldest university in Scotland
- Royal Deeside, home to historic Braemar and Balmoral Castles
- The atmospheric valley of Glencoe, site of the famous Massacre of Glencoe
- Explore the Trossachs, home to Scotland's most famous outlaw, Rob Roy
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.
This trip is suitable for:
Solo Travellers, Families, Mixed Abilities, First Timers
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveller this holiday would be suitable for is: 5 Years
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Historical Journeys
Your information pack will include a day-by-day itinerary, with recommended driving routes between overnight stops, as well as recommended detours and must-see sights and attractions. You can use Google maps to navigate the route on your phone, or your car's sat-nav. If you are hiring a car we recommend adding on a sat-nav as internet signal in the Highlands isn't always reliable.
You will stay overnight in hand-picked small hotels, B&B's and guesthouses, all of which have been chosen to ensure you experience warm Scottish hospitality at its best! We regularly use the below properties but may accommodate you elsewhere if these are unavailable.
This holiday is available to solo travellers but as all our tours are priced per person based on two sharing there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs. If you require single rooms within your party we will, of course, try to accommodate your request subject to availability.
Breakfast is included each morning and normally consists of a continental buffet with tea and coffee, fresh fruits, yoghurt, cereals, eggs and bread with jams. Often also on the menu are cooked options like freshly made porridge, a traditional cooked Scottish breakfast and smoked fish with scrambled eggs.
We don't include lunch and dinner so you are free to choose from the available options. Your information pack includes details and recommendations of convenient lunch stops, cosy cafes and restaurants along the way. A couple of decades ago the food scene in Scotland was somewhat lacking, but now you'll find a range of high quality, varied options with everything from award-winning fish and chips to intimate Michelin-listed dining experiences, and casual restaurant menus showcasing delicious locally-sourced produce.
You can add on additional nights wherever you please on the route. And of course we highly recommend additional nights in Edinburgh at the start/end of your trip!
- Overnight in 3 and 4* B&B's, guesthouses and small hotels
- Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
- Detailed information pack brimming with our local knowledge
- Our daily recommendations for places to see and visit
- Our daily recommendations for top places to eat and drink
- 24/7 Emergency support from our UK office
- Car hire (available as an optional extra)
- Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
- Travel Insurance
- Personal equipment
- Accommodation in Edinburgh before and after tour
- Car hire
- Additional nights
When To Go
You can start this tour on any day of the week from March to November, subject to availability. The busiest times of the year are around Easter and May when accommodations fill up quickly, so book as early as possible if you are planning to travel then. If you travel before Easter, and after mid-October it is worth noting that some attractions may either be closed, have limited access (i.e. castle interiors may be closed but the gardens open), or may open later and close a little earlier in the day. We always recommend checking the links in our information pack for up-to-date opening times to avoid disappointment.
During the shoulder season - March to early April and after mid-October - the Scottish weather tends to be more unpredictable and is often colder and rainier. However, attractions and popular viewpoints will generally be quieter.
Getting to the Start
Your trip begins in the well-connected city of Edinburgh. If traveling in your own car from across the UK, or western Europe via the Channel Tunnel, you'll find the city is easily accessible and well-connected by the M8, M77, M74 and M6 motorways. If you are driving or traveling from further afield we recommend and extra night in Edinburgh at the start of your trip so you can make the most of your first day of sight-seeing.
By Road: Edinburgh is served by an excellent motorway network. It's a 1h 15m drive from Glasgow to Edinburgh on the M8 motorway. Newcastle is approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Edinburgh, and Manchester and Birmingham, 4 and 6 hours respectively. London is 7.5 hr (via the M1 and A1), and if arriving in Folkestone from France (via the Channel Tunnel) it's an 8-8.5 hour drive via the M20, M11, and A1 roads.
Alternatively, if arriving in Edinburgh by public transport and renting a car please see the excellent Traveline Scotland website for timetables and fares and more information regarding public transport in Scotland. Edinburgh is well-linked across the UK, Europe and beyond by flying into either Glasgow or Edinburgh international airports. Glasgow and Edinburgh are just over an hour apart by road and it doesn't take much longer to travel between the two by an express bus or train service.
By Air: Located 8 miles east of the city of Edinburgh, the international airport is served by routes from around the UK and the world. There are regular shuttle bus and tram services running from the airport into the city centre, with a journey time of around 30 minutes. There's also a taxi rank outside the airport to take people into the city centre.
We don't include car rental in the cost of our discovery tours to keep things flexible as we realise many people may wish to use their own car. If you decide to arrange car rental through us, we have a partnership with Europcar and can arrange this easily for you. As standard we would book an Economy category car (suitable for up to 4 people) with included comprehensive insurance and sat-nav. Prices are on a request basis, so please just add this on as an option if you would like to book car hire, and we will confirm the cost.
On confirmation of your booking, you will receive a personalised itinerary and comprehensive information pack. This carefully curated pack, designed with our own local knowledge and expertise, will include driving directions, personal recommendations for places and attractions to stop at en route, and our recommendations for the best places to eat and drink.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
ItineraryDay 1 Edinburgh to St Andrews
Your trip starts from Edinburgh, and if you have the time we highly recommend adding on additional nights in our vibrant capital city to make the very most out of your time in Scotland.
First stop on leaving the historic capital city is Falkland Palace, a royal retreat adored by Mary, Queen of Scots, and which features formal gardens complete with a willow labyrinth. Continue to the ancient town of St Andrews, named after Scotland's patron saint and also home toScotland's oldest university which was founded in the 15th century. Explore it's Norman cathedral and the castle, dating back to the 13th century, where the famous "bottle dungeon" will give you a taste of medieval Scotland.
Driving Time: Approx 1h 30 min
The Lairg provides charming Georgian town house accommodation, friendly service and free Wi-Fi. Surrounded by Haymarket’s bars and restaurants, Haymarket Rail Station is a 2-minute walk away. The Lairg Hotel offers 20 spacious bedrooms each with an individual private bathroom, with some rooms featuring a four-poster bed.
Located in the heart of Edinburgh, just a short walk from Waverley Train Station, this beautiful B&B has a variety of room types, access to free wifi and en suite rooms. Each room is thoughtfully decorated and with it's welcoming hosts and delicious breakfast options it's the perfect base from which to explore the city.
The St. Valery Guest House is a New Town building situated in the heart of Edinburgh's West End. It is within walking distance of Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and all the main shopping and sight-seeing areas, including the Royal Mile.
Head north to Highland Perthshire this morning. Explore the ancient town of Dunkeld, whose origins date back to the 6th century, and which was originally known as the "Fort of the Celts" due to its strategic location guarding one of the main passes between the highlands and the lowlands. Explore the beautiful 13th century Cathedral on the banks of the River Tay, where you can still see the marks of musket-ball strikes from the the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689.
Continue to Royal Deeside, and walk in the footsteps of Queen Victoria who fell in love with this area, and is home to picturesque villages Braemar and Ballater, as well as the famous Balmoral Castle, holiday home of the Royal family.
Driving Time: Approx 3 hours
The Alexandra Hotel offers a friendly service, comfortable accommodation and excellent meals. All rooms are en-suite with free Wifi, tea and coffee making facilities, satellite television and other essentials that go to make up everything you would expect of a quality family run hotel.
The Deeside Inn is known for its traditional Scottish hospitality and lively music scene as much as it is for its homely lounge, open fires and welcoming bar with quality homemade food. The lovely rooms have complimentary tea and coffee making facilities.
Today's route will take you through the Speyside region, famed for its delicious malt whisky's, and Glenlivet, Glenfiddich & Aberlour are just some of the well-known distilleries you can visit here en-route to Inverness. Continue to the 14th century Cawdor Castle, with it's literary connections to Shakespeare's Macbeth and then stop to explore the Clava Cairns, a bronze age burial site dating back 4000 years. The atmospheric Culloden Battlefield, where the Jacobite rising came to an end in 1746 is a final recommended stop before reaching Inverness.
Driving Time: Approx 2h 30 min
Ballifeary Guest House is an impressive Victorian Villa with many original features. It has a large private car park for guests use and a secured shed for those with bikes. It is ideally located only a matter of yards from Eden Court theatre and a short walk from the River Ness where many restaurants, the Cathedral and Castle can be found. The rooms have been recently refurbished to a high standard offering every comfort you would expect.
A warm and friendly Highland welcome awaits you at The Castle B&B. This lovely Victorian ‘property is situated in the middle of a quiet street on the west side of the city close to the city centre. There is a large dining room/lounge for guests with a microwave and fridge which can be used to store goods overnight. There is a private back garden which guests are free to use if they wish to relax in the evening sunshine.
Minutes from the city centre, Roseneath Guest House is situated within easy walking distance from many of the city’s attractions. Rooms are simply furnished and have all the amenities you require for a lovely overnight stay.
Departing Inverness, enjoy a scenic route on the A82 road alongside the banks of Loch Ness this morning, stopping off to visit the grand ruins of Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland's largest castles. Pass Fort Augustus on the southern tip of Loch Ness and at the top of the Caledonian Canal, where you can enjoy lunch as you watch the canal boats navigate the locks and visit the Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre. We highly recommend a short side trip to the Glenfinnan Monument, built in 1815 in tribute to Jacobite clansmen, before finishing in the historic village of Glencoe, the site of the infamous Massacre of Glencoe.
Driving Time: Approx 2h 45 min
The Isles of Glencoe Hotel nestles on the side of a peninsula reaching into Loch Leven. Their rooms are modern, comfortable and spacious with commanding views of the Loch and the Pap of Glencoe or the mountains of Morven. The Lochside Restaurant offers great meals in a unique loch side setting with dramatic views. Enjoy relaxed and informal dining in the restaurant or choose a light and airy table in the conservatory and sample their great food & drink.
The Glencoe Inn is a four star AA rated inn, set in the heart of one of the most spectacular places in Scotland, Glencoe Village.
This welcoming Inn with its stunning location in the shadow of the Pap of Glencoe, overlooking Loch Leven is warm, friendly and full of character. A stay at The Glencoe Inn is all about traditional Scottish hospitality complemented by the nature and adventure that awaits you outdoors. The comfy and rustic inn will suit travellers from far and wide looking for a great base to explore the magic of Glencoe, walking the West Highland Way or climbing the remote Munros of Meall a' Bhùiridh and Bidean Nam-Bain.
Nestling in the heart of Glencoe’s amongst the spectacular and majestic mountains the Clachaig Inn has been a source of accommodation to walkers for over three hundred years. The Inn has 23 modern bedrooms with en-suite facilities and great views of the surrounding landscape. The restaurant’s menu is a blend of modern ideas and fresh produce, sourced from local suppliers wherever possible and will definitely have something to suit every taste. The Inn has three bars each with its own distinctive and lively character where you can relax in the evening and meet the friendly locals.
Enjoy breathtaking scenery this morning, as you drive through Glencoe and the great wilderness of Rannoch Moor, passing the historic Kingshouse Hotel, once an old coaching inn but now a striking modern hotel. You soon enter the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, an area known for its associations with the most famous outlaw of Scotland, Rob Roy Macgregor. Visit his grave in the town of Balquhidder before arriving in the charming Trossachs town of Callander.
Coppice House is a family run guest house surrounded by many local facilities, minutes away from fine restaurants and local shops, and directly opposite Callander Meadows. I has six bedrooms all featuring ensuite shower or bathrooms, and a comfortable guest lounge in which to relax no matter what the weather.
Abbotsford Lodge is a large Victorian house built around 1890; it is now a beautiful, modern 4-star B&B within walking distance to the bustling centre of Callander. With stunning rooms and a relaxing lounge this is the ideal place for you to unwind after a day’s walking. Most of the main rooms in the house retain many of their original features, and all rooms have colour televisions, tea and coffee making facilities.
Annfield is a beautiful family run guest house built in 1875 as a wealthy Glasgow merchant’s country retreat. The six bedrooms are furnished and decorated to a high standard, offering very comfortable accommodation and everything you would expect to make your stay enjoyable. All rooms have goosedown duvets and high quality bed-linen. There is also an lcd tv, a hairdryer and a well-stocked hospitality tray in each room.
The route back to Edinburgh leads you past the historic town of Stirling, Scotland's heritage capital. Stirling Castle is a must-see attraction with its palace vaults, Great Hall and Royal Chapel, as is the National Wallace Monument, a famous landmark and museum which tells the story of how William Wallace led his troops to victory at the first war of Scottish independence, the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.
Your historic journey around Scotland finishes in Edinburgh, where we can arrange extra nights for you if required.
Driving Time: Approx 1h 30 min
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