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Grand Tour of Scotland

12 Days & 11 Nights
  • Discover Scotland in its entirety on a journey from the east to the west coast
  • Historic St Andrews, home of golf and the oldest university in Scotland
  • Picturesque Royal Deeside and Balmoral, the Queen's Scottish home
  • Drive Scotland's Route 66 (the NC500) round the rugged north coast
  • The wild west coast, Isle of Skye and atmospheric Glencoe
From castles and whisky, to lochs, mountains and magical islands, this Grand Tour of Scotland ticks all the boxes. From Edinburgh, head north to the ancient town of St Andrews passing by charming coastal villages. Visit picturesque Royal Deeside, home to Balmoral Castle, and taste a few "drams" in the Speyside whisky region. Take a scenic drive on Scotland's answer to Route 66, the NC500, and explore the wild and beautiful Isle of Skye, atmospheric Glencoe and the seaside town of Oban. Staying in hand-selected characterful hotels and guesthouses, you will experience first-hand famous Scottish hospitality. Our carefully curated and personalised information packs will provide comprehensive information on all the best places to stop, eat and drink, so you are sure not to miss a thing!
Never been to Scotland and would like the complete Scottish experience? Then this is the trip for you! You will discover everything from Highland castles steeped in history, to whisky distilleries brewing up the local dram, to beautiful white sandy beaches and rugged islands. Allow our local expertise to guide you on a hassle-free journey of cultural discovery around Scotland and experience Scottish hospitality at it's finest.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent tour.

Activity:

Multi-Center Discovery, Self-Drive Discovery | On this discovery tour spend a mix of multiple nights in more than one location, but on some tours this may be combined with only one night in a place too., A tour where you can travel from A to B at your own pace exploring the sights en-route.

This trip is suitable for:

Families, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, First Timers

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 5 Years

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Wine, Whiskey & More...
  • Historical Journeys
  • Special Occasions

Inspiration:

  • New

Navigation

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.

Accommodations

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. 

Single Rooms

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.

Meals

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. 

Additional Nights

You can add additional nights wherever you please on the route. Of course we highly recommend additional nights in the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow at the start/end of your trip!

Included
  • Overnight in 3 and 4* B&B's, guesthouses and small hotels
  • Breakfasts
  • Ferry ticket (car included) from Skye to the mainland
  • 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
Excluded
  • Car hire (available as an optional extra)
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal equipment
  • Accommodation in Edinburgh or Glasgow
  • Entrance fees
Extras
  • 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. It is worth keeping in mind that the driving conditions, particularly in the far north of Scotland, will also be more challenging at this time. However, attractions and popular viewpoints will generally be quieter. 

Weather and Climate

Scotland enjoys a temperate climate, meaning it's relatively mild all year, except in winter when temperatures occasionally dip below 0 degrees Celsius for short periods. The Highlands are renowned for variable weather so you should be prepared for everything; from 'dreich' days (a Scottish word for drizzly days that are a bit bleak) to days with beautiful blue skies and warmer weather. Whatever the weather it tends to be breezy so spare layers are always recommended.

From the end of April to October average daily temperatures vary from 9-15 degrees Celsius. Monthly rainfall varies from 10-16 mm per month on average. Generally, May to July is the driest and mildest months, but exploring later in the year from September to October is pleasant in cooler temperatures and the autumnal scenery is spectacular as the leaves begin to change colour.

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. 

By Rail: Edinburgh is also connected to central Scotland and England by good rail links. See the Scot Rail website for Scottish locations and National Rail for UK-wide locations.

By Bus: Services from UK destinations are operated by National Express. Services from Scottish destinations are operated by Scottish Citylink

Car Rental 

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. 

Getting from the End

Getting from Glasgow

By Road: Glasgow is served by an excellent motorway network. It's a 1hr 15 min drive from Glasgow to Edinburgh on the east coast. Manchester is approx a 3.5 hour drive or Newcastle on the east coast is approx 3 hours. 

If dropping off a rental car and continuing your onward journey by public transport we recommend breaking the journey by adding an extra night in Glasgow or Edinburgh. For specific information regarding public transport in Scotland, please see the excellent Traveline Scotland website for timetables and fares. 

By Air: Located 8 miles west of Glasgow, the international airport is served by routes from around Britain and the world. A regular shuttle bus service runs from the city centre to the airport. Or if you wish to drop your car off in Glasgow and enjoy some time there before heading back to Edinburgh, regular bus and train services link the two cities, taking approx 1 hour. 

For further information regarding public transport in Scotland, please see the excellent Traveline Scotland website for timetables and fares. 

By Rail: Glasgow is also connected to central Scotland and England by good rail links. See the Scot Rail website for Scottish locations and National Rail for UK-wide locations.

By Bus: Services from UK destinations are operated by National Express. Services from Scottish destinations are operated by Scottish Citylink

General Information

On confirmation of your booking, you will receive a personalised itinerary and comprehensive information pack. This carefully curated pack, designed with our extensive local knowledge and expertise, will include recommended driving routes, personal recommendations for places and attractions to stop at enroute, and our recommendations for the best places to eat and drink. 

Car Rental 

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 book an Economy category car (suitable for up to 4 people) with included comprehensive insurance, prices are on a request basis. Please just let us know if you would like to upgrade your car. 

Travel Insurance

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.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Ancient St Andrews and the coastal villages of Fife Day 2 The rolling hills of Highland Perthshire enroute to Royal Deeside Day 3 Whisky tasting in Speyside & The Cairngorms National Park Day 4 Inverness via the Great Glen and Caledonian Canal Day 5 Head north on the North Coast 500 and John O'Groats Day 6 The rugged coast and beaches of the far north Day 7 The mountains and lochs of Assynt Day 8 To the Isle of Skye via the wild west coast Day 9 The magical Isle of Skye Day 10 The Seafood Capital of Oban via historic Glencoe Day 11 Optional day trip to the islands of Mull, Iona & Staffa Day 12 South to Glasgow or Edinburgh via the "bonnie banks of Loch Lomond" or Stirling Castle

The Macs Way

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