Scotland Literary Trail
- Explore Scotland's magical landscapes which have inspired countless authors and poets
- Stroll down the real-life Diagon Alley of Harry Potter fame in Edinburgh
- Visit Abbotsford, the historic home of Sir Walter Scott on the banks of the River Tweed
- Enjoy a drink in the Globe Inn, where Robert Burns himself mused
- Glencoe and Rannoch Moor, highland landscapes brought to life by Robert Louis Stevenson
ItineraryDay 1 Edinburgh, UNESCO City of Literature & The Scottish Borders
Your trip starts from Edinburgh, and if you have the time we highly recommend adding on additional nights in our vibrant capital city which is a UNESCO City of Literature, and therefore in itself has plentiful literary connections to discover.
With just a short drive to Melrose to start your journey, we recommend having a stroll around Edinburgh's Old Town this morning where you can visit many of the places which inspired JK Rowling in her world-famous Harry Potter books, including the real-life inspiration for Diagon Alley, and Greyfriars Kirkyard where you may spot some familiar Harry Potter names. From Edinburgh, head south to "the most mysterious and magical chapel on earth", Rosslyn Chapel, featured in Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, before continuing to the charming Borders town of Melrose.
Driving Time: Approx 1h 30min
The Townhouse is a privately-owned hotel with a great sense of style and welcoming atmosphere. The 11 ensuite rooms have their own unique character and furnishings including all amenities that you require for a comfortable night stay.
Burts Hotel is a listed building and has been restored and extended to retain its original charm. The hotel has 20 en-suite rooms all equipped to the highest standard. Because your comfort and enjoyment comes first at Burt’s, each room has been individually decorated to make your stay restful and relaxing. The award-winning restaurant at Burt’s Hotel is one of Scotland’s finest. Here you can experience a truly gastronomic experience in elegant surroundings. The restaurant at Burt’s Hotel has been awarded two AA Rosettes every year since 1995.
Jim and Lucille Gray pride themselves on ensuring that everyone is well looked after at the Station Hotel and Restaurant. Take time out to appreciate delicious coffee, fresh ciabattas, wraps, salads and homemade soups. For those who prefer a hearty meal, there are a few favourites - succulent steak pies, mouth-watering pasta and their famous fish and chips!
The first must-see stop this morning is Abbotsford, the elegant home of the famous 19th-century novelist, Sir Walter Scott, and the man who is credited with founding Scottish tourism, through his inspirational novels based in Scotland. Here you can learn about his life and wander round the country estate filled with wildlife, and nearby enjoy the scenic viewpoint of Scott's View, said to be his favourite place to reflect. Continue to Ayrshire and "Rabbie Burns" country. Stop off for some refreshments at the pub where Scotland's most famous bard frequented, The Globe Inn, before continuing through the beautiful rural landscapes of Ayrshire to Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town, and then Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns.
This picturesque village is where the famous Burns poem Tam O'Shanter was set and you can visit the Brig O'Doon, the 15th-century humpbacked bridge which Tam O'Shanter fled over. In the evening, why not enjoy the Scottish speciality, haggis - or as Rabbie Burns would have called it "Great chieftain o the puddin' race!"
Driving Time: Approx 4hr 30m
Spacious Victorian town-house in one of the most beautiful and quiet streets in Ayr, lined with cherry trees and impressive Victorian villas.
A Victorian terraced Guest House which has been redecorated to retain period features such as high ceilings with ornate cornicing and furbished with beautiful traditional furniture.
Brig O’ Doon House & Gardens is located in the historic town of Ayr on the River Doon with stunning views. The five ensuite bedrooms offer luxury accommodation and you can enjoy fine dining at the restaurant.
Enjoy a change of landscapes today as you head north from the pastoral lowlands, to the rugged Highlands. Robert Louis Stevenson was a writer famous for weaving the landscapes inextricably into his stories, and today you can step into the shoes of David Balfour and Alan Breck in the novel Kidnapped as you drive through the wild Rannoch Moor where "the mist rose and died away, and showed that country lying as waste as the sea; only the moorfowl and the peewees crying upon it". Overnight in Glencoe, where the opening credits of the televised version of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander were filmed. With its brooding mountains and sweeping glen, and fascinating dark history of its own, this is a truly memorable place to explore.
Driving Time: Approx 2h 30m
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.
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.
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.
Discover some of Scotland's Jacobite history this morning and immerse yourself in the landscapes of the famous novels of Outlander. The Glenfinnan Monument was erected in 1815 in tribute to Jacobite clansmen such as Jamie, the highland warrior of Outlander. Nearby, the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct is instantly recognisable as the scene where "Hogwarts Express" whistles across in the film versions of Harry Potter.
Head south to The Trossachs next, an area Queen Victoria loved and wrote about in her journal - "The solitude, the romance and wild loveliness of everything here....all make beloved Scotland the proudest, finest country in the world....". This area is also home to the folk hero and Scottish outlaw, Rob Roy Macgregor, who William Wordsworth immortalised in his poem "Rob Roy's Grave". A final stop at the shimmering Loch Katrine is a must, where you can enjoy a trip on a historic steamship called The Sir Walter Scott, named in honour of his famous poem "Lady of the Lake" which was set here.
Driving Time: Approx 3h 30min
After one final hearty Scottish breakfast, make your way back to either Glasgow (1h) or Edinburgh (1h 15m) where we will arrange for you to drop off your car. We can of course book extra nights in either city for you - just let us know and we can arrange that for you!
Other InformationIs it for me?
Any keen reader will simply love this tour of the landscapes and sights which have inspired some of the world's most famous authors. If you have always dreamed of putting yourself in the shoes of some well-known characters whilst travelling the beautiful country of Scotland this is the trip for you. Allow our local expertise to guide you on a hassle-free journey of literary discovery and experience renowned Scottish hospitality.
Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 5 Years
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 additional nights wherever you please on the route. Of course we highly recommend additional nights in the capital city of Edinburgh, which has so many associations with famous authors and is in itself a UNESCO City of Literature.
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.
- Overnight in 3 and 4* B&B's, guesthouses and small hotels
- 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 or Glasgow
- Car Hire
- Additional nights
You can start this tour on any day of the week from March to October, 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 may also be more challenging at this time. However, attractions and popular viewpoints will generally be quieter.
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.
Your trip begins in the well-connected city of Edinburgh. If travelling 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 travelling 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, prices are on a request basis. Please just let us know if you would like to upgrade your car.
You can finish your tour in either Glasgow or Edinburgh - just let us know which you prefer if you are renting a car through us so we know which city to make the drop-off arrangements in.
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.
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 recommended driving routes, the must-see places and attractions to stop at en route, and our suggestions for the best places to eat and drink.
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.
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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At Macs, we don’t do tour buses, groups, or guides. Instead, we give you the freedom and confidence to have your own self-guided hiking or biking adventure
It's active travel, led by you.
You choose your departure date and who you travel with, we do the rest.
We sort accommodation and luggage transfers and provide your route in an easy-to-use app.
We give you everything you need to travel independently but we're here 24/7 if you need us.
Getting from A to B under your own steam is intensely rewarding. With Macs, you'll see the world, and yourself, differently.