Scotland Castles Trail - 6 Days

6 Days & 5 Nights 5 Read 1 reviews
  • Renowned Eilean Donan Castle, with views of Skye, on Scotland's dramatic west coast
  • Explore Loch Ness, Cawdor Castle and Culloden Battlefield from Inverness
  • Imposing Dunnottar Castle perched on the Aberdeenshire seacliffs
  • Quaint seaside town of St Andrews with its white sand beaches and cobbled streets
  • Balmoral Castle, Scottish home of the royal family, set in the Cairngorm National Park
Discover a land steeped in myth and legend; from crumbling castles and plush royal residences to dramatic scenery and fine seafood accompanied by honey-hued drams. This trip has it all! Soak in the rich heritage of Highland and coastal castles abounding with tales of epic clan battles, the Jacobite Rebellion and Shakespeare's Macbeth. Not only will you behold Eilean Donan Castle, perhaps the most famous in Scotland, but you'll have the opportunity to visit Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness, and admire the fairytale turrets of pink Craigievar Castle. In the evenings enjoy hearty Highland cuisine followed by a dram or two as you mull over the next day's adventure with our information pack brimming with local expertise. All this set against the backdrop of Caledonian pine forests, idyllic countryside, sweeping coastline and charming seaside towns.
The ideal trip for aspiring history buffs and lovers of legend alike. Immerse yourself in the country's multifaceted past as you tour iconic castles. No trip to Scotland would be complete without a distillery visit, so we have designed the trip to take you past some of Speyside's most renowned distilleries. However, you don't have to be an amateur historian or single-malt enthusiast to get the most out of this self-drive holiday! Allow our local expertise to guide you on a hassle-free journey of cultural discovery around the Scottish Highlands. Experience Scottish hospitality at it's finest, not just at your accommodations, but as you tour the Scottish Highlands meeting locals along the way.

Tour Type:

Discovery | Discovery


Self Drive | Take the wheel and explore an area at your own pace taking in places and highlights that our travel experts recommend.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Whisky
  • Accessible by Rail


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 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 listed in the itinerary 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.


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 city of Edinburgh at the start/end of your trip!

  • 5 Nights in 3-4* B&B's, guesthouses and small hotels
  • 5 Breakfasts
  • 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
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Any entrance fees for attractions/recommended excursions
  • Additional nights at the start/end or along the route
  • Car hire (available as an optional extra)

When To Go

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. 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 dip below 0 degrees Celsius and it snows regularly in the Highlands. The Highlands are renowned for variable weather so you should be prepared for everything; from 'dreich' days (a Scottish word for rainy 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 averarge. Generally, May to July are 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. To see the purple heather blooming on the hillsides the best time to travel is from late July to early September. 

Getting from the End

Your trip ends in Edinburgh, which is easily accessible from across the UK via great public transport and road links, or from 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. 

Onward travel from Edinburgh is easy if continuing onward travel in your own car via good motorway links to the rest of the UK. 

By Road: It's a 1h 15m drive from Glasgow on the west coast 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. 

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 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 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

General Information

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. 

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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Day 1 Glasgow to Inveraray Day 2 Inveraray to Dornie with visits to Eilean Donan Castle, Rannoch Moor and the Glencoe Valley Day 3 Dornie to Inverness via Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and the Culloden Battlefield Day 4 Inverness to Ballater through the Cairngorms National Park seeing castles and whisky tastings Day 5 Ballater to St Andrews visiting Dunnottar and Glamis Castles en route Day 6 St Andrews to Edinburgh via Fife coastal villages and Elie's Lighthouse. Onward travel

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