Enjoy a road trip with an accredited driver-guide as you explore the Highlands of Scotland. Enjoy the famous Speyside area, famous for its multiple whisky distilleries, the historic region surrounding Inverness and the magical Hebridean Isle of Skye during this eight-day itinerary.
Begin your journey with an international flight into London or Edinburgh.
On arrival you will transfer across to the connecting flights on up to Inverness, with your bags automatically transferred on to the second flight. Welcome to Scotland!
Your private driver will be waiting for you in arrivals with a sign carrying your name. Your journey to your hotel is approximately 30 minutes, dependant on traffic conditions. On arrival to your hotel, relax and unpack.
This afternoon, depart with your driver-guide, who will be with you for the entirety of your trip. He will transfer you to the Loch Ness for your private boat cruise - a brilliant way to get rid of the jet lag! There is no better way to see the beautiful and mystic Loch Ness than by boat. On board the cruise you will be treated to the best Highland hospitality whilst the knowledgeable local guides take you to both the popular and the more remote destinations around the loch. It is the perfect opportunity to hear all the folklore, myths and tall tales (or are they?) that have surrounded Loch Ness for so many years.
On the whisky trail of Speyside, you'll find more than half of Scotland's malt whisky distilleries. Each whisky distillery on the distillery tour follows its own traditions and closely guarded recipes for everything from malting the barley to the height and size of its stills.
The unique characteristics of each Speyside whisky distillery result in delightful, hand-crafted whisky that's distinct to each, but always delicious. Follow the world-famous Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside to some of the working distilleries - from Benromach to Dallas Dhu, a perfect time capsule of whisky-making; and on to Glen Moray and Strathisla, home and heart of Chivas Regal. Then from the Glen Grant distillery to the Speyside Cooperage where real coopers work with incredible speed and skill; from Glenfiddich to The Glenlivet and the Cardhu distillery, Scotland's whisky trail signposts lead you through the picturesque lush countryside of Speyside, the world's favourite malt whisky region.
This morning depart with your driver-guide for the beautiful Cairngorms. Enjoy a visit to Balmoral Castle, the Queen's favourite residence and where she normally spends the summer months.
After lunch in a local pub, it's time for a sheep dog demonstration; during the 45-minute session you will see up to eight dogs working as a team and you can have an opportunity to participate in the traditional working day of a Highland shepherd. After the demonstration, visit Ballindalloch Castle, one of the most beautiful and romantic castles in Scotland, and a family home to this day.
Set out today for one of the country's most powerful prehistoric sites, Clava Cairns, home to burial monuments and the remains of a medieval chapel.
From here, travel as if through time to 1746 and Culloden, the last major battle fought on mainland Britain. Turf and stone dykes have been reconstructed on their original site to show crucial parts of the battle, fought between government troops and Jacobite forces intent on restoring the Stuart dynasty to the British throne. After the battle, Fort George was built as a base for King George II's army. While it took 22 years to build, it went on to serve the British Army for almost 250 years. Explore the fort's history, walk around the main rampart and enter the grand magazine which held over 2,600 gunpowder barrels in its time.
In the evening, visit the beautiful Cawdor Castle for a private tour with the Lord and Lady of the house. Sip a glass of champagne as you tour this fairy-tale castle which dates back from 1380 and is best known for its fictionalised literary connection to Macbeth.
Today, check out of your hotel and depart for your castle hotel, located near Fort William, a journey of approximately one hour and 45 minutes.
Enjoy an early lunch before departing for Fort William, for your afternoon Jacobite Steam train ride. Described as one of the great railway journeys in the world, the landscapes from the highest British mountain to deepest freshwater loch will delight all ages, not to mention the Harry Potter connection and beautiful Glen Finnan Viaduct. (for the best views of the viaduct, try to sit on the left-hand side of the train)
Your driver-guide will be waiting for you at Mallaig to explore the quaint seaside town, before he transfers you back to your hotel.
Depart with your driver-guide for the Isle of Skye, a journey that should take approximately two hours and will include driving past some spectacular scenery of mountains and lochs.
Once on Skye, visit the islands only distillery (the world famous Talisker), marvel at the Black Cuillin Mountains and enjoy a spot of wildlife watching. Stop for afternoon tea at Kinloch Lodge before taking the ferry back to the mainland.
Enjoy a day relaxing in your hotel and enjoying the facilities, we can arrange clay pigeon shooting or fishing within the grounds of the hotel.
Check out of your hotel and your driver is on hand to transfer you back to Inverness airport for your flight and connecting onward flight back home.