West highlands Lochs and Castles
A fantastic day out in the heart of the scenic Western Highlands taking in the superb ruins of Kilchurn Castle, stunningly situated at the head of Loch Awe and Inveraray Castle, home to the Duke of Argyll.
Departure Days Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday
Depart Edinburgh at 09.30 and travel west, past Stirling castle to your first stop at Doune Castle. This area of Scotland has certainly seen its fair share of fighting and warfare. Stirling castle was once known as the 'Key to Scotland', and it was here that William Wallace (immortalised by Mel Gibson in the film Braveheart) defeated the English army in 1297. After William Wallace's death it was Robert the Bruce who continued the fight for independence and you will pass the site of his most famous victory in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn.
Then you arrive at the fantastic medieval stronghold of Doune castle. Built for Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, over 600 years ago the castle is still in great condition and you will have time for photos. You might even have seen the castle before, it was made famous by the film 'Monty Python and The Holy Grail', with many scenes filmed here.
You then continue a little further on to Callander. After a short coffee stop you cross the Highland boundary fault line leaving the rolling farms for the wild mountains and forests of the Highlands. You will make a short stop at Loch Luibnaig before you continue over the Braes of Balquhidder, the final resting place of Highland outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor. Made famous by Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy was a sort of Highland Robin Hood, he stole from the rich, but never quite got round to giving it to the poor.
From Balquhidder the tour winds its way through the tough knot of mountains known as Breadalbane (meaning the 'high country of Scotland') before we stop for lunch in a small West Highland village. Shortly after lunch you will see Kilchurn Castle, a magnificent ruin situated in the middle of Loch Awe and former home of the Campbells of Breadalbane. You will continue along the banks of Loch Awe through Campbell country to the picturesque town of Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne. Here you can visit the 18th-century castle and home of the Duke of Argyll, chief of the Campbell clan. The town was built at the same time as the castle and has the air of a classic 18th-century planned village with its straight wide streets and dignified Georgian houses. You can take time to explore the town and maybe call at the Old Jail or the maritime museum, the Arctic Penguin.
Leaving Inveraray, you take a drive up through the steep-sided mountains known as the Arrochar Alps to the great viewpoint at 'Rest and Be Thankful'. It was given its name in 1753 by the weary soldiers who had just finished building the old military road up through Glen Croe. From here you skirt around Loch Long and down to the Bonnie, Bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. This is Scotland's largest loch and it takes its name from the mountain Ben Lomond on the eastern shore. You make a short stop at the conservation village of Luss, with its quaint houses and stunning views across the loch. At 17.30 you make your way back to Edinburgh, with a short photo stop underneath Stirling Castle.
- Transportation by top of the range minicoach for a more personal experience.
- Services of a professional driver/guide
- All ferry and bridge crossings.
- Lunch and refreshments.
- Entrances to all Visitor Attractions.
On this tour you will be travelling with no more than 16 other people - guaranteed! Our purpose-built minibuses have large windows, good air circulation and clear PA systems so that your professional guide can escort you comfortably through our wonderful country. Our itineraries are carefullly planned (with many years of experience) so that you discover as much as possible, without spending too much time on the road.
As we travel in smaller vehicles, we normally use the most scenic routes, where large coach are prohibited from travelling. Additionally, as our group sizes are smaller we are able to more time out of the vehicle. We also employ a the very best driver/guides.
Friendly and Professional Guides - Small Groups - More Scenic Routes - More Time Sightseeing - Great Value for Money
08.00am (check-in at 07.45am) 1 Parliament Square, Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Returns to Waverley Bridge opposite Waverley Train Station by 7 pm approx.
How to travel to Edinburgh using public transport from other parts of the UK:
Train: Rail is normally the easiest and fastest method travel to Edinburgh. Services take you directly into the city centre (Waverley Train Station). For information on rail services visit National Rail Enquiries. Typical train journey times between London and Edinburgh are 5 hours.
Coach: Coach travel is normally the least expensive method of travel but journey times are much longer (typlically 10-11 hours from London). Services are operated by National Express and also Megabus.
Air: Regional services operate from most of the main UK Airports. Low-Cost carriers normally offer the best deals and include: Easyjet.com, Flybe.com, bmibaby.com. If you are travelling from London Heathrow try flybmi.com. For a full list of the domestic and international carriers serving Edinburgh click here. Edinburgh is easily reached by coach and train from Glasgow Airport - click here. It is worth noting that most journeys to Edinburgh by train from London are as fast as by air, due to travelling to the airport, check-in and security and then obtaining luggage and getting from Edinburgh Airport to the city, which takes approximately 30 minutes.
Link into an International Friends tour departing from England - Edinburgh by train
Why not link into one of our regular rail package tour departures from London, Cambridge, Oxford, or Kent. Our package tours include train tickets, accommodation, sightseeing and are fully escorted. We can extend your rail travel so that you can participate in our extended tours in Scotland. Our specialist staff in our Cambridge office are experts on Edinburgh and Scotland and will be happy to discuss your exact requirements. We can be contacted by telephone on 0044 (0)1223 244 555 or by email to [email protected]
To find great deals on hotels in Edinburgh click here. Obtaining accommodation in Edinburgh can be extremely hard due to city's popularity and limited supply of hotels. Booking early is strongly recommended.
- We recommend you bring suitable clothing and footwear for your tour. Scotland can be a wet place!!
- Infants and children under 3 years old cannot be carried on this tour.
- This tour is operated by Highland Experience Tours who are our preferred tour partners for small group travel in Scotland.
- Student/child/senior discounts can be selected at the booking stage (see orange box at top right of this page).