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  • £1,122.00 From per person
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17 Day – Island Hopping Extravaganza

Departing Edinburgh you will discover the majesty of Mull, Skye, Iona, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides on this 17 day tour with highlight visits to Irelands Distilleries.

Explore the extremes of north-west Europe’s last great wilderness and enjoy eight fantastic west coast islands and the prehistoric beauty and history of the northern Orkney islands, coupled with an escape to the western Isles of Lewis and breath-taking Harris.

Travel through the mountains of Loch Lomond National Park, one of Scotland’s largest lochs to the old busy harbour of town of Oban where you will visit Oban Distillery then board a ferry to the island of Islay.

See Kilchoman Distillery or enjoy a coastal walk to Machair Bay and explore Portnahaven before a visit to Bowmore Distillery.

Stop in Ardbeg, Laphroaig,  Lagavulin and ferry to Kilmartin Glen where you will be able to see the amazing stone circle of 350 prehistoric monuments and visit the community museum.

Enjoy an island adventure and board a ferry the dramatic coastline of Mull and the tranquillity of Iona then have the option to take a small boat to the island of Staffa.

Travel past Appin, Glencoe and Fort William which nestles in the shadows of the great Ben Nevis mountain to the popular fishing village of Plockton.

On the island of Skye explore the 13th century Dunvegan Castle, the lighthouse at Neist Point and the famous Eilean Donan Castle used in the film “Highlander”.

See views of Loch Duich and maybe spot “Nessie” on the banks of Loch Ness then travel the Great Glen passing Urquhart castle.

Sail the viking waters to Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney and stop in the town of Ullapool where you can board a local boat and cruise the summer Isles or walk to Claypool hill and enjoy views of Loch Broom.

Visit the fine beaches of Stornoway, the main town on Lewis and capital of the Outer Hebrides then travel from Lewis to the mountainous island of Harris , famous for its locally produced Harris tweed.




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Prices

  • £1,122.00 From per person

Enquire about this tour

Tour Highlights

  • Oban - This Victorian harbour town offers excellent seafood and a charming intimacy
  • The Islay Single Malt Whiskies - On an island known locally as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’, there is a regal quality to the distinctly peaty style of its single malt whiskies
  • Inveraray - Explore the fabulous home town of the Duke of Argyll and the stunning ancestral castle
  • Loch Lomond National Park - Enjoy the dramatic splendour of one of Scotland’s most famous lochs and the beautiful national park that surrounds it
  • Iona and Staffa - Visit the tiny Island of Iona, inhabited with just around 120 people
  • Isle of Skye - One of the world’s most stunning islands
  • Eilean Donan Castle - An iconic and gorgeous 13th century castle that once warded off Viking invasions
  • Orkney Isles - These beautiful islands are full of ancient history and wildlife
  • Glencoe and Rannoch Moor - Be moved by the sheer beauty and tragic tales of one of Scotland’s most famous landscapes
  • Loch Ness - Take a chance to go on an optional boat cruise or wander around this alluring and eerie loch
Callander
59°
mostly cloudy
64% humidity
wind: 11mph E
H 59 • L 49
62°
Wed
66°
Thu
70°
Fri
69°
Sat
69°
Sun
Weather from Yahoo!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 - Callander, Oban and Islay

Leaving Edinburgh you will head west to Stirling and into the Highlands with a short stop in the holiday town of Callander for refreshments.

After travelling through the mountainous northern part of the Loch Lomond National Park you will arrive in the busy harbour town of Oban.

You will have a couple of hours here with the chance to visit the Oban Distillery and sample some local seafood for lunch.

You will then depart Oban mid-afternoon for the journey to Kennacraig to catch the evening ferry to Islay.

The sail is just over two hours and you should look out for wildlife such as dolphins, whales and seabirds.

On arrival on Islay it is a short drive to Bowmore for your three night stay.

Day 2 - Islay

Enjoy a full day exploring Islay. The itinerary today is quite flexible with a mixture of beautiful scenery, white sand beaches, short walks and of course the famous Islay whiskies – renowned for their strong peaty flavours and nurtured by the salty sea air.

In the morning you will take the short drive to the west of the island via Saligo Bay for a visit to Kilchoman Distillery (the newest and smallest on the island) with the option of a coastal walk to Machair Bay for any non-whisky lovers.

After lunch you will explore the tiny harbour village of Portnahaven (look out for seals) before taking the back roads along the west coast with its lovely sandy bays, on the way back to Bowmore.

You will have the chance to visit Bowmore distillery or just relax and explore the village.

Day 3 - Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg

Another day in paradise! Today you will explore the southern side of the island, home to the smokiest and peatiest of all whiskies – Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

We will visit Ardbeg for a tour, tasting and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy local produce as well as some unique whisky.

We follow this up with a visit to Laphroaig and if time we will stop for a tasting at Lagavulin.

It should also be possible to visit to the ruins of Kildalton church with its famous 8th Century Celtic cross.

Alternatively we may stop in Bridgend where you could visit the community craft producers at Islay House Square or take a walk through the woods along the nearby River Sorn.

Day 4 - Kilmartin Glen and Oban

This morning you take the ferry back to the mainland and travel the short distance to Kilmartin Glen where we will have lunch. There are more than 350 prehistoric monuments within a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin and you will have the chance to see the mysterious stone circles and standing stones and visit the community museum.

From here the tour continues round the coast to the beautiful little village of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne.

Here you’ll join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Oban.

Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions.

Once we arrive in Oban you’ll have a free afternoon to enjoy this bustling and busy highland town.

For those who are partial to some retail therapy, there are numerous shopping possibilities, or for those who wish to continue their thirst for Scottish whisky, Oban distillery is nicely situated in the heart of the town.

A hike uphill will bring its own rewards with stunning views from the most photographed structure in the west, McCaig’s folly. The folly built on instruction by a local banker in 1897 resembles the coliseum in Rome, and provides magnificent vistas over the distant Firth of Lorne.

You will stay in this glorious highland town for two nights.

Day 5 - Mull, Iona and Staffa

Is an early start crossing on the ferry to Mull and enjoying an island adventure exploring her dramatic coastlines and wild beauty, before taking the small ferry to the peace and tranquillity of Iona – birthplace of Celtic Christianity and ancient burial ground of Scottish Kings.

Here you can visit the historic abbey with its intricate carved crosses in the churchyard or explore the rocky headlands and sandy coves of this island gem.

There is also an opportunity to take a small boat out to the island of Staffa and view the dramatic basalt columns immortalised by Mendelssohn in his Hebridean Overture “Fingal’s Cave”.

You then return on the ferry to Oban for your second night.

Day 6 - Glencoe and Plockton

We take you north along the west coast around Appin, passing the impregnable Castle Stalker, and Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692.

You then pass through Fort William nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis which at 1344 meters is the highest mountain in the British Isles.

We continue through the Great Glen a natural fault in the earth’s crust that runs through Scotland and on through Ireland.

From here you travel north to the picturesque fishing village of Plockton.

You are then dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening.

Day 7 - Skye

Is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and your driver/guide will use his/her local knowledge to decide on the best day out for the group.

For example: heading west towards the 13th century home of the Clan Macleod – Dunvegan Castle, the emerald green valley of Glendale or the dramatic sea-cliffs and lonely lighthouse at Neist Point.

In the afternoon the tour may concentrate on the south of the island. Spend time heading down to Elgol for seascapes and views of the Cuillin, or Talisker and its beautiful bay or perhaps Glenbrittle and its famed waterfalls.

We return you to your accommodation in Plockton in the late afternoon for you to enjoy a free evening in the village.

Day 8 - Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Ness and Inverness

You will be collected from your accommodation for the short drive to the famous stronghold of Eilean Donan Castle, used in the film “Highlander”, set at the junction of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders.

Then you travel east taking in the stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters of Kintail. Continue on to Loch Ness for lunch and the possibility of spotting “Nessie”.

Half an hour south of Loch Ness you will stop in the village of Spean Bridge and join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Orkney.

Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions.

With your new crew you will continue north following the Great Glen travelling the entire 23 miles of the famous Loch passing by Urquhart castle.

You can expect to arrive in Inverness, the Highland capital, and the place of our overnight stay at approx 18.30 where you will be dropped off at your pre booked accommodation.

Day 9 - Orkney Archipelago

Is an early start, leaving behind the ‘Capital of the Highlands’, crossing over the Black Isle, and past Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Castle.

From here you drive through the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery, and enjoy amazing views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes and the chance to see wildlife such as Golden Eagles and red deer.

On wards through Scotland’s most northerly mainland village, John o’ Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago.

From here it is a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where we stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney where you shall stay for 2 nights.

Here you can visit Kirkwall’s magnificent Viking Cathedral and its historic winding streets.

Day 10 - Skara Brae, Stromness and Kirkwall

Is your chance to explore this fantastic, ancient island; a land of contrasts where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

You will visit the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae (older than the Pyramids of Egypt!), the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness.

We stop in Stromness – one of Scotland’s most picturesque seaboard villages and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions.

Then it’s back to Kirkwall for our 2nd night after what is sure to be a memorable day.

Day 11 - Assynt and Ullapool

Is a relaxed start to the day, as you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland.

From here you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of our northern coastline.

We then visit the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle.

From here we travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you will spend the next two nights.

Once again you will leave the group at this point and on day 13 join your new group, with whom you will stay for the rest of the tour.

Day 12 - Ullapool

Enjoy a free day in Ullapool to do as you please before joining up with your new crew the next day. There are many possibilities available in this lovely town.

Options for your day include enjoying a day just to relax and absorb the highland tranquil pace of life whilst browsing the small craft boutiques nestling through the streets of the town.

Or why not take the local boat, the ‘Summer Queen’ from the pier for an idyllic ‘summer Isles’ cruise. Alternatively you could head up Claypool hill for an easy two hour walk offering wonderful views over Loch Broom reaching a maximum height of 900ft.

Or for the even more adventurous add to this walk by completing a three hour circuit returning to the town via Rhiddoroch estate.

(Full details of all local walks can be found at the local tourist information centre).

There is also a local swimming pool, and a small museum giving an informative narrative about the natural and social history of the area.

Day 13 - Stornoway and Butt of Lewis

Catch the morning ferry from Ullapool for the two hour sail along Loch Broom, past the Summer Isles then out across the Minch to Stornoway – the main town on Lewis and capital of the Outer Hebrides. Look out for dolphins, whales and seabirds during the crossing.

In the afternoon explore the North West coast from Arnol with its historic old “blackhouse”, through traditional crofting townships to Port of Ness and the very north tip of the island – the Butt of Lewis.

From the lighthouse here there is nothing between you and the Americas! Overnight in Stornoway.

Day 14 - Callanish

Today will be spent exploring some of the prehistoric remains on the island as well as its finest beaches. The fascinating circular stone fort, or Broch, at Carloway will be our first stop followed by more traditional crofting communities such as Gearrannan and Shawbost.

Then its on to Callanish with its mysterious ancient stone circle.

In the afternoon you will head for the remote district of Uig with its fine, sandy beaches at Bhaltos, dramatic sea cliffs and rugged hills. This is the wilderness of the Western Isles at its finest.

Overnight again in Stornoway.

Day 15 - Harris and Portree

Travelling south today from the wild moorlands of Lewis to the more mountainous Harris – almost but not quite an island on its own. Famous for the locally produced cloth, Harris Tweed, it is also home to the highest mountains in the Outer Hebrides and the stunning white sands of Luskentyre.

After a morning of exploring South Harris you will stop for lunch in the small port of Tarbet.

Here you will catch the late afternoon ferry to Skye and continue on to the harbour town of Portree, your base for the next two nights.

Day 16 - Skye

Is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and your driver/guide’s knowledge will come to the fore in developing the best day out for you.

For example you might travel north to the stunning Quiraing mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk through some of Skye’s extraordinary geological scenery or visit the Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns (reminiscent of the pleats in a kilt) with its waterfall cascading over the cliffs and down into the sea below.

Or, after lunch you could travel to Neist Point for a walk out to the lighthouse at the most westerly point on Skye.

Alternatively a visit to Dunvegan Castle, ancient ancestral seat of the Clan McLeod, may be possible.

Day 17 - Eilean Donan Castle

Departing from Portree the return journey to Edinburgh has many highlights – a visit to Eilean Donan Castle, Fort William and the dramatic scenery and dark history of Glencoe.

Travelling back south through the Central Highland the last stop of the day will be in Killin beside the Falls of Dochart before returning to Edinburgh.

Callander
59°
mostly cloudy
64% humidity
wind: 11mph E
H 59 • L 49
62°
Wed
66°
Thu
70°
Fri
69°
Sat
69°
Sun
Weather from Yahoo!

Important Information

  • Discounts for students and seniors over 60.
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes.
  • One 15 kilogram bag per person.
  • Unfortunately we don’t carry anyone under 18 years old on this tour.

Tour Inclusions

  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach.
  • Air conditioning as standard.
  • The stories and services of a driver-guide.

Departure Information

  • Departs 08.30 – Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ.
  • Returns 19.00.

Accommodation

  • You stay three nights in Islay**, two nights in Oban, two nights in Plockton, one night in Inverness, two nights in Orkney, two nights in Ullapool, two nights in Stornoway,
    and two nights in Portree.
  • We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre.
  • We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard. The prices below are for guidance only.

B&B (Bed and Breakfast) Standard

  • The toilet and showering facilities are shared with at least one other room in the house, and the price includes breakfast.
  • The cost is between £30.00 – £35.00 per person per night.
  • A single standard is between £35.00 – £60.00 per night.

B&B En/suite

  • The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price.
  • The expected cost for a room, based on two people sharing, will be between £40.00 – £50.00 per person per night.
  • The expected cost for a single room will be between *£55.00 – £80.00 per night.

Hotels

  • Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals.
  • Breakfast is included in the price.
  • The expected cost of Hotel 3* is between £65.00 – £85.00 per person per night.
  • Hotel 4* is approximately £75.00 – £120.00 per person per night.

Hostels

  • A hostel consists of dormitory rooms with 4 to 16 bunk beds.
  • The bathroom facilities are a short distance from the dorm room.
  • Kitchen facilities are equipped so you can make your own meals.
  • The cost is between £15.00- £25.00 per person per night.
  • Please note that SYHA hostels only offer same gender dorms.
  • Some independent hostels will offer mixed rooms (males and females together).


FAQ’s

What meals are included?

Breakfast is included on all overnight tours.  Lunches are not included, unless otherwise stated.  Evening meals are included when stated on the tour itinerary.  On tours of seven days or more, generally fifty percent of dinners are included.  Please check the itinerary page for exact details.

Where does the trip depart from?

Each UK trip will have a dedicated pick up point in central London.  Shorter duration trips will normally depart from Victoria Coach Station, with longer duration trips leaving from the London Reception Centre, near to Waterloo train station.  Departure points will be confirmed before booking a tour.

Can I get picked up from my hotel?

Pick up from hotels is not possible.  You will need to make your own way to the departure point.  However some tours do have a designated hotel departure, which you can stay in prior to the trip.  Please ask at time of booking for departure points and we can direct you to local hotels.

Are entrance fees included?

Entrance fees are included where specified on the itinerary.

Can I pay in dollars?

All tours are quoted and charged in pounds sterling, but you can pay using your local card and currency.  We will debit the card in pounds sterling and your bank will use their exchange rate at that time to deduct the amount in your local currency.

What time does the trip leave and return?

Departure times will vary depending on the itinerary.  European tours departing from London will usually leave between 05.00am and 07.00am.  Multi day UK tours will leave between 06.00am and 07:30am.  Day trips will depart between 07.00am and 09.00am.  European and worldwide tours that start in an overseas city will have a welcome reception on day one of the tour which is usually around 18.00pm.

Return times vary depending on the itinerary.  All the full day coach tours should be finished by no later than 19.00pm, traffic permitting.  The train tours return between 20.00pm and 22.00pm.  Longer duration trips will return between 16.00pm and 19.00pm.  All times will be confirmed at time of booking.

Is this a definite/guaranteed departure?

A definite departure is guaranteed to operate for that given departure date.  A trip that is not yet designated a definite departure is not yet guaranteed to operate based on current booking numbers.  If a trip and departure date you are interested in is not yet definite, do not let this discourage you from booking.  The more paid passengers received, the odds of the trip operating increase.  In the slim case that the operator withdraw a trip you are booked on due to a lack of numbers, you are entitled to a full refund of any funds already paid towards the tour, or if flexible with your time, we can move you onto another departure.

Who travels on these tours, who else is booked?

Whilst we can not confirm exactly who else is booked on a tour, we can guarantee you will be travelling with fellow liked minded travelers who share a passion for travel, fun, adventure and discovery.  All tours will be run by English speaking guides and age ranges will vary.  The beauty of taking a guided holiday is you’ll have the opportunity to meet and travel with people from all over the globe.

Are transfers included from the airport?

In general, if you are joining or departing your guided holiday on the first or last day, return transfers between the airport and hotel are included (excludes itineraries starting and/or ending in London).  You’ll find specific information on the itinerary’s page.

What optional excursions can I do and can I book them now?

Optional experiences are available on some tours.  These are activities that are not automatically included, but offered during your trip to enhance your travel experience.  These are all bookable whilst on the tour via your tour guide/travel director.  These are payable by cash or card.



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So we offer Out of London, Around London, Theatre and Hotels and then there are the spectacular Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day tours – what a way to celebrate the fun season.