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Gems of Scotland
8 days / 7 nights

Day 1

Edinburgh

Arrive at Edinburgh Airport where you will be met by our language speaking guide and executive coach which will escort you throughout the tour.
Transfer to your hotel where you will stay for the next 2 nights.
Dinner and overnight in the Edinburgh Area.

Day 2

Edinburgh

Full Scottish Breakfast.
Today, enjoy a full day city tour of Edinburgh, known as the Athens of the North. In the morning, visit Gladstone's Land. This is a typical example of a 17th century tenement building of the overcrowded Old Town which grew up along the ridge between Edinburgh castle, the palace of Holyrood house and the Royal Mile. The building is the most important example of 17th century high-tenement housing to survive in Edinburgh.

Onto Edinburgh Castle for a visit. One of the most famous castles in the world with battlements overlooking the Esplanade. The oldest part, St Margaret's Chapel dates from the Norman period. The Great Hall was built by James IV. The castle houses the Crown Jewels (honours) of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny and famous 15th century gun Mons Meg.

In the afternoon, visit the Georgian House which is part of Robert Adam's masterpiece of urban design, Charlotte Square. It dates from 1796, when those who could afford it began to escape from the cramped, squalid conditions of Edinburgh's Old Town to settle into the fashionable New Town. The house's beautiful China, shining silver, exquisite paintings and furniture all reflect the domestic surroundings and social conditions of the times.

Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight as above.

Day 3

Edinburgh Area - St Andrews - Dundee - Aberdeen

Full Scottish Breakfast.
We bid farewell to Edinburgh and begin our journey to Scotland's far north travelling across the Forth Road Bridge and onto Fife to visit Falkland Palace. The Royal Palace was the country residence of Stuart kings and queens when they hunted deer and wild boar in the Fife forest. Mary Queen of Scots spent some of the happiest times of her tragic life here, playing the country girl in the woods and parks. Built between 1501 and 1541 by James IV and James V, replacing earlier castle and palace buildings dating from the 12th Century, there are traces of which can still be seen in the grounds.

Onto the seaside resort of St Andrews, known as the home of Golf. Visit both St. Andrews Castle & Cathedral, the ruins of the castle of the Archbishops of St Andrews, dating in part from the 13th century. Notable features include a bottle dungeon, mine and counter mine tunnel made during the siege that followed the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546. These siege works are the finest of their kind in Europe. Also, here is the remains of one of the largest cathedrals in Scotland and the associated domestic ranges of the priory. A museum house, an outstanding collection of early Christian and medieval monuments and other object troves. Enjoy splendid views from the top of St Rule's Tower.

Continue north crossing the Tay Bridge and passing through Dundee, the City of Discovery and onto Montrose for a visit of House of Dun & Montrose Basin Nature Reserve. A Georgian house overlooking the Montrose Basin, designed and built by William Adam in 1730 for David Erskine, Lord Dun, with superb contemporary plasterwork by Joseph Enzer.
Arrive in Aberdeen. A prosperous fishing port where we stay for dinner and overnight.

Day 4

Aberdeen - Dufftown - Brodie - Aviemore Area

Full Scottish Breakfast.
Leaving Aberdeen behind, we follow the salmon-rich River Dee en route Banchory for a visit of Crathes Castle where King Robert the Bruce granted the land of Leys to the Burnett family in 1323. The ancient Horn of Leys, which can be seen today in the Great Hall marks his gift. The castle built in the second half of the 16th century is a superb example of a tower house of the period. Some of the rooms retain their original painted ceilings and collections of family portraits and furniture.

Onto Dufftown, the whisky capital. Visit Glenfiddich Distillery, opened in 1887, producing the only Highland single malt whisky that is distilled, matured and bottled in its own distillery. Enjoy a guided tour and a wee dram of the finished product!
Continue onto Brodie for a visit of Brodie Castle a fine example of a 16th century z-plan tower house with 17th & 19th century additions, set in peaceful parkland.
Dinner and overnight in the Aviemore area.

Day 5

Aviemore Area - Highlands - Aviemore Area

Full Scottish Breakfast.
Today, we capture the scenic glory of the far north and west. Journeying along the banks of sparkling Loch Maree we pass through Gairloch before arriving at Poolewe where we visit Inverewe Gardens. The garden was created by Osgood Mackenzie from 1863 and his work was carried on by his daughter. Now, infamous gardens set on a peninsula on the shore of Loch Ewe, the warm currents of the North Atlantic Drift or Gulf Stream help nurture an oasis of colour and fertility. Exotic plants from many countries flourish on a latitude more northerly than Moscow. Himalayan rhododendrons etc. Onwards via Gruinard Bay to Corrieshalloch Gorge, a deep wooded ravine with a rushing river 150 ft. below.
Return to Aviemore area for dinner and overnight as above.

Day 6

Inverness - Loch Ness - Fort William - Loch Lomond - Glasgow

Full Scottish Breakfast.
Travel south following the banks of Loch Ness watching out for the Loch's mysterious inhabitant Nessie. Visit Urquhart Castle, the ruins of one of the largest castles in Scotland where most of the existing remains date from the 16th century. Sitting on a promontory on the banks of Loch Ness, it is from here that most sightings of Nessie are reported.

Onto Spean Bridge Woollen Mill - a picturesque weaving mill in a former farm steading. Depending the arrival date, you may be lucky to see the resident weaver at work, demonstrating their craft of weaving both Tartan and Tweed.
Pass the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, through the Great Glen and on to Fort William which shelters in the shadow of Ben Nevis. Britain's highest mountain at 4406 feet. Continue across the infamous, yet majestic Glen Coe and through the wide open spaces of desolate Rannoch Moor to the gentle and welcoming banks of Loch Lomond.
Visit the Hill House, the finest of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's domestic creations. The Hill house sits high above the Clyde, commanding fine views over the river estuary. Arrive in Glasgow where you will stay for the next 2 nights.
Dinner and overnight in the Glasgow Area.

Day 7

Glasgow

Full Scottish Breakfast.
Today, you have the chance to enjoy a full day tour of Glasgow. Onto Pollok House, one of Scotland's grandest Edwardian Country house. It is the ancestral home of the Maxwells of Pollok, who lived on the site for over 700 years.
As we move back into the city, afternoon visit of Tenement House in Glasgow, which more than any Scottish city, is associated with tenements. This first floor flat is a typical late Victorian example, consisting of four rooms and retaining most of its original features such as bed recesses, kitchen range, coal bunker and bathroom.
Dinner and overnight as above.

Day 8

Glasgow - Edinburgh Apt - Home

Full Scottish Breakfast.
Morning transfer to Edinburgh Airport where you will bid farewell to our coach and guide to catch your return flight home, taking with you some wonderful memories of your holiday in Scotland.

If you would like to register your interest for the Gems of Scotland tour please complete the following form and we will contact you to discuss further.

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