Eilean Donan Castle

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CASTLES OF SCOTLAND

From Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens to the wild north and west, to Inverness and Inverewe and the Isles of Skye, Arran, Bute and Jura, where some of Scotland’s most magical gardens and impressive castles are to be found.

DAY
1

On arrival at the airport you will be met by your driver guide who will take you to your hotel. If your arrival time permits you will then enjoy a short orientation sightseeing tour with your driver guide in Edinburgh, famous for its castle, Princes’ Street  and its shops, the Royal Botanic Gardens and St Giles' Cathedral with its famed crown spire.  Overnight in central Edinburgh.

DAY
2

Wallace Monument imageAfter breakfast enjoy a walking city sightseeing tour including a visit to the Castle, housing the Scottish Crown Jewels and the famous Stone of Destiny, the ancient crowning seat of the Scottish monarchs. Continue along the medieval Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, closely associated with Scotland's turbulent past, including Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived there between 1561 and 1567. Successive kings and queens made the Palace of Holyroodhouse the premier royal residence in Scotland.   In the afternoon head along a beautifully scenic route towards Stirling, with a chance to visit one of the grandest Scottish castles -  Stirling Castle - and the Wallace Monument.   Overnight in the Stirling area.

DAY
3

This morning visit Blair Castle, the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl, which enjoys one of Scotland's finest settings in the heart of Highland Perthshire and is famous for Europe's only remaining private army which has its headquarters at the castle. Each May the Atholl Highlanders assemble for a full parade under the inspection of their Colonel in Chief, the Duke of Atholl. Next, travel north to visit the fairy-tale 14th century Cawdor Castle with its 3 beautiful gardens, the oldest dating from around 1600. Continue north and time permitting we’ll make a visit to the legendary Fort George near Inverness.   Overnight in the Inverness area.

DAY
4

Inverewe GardensToday is a day of contrasts through the ages. First travel north-west to visit perhaps the most famous of Scotland's gardens, Inverewe Gardens , laid out in the 19th century in their setting of great natural beauty. This area is warmed by the Gulf Stream so is able to sustain plants from many of the world’s climate zones despite being as far north as icy St Petersburg! Next we visit a different kind of garden - The Hydroponicum at Achiltibuie, the premier hydroponics centre for the demonstration of soil-less growing in the UK.  Time permitting we will also visit Abriachan Gardens, one of a new generation of Scottish gardens located on a steep hillside overlooking Loch Ness. Overnight in a castle in the Inverness area

DAY
5

Today we travel to Skye to see all that this unique, mountainous island has to offer. En route we see the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most photographed castles in the world and a truly wonderful sight. We reach Skye by ferry and then have a visit to Armadale Castle and Gardens, the home of the largest Scottish clan, the MacDonalds. We’ll then set sail for the small mainland port of Mallaig.
Overnight in the Oban/Fort William area.

DAY
6

A day of island hopping beckons (depending on time of year). With a multitude of magnificent gardens and homes on the Isles of Arran, Bute and Jura, there are many to choose from, for example Jura House Garden, Stonefield Castle Hotel, Ascog Hall Gardens or Benmore Botanic Garden, a magnificent woodland garden, famous for collections of conifers, trees and shrubs, including over 250 species of rhododendrons. Then travel along the shores of picturesque Loch Lomond, maybe with the opportunity of a boat trip on the lake. Overnight in the Glasgow area.

DAY
7

We will travel to Glasgow for a short sightseeing of the city followed by a visit to the ruins of Linlithgow Palace. The Palace was a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens from James 1 on, and the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. We’ll arrive back in Edinburgh during the late afternoon to enjoy some free time.
Overnight in central Edinburgh

DAY
8

Free time for shopping and sightseeing in Edinburgh before transfer back to the airport for your return flight.