This tour will take you to visit some of Scotland’s most historic and iconic castles, from spectacular ruins, to imposing current and former Royal residences and picturesque fairytale turreted Highland ancestral homes. There are castles of every description throughout Scotland and each has its own unique history and stories to tell. You’ll discover tales of murder, intrigue, romance and myth.
Scotland has a varied and stunning coastline and this tour will also include scenic coastal areas, so you can explore dramatic cliffs, quiet charming fishing villages, rocky shorelines and long sandy beaches.
Day 1 – Edinburgh
Arrive in Edinburgh and you have the rest of the day to explore the city sights. There is Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse to visit and the Royal Mile, Old Town and New Town to explore. Or take one of our guided walking tours to find out more about the city and its highlights and hidden gems.
Overnight in Edinburgh
Day 2 – Edinburgh to St Andrews
From Edinburgh drive to St Andrews in Fife and on the way you can explore the charming historic coastal fishing villages. St Andrews is famous for being the ‘home of golf’ and its ancient 15th century university was the first in Scotland. You’ll have time to explore the town with its medieval street layout, ruined cathedral and castle, university and spectacular sandy beaches.
Overnight St Andrews
Day 3 – St Andrews to Royal Deeside
Travel to Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire famous for its castle trail and on the way you can explore Glamis Castle, childhood home of the late Queen Mother and and visit the dramatic cliff-top ruins of spectacular Dunnottar Castle. Royal Deeside gets its name because Queen Victoria fell in love with the area and she with Prince Albert had Balmoral Castle built as a royal highland retreat which it still is to this day.
Overnight in Aboyne area
Day 4 – Royal Deeside
This area has scenic countryside and beautiful viewpoints to explore and a variety of historic castles you can visit. There is Balmoral Castle to see its ballroom and gardens when the Queen or Royal family are not in residence, Crathes Castle with its beautiful gardens and Drum Castle.
Overnight in Aboyne area
Day 5 – Royal Deeside to Nairn
Travel north high over the mountains and down to the coast again to arrive at the town of Nairn on the Moray Firth, known for its beneficial micro-climate. Take a small detour on your way to visit Cawdor Castle with its beautiful gardens, or Ballindalloch Castle another family-owned castle. In Nairn relax with a walk along the promenade or on the long stretches of sandy beach.
Overnight in Nairn
Day 6 – Nairn to North West Coast
Drive to the stunning North West Coast of the Highlands to see high rugged mountains and beautiful sea lochs. This area has miles of coastline to explore, including one of the most breathtaking single-track routes you can drive if you wish.
Overnight Torridon/ Shieldaig area or nearby
Day 7 – North West Coast
Take a day to explore more of the coast with its quaint villages, rocky shores, beautiful gardens, beaches or a boat ride to see the local wildlife and sealife or drive over to the Isle of Skye to explore this famous island.
Overnight Torridon/Shieldaig area or nearby
Day 8 – North West Coast to Oban
Journey south to Oban past picturesque Eilean Donan Castle and you’ll have time to visit on your way. Take either the coastal route or the inland route through atmospheric Glencoe. Oban is on the West Coast of Scotland and is known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’. You can explore its streets and McCaig’s Tower for fabulous views.
Overnight in Oban
Day 9 – Oban
Enjoy exploring more of the coastline near Oban to discover beautiful gardens, ancient Pictish remains or drive south to visit Inveraray Castle, seat of the Clan Campbell on Loch Fyne, a sea loch. Alternatively take a day trip over to the Isle of Mull to see Duart Castle, seat of the Clan MacLean and explore more of the island or from Mull take the short ferry to the serenity of Iona, the tiny island with its ancient abbey founded by St Columba.
Overnight in Oban
Day 10 – Oban to Stirling
Travelling to Stirling you will pass through part of the beautiful Trossachs area. On your way you can visit Doune Castle, which was Castle Leoch in the Outlander Television series and also used in the filming of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Stirling Castle in its dramatic location on top of a rocky crag, is a historic Royal residence that has been restored to its full Renaissance glory and is definitely worth visiting.
Overnight in Stirling area
Day 11 – Edinburgh Depart
From Stirling it is only a 1 hour drive to Edinburgh to depart.
Throughout your self-drive tour of Scotland you will be staying in our hand-picked 4 and 5 star graded accommodations, or places that match that same high quality, so that you are guaranteed a very comfortable location to stay each night of your tour.
Each accommodation is very different from the other, from romantic garden hideaways, charming family houses, historic castles, to architect-designed modern homes, atmospheric inns and grand luxury country hotels and mansions surrounded by beautiful landscapes. There’s even a deluxe hotel on its own private island, just across a small private bridge from the mainland. Many of our lodgings are award-winning and we try as far as possible to make sure that you stay in family-run places, so you get an authentic Scottish experience and an opportunity to speak with locals, rather than a standard chain hotel where you could be anywhere in the world.
You can choose from Bed and Breakfasts and Guest houses where you stay in the hosts’ own homes, to small hotels and inns and we also offer the opportunity for you to stay in historic castles or impressive luxury country mansions too.
As there are some areas of the Highlands and Islands where places to stay are more limited, we may sometimes need to book alternative accommodation for you. This only happens occasionally, and depends on your individual itinerary, however you can rest assured that we always make sure you are in carefully selected accommodation with comfortable superior rooms where you will enjoy a unique experience and warm Scottish hospitality.
Your self-drive tour package includes:
- A personalised tour itinerary – planned for you and only finalised once you are completely happy with it.
- 4 or 5 star quality accommodation every night during your tour, booked by us for you.
- Breakfast each morning.
- Our own personal recommendations and tips.
- A map of Scotland