Real Irish Travel

Scotland - Aug/Sep 2018

 "The Scotland Forever Tour" - 4 spaces available!

August 28-September 8th, 2018

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Our 'Scotland Forever Tour' will be packed with visits to ancient castles, churches, priories and historic battle sites. Add in the amazing scenery that Scotland has to offer as well as a visit to Edinburgh and this tour is amazing. Join us for 10 full days and nights travelling through some of the most beautiful places in Scotland.

 

 
 
 

Before The Trip

Three weeks or so before our departure date, for those who can make it, we'll meet up at Stout Irish Pub in Brighton, MI to enjoy some dinner, get to know each other, go over the itinerary and answer questions. For those people travelling with us unable to attend this meeting, we will have remote access avaiable to hear and follow the meeting as well as the opportunity to take part and ask questions online.

 
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Day One: The Adventure Begins

Tuesday, August 28th

Today's the day!
If you fly out of Detroit with me, we will meet up at the airport and board together for the short flight to New York. If you're joining us from another city, we'll all come together at JFK airport in New York as we continue on to our transatlantic, overnight flight to Glasgow airport (which includes an evening meal and breakfast). Some guests may be meeting us at Glasgow airport as their flights took a different route to Scotland.

 

 
 
 

Day Two: Hello Scotland!

Wednesday, August 29th

After our overnight flight, we land at Glasgow Airport, and this is where our tour will begin. This is an ideal starting point as we head north and west over the next few days towards the Isle of Skye. Our expert driver-guide, Gary Tierney, will meet us at the airport, ready to lead us on our amazing adventure. Gary has been doing this for over 23 years -- he's lead hundreds of tours including those for Rick Steves who many of you will know from his PBS travel shows, and I can honestly say there's no one else I trust more to take us around Scotland. We'll be traveling in a full-size motorcoach so there's plenty of room to stretch out and get comfy (we only take 28 people max, so the bus is barely half full).

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Doune Castle

Marvel at the splendour of Doune Castle, built as the home of Regent Albany, ‘Scotland’s uncrowned king’. His rich tastes can be seen clearly in the architecture of the medieval courtyard castle.

Today, you can walk in the footsteps of rulers both real and fictional. Doune is a popular filming location and has featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Game of Thrones and Outlander. Actor/director Terry Jones narrates an audio tour that reveals Doune’s exciting history and tales from the Holy Grail film set.

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Callandar

Callander in Perthshire is an attractive town situated at the junction of two rivers in an area of outstanding natural beauty known as The Trossachs on the edge of the Scottish highlands.

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The Trossachs

The Trossachs National Park is Scotland’s first National Park and was established in the year 2002. With a size of 720 square miles (1,865 sq km) the Park covers many contrasting landscapes reaching from Lowland to Highland.

Every year thousands of visitors enjoy the beauty of the National Park with its lochs, rivers, woodlands, mountains and historical sites.


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Dinner & Hotel

Our first 2two nights will be spent at The MacDonald Forest Hills hotel and Spa. We'll enjot dinner together at the hotel on both nights.


Learn more about: Doune Castle, Callandar, The Trossachs.

 
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Day Three: Robert the Bruce

Thursday, August 30th

 
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Stirling Castle and Bannockburn visitor center

Stirling is one of Scotland’s greatest stone castles – an icon integral to how we understand the nation’s story. The castle peaked in importance in the 1500s, but its volcanic crag has been fortified since ancient times.

Generations of Scottish monarchs have enlarged, adapted and embellished Stirling Castle. Explore its three main enclosures, and then admire the refurbished Royal Palace – childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. The palace’s lavish design drew on European Renaissance fashions to show off James V’s power and good taste.

Historic Scotland has recreated the palace interiors as they may have looked when the Scottish king’s grand scheme was complete. Costumed characters mingle with visitors, bringing the royal Stewart Court to life.

We'll also visit The Battle of Bannockburn visitor center.

The Battle of Bannockburn (Scottish Gaelic: Blàr Allt nam Bànag or Scottish Gaelic: Blàr Allt a' Bhonnaich) 24 June 1314 was a significant Scottish victory in the First War of Scottish Independence, and a landmark in Scottish history.

Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress, occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. The English king, Edward II, assembled a formidable force to relieve it. This attempt failed, and his army was defeated in a pitched battle by a smaller army commanded by the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce.

 

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Dinner & Hotel

Our dinner and hotel tonight will be the MacDonald Forest Hills hotel and Spa.

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Learn more about:  Stirling Castle, Bannockburn.

 
 
 

Day Four: Heading to the Highlands

Friday, August 31st

 
 
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Glencoe

With more history, drama and sheer natural ability to entertain than really seems fair, Glencoe is without doubt one of the world’s scenic highlights. But the famous pass is only the beginning and there are wonders to discover around every corner in the whole area.  It’s easy to see why seasoned visitors would keep this wonderful place a secret if they could.

 


Eilean Donan Castle

As one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan is recognised all around the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery, it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish highlands.

 

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Kyle of Lochlash

Kyle of Lochalsh, the land of castles, hills and lochs, is a gateway to the Isle of Skye and the wonderful north west coast.


Dinner & Hotel

We'll enjoy dinner together and spend tonight at a hotel near The Kyle of Lochlash

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Learn more about: Glencoe, Eilean Donan Castle.

 
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Day Five: The Isle of Skye & Bonnie Prince Charlie

Saturday, September 1st

Today we'll explore the Isle of Skye and its Bonnie Prince Charlie associations. We'll drive to Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. Admire the Trotternish Peninsula as we travel to visit Kilt Rock, a 200 foot (60m) high sea cliff with huge, vertical basalt columns. Visit Flora Macdonald’s grave in Kilmuir Graveyard and stop in Portree for free time.

 

 

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Portree

The village of Portree, situated on the east side of Skye overlooking a sheltered bay, is the capital of the island

Portree is only about 200 years old and was created as a fishing village at the beginning of the 19th century by the then Lord MacDonald. The name Portree or Port Righ, King’s Port in Gaelic, (as on the road signs) is popularly thought to derive from a visit by King James V (of Scotland) in 1540 but the area around the harbour was called Portree or Portray long before the arrival of the king. Its name really comes from the Gaelic for Port on the Slope.

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Dunvegan Castle

Any visit to the Isle of Skye is incomplete without savouring the wealth of history and clan legend on offer at Dunvegan Castle & Gardens.

Built on a rock in an idyllic loch side setting, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years.


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Dinner & Hotel

Tonight will be our second night at a hotel near The Kyle of Lochalsh.


Learn more about: Portree, Isle of Skye, Dunvegan Castle.

 
 
 

Day Six: Clan Donald the Lord of the Isles

Sunday, September 2nd

After breakfast in Portree we'll head off to discover the history of the Lords of the Isles at the Clan Donald Center at Armadale Castle. later we'll embark on a ferry ride to Mallaig and transfer to a steam train for a ride through some of Scotland’s picturesque scenery. The steam train (The Jacobite steam train) crosses the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct, which was featured in some of the Harry Potter movies. Travel from Fort William to Inverness.

 

 
 
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Armadale Castle

The last ancestral home of the Macdonalds of Sleat, this magnificent highland estate in south Skye is now operated by the Clan Donald Lands Trust. Visitors can explore 40 acres of historic gardens and woodland walks around the romantic ruins of Armadale Castle, and enjoy stunning views across the Sound of Sleat to the mountains of Knoydart.

 

 
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The Jacobite steam train (aka the Harry Potter train)


Dinner & Hotel

Our hotel tonight will be in Inverness and dinner will be on your own.

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Day Seven: Loch Ness and Urguhart Castle

Monday, September 3rd

 
 
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Loch Ness

Loch Ness, lake, lying in the Highland council area, Scotland. With a depth of 788 feet (240 metres) and a length of about 23 miles (36 km), Loch Ness has the largest volume of fresh water in Great Britain. It lies in the Glen Mor—or Great Glen, which bisects the Highlands—and forms part of the system of waterways across Scotland that civil engineer Thomas Telford linked by means of the Caledonian Canal (opened 1822).


Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle overlooks Loch Ness from the rocky promontory that it dominates and upon which some famous names have set foot.

St Columba may have visited around AD 580. Adomnan, his biographer, tells of the saint’s encounter with a monster in the loch.

Urquhart has a lively history. It was one of the great castles taken by the English when Edward I invaded in 1296. The Lords of the Isles then seized the castle repeatedly in the later Middle Ages, in an effort to expand their territory into the north-east.

 

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Dinner & Hotel

Tonight will be our third and final night in Inverness. We'll enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant or at our hotel.


Learn more about: Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle.

 
 

Day Eight: Whisky Tasting and Brodie Castle

Tuesday, September 4th

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Brodie Castle

Acres of gentle Moray countryside surround Brodie Castle, ancestral home of the Brodie clan for over 400 years, although their family seat has been here since the 12th century.

This rose-coloured, turreted castle stands on land confirmed to the Brodies by Robert the Bruce. See how changing times altered the castle's shape and purpose. The impenetrable 16th-century guard chamber is flanked on one side by a cosy 17th-century wing and on the other by a sprawling Victorian extension.

 

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The Glenfiddich Distillery

Glenfiddich is a Speyside single malt Scotch whisky owned and produced by William Grant & Sons in Dufftown, Scotland. Glenfiddich means "Valley of the Deer" in Scottish Gaelic, hence the Glenfiddich logo being a Stag.

Glenfiddich is the world's best-selling single-malt whisky and also the most awarded at the International Spirits Challenge.

 


Dinner & Hotel

TBD

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Day Nine: Pitlochry and Culross

Wednesday, September 5th

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Pitlochry and Culross 

Pitlochry is the largest town in Highland Perthshire, 27 miles north of the City of Perth and 85 miles south of Inverness. It established reputation for the quality of its air when Queen Victoria's physician sang the praises back in 1845. In Pitlochry, you'll be able to browse and have lunch independently before we continue to Culross for a walking tour around the charming 16th century town. Highlights include the 1626 Town House with its 1783 tower, Culross Palace and on the hillside are the remains of Culross Abbey. Enjoy free time in Culross before heading to Edinburgh where you can enjoy some free time before dinner.

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Dinner & Hotel

Tonight will be our first night in Edinburgh. Hotel TBD

Dinner is on your own tonight, and there are many great choices just steps away.


Learn more about: Pitlochry, Culross.

 
 
 

Day Ten: Edinburgh's Two Towns

Thursday, September 6th

Today we'll discover the old and new towns of Edinburgh. See how the medieval townhouses along the Royal Mile in the heart of the Old Town are in stark contrast to the Georgian mansions of the 200-year old New Town. Tour the impressive Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of The Queen, and walk through the majestically furnished chambers. The rest of the day is free for you to explore

 
 
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Dinner & Hotel

Tonight you'll enjoy your second night in our Edinburgh hotel. Dinner on your own with lots of great options very near.

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Day Eleven: Edinburgh's Royal Mile and More

Friday, September 7th

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Hop On, Hop Off bus tour

Today you'll be able to get the most out of your visit to Edinburgh by exploring the splendors of Scotland's capital city and experiencing its magnificent royal attractions on the hop on hop off bus.

This City Sightseeing tour of Edinburgh lets you hop on and off at 14 strategically placed stops as many times as you like. Board the open-top double-decker bus and travel the entire 60-minute route, or stop at Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum and much more. Buses depart every 20 minutes from each stop.

Scottish Night

We'll finish off our tour with a traditional Scottish dinner and entertainment.

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Dinner & Hotel

Our final evening will be at the 5-star MacDonald Holyrood House Hotel located along the Royal Mile.


 
 
 

Day Twelve: Saying Goodbye

Saturday, September 8th

After breakfast we'll head to Edinburgh Airport as we begin our journey home. Until next time! 

 

For pricing on this tour click here

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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