Highlights of Scotland
- Climb Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano in the middle of Edinburgh
- Get immersed in 17th Century history at a living museum on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile
- Get an aerial view of the Old Town and the Georgian New Town from Edinburgh Castle
- Breathe in fragrant plants in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens’ glasshouses
- Visit the multiple exhibitions of Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery
- Take the Jacobite Express steam train through the West Highlands
- Stay in Fort William under the shadow of Ben Nevis, the UK’s tallest mountain
Castles, mountains, railway viaducts, and long stretches of coastline
Learn about the geology and geography of Scotland’s glacial landscape, while also bringing history to life down the cobblestones of Edinburgh’s Old Town and through the streets of Glasgow’s striking red sandstone buildings. Plus, don’t miss out on some of the UK’s best museums and art galleries.
Day 1 - Travel to Scotland
Embark on the cross-Atlantic journey to Scotland! Arrive in Glasgow and transfer to Edinburgh. Settle into the hotel and enjoy a walk around the historic city centre.
Day 2 - Explore Edinburgh's Old Town
After breakfast, get a bird’s eye view of the city from Edinburgh Castle, where you will learn about the military history of this strategic spot. Enjoy the exhibitions and the many vantage points from the terraces of cannons (one of which still goes off every day at 1pm).
Afterwards, get a different view of the city at one of the world’s oldest Camera Obscuras, where an intricate system of lenses and mirrors projects a real-time image of the city into an exhibition room. Stroll past some more of Edinburgh’s historic buildings to Gladstone Land to gain a deeper appreciation for everyday life of the 17th Century in Edinburgh’s overcrowded Old Town that was blighted by the Black Plague on numerous occasions.
Later in the afternoon, head to the National Museum of Scotland to learn more about Scottish history through the ages.
After dinner, get spooked with a ghost tour detailing why Scotland is often thought of as one of the most haunted cities in the world. Explore the underground catacombs or learn about grave robbers in Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Day 3 - Edinburgh: Arthur's Seat, Dynamic Earth, Scottish Parliament, Royal Mile
Start the day with a refreshing walk up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano with incredible views north over the Firth of Forth, an estuary leading out to the North Sea, as well as directly over the city, with its distinctive Old Town.
Upon descending, visit the iconic Scottish Parliament building and enjoy its free temporary exhibitions and a brief tour explaining the recent history of the parliament building and what it means for the Scottish people. Next, head across the road to Holyrood Palace, the official royal residence in Scotland.
After lunch on the distinctive main street of the Old Town, the Royal Mile, go back in time with the interactive natural history exhibitions of Dynamic Earth which allows visitors to see, feel and hear volcanic eruptions, Ice Age conditions, and the evolution of the first species.
Enjoy dinner in the Old Town below the imposing Castle Rock, then return to the hotel.
Day 4 - Glasgow > Oban
Enjoy the short train journey to Glasgow. Take some time to explore the busy city centre, with the Gallery of Modern Art, the many shops, and the iconic George Square. After lunch, travel on the world’s third oldest subway to reach the city’s West End, where you can explore the imposing architecture of the University of Glasgow.
Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum with its 22 themed galleries and many different exhibits. Wander by the river to reach the Glasgow Botanic Gardens with its large glasshouses.
In the late afternoon, enjoy the scenic drive through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to Oban. Oban is known as the Gateway to the Hebrides, the set of islands which extends into the Atlantic from the West Coast of Scotland. Enjoy dinner in the town overlooking the Sound of Kerrera, then check in to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
Day 5 - Boat tour of the Hebrides
After an early breakfast at the hotel, embark upon a full day boat and coach tour with a local tour company. The Three Isles Tour gives visitors the opportunity to discover the wildlife and scenery of Mull, Iona and Staffa. All of the islands are distinct; Mull has clear blue waters and secret villages; Iona is a holy place for Christians who make pilgrimages to the Abbey which Saint Columba founded in 563; Staffa is a geological marvel, as an island cave of basalt columns.
Return to Oban in time for a late dinner and good night’s rest back at the hotel.
Day 6 - Oban > Glencoe > Fort William
Check out of the hotel after breakfast and enjoy the scenic drive from Oban through Glencoe, an iconic mountain valley which ends just before Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak. Stop in Fort William and spend time exploring the main pedestrianised shopping precinct and enjoy a hearty meal – probably fish and chips!
Day 7 - Jacobite Express Rail Journey and Nevis Range Mountain Gondola
Today, spend the day on the iconic Jacobite Express, which will pass over the Glenfinnan Viaduct (just like the Hogwarts Express!) and pull into Mallaig, a traditional fishing village with silver sand beaches and views over to the Cuillins Mountains on the Isle of Skye. Enjoy lunch in Mallaig and then return to Fort William in the late afternoon in time for a trip on the UK’s only mountain gondola. Ascend 650 metres and enjoy the views over the Great Glen.
Day 8 - Loch Ness
Wake up bright and early to make the trip following the Great Glen across the country to Loch Ness. Learn about the history of this iconic loch and its bloody battles as well as monster mythology at the Urquhart Castle interpretation centre. Spend the afternoon exploring the castle’s drawbridge, grain stores, dovecots, and other ruins, while enjoying the views out over the loch.
Spend the night in Inverness.
Day 9 - Inverness-Edinburgh
Enjoy a leisurely trip down through the Cairngorms National Park, with stops in Pitlochry and at different places of interest in Perthshire – take the opportunity to learn about whisky distilling, stately home gardens, and centuries-old castles such as Blair Castle or Menzies Castle. Also get immersed in historical interpretation at the Crannog Centre, a reconstruction of an ancient loch dwelling roundhouse that was found in Scotland as much as 5000 years ago, up to the 17th Century AD. Enjoy hands-on demonstrations of ancient crafts such as stone drilling and wool spinning.
Arrive back in Edinburgh for a final meal in Scotland and get bags packed for departure the next day.
Day 10 - Homeward Bound
Bid farewell to Scotland and enjoy the travel home, ready to share stories of Scotland’s myths, legends, and beautiful scenery, with family and friends.
AirfareRoundtrip airfare to Glasgow, Scotland
BusPrivate bus transportation as needed during the trip
TrainScenic rail journeys through areas of interest such as the West Highlands
HotelCentrally located, student friendly, 3 * minimum, acclaimed hotels
Three meals a day included in tour
Scotland was its own kingdom until the 1707 Act of Union with England, creating the United Kingdom