Orkneys, Shetlands & Edinburgh – 13 Days
Dates for 2018 coming early September! TOUR DIRECTOR: STEWART BENNETT Scenic archipelagos, centuries of history and an epic train journey across Scotland’s highlands Off Scotland’s windswept shores lie islands brimming with legend, panoramic scenery and hearty highland welcomes. Chug along the The West Highland Way…
Dates for 2018 coming early September!
TOUR DIRECTOR: STEWART BENNETT
Scenic archipelagos, centuries of history and an epic train journey across Scotland’s highlands
Off Scotland’s windswept shores lie islands brimming with legend, panoramic scenery and hearty highland welcomes. Chug along the The West Highland Way by train, a 151 kilometre route introducing you to lush moors, romantic glens and rugged mountains. Ponder mysterious Loch Ness while exploring the ruins of Urquhart Castle.
Take a ferry to the historic Orkney Islands, where centuries of history await your discovery (this opportunity is only offered by DeNureTours!) Sip world famous single malt Scotch whisky at Highland Park Distillery and shop for one-of-a-kind treasures at Sheila Fleet Jewellery.
Cross crystal-blue waters to the Shetland Islands, where only 15 of the 100 islands are inhabited. Stone Age ruins dot the rugged archipelago, spinning tales of fierce Viking warriors and the creators of the enigmatic standing stones.
Discover Edinburgh’s historic and modern treasures – impressive castles and cathedrals and a thriving dining and arts scene. Edinburgh Castle, with it’s fascinating artifacts and jaw-dropping views are a highlight of this tour.
The Orkney Islands is an archipelago off the coast of North Eastern Scotland, boasting beautiful landscapes and amazing historical monuments, including several ancient sites thousands of years old. Sites such as the Ring of Brodgar and the prehistoric village of Skara Brae are sure to amaze, as well as the several other archaeological sites around the islands. Kirkwall is the largest town in the islands with wonderful shops and restaurants. Nature lovers will be astounded by the beauty of the coastal cliffs, meadows and moorlands – home to a diverse species of animals and birds such as seals, puffins and dolphins.
Return airfare from Toronto, motorcoach transportation, 11 nights accommodation, 11 breakfasts, 11 dinners, all highlights, a DeNureTours Tour Director, Connections Program and all taxes.
Prices are in Canadian dollars, are per person and include HST.
• Falkirk Wheel
• New Lanark World Heritage Site
• Train to Fort William “Great Highland Way”
• St Conan’s Church
• Commandos Monument
• CairnGorm Funicular Railway
• Culloden Battlefield
• Clava Cairns
• Cruise down Loch Ness
• Urquhart Castle
• Ferry to Orkney
• Yesnaby Cliffs
• Ring of Brodgar
• Standing Stones of Stenness
• Skara Brae
• Broch of Gurness
• Highland Park Distillery tour & tasting
• Sheila Fleet Jewellery
• Churchill Bunkers
• Italian Chapel
• Ferry to Shetland
• Guided tour of Shetland
• Ferry to Aberdeen
• Dunottar Castle
• St Andrews
• Rosslyn Chapel
• Guided tour of Edinburgh
• Edinburgh Castle
Glasgow: Grand Central Hotel (1 night)
Fort William: Moorings Hotel (2 nights)
Fort Augustus: The Lovat (2 nights)
Stromness: Stromness Hotel (2 nights)
North Link Ferry (2 nights)
Edinburgh: Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel (2 nights)
(click to enlarge)
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New: Orkneys, Shetlands & Edinburgh – 13 Days
Day 1 & 2: Overnight flight to Glasgow, New Lanark Visitor Centre, Glasgow
Start your Scottish adventure with an overnight flight to Glasgow. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your DeNureTours’ representative and travel to the award-winning New Lanark Visitor Centre. Here you will learn the fascinating story of the cotton mill village of New Lanark which was founded in the 18th century. New Lanark quickly became known under the enlightened management of social pioneer, Robert Owen. He provided decent homes, fair wages, free health care, a new education system for villagers and the first workplace nursery school in the world!
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, New Lanark has been beautifully restored as a living community, which welcomes visitors from all over the world. Travel back in time on the Annie McLeod Experience dark ride which features mill girl Annie who magically appears and reveals the amazing story of her life and times in New Lanark in 1820.
You will then return to Glasgow, a port city on the River Clyde which is famed for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture a rich legacy of the city’s 18th through 20th century prosperity due to trade and shipbuilding. Today, it’s a national cultural hub, home to institutions including the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland, acclaimed museums and a thriving music scene. A great way to see the city is the hop-on-hop-off bus tours.
Stay: Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow
Day 3: Free morning in Glasgow, Great Highland Way train to Fort William
Spend the morning relaxing in your hotel or strolling the pedestrian mall at Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street before boarding the train at Glasgow Central Station. The train from Glasgow to Fort William follows The West Highland Way which is Scotland’s first long distance walking route and remains by far the most popular, stretching for 151km. The route offers a fabulous introduction to the Scottish Highlands. Begin in the pastoral landscapes beneath the Campsies, pass the serene beauty of Loch Lomond, and climb into the increasingly rugged and majestic Highlands. The train then crosses the vast, awe-inspiring expanse of Rannoch Moor, with a glimpse down Glencoe, before crossing the hills to lovely Loch Leven. The route finally reaches Fort William via beautiful Glen Nevis.
You will be met in Fort William by the coach and taken to the lovely Moorings Hotel right across from Neptune’s Staircase. Neptune’s Staircase is a staircase lock complex comprising eight locks on the Caledonian Canal.
Stay: Moorings Hotel, Fort William
Meals: B, D
Day 4: Glencoe Woods, Moor of Rannoch, St. Conan’s Kirk
Today your coach will take you on a tour of this beautiful area.
Glencoe is perhaps Scotland’s most famous and most scenic glen. Glencoe is also arguably Scotland’s most historic glen and it was recently voted as Scotland’s most romantic glen.
The Great Moor of Rannoch is one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. The area is a vast stretch of land composed of blanket bog, lochans, rivers, and rocky outcrops which makes it a very challenging environment which still supports varieties of flora and fauna. A wealth of plants, insect, bird and animal life can be seen here ranging from curlews and grouse to roe and red deer.
Situated on a crag high above the water of the stunning Loch Awe, St. Conan’s Kirk has been providing the local community and visitors alike with a most enchanting experience. Amid roses, honeysuckle and ivy and surrounded by large trees it is steeped in a family history. The unconventional approaches to design, plus the magical and almost unbelievable stories that surprise and delight those of every age, await you at this beautiful church. It was established as a chapel of ease by the Campbells of Innis Chonan in 1881. It is renowned for the fragment of bone that came from Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.
Meals: B, D
Day 5: Commando Memorial, Fort Augustus, CairnGorm Funicular Railway, Inverness
Travelling from Fort William, ‘the Outdoor Capital of the UK’, follow the impressive 60 mile long Caledonian Canal originally built in 1773.
Travel on the CairnGorm Funicular Railway where you’ll enjoy lunch on your own at the top of CairnGorm Mountain which boasts a panoramic view from over 3,500ft. There is also a viewing terrace, exhibition, shop and the highest post box in the British isles
End your day in the lovely City of Inverness.
Stay: The Lovat, Fort Augustus
Meals: B, D
Day 6: Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns, Jacobite Cruise down Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle
Your morning begins with a visit to the Culloden battlefield experience. Find out more about the events leading up to, during, and after the Battle of Culloden. With over 1,200 dead in just one hour, Culloden was a short but bloody battle – the last to be fought on British soil. The site has been restored to as close as possible to that seen by the forces on that fateful day in April 1746.
On a gravel terrace above the River Nairn stands one of Scotland’s most evocative prehistoric monuments. The Clava Cairns make up an ancient cemetery which is dominated by a line of three cairns enclosed by stone circles. Throughout four millennia, the Clava Cairns have been regarded as a special place.
Explore Loch Ness by sailing on its legendary waters. The waterway is overflowing with fascinating myths, turbulent history and tales of a legendary monster.
No visit to the Scottish Highlands is complete without a tour of this world-famous landmark. Wild natural beauty and 1,000 years of history – Urquhart Castle offers a taste of the Highlands at their most dramatic. Urquhart Castle’s stories are also told through a remarkable collection of artefacts left by its residents, historic replicas, including a full-sized, working trebuchet siege engine and a short film. The castle has a distinctly Highland heritage and the site has witnessed some of the most dramatic chapters in Scotland’s history. This is where St. Columba is said to have worked miracles in the 6th century, where acts of chivalry and defiance provided inspiration during the Wars of Independence, and where the MacDonald Lords of the Isles struggled with the Crown for power.
What do I do when I spot Nessie?
Share your Nessie pics on Facebook and Twitter! You need to let the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register know so they can add your sighting to their page.
Meals: B, D
Day 7 & 8 & 9: Ferry to Orkney, Touring Orkney, Ferry to Shetland
This morning travel to the very tip of Scotland where you will board a ferry to the Island of Orkney. The next 2 1/2 days will be spent exploring this beautiful island before boarding the overnight ferry to Shetland.
Orkney is an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland. The islands encompass Neolithic sites, tall sandstone cliffs and seal colonies. The ‘Heart of Neolithic Orkney’ is a group of 5,000-year-old sites on Mainland, the largest island. Skara Brae is a preserved village with a reconstructed house, Maeshowe, a chambered burial tomb incorporating 12th century Viking carvings. Kirkwall, Orkney’s capital, is vibrant, busy and the islands’ largest town. With great shops, restaurants and bars, it is popular with visitors eager to experience Orkney’s unique culture, heritage and traditions.
Some of the places you will visit while on Orkney are: Yesnaby Cliffs, Ring of Brogar, Stones of Stenness, Brough of Gurness, Kirkwall, Highland Park Distillery, Stromness museum, Skara Brae, Skall House, Sheila Fleet Jewellery, Barriers and the Italian Chapel.
Day 7 & 8
Stay: Stromness Hotel, Stromness
Meals: B x 2, D x 2
Day 9 & 10
Stay: North Link Ferry
Meals: B x 2 , D x 2
Day 10: Guided tour of Shetland, Ferry to Aberdeen
Wake refreshed from your overnight ferry ride in your private state room and enjoy a hearty breakfast on board ship. Board the coach for a full day of site seeing with a local guide who will ensure you make the most of your time on this spectacular island.
Shetland is made up of more than 100 islands,15 of which are inhabited. The Shetland Isles are closer to Norway than to mainland Scotland. The Old Norse language crops up everywhere from practically every place name to the local dialect spoken with a distinctive Scandinavian lilt. Fantastically preserved archaeological sites and the spectacular Up Helly Aa festival are vivid reminders of the islands’ Viking past. Traces of ancient peoples stretching as far back as the islands’ earliest Neolithic settlers are laid bare at astoundingly well-preserved archaeological sites and ruins. Ruggedly handsome and wonderfully secluded, the Shetland Islands boast a landscape quite unlike anywhere else in the world. Think miles of breathtaking coastline fringed by pristine beaches and crystal-clear, vivid blue shores; not to mention the glistening sea lochs, heather-clad moorlands, monumental rock formations and towering clifftops sculpted by millennia of wind, sea and sand.
Meals: B, D
Day 11: Dunottar Castle, St. Andrews, Edinburgh
Wake this morning in the busy port of Aberdeen. After breakfast on board the ship, you disembark and head along the coast.
Your morning stop is at Dunnottar Castle, an unforgettable experience. A dramatic and evocative ruined cliff top fortress in a truly stunning setting. Walk in the footsteps of William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II, just some of the many visitors that are part of the history of Dunnottar.
This afternoon visit one of Europe’s finest towns, St. Andrews, a place of history, learning and culture and the world’s home of golf. St. Andrews Royal and Ancient Golf Club is most famous of the town’s eight championship courses and has played host to some of the world’s finest golfers at the British Open Championship over the years.
The Dark Ages heralds the first recorded mention of a town. The earliest inhabitants were farmers and fishermen, but their simple lifestyle was to be entirely transformed in the medieval era due to the arrival of monks, pilgrims, academics, merchants and armies. St. Andrews University, founded in 1410, dominates the centre of town. One of the top universities in Britain, St. Andrews is often compared to Oxford and Cambridge for its defining presence and the collegiate feel it gives to the town.
Your day’s travels finish in hilly Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital. It has a medieval Old Town, and an elegant Georgian New Town, with gardens and neoclassical buildings. It’s home to Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano in Holyrood Park with sweeping views from its peak. Your hotel in the city centre allows you the opportunity to traverse the town and explore on your own.
Stay: Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel, Edinburgh
Meals: B, D
Day 12: Guided tour of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, Rosslyn Chapel
Enjoy a leisurely morning before embarking on a guided city tour of Edinburgh with a local guide. Travelling up the cobblestoned Royal Mile, your guided tour will finish at Edinburgh castle. Looming over the city on a dormant volcanic peak sits Scotland’s most famous castle. The castle has a complex building history. The oldest part, St Margaret’s Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War Memorial after the First World War. The castle houses the Honours (Crown Jewels) of Scotland; the Stone of Destiny traditionally used in the coronation of Scottish rulers; the famous 15th century gun, Mons Meg; the One O’ Clock Gun; and the National War Museum of Scotland.
In the afternoon a short coach drive takes you to one of Scotland’s most remarkable buildings, Rosslyn Chapel. It has been in the ownership of The St. Clair family since its foundation in 1446 and is still used today as a place of worship. The Chapel provides a fascinating visit if you are interested in history or architecture or just want to appreciate some of the finest 15th century craftsmanship to be seen in Scotland.
This evening enjoy a farewell dinner at your hotel with your fellow travellers.
Meals: B, D
Day 13: Fly home
Prior to you return flight home today, you’ll enjoy a hearty Scottish breakfast followed by a visit to the Kelpies. These 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures are a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.