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Scottish Highlands Castle & palace tours

Our most recommended Scottish Highlands Castle & palace tours

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

1. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

Head for the Highlands, whether in search of the Loch Ness Monster or just a scenic day trip from Edinburgh. After pickup, relax on the bus and listen to the guide’s entertaining commentary. Visit Kilmahog for an introduction to the famous Highland Cows (depending on the time of year) and a cup of coffee. Next, travel up the road to Glencoe and enjoy a 10-minute photo stop in front of the unforgettable Highland views. Have lunch in the Fort William area, where your guide can advise you on where to eat. If you're interested in the mysteries of the kilt, you can even get a ‘wee’ kilt introduction here. Then be whisked to Loch Ness itself. Customize your experience at Loch Ness. Choose to visit the majestic Urquhart Castle, and hop on a boat in search of ‘Nessie’, as the locals call it. Or simply hang out on the pier and grab a coffee with gorgeous views. On the way home, make a short snack stop in Pitlochry, a beautiful village in the heart of the country, before returning to Edinburgh.

Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Day Trip

2. Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Day Trip

Take in some of the most dramatic and stunning landscapes Scotland has to offer on an eco-certified tour from Inverness. Discover the Isle of Skye, including its capital Portree, Kilt Rock, Lealt Falls, and the Old Man of Storr. See Loch Ness from Invermoriston, Loch Carron, and Eilean Donan Castle. Meet your guide at Inverness Bus Station, where your group will board an air-conditioned coach. Head south out of the city. Then, follow the shores of Loch Ness to Invermoriston, where you will stop for a short break. Grab a coffee, take scenic photos, and try and spot Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. Then, continue to Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland's most photographed castles, set on its own island at the head of Loch Duich. You will have time to visit the castle and learn about its history if you like (admission fees apply) or just admire the picturesque castle and its scenic surroundings. Next, journey to the Isle of Skye. Stop at Portree, a small colorful town fringed by cliffs and rolling hills. Take in these beautiful surroundings while enjoying lunch and the views of the boats in the harbor. Once your appetite has been sated, move on to tour the rest of the island. Head to the Old Man of Storr, an iconic rock formation, before visiting Kilt Rock, a sea-weathered cliff with amazing coastal views. Next, take a walk at Lealt Falls to admire the beautiful waterfall and gorge. Finally, head back to Inverness via the panoramic Strome Viewpoint over Loch Carron.

Portree: Best of Isle of Skye Full-Day Tour

3. Portree: Best of Isle of Skye Full-Day Tour

Discover the magic of the Isle of Skye on this day trip from Portree. Travel aboard an airconditioned coach on this sightseeing adventure. Try to spot wildlife at Neist Point, or view the fantastical rock formations of Quiraing, and the stone pillar of Old Man of Storr, Be picked up at a centrally-located meeting point in Portree and hop aboard the spacious pus. Relax on the drive to the Fairy Pools in the shadow of the Cuillin Mountains where the fairies are thought to bathe. Have the chance to take a dip in crystal clear green pools of the River Brittle. Admire the natural arches and waterfalls in this picturesque location before heading to the Talisker distillery based in Carbost, one of the three whisky distilleries on the Isle of Skye. Have free time to purchase a single malt Scotch, with a very distinctive peaty-smoky taste. Choose to go to Neist Point or to Dunvegan Castle. Look for whales, dolphins and sharks at Neist Point or capture pictures of the hilltop medieval style castle. Stop at the magnificent Fairy Glen, the most important meeting place of the fairies on Skye. Wander between countless conical mounds, known in the Highlands as Fairy Knowes, and put your ears to the grass to listen for the fairies at work inside. Bend down to search for elves in the glen's miniature forests. Follow the twisted path to the top of the fairy castle or walk the faun’s maze. Continue up to the Trotternish ridge and marvel at the views of the Quiraing, a landscape of rock formations and stunning coastal views. Arrive at Kilt Rock and the Dinosaur Museum before heading to the Then, continue 200 foot tall stone pillar called the Old Man of Storr which has featured in many movies including the Ridley Scott epic 'Prometheus.'

Rosslyn Chapel, Stirling Castle & Dunfermline Abbey Tour

4. Rosslyn Chapel, Stirling Castle & Dunfermline Abbey Tour

On this guided tour of Scotland's most famous medieval landmarks, learn about the many heroes that battled in this ancient kingdom. The first stop on your tour will be the town of Dunfermline. Walk down the beautiful nave of Dunfermline Abbey*, the final resting place of Robert the Bruce, who battled for Scotland's right to be a nation. Next, travel to Stirlingshire, where you will stop in the beautiful city of Stirling, site of the monument of Scottish hero William Wallace (whose life was dramatized in the film Braveheart). You'll have ample time to stroll through the beautiful and ancient streets that surround it. You will also have a chance to explore the city's stunning castle if you wish. From Stirling, head to Bannockburn, the battlefield where Robert the Bruce routed the English in 1314. Lastly, decode the mystery of Rosslyn Chapel, which was made famous in Dan Brown's novel the Da Vinci Code. Is this the resting place of the Holy Grail? No one really knows, but you'll love the chapel and the beautiful walk you can take through Roslin Glen and the ruins of Rosslyn Castle.

From Glasgow: Oban, Glencoe, Highland Lochs & Castles Tour

5. From Glasgow: Oban, Glencoe, Highland Lochs & Castles Tour

Explore the stunning lochs and castles of the Western Highlands on this small-group tour from Glasgow. You'll see the superb ruins of Kilchurn on Loch Awe, the bustling west coast harbor town of Oban, and the dramatic beauty of Glencoe. Depart Glasgow at 8:30 AM and travel through gorgeous Glen Fruin, driving parallel with Loch Long. You'll then cross the Highland boundary, where the scenery changes quickly and dramatically–the flat plains of the Lowlands give way to shimmering lochs, rugged mountain tops and forest-filled glens. Continue your drive over the Rest and Be Thankful mountain pass before traveling through the Arrochar Alps. You'll then arrive at the picturesque harbor town of Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne. From here you will drive along the shore of Scotland’s longest loch, Loch Awe, where you'll stop to take photos of Kilchurn Castle, a magnificent ruin right in the middle of Loch Awe and the former home of the Campbells of Breadalbane. You will then continue to the harbor town of Oban, gateway to the Isles, where you will eat lunch. After lunch you'll travel north along the coast around Appin, passing imposing Castle Stalker, and into Scotland's most famous valley, Glencoe. This is Scotland's largest loch and it takes its name from the mountain Ben Lomond. The last stop of the day will be in Luss, an 18th-century conservation village with old workers' cottages, built for the laborers of the estate.

From Edinburgh: Full-Day "Outlander" Explorer Tour

6. From Edinburgh: Full-Day "Outlander" Explorer Tour

Departing Edinburgh at 08:45 AM, go on a journey to some of the most famous locations from the hit series such as Doune Castle, the seat of Clan MacKenzie and the historic Linlithgow Palace.  Your guide will give you an insight into the history of each location, making this the perfect trip for those looking for a quick Outlander fix. Leave the capital behind and drive west, view Linlithgow Palace before stopping at Doune Castle, also known as Castle Leoch.  Have time to explore the grounds of this historic castle (please note Doune Castle is currently closed due to structural inspections), which was also featured as Winterfell in Game of Thrones and in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Next, go to the Kingdom of Fife, an area of great historical importance. Make a stop in Culross, where Claire was accused of witchcraft in the village of Cranesmuir. This is the most complete example of a 17th and 18th-century burgh in Scotland today. Your lunch stop will be in the village of Falkland, which was used for filming 1940’s Inverness. With over 28 listed buildings, it gives a good representation of this period. Your final stop is at Midhope Castle, the real-life Lallybroch. Arrive back in Edinburgh at 5:30 PM.

From Edinburgh: Outlander Adventure Day Tour

7. From Edinburgh: Outlander Adventure Day Tour

After leaving Edinburgh at 9:15 AM you will travel back in time as your driver guides you over the Queensferry Crossing to Culross. This virtually-unchanged 16th-century village overlooks the sea and poses as the fictional town of Cranesmuir. You have time to visit Claire’s herb garden, explore the palace, or wander the ancient streets while you imagine what life must have been like 400 years ago. You will journey past Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument to Doune Castle, or as it’s called in Outlander, Castle Leoch. This formidable building gives you an insight into the living conditions of a Scottish earl in the 14th century. You can also listen to an excellent audio guide about how this castle was used as a filming location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Your next stop is Linlithgow Palace. Here you have time to enjoy beautiful views to the Forth bridges, have a picnic by the loch, and explore the ruins of Mary Queen of Scots’ birthplace. If you’re feeling brave, you can visit the spot where that gruesome Outlander scene took place. You then travel the short distance to Blackness Castle. It’s an impressive castle that’s known as the ‘ship that never sailed’ because it resembles a giant stone boat. You have time to walk along the ramparts and explore the fictional headquarters of Jack Randall. Midhope Castle* is your next highlight. Unfortunately, visitors are unable to go inside the castle, but Jamie’s lovely Lallybroch home is still an essential photo opportunity for any fan of the show. Before heading back to Edinburgh, you will have a final stop in the colorful harbor area of South Queensferry and will return to Edinburgh by approximately 5:45 PM.

From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle and Royal Deeside Tour

8. From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle and Royal Deeside Tour

Join our small group tour and experience the beauty of the royal deeside with it's connections to the monarchy and stunning scenery. The first stop on this tour will be at Balmoral where you will walk in the footsteps of generations of royals who have called this castle home. Balmoral castle* was the late Queen Elizabeth's private country retreat and a beloved home. King Charles, who has his own private home on the estate, has a great affection for the castle and grounds. When visiting we highly recommend the audio tour where you will hear stories from people who lived and worked at Balmoral as they guide you around the estate. *Balmoral Castle closes at the end of July 2023, this stop will change to Braemar Castle from the 1st of August. Scotland is iconic for its beautiful rugged mountains, hills of heather and cool clear rivers running through the countryside. On this short scenic drive we detour through the fringes of the highland moors and heath lands of the east Cairngorm national park. Ballater will be next on your tour and is is a picturesque Victorian village. This planned agricultural town dates back over two hundred years and is set around a central village green and the impressive Glenmuick Kirk which held its first service in 1800. A stroll around the town reveals an interesting range of many specialty shops and good selection of restaurants and cafes to enjoy some of the local food & drink. As we start to make our way back to Aberdeen we will visit the iconic Cambus O'May suspension bridge, a very popular outdoor destination for visitors walking in the area. A walk up to the Tomnaverie recumbent stone circle, is a breathtaking experience. A characteristic feature of this type of circle is a large stone on its side, flanked by two upright stones, usually on the south or south-west arc of the circle. The stone circle surrounds a burial cairn dating to about 4,500 years ago. Finally a visit the Queen's view just outside Tarland. The view gained its name from Queen Victoria who quickly fell in love with the view of the lower valley of the Dee which includes a view of the peak of Lochnagar. The view is particularly loved for its unspoiled beauty which has not changed greatly for hundreds of years making it even more remarkable, and a view which is iconic of Aberdeenshire.

From Edinburgh: Loch Lomond, Kelpies & Stirling Castle Tour

9. From Edinburgh: Loch Lomond, Kelpies & Stirling Castle Tour

Explore the Scottish Highlands and admire its spectacular scenery on a guided tour from Edinburgh. Discover more about Scottish historical figures and events with stops at Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond, and Kelpies. Depart Edinburgh and travel through the historic grace of Linlithgowshire. Your guide will help you spot Linlithgow palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. On the way to Loch Lomond, make a stop at the Kelpies Monument. These two horses’ heads stand as a testament to the horse power that drove the industrial development of Central Scotland. From here you head to the shores of Loch Lomond, which is Scotland’s largest loch and is protected as Scotland’s first National Park. This is the perfect place to enjoy a walk along the ‘bonny banks’ and take in fantastic views of the mountains. This tranquil area was once the home of Scotland’s famous highland folk hero, Rob Roy MacGregor. By spending time on the trails by the loch you’ll be walking in the footsteps of one of Scotland’s greatest legends. Head into the Trossachs or ‘The Highlands in Miniature’, where the Lowlands meet the Highlands. See steep mountains, shimmering lochs, and thick forests. You stop for lunch in the heart of the National Park then continue to the city of Stirling where you can visit one of Scotland’s most magnificent castles. You can choose to take in the views from inside and understand why this castle was so instrumental in Scottish history. From here, make a short journey back to Edinburgh via Kelpies before arriving back in the capital.

Inverness: John O'Groats and the Far North Tour

10. Inverness: John O'Groats and the Far North Tour

Your tour departs Inverness before traveling north, up to Loch Fleet to the village of Golspie. The village, situated on the north sea coast is nestled next to Ben Bhraggie and is an attractive little seaside resort complete with long sandy beaches. You will be able to spend time here for refreshments, before continuing on to Dunrobin Castle. A stately home in Sutherland, Dunrobin Castle is the family seat of Clan Sutherland. It resembles a French chateau with it’s towering spires, and overlooks the Moray Firth. You will spend time here exploring the beautiful stately home whilst enjoying some refreshments. You will then continue north through the Helmsdale Clearance to the Highland town of Wick for your lunch break. A former Viking settlement, Wick is the principal town in the far north of mainland Scotland. You can spend time exploring the town and taking in the views across Wick Bay whilst you enjoy your lunch. From Wick, you will then travel to John O’Groats; the most northerly point on British mainland. Here you’ll be able to stroll along the cliff path, take iconic photos at the signpost, and enjoy dramatic coastal views, perhaps even seeing some local wildlife! From John O’Groats, you will begin to make your way back to Inverness. You will travel to Dunbeath Harbor for photos, and to Brora, famous for its golf courses and magnificent coastal scenery.

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What people are saying about Scottish Highlands

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 4,430 reviews

To start a loooong day but…… worth doing!! We had Maj the tour guide who drove us around for 12 hours in his kilt! Saw Loch Lomond, Fort William, Ben Nevis, Urquart Castle, Loch Ness, Inverness and lots of small villages inbetween. We paid extra for Urquart Castle and a boat trip on Loch Ness and it was so worth the money. Take snack and drinks for the trip to nibble on but there are plenty of stops to pick food and drink up and use the bathroom! Throughly enjoyed the day trip out and worth the money. Nice small groups as well.

John is a very knowledgeable tour guide and despite being a long day, he was enthusiastic the whole way through Whilst it was a 12 hour tour, it most definitely did go quick I preferred not having to do the long hikes like you sometimes have to do with other tours. Just note majority of time will be spent on the bus.

Incredible tour!! Our tour guide was wonderful. He was knowledgeable, friendly and also a great driver. Would definitely recommend anyone to take this tour and would be willing to go again!

The trip was amazing! Everything went smoothly and our tourguide Nestor made sure it never got boring!

Very good driver/guide '(peter) very knowledgeable and informative.