Stride climate

Scottish Castles & Manor Houses

Great Value Vacations
4.3 . Great
93%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
8 days
From: $ 1,821 $ 228 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Explore Scotland at your own pace with this comprehensive 7-night getaway.
  • Experience the beautiful countryside, bustling city life and everything in between during your self-drive vacation.
  • Includes the Scottish Heritage Pass which gives you access to over 120 of Scotland's top visitor attractions.
  • You'll enjoy stays in traditional manor homes, castles and charming hotels along the way!
  • Indulge in traditional Scottish dishes such as fish and chips, haggis, the Arbroath Smokie, salmon, and so much more!

Short Description

Enjoy this 7-night self-drive vacation tour with luxurious accommodations arranged at different cities throughout Scotland.

 

Please Note:

While we always do our best to ensure that at least one or more castle-style property is included in your confirmed accommodation, we unfortunately cannot guarantee this as castle hotels are limited throughout Scotland. Please note that you will have plenty of opportunities to visit various historic castles during this trip with the use of your included Heritage or Explorer Pass.

A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Trip Type Self-guided / Independent Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Edinburgh
End City Edinburgh

Trip Includes

  • Round-trip economy class airfare to Edinburgh (EDI)
  • Manual economy rental car for the duration
  • Accommodations in hotels listed, or similar:
  • 1 night in Edinburgh at Macdonald Houstoun House or similar
  • 1 night in the Grampians at Norwood Hall Hotel or similar
  • 2 nights in the Scottish Highlands at Mansfield Castle or similar
  • 2 nights in Argyll at Loch Melfort House or similar
  • 1 night in Edinburgh at Macdonald Houstoun House or similar
  • Breakfast daily
  • The Scottish Heritage Pass, granting free entrance to Scotland’s most outstanding historic attractions, such as Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and much more (available only for travel April through September; those traveling from October to March will receive the Scottish Explorer Pass, which also offers admissions to such historic properties as Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle)
  • Service charges and 20% VAT

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Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Edinburgh!

Accommodation: Macdonald Houstoun House and Norton House Hotel & Spa

After collecting your baggage, pick up your rental car and let your adventure begin! Your visit starts in Edinburgh; on the drive from the airport to your hotel, see the elegant Charlotte Square and the tree-lined crescents of the 18th century Georgian New Town- both fine architectural examples of the period. Leave your car at the hotel and visit Princes Street– the city’s main thoroughfare with many shops and peaceful gardens.

Travel through the Old Town, steeped in history with its cobbled streets. High Street was the center of all activity in the city in centuries gone by. Pass St. Giles Cathedral, the City Chambers and John Knox House as you wander along the Royal Mile, which extends from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood House.

Scottish Heritage Pass

The Scottish Heritage Pass is a 7-day entrance pass that gives access to over 120 historic properties throughout Scotland- including the country’s finest castles, palaces, abbeys, gardens, stately homes and prehistoric sites. It makes seeing a host of “must-see” heritage attractions all over Scotland- including Edinburgh Castle, the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre, Culloden Battlefield, Culzean Castle, Urquhart Castle, and Stirling Castle- at a great value. Please present your voucher in exchange for the Scottish Heritage Pass at any of the following exchange points: Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Urquhart Castle or Glasgow Cathedral. Your pass will be valid for 7 consecutive days from the first day of use, and entitles you to free admission to any site which is listed as one of the Scottish Heritage Pass attractions, subject to individual opening times.

Day 2: Edinburgh - Perth - Grampians/Royal Deeside

Accommodation: Norwood Hall Hotel and Thainstone House

Depart Edinburgh and cross the Forth Estuary via the impressive suspension bridge on M90 to Perth. The city of Perth is the former capital of Scotland and is situated at the head of the River Tay - famous for its salmon. Near Perth is Scone Palace, the private home of the Earl and Countess of Mansfield. The Palace has been a private home for over 400 years. As the former crowning place of Scottish Kings, the Palace boasts a magnificent collection of antiques - in particular ivories, porcelain and tapestries.

Continue on the A93 north via Blairgowrie, the Devil's Elbow and Spittal of Glenshee to Braemar. See Crathie Church, where the Royal Family attends Sunday service when vacationing at nearby Balmoral Castle.

Day 3: Scottish Highlands

Accommodation: Mansfield Castle and Knockomie Hotel

Traveling through the Cairngorm Mountains you will leave the area on the A941 to Dufftown and the Spey Valley. Many of the famous malt whiskies are produced in this region - Cardhu, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Tamdhu to name but a few. Later in the day you will reach Elgin, an elegant city with the ruins of a magnificent medieval cathedral. Elgin is also well known for its cashmere, with its visitor center and restored old mills.

Continuing along the Moray Firth you will arrive in Nairn, an attractive family resort, well-known for its beautiful sandy beaches and golf courses. The A96 will take you to Inverness, passing Cawdor Castle. A family home for over 600 years, Cawdor Castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and is worth a visit. Shakespeare's Macbeth was thane of Cawdor, and the castle is one of the traditional settings for Duncan's murder - however the castle itself was built many years after the events of the play. From here, drive to Nairn or further north past Inverness to your hotel.

Day 4: Scottish Highlands

Spend your day at leisure in the area - there are endless opportunities to explore! Do some sightseeing in the city of Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, which combines some rich and romantic history with the present. Travel further into the Highlands to Gairloch with its turquoise waters and sandy beaches along the west coast. Or, along the east coast to the stunning Dunrobin Castle.

Special suggestion: Approximately 12 miles west of Inverness is the quiet village of Muir of Ord, near the western boundary of the Black Isle; in addition to the well-known Glen Ord Distillery it is home to Black Isle Brewing - a small, independent organic brewery producing some extraordinary beer - and offering daily tours Monday through Saturday year-round.

Day 5: Highlands - Loch Ness - Fort William - Argyll

Accommodation: Loch Melfort Hotel and Stonefield Castle

From Inverness, follow the A82 south along Loch Ness, the most famous of all Scottish Lochs. It is approximately 800 feet deep and is famous for its monster, "Nessie." Loch Ness forms part of the Caledonian Canal which runs through the Great Glen.

Continue via Invermoriston and to the next lochs in the canal - Loch Oich and Loch Lochy. You will arrive in Fort William situated at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain at almost 4,500 feet. Continue the route along the coastal road A 828 into Argyll.

Day 6: Argyll & Surroundings

Today is free to discover this beautiful area. Perhaps pay a visit to Campbeltown, set on a deep bay sheltered by Davaar Island and the surrounding hills. Enjoy a guided tour and find out the secrets of whisky making in Kintyre at the Springbank Distillery, founded in 1828 by the Mitchell family - and still in their hands today. It retains the old distilling methods to make Longrow whisky, and welcomes visitors, provided you phone beforehand.

Close by, Glenbarr Abbey is an 18th century Gothic mansion and visitor center, offering a fascinating glimpse of family life in years gone by. The Heritage Center is a treasure-trove of interesting information, artifacts and exhibits, with a comfortable tea room too. At the mouth of Campbeltown Loch is Davaar Island, reached by foot at low tide, with its cave paintings depicting the crucifixion. Far from ancient, they were painted in 1887 by Archibald MacKinnon, inspired by a dream.

Day 7: Argyll - Stirling - Edinburgh

Accommodation: Macdonald Houstoun House and Norton House Hotel & Spa

You have the choice this morning to take the A85 or A83 towards Crianlarich. From here you can take a small detour to Killin to see the Falls of Dochart, the dramatic waterfalls rushing through the center of the picturesque village. Drive along Loch Lubnaig through the beautiful Strathyre Forest towards the charming market town of Callander where you may wish to stop.

The city of Stirling is also worth a visit. The historic Royal Burgh stands on a bend on the River Forth and is known as the -Gateway to the Highlands' due to its strategic position. The imposing castle towers above the town on a 250 foot rock overlooking the nearby battlefield of Bannockburn. Around the town are various monuments commemorating famous Scottish patriots such as Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.

Day 8: Depart Scotland

It's time to bid Scotland farewell today; following breakfast (or depending on the time of your return flight), make your way back to the airport to return your rental car and begin your journey home.

Fly home!

Availability

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Price From $ 1,821
Price Per Day: $ 228 per day
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6,665 Great Value Vacations Travel Reviews & Ratings

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4.3 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
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Great 1,549
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Value
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Scottish Castles & Manor Houses

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The customer service was excellent

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
When I booked with Great Value I was nervous because it seemed too good to be true. Nope, just a really great deal. I was able to take my dream trip to Ireland and Scotland and it was within my budget. Everything was covered, my lodging, flights, and rental car. There was no hidden fees, or fine print that would nickel and dime me later on, as "good deals" usually have. I also had to change the date of my trip and the customer service was excellent and this change was simple. Thank you Great Value, I'll be using you every time I travel from now on
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Everything on the trip was excellent.

5.0
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Value5.0
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Lodging5.0
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Meals5.0
Everything on the trip was excellent. The only concern with any services from GVV was initial communications ahead of the trip regarding when and how we'd receive all our travel vouchers, as some were available online, and some were to be picked up in country upon arrival. It took no less than 5 phone calls to learn some vouchers would be picked up in country. The trip was outstanding, exhausting, but gloriously beautiful. It was exhausting from the perspective of moving around the country and only a few places were 2 nights. But, we knew that going in, and we wanted to see ALL of Switzerland and this certainly checked those boxes. We saw majestic mountains, we saw countless waterfalls and glaciers. The trains in Switzerland were all clean and we felt safe. The hotels were good with delicious breakfasts each morning. Overall, I would recommend GVV to a friend or family member and I would personally book another vacation with GVV.
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Our trip was amazing!

5.0
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Value5.0
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Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was my first time planning a trip out of the country. I read previous reviews who had a good experience with Great Value Vacation. Our trip was amazing! The booking and reservations were easy to use with the vouchers provided. The staff was helpful. The only downside was I upgraded to have an automatic vehicle and they gave me a stick shift. It took a while to get sorted out but other than that I loved my trip! I will definitely use great value vacations again when I book my next trip. I opted for the additional wine tasting package and I did not regret it! I recommend adding those additional tours to get a more complete experience.
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Great customer service

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My wife and I recently booked our vacation through Great Value Vacations. We were a bit nervous to travel to Europe for the first time, but we are glad we did. Great Value Vacations took care of us. Great customer service. Seamless transactions. They booked the hotels and flights for us. All we had to worry about were the daily activities! I would highly recommended them. The hotels offered through the package were as advertised: nice and in great locations. The flights times were also convenient. The best part was the price. I am thankful for the experiences Great Value Vacation was able to provide for us!
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Really enjoyed both of my trips

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
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Meals5.0
Really enjoyed both of my trips through Great Value Vacations. I went on one family trip to Ireland (Adare villa, rental car with trips out to Dublin, Cliffs of Moher and more) . The villa was very comfortable with a kitchen, three bedrooms, and proximity to the local shops /restaurants. We were able to upgrade to an automatic car and had fun navigating to each location on our itinerary. The trip as planned by the agency still leaves time for exploring on your own and since we picked a trip with our own transportation, we had flexibility on which tours we wanted to do and when.

My second trip was a solo trip to Scotland. I like to go on vacation by myself sometimes, but it can be hard to find ones where you aren’t penalized for being on your own. This train trip to Edinburgh, Inverness, and Glasgow worked out really well for me. The hotels were all near the train stations and in safe areas (good lighting, plenty of people, etc.). I got a good mix of options for sightseeing in each city. The hop-on, hop-off bus circuit was especially useful for getting around Edinburgh. I also added an extra tour on in Glasgow to see nearby castles and a distillery and was very glad to have done so as the views of the countryside were amazing!

Summary: Have enjoyed my previous experiences and would definitely use again
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Above and beyond our expectations

5.0
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Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Just got back from our trip to Italy booked through Great Value Vacations & was our dream come true! We could not have gone if it were not for their unbelievable rates. Each 4 Star Villa we stayed at was above and beyond our expectations...I cried after leaving each part of our journey. I am so glad I took a leap of faith and would HIGHLY RECOMMEND booking with them. Besides the Villas being beautiful, great locations, clean, and great staff; each place we arrived at actually said, "They said to give you a very nice room." (with a rate of just under $1,900 a piece for 9 nights not counting travel days at 4 stars Villas in Rome, Tuscany, & Venice including airfare and rent a car... a few friends told us to expect the worst rooms at the places we were staying ~ NOT the case! Our rooms had the best views...I could go on and on. Every step of the way was smooth with no worries whatsoever. Thanks again GVV! LOVED IT!
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Trip ID#:

greatvaluevacations-PK-GC4P-SH-SCMH-EDI

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