Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Massive waterfall of Isle Of Skye-Scotland_ 913839_P

In the Heart of the Scottish Highlands

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4.6 . Excellent
89%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
13 days
From: $ 3,299 $ 254 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Join historians as they offer a view into Highland Scotland’s ancient history, the downfall of Gaelic clans, the Highland Clearances and New World emigration.
  • Discover the castles, clan lands and romance of the famous Isle of Skye.
  • Step back in time at Stirling Castle, one of the largest and most historically important castles in Scotland.

Short Description

Legend blends with history in the Scottish Highlands, where soaring peaks, low-lying glens and famous lochs set a stage for discovery. Experience this unforgettable region as you venture to some of its most noted locations, including Loch Ness, Urquart Castle, Glen Affric and the misty Isle of Skye.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group 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

  • 11 nights of accommodations
  • 2 expert-led lectures
  • 14 expert-led field trips
  • 1 performance
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes

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Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Arrival Day, Orientation: Edinburgh

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: The Royal Terrace Hotel

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Arrivals continue, with free time for those who have already arrived. At 5pm we will have an Orientation in the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. This program is staffed with both a Group Leader, who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics, and a Study Leader who will lecture, conduct field trips and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Served three course dinner with tea, coffee and water included. Other beverages may be purchased at the bar.

Evening: After dinner your Study Leader introduces the programme.

Day 3: Edinburgh Old and New Town

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: The Royal Terrace Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel. Select from a variety of eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms, cereals, cold cuts, cheeses, juices, toast, pastries and tea, coffee and water.

Morning: Our local expert takes us by motorcoach on a guided field trip of Scotland’s most beautiful city including the great bastion of Edinburgh Castle (entrance included), the Royal Mile and the Palace of Holyrood House, the winding cobbled streets of the ‘old town’ and the grid Georgian rigour of the ‘new town’ – the model for the grid layout of American cities.

Lunch: Lunch is included today.

Afternoon: The field trip continues with a visit to the Palace of Holyrood House, Her Majesty The Queen's official residence in Scotland. Explore the 14 State Apartments and Royal collections and the ruins of Holyrood Abbey all set against the backdrop of Arthur's Seat.

Dinner: Three course served dinner in the hotel with tea, coffee and water provided.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to walk Edinburgh at night or visit one of the many well known pubs surrounding the hotel.

Day 4: Transfer to Strathpeffer, The Highland Folk Museum

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and have your luggage loaded onto the motorcoach which heads off for Strathpeffer.

Lunch: Lunch will be taken at the Highland Folk Museum.

Afternoon: The transfer continues, with a visit to the Highland Folk Museum. The Highland Folk museums transports you back in time to witness how human settlements have evolved in rural Scotland, from the 18th Century to the present day.

Dinner: After check-in, a three course dinner is served in the hotel with tea, coffee and water provided. Other beverages may be purchased from the bar.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to explore the village and perhaps drop into the Victorian Spa Pavilion for refreshment.

Day 5: The Black Isle, Strathpeffer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Your Study Leader lectures on the history and effects of the Highland Clearances in the 18 and 19th centuries.

Lunch: Take a light lunch in the hotel.

Afternoon: This afternoon the coach takes you to the peninsula known as the Black Isle where you will explore the architecture and history of 13th century Fortrose Cathedral, the Groam Pictish Museum and Chanonry Point. The Black Isle was one of the first parts of the Northern Highlands to experience the Highland Clearances. Return by motorcoach to the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 6: Culloden Battlefield, Cawdor Castle, Clava Cairns, Strathpeffer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Travelling east to Nairnshire, we visit the historic site of Culloden Battlefield, the last battle fought on British soil in 1746. This was a desperate fight which changed the history of the Highlands forever. It led to the breakdown of the clan system and paved the way for the Highland Clearances and emigration to the New World. Your Study Leader takes you across the exposed heath while describing the famous battle.

Lunch: A two course lunch with tea, coffee and water is taken in the Culloden Visitor Centre.

Afternoon: Field trip to Clava Cairns, three well preserved Neolithic cairns, thought to be ritual burial chambers connected with the Winter Solstice and death, which show evidence of both inhumations and cremations. Two of the cairns are Chambered Tombs with cup marked stones and the third is a Ring Cairn, which is unique to the Moray Firth Area. Field trip to Cawdor Castle and Gardens. Situated close to the East Highland town of Nairn, Cawdor has been the family home of the Thanes of Cawdor since the 14th century. The castle contains a fine example of a 16th century tower house with elegant 18th century additions. Within the grounds of the castle there are extensive nature trails and fine gardens.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 7: Free Day, Strathpeffer

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Today is free for you to relax and explore the local area. Your Group Leader will be happy to help you with suggestions and directions.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time continues.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy a traditional Scottish bagpiper in the hotel.

Day 8: Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness, Glen Affric, Strathpeffer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: The motorcoach takes you along the scenic shores of Loch Ness. Loch Ness is world famous for its mighty monster and you won’t be able to resist scanning its waters as we drive along its scenic shores. However, your Study Leader will also tell you about the fascinating natural and cultural history of this enormous lake, so steeped in folk lore. We stop for a visit to the magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on a promontory jutting into Loch Ness. Its ruinous state gives testament to the turbulence of its 500 year history as a medieval fortress. The visitor centre contains a shop, interpretation area, audio-visual presentation and tearoom and toilets. Stunning views of the loch can be obtained from the visitor centre veranda.

Lunch: Take a light lunch in the Urquart Castle Café.

Afternoon: We then drive west for to the mountains and forests of Glen Affric. The last 6,000 years have witnessed the destruction of the native forests of Scotland, to the extent that there are now only small remnants of old Caledonian Pine Forest left. Glen Affric is one of the most beautiful glens in the Highlands and is managed as a National Nature Reserve

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 9: Beinn Eighe National Park, Kyle of Lochalsh

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Tingle Creek Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: The motorcoach drives through Beinn Eighe National Park, home to some of the most dramatic mountain and moorland scenery of the Highlands to get to the west coast. Your Study Leader will stop along the way to regale you with tales of turbulent clan history, details of historical and modern land use and we keep an eye out for golden and white-tailed eagles.

Lunch: Packed lunch.

Afternoon: We continue our gentle drive and arrive at our hotel overlooking the Isle of Skye the misty isle to which Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped after the Battle of Culloden and the impenetrable stronghold of the Lords of the Isles for centuries. Check-in to the hotel late afternoon.

Dinner: A three course dinner with tea, coffee and water is served in the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 10: North Skye, The Cuillins, Kyle of Lochalsh

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Tingle Creek Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Journey by motorcoach to the North of Skye where the majestic peaks of the Red and Black Cuillins loom in front of you as they lead down to sandy shores. We will make a stop at Portree, where you will have time to explore this picturesque town.

Lunch: Taken out in Portree.

Afternoon: The field trip continues to Dunvegan Castle, built on a rocky outcrop, on the Isle of Skye. Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. The castle is home to a magnificent art collection and artefacts associated with clan history. The formal gardens lead down to the banks of Loch Dunvegan and their lush variety of plantings stands in contrast to the foreboding landscape of Skye's moorlands.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 11: South Skye, Armadale, Eilean Donan, Kyle of Lochalsh

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Tingle Creek Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: We journey by motorcoach to the South of this the most famous of the Hebridean islands. The soil in this area is lime rich, leading to the most diverse habitats on the island, a rich mixture of woodland, open moorland and jagged coastline. The dominant land use is crofting and there are many typical crofting and small fishing communities scattered throughout the peninsula. Sleat is in the territory of the MacDonald Clan and we visit their clan seat at Armadale Castle, which has an excellent interpretation centre and gentle walks in the extensive castle grounds.

Lunch: Taken at Armadale.

Afternoon: This afternoon we'll visit one of the most famous sights in Scotland, Eilean Donan, a castle surrounded by three sea lochs. Although the castle was first inhabited in the 6th century, feudal fighting have led to it being repeatedly rebuilt. Your Study Leader will outline the important moments of Scotland's history as you visit its many rooms.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 12: Fort William, Glencoe, Edinburgh

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: The Queensferry Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Today we transfer by motorcoach to Edinburgh, travelling via Eilean Donan Castle, Fort William and Glen Coe. One of the most famous sights in Scotland, Eilean Donan, is surrounded by three sea lochs. Although the castle was first inhabited in the 6th century, feudal fighting have led to it being repeatedly rebuilt. Your Study Leader will outline the important moments of Scotland's history as you visit its many rooms. Stopping at Fort William, the second largest settlement in the Highlands, nestles between Loch Linnhe and the mountains of Ben Nevis. You will have some free time here to explore the picturesque town. The motorcoach continues southwards to Glen Coe, part of the National Scenic Area of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe. The spectacular and, at times, grim glen features high mountain peaks, ridges, rushing rivers and waterfalls. At the National Trust for Scotland's Visitor Centre you will learn more of the dark and turbulent history of the area. A Viewing Platform gives photographic opportunities over this area created by millions of years of geological processes. Your Study Leader will describe the infamous Glencoe massacre that took place in 1692 as the government troops and Campbells fought the Macdonalds..

Lunch: A light lunch is taken in Glencoe Visitor Centre.

Afternoon: Our journey continues through bleak Rannoch Moor and down to Stirling Castle where your Study Leader will point out the important historical and architectural features of this strategically significant Castle. Guided tours are included in the entrance price and there are audio guides if you prefer to go at your own pace. Stirling Castle symbolises Scottish pride and independence and was home to many 15th century Renaissance Kings and Queens. Continue on to Edinburgh for late afternoon check-in.

Dinner: Three course served dinner with tea, coffee and water in the hotel.

Evening: Prepare for departure in the morning and get a good night’s rest.

Day 13: Program Concludes

Meals: Breakfast

In Flight

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Private transfer to Edinburgh Airport. This concludes our programme. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. 

Availability

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Price From $ 3,299
Price Per Day: $ 254 per day
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Stride Featured in

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38 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

89%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 31
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.4
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.4

In the Heart of the Scottish Highlands

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Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.

Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 24

Accomodations

The Royal Terrace Hotel: 2 nights  Edinburgh

This 4-star luxury hotel is on a quiet tree-lined street, 550 yards from Edinburgh Waverley Rail Station and Princes Street. It has a modern gym and a heated indoor pool. The en suite rooms have a flat-screen satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, and music. Some rooms look out towards the Firth of Forth, and many overlook the hotel's own beautiful gardens.

 

Ben Wyvis Hotel: 5 nights  Strathpeffer

Ben Wyvis Hotel, which takes its name from the nearby mountain, is situated in the tranquil village of Strathpeffer. The hotel is a large victorian building set it's own grounds ,the front of the hotel commands fantatic views. ..The building is full of character.

 

Tingle Creek Hotel: 3 nights  Ross-Shire

Tingle Creek is situated in a quiet location in the West Highlands of Scotland, overlooking the Isle of Skye & Raasay. It provides a central location for exploring the area of Skye & Lochalsh. See the early morning mists, gently lifting over the mountain tops and watch the sun set over the Dun Caan volcano at Raasay.

 

The Queensferry Hotel: 1 night  Edinburgh, Fife

The Queensferry Hotel is conveniently located just 9 miles from Edinburgh making it a fantastic base for visiting Scotland's capital city, exploring nearby attractions or discovering Fife and all that the area has to offer. The hotel is situated close to rail and road links, as well as Edinburgh Airport.

Trip ID#:

TheHeaRoa

Meals Included:

11 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches and 11 Dinners

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