VIP Tour of Scotland: A Private Access Journey

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Eilean Donan Castle in United Kingdom Scotland
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Total Trip:

10 Days
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Countries Visited:

Scotland
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Places Visited:

Edinburgh, Isle of Skye, Fort William, Pitlochry, Glasgow
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Your exclusive tour of Scotland is custom-tailored to ensure every day focuses on creating a private access journey for your comfortable exploration. Castles retain their image of nobility as they rise above the dense forests and manicured gardens. Cobblestone streets take you back in time to the historical beginnings of fabled cities. The gentle swish of a golf club grazes the trimmed grass

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1

Glasgow – Settle into the Comforts of Scotland’s Largest City at Glasgow

Glasgow’s contemporary image has been shinning like a diamond with modern restaurants and art galleries that overflow out of the Georgian facades and old manufacturing warehouses. The Art Nouveau buildings and music create the exclusive beat to which the city moves. Upon arrival, your private transfer will meet you at the airport and escort you to a remarkable hotel in the heart of the city. The gothic spires of Glasgow University stand as a beacon on the city’s West End near Ashton Lane. Locals celebrate the quiet, preserved charms of the street but visitors often overlook the hidden picturesque street adorned with fairy lights and lined with pubs, restaurants, and bars.

A cosmopolitan ambiance emanates from the neighborhood of Merchant City, known for its modern apartments hidden inside antique facades. Glasgow Cross sits at the city’s center where five main streets come together. Tolbooth Steeple was constructed in the 17th century and stands 126 feet tall. The blue clock near the top of the steeple will remind you of the luxurious time you will have in city and all of Scotland. St. Aloysius Church reflects the grandeur of Roman Catholic history in Scotland and the exceptionality of inspiration taken from Church of the Gesú’s Renaissance design in Rome. The edifice was erected in 1868 but consecrated in 1953. Stained-glass windows decorate the dome’s interior filling the church with bright, colorful light.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Day 2

Glasgow – Embark on an Exclusive Tour of Glasgow with a Historian Guide

On your first full day in Scotland, you will delight in the rich flavors of breakfast as the dining room fills with the herbaceous aromatics of black tea. Your guide, who specializes in local history, will meet your in the lobby before you set out on a private tour of the cityscape. You will begin at the Willow Tearoom, which was created in the early 20th century and designed by the celebrated Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. When the sunlight shines through the windows, it glints off of the silver furniture and leaded glasswork. Then you will visit the East End of the city, which maintains a fraction of its wealth of history that predates the Industrial Revolution, more specifically in the cathedral precinct. A stone build church was constructed in the 12th century and has survived the tumultuous history of the Scottish Reformation in tact.

The edifice portrays timelessness in its uniqueness. The wooden roof contains timber that dates back to the 14th century, and the stone choir screen was erected in the 15th century. You will notice the narrow glow of the stained-glass windows as the east window portrays the story of the Apostles stretching across four panels. The unique wonderment of the city is given to a select few that know where to find it. Your guide will take you to the splendors of each historical stone and opulent art piece for an exclusive view of Glasgow.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Fort William – Explore the Luxurious Stirling Castle and Lush Glen Coe

Sunlight washes over the hills and cobblestone streets in and around Glasgow. After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at the hotel. You will quickly find yourself outside of the city at the edge of the fabled Highlands. Stirling was once a strategic town that provided an important defense against invading armies. The castle continues to stand on the cliff that overlooks the surrounding glen as the castle walls peak over the collection of trees that stand around the bluff’s base. The castle was first constructed in the 12th century. However, its current shape was added and developed between the 15th and 17th centuries.

Cannons point out of the ramparts, which create an imposing, yet elegant stature from atop the cliff. As you enter the grounds, you will discover an opulent world of historic Scottish royalty. The Royal Palace was built for King James V during the Renaissance, and the walls are decorated with vibrant frescos that depict stately life. A fierce unicorn mural adorns the partition above the fireplace, yet each image is striking in its richness. Once you leave the castle behind, the hills of the Highlands will take shape as they form into mountains with precious valleys below. Lush grasslands stretch upwards to the rugged mountaintops and bring the fabled landscape to life.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Fort William – Delight in a Private Excursion to Great Glen and Loch Ness

Fort William sits on the banks of Loch Linnhe, and the north end of the city touches the stretching valley of Glen Nevis. Ben Nevis, the United Kingdom’s highest mountain, can be seen in the distance reaching nearly 4,410 feet tall. Puffs of smoke rise from the charming Jacobite Steam Train, a historic locomotive traveling one of the most scenic train routes in the world. You will reach Loch Ness and settle along the shores of the fabled waters, which stretch approximately 23 miles from end to end.

The water ripples in the breeze and reflects the surrounding hills that extend outward from the banks. Cruise ships venture out onto the water and provide visitors with panoramas of the surrounding scenery, along with a chance to spot the legendary Loch Ness Monster. The ruins of Urquhart Castle sit at the water’s edge and look out over the lake. When you cross the castle’s drawbridge, you will find a different view of the lake, the ruins, and Scotland. The air is crisp, and the breeze will chill your skin as the prevalent water reflects the lush hills.

The tower of the 13th-century castle remains in good condition. The sunlight spreads over the lake’s surface and you will notice the rectangular foundations of the castle set on a rocky mound. On a clear day, locals and tourists visit the castle’s elevated position for views over the water in search of Nessie. A visitor center includes a video theater that reflects on the fascinating medieval items uncovered on the castle grounds over the years. The five-story tower remains the most impressive reminder of the structure’s former glory.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 5

Isle of Skye – Transfer to the Isle of Sky and Enjoy a Notable Whisky Tasting

The landscape changes from the rugged mountaintops to the ethereal waterways of the western coastline. Your private transfer will take you onto the ferry and over to the Isle of Skye. The placid inlet glows a deep blue as the aroma of salt water rises in the air. When you reach the island’s shores, you find charm and character at every step. The village of Isle Ornsay will charm you from the moment you spot its pristine white, light tower. The buildings are painted the same vibrant white, which stand out against the backdrop of verdant trees and glistening blue sea.

You will arrive at a local distillery known for its celebrated whisky. Stroll the grounds on a privately guided tour that takes you around the five copper-pot stills and traditional tubs that help create the whisky’s unique flavor profile. Through the window, you will see the calm water at Coral Beaches. Your guide will tell you dolphins and otters often play near the shore. The aromas of honey and smoked wood blend into the fresh briny air as your guide offers you a tasting of some of the distillery’s luxurious flavors. The golden color waterfalls from the bottle and the aroma of apple peels emanates from the glass. You will sip your sample and taste bits of pepper and smoke touched with a malty finish. A single sip can sum up the splendor of the afternoon.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Isle of Skye – Relish the Freedom of a Private Driver to Discover the Island

The morning sun pierces through the early clouds and the light pours over the landscape. After breakfast, your private driver will meet you at the hotel. The driver is at your service to take you around Isle of Skye at your pace, whim, and pleasure. The island’s wonder rises out of the ground at points like the Old Man of Storr where craggy peaks break through the fertile grass. The protruding rocky surfaces reach 164 feet into the air, and the deep depression of the basalt rock, create the image of a man’s face in the landscape.

The scenery will enchant you from all directions of the island. Dunvegan Castle is the isle’s most historic building, as it belonged to the Macleod clan, with its oldest remains date back to the 14th century. The landscape provides charm but the castle provides context. Barking seals linger on the edges of the loch and the castle’s towers gleam over the placid water and sprawling trees. The Macleod family ruled the castle and the lands for over 800 years.

You will enter the grounds for a unique blend of sensational stonework and delicate artistry. A legendary Fairy Flag, rumored to contain magical elements, is on display in the castle. The ancient silk banner provided enumerable strength to the Macleod Clan when it was unrolled during battle. The interior of the castle is cool and temperate and it is adorned with historic family remains, from the scarlet staircase to the rosy walls and furniture in the South East wing.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 7

Pitlochry – Sample Stunning Whiskey before Reaching County Perthshire

Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel on the Isle of Skye and escorts you across the waterways and through the lush hills of the Highlands. You will edge the mountainsides and watch the peaks spread across the horizon then open up to stunning green valleys before you will reach the mountains of Cairngorm that shape the skyline. The village of Dalwhinnie shines with pristine white facades against the backdrop of verdant trees and rising hills. The eponymous distillery emanates a smoky aroma reminding you of charred wood. The whiskey uses the abundance of the surrounding nature for quality ingredients, including the clear spring water that flows from the peat and bogs.

The distillery is located at 1,164 feet above sea level and produces enticing vanilla, honey, citrus, and sweet malt notes. Your fascinating visit leads you through the history of the complex, which has operated since 1898 and also produces fine chocolates. The diverse flavors of the hand-crafted chocolate produced in the property accentuate the distinct notes of the finest single malt whiskies distilled with a superlative artisan style. Your guide will instruct you on the best ways to sample the whiskey and chocolate pairings for a series of dynamic, complimentary tastes.

Amidst the foothills near Pitlochry is the 13th-century edifice of Blair Castle. The opulent white façade beams against the blue sky. Manicured gardens and a tranquil wooded area known as Diana’s Grove surround the estate. The castle offers deep insight into the past and present elegance of noble families. The scent of trimmed hedges rise out of the walled garden and lilly pads float on the pond’s surface. Peacocks roam along the grass, their colorful plumage extended outward in search of a mate. The castle itself recalls the days that clans held castles and watched over the local lands. The embellished interior portrays nobility at its finest as portraits line the staircase walls. The dining room is adorned with crown molding and muskets and shields used in the Battle of Culloden decorate the Entrance Hall. You will have a view of the prestigious Highland past in front of your eyes.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Pitlochry – Visit Balmoral Castle Exceptional Town of St. Andrews

The sound of leaping salmon emanates from the River Tummel. They travel up river during spring and summer to the place they were hatched. Their energetic return brings locals and visitors alike to the river. People stand knee deep and extend their fishing lines into the water. The lines sway gracefully through the air before landing in the rushing river. The fish continue their draw home every season in the peaceful rush of the water. At breakfast, you will indulge in the refreshing scent of herbaceous black tea before you venture out into the countryside to visit Balmoral Castle, the Scottish residence of the British Royal Family since 1852.

The castle stands on approximately 50,000 acres that act as a working estate with farmland, grouse moors, Highland cattle, groomed ponies, and managed herds of deer. The elaborate architectural design deems the complex a castle but it is in fact a country house of the Victorian period. Pepper-pot turrets reflect the traditional character of a Scottish Baronial style and the seven-storied tower embodies medieval defensive towers. The ballroom glows with opulence as it exhibits shimmering porcelain and the Balmoral Tartan Collection, woolen cloth woven in several plaid patterns associated with Scottish clans. The particular tartans on display in the ballroom were rumored to be designed by Prince Albert in the 1850s.

Then, you will make your way to St. Andrews, home to the first university in Scotland and known as the birthplace of golf. Your private guide takes you along the coastline. The sand changes from golden to white against the rising landscape and lowering tide as the lulling sound of the sea lifts in the air. The main towers of St. Andrews Cathedral continue to rise over the ruins that date back to 12th-century. You will venture through the British Golf Museum for an interactive view of the game’s history.

The main gallery goes beyond the display of historic memorabilia of past British masters but allows you to relive the highlights of some of the most famous shots and holes in history. Watch as Paul Azinger becomes so frustrated he snaps his putter in two. Next door is the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse, home to the 19th-century golf course. You will sit in the exclusive club and enjoy the sense of history that took the world by storm. The dining room overlooks the deluxe course and the sense of exclusivity is alluring as the game itself.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 9

Edinburgh – View the Historic City of Edinburgh on a Full-Day Private Tour

Cobblestones pave the antique streets in and around Edinburgh’s historic city center. Grassmarket is a historical section filled with modern cafes and restaurants but was once known to house the city’s prison. In the shadow of the former gibbet stands an elevated circular stone decorated with a cobblestone cross. Your guide will meet you at your hotel for a full-day private tour of the city. You will make your way along the Royal Mile that leads from Edinburgh Castle gate to the Holyroodhouse Palace. The city rises around you in full splendor as you visit Scottish Parliament, which was opened in 2005 and designed by a celebrated Catalan architect.

The structure is meant to symbolize the flower of democracy taking root on Scottish soil. A Scottish painting inspired the windows on the western facing wall and the main façade displays asymmetrical panels. When you enter the main hall, you will notice a triple-arched ceiling that shines with polished concrete. The debating chamber overflows with natural light, which in the architect’s mind foretold the enlightenment of the democratic process. The beauty of the building is in its symbolism and distinct character. Your behind-the-scenes tour of the city will take you from the stonewalls of feudalism to the open windows of democracy, set within the backdrop of Edinburgh.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 10

Edinburgh – Depart for Home

Welcome to Edinburgh, a city overflowing with comfort and extravagance set between historic palaces and the stunning natural landscape. Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano standing 823 feet above sea level, watches over the edge of Edinburgh. The British royal family’s residence sits at the end of Royal Mile with splendor and grace. At the city center you will find the famous Edinburgh Castle standing atop a bluff. A castle has stood on Castle Rock since the 8th century.

The grounds continue to hold the opulent Scottish Crown Jewels, known as the Honors of Scotland. The jewels date back to the 16th century and have been used in the coronation of Scottish monarchs, including Mary Queen of Scots. The swords are gilded and embellished with precious stones and the crown is plush with a golden frame. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and escort you to the Edinburgh Airport. As the flight soars into the air you will wave goodbye to the comforts of historical royalty hidden in the beautiful gothic facades of Old Town.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Traverse the grounds of the Royal Family's Country Home at Balmoral Castle located on 50,000 acres of pristine Scottish scenery outside of Pitlochry
  • Indulge in the luxurious flavors of malt whiskey during an exclusive tour of Dalwhinnie Distillery pairing sumptuous whiskeys with divine chocolates
  • Witness the extraordinary scenery of the Isle of Skye with a private driver and guide where the landscape brings legend to life
  • Wander the rugged coastline of St. Andrews on an exclusive tour of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, one of the most prestigious clubs in the world  
  • Explore the fascinating walls and vast grounds of Stirling Castle, which were originally constructed in the 16th century to house the seat of James V
  • Stroll Edinburgh’s Royal Mile at the heart of the city, connecting the dramatic sculpture of Edinburgh Castle and the elegant design of Holyrood Palace
  • Stand atop the scenic summit adorned with Urquhart Castle’s ruins and search Loch Ness for the legendary creature hiding in the waters
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Detailed Description

This 10-day private access Scotland tour will have you living like royalty as you witness the country’s remarkable wonders in VIP comfort and style. Listen to the fireplace crackle as you settle into an old leather chair. A pub fills with laughter and the jovial conversation of locals. A castle opens the forest’s lush trees. The scenery erupts with colorful flowers and footbridges. Animals graze on the grassland and in the underbrush. Witness the plushness of noble manors and discover the unparalleled landscape of the Highlands and Scottish isles. During your vacation, you will find that the only thing greater than the history is the luxury.

You will begin in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. The warehouse edge of the city’s past has been remodeled to highlight the historic streets and modern thinking. Your private transfer will escort you into the city and Glasgow will be yours to explore. A full-day private tour will take you around the historic cathedral and antique necropolis. See where the past stones meet the cosmopolitan in both architecture and art. Then, you will travel northbound to Fort William and visit Stirling Castle en route. The castle has been a Scottish stronghold for centuries and played a large role in the Scottish independence movement. Its plush interior provides insight into a royal lifestyle.

Traverse the lush lands of Glen Coe, discover the Great Glen, and enjoy a luxury cruise across the famous waters of Loch Ness. The legendary lake glistens against the emerald landscape. Your private transfer will take you to the Isle of Skye where you will wander along the back roads and mystical scenery as you view the Old Man of Storr and Fairy Glen. Then, enjoy a private whisky tour that ends in an indulgent tasting. Seaside villages alight with brightly painted homes. The island will be your oyster with your own private driver to escort you around the enticing landscape and charming towns. The luxuries continue in Pitlochry where you will sample the sensational flavors of the Dalwhinnie Distillery, visit the pristine edifice of Blair Castle, and explore the majestic grounds of Balmoral Castle, the Scottish residence of the British Royal Family.

Outside of the charming town of Pitlochry is St. Andrews, home to the first university of Scotland and the birthplace of the game of golf. Indulge in an exclusive tour of the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse or tour the city’s historic cathedral. In Edinburgh, you will be embraced by the tremendous medieval past that continues to live in the everyday streets and buildings of Old Town. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel to take you to the airport. Your time in Scotland will be filled with plush and lavish adventures that take you into the behind the scenes wonders.

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Starting Price

$5995 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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