2023 - Orkney & The North Coast Route
9 day tour
A fantastic journey right up to the northern tip of the spectacular Highlands with a fabulous full day excursion to the Orkney Islands, a group of 70 islands, the closest of which is just 6 miles off the Scottish Coast. Discover the hidden mysteries of Skara Brae and over 400 years of history at Skaill House. This holiday also includes a visit to the Queen Mother’s Castle of Mey with its beautiful walled gardens and wonderful interiors just as she left them. Join us on this wonderful adventure and explore the history and culture of this beautiful part of Scotland.
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
DAY 1 – After joining your holiday coach, you head north with suitable stops en-route for lunch and refreshments. Continue to your overnight stop in Dumfries (June – 3* Holiday Inn Dumfries) or Gretna Green (August – 3* Gretna Hall Hotel) DBB
DAY 2 – Departing after breakfast, continue your Scottish adventure heading north. Enjoy an overnight stop in the Cairngorms town of Grantown-on-Spey (June - 3 Grant Arms Hotel) or in the centre of the 'Fair City' of Perth (August - 3 Salutation Hotel) DBB
DAY 3 – Travel on with an en-route stop in handsome Inverness, a compact, cosmopolitan city on the banks of the River Ness. Continue your journey north along the East Coast to Caithness before arriving in Castletown near Thurso for your 3-night stay at 3* Castletown Hotel. DBB
John O’Groats & The Castle of Mey
Off to John O’Groats, with its dramatic coastal location, situated at the top of mainland Britain. Whilst it is not the most northerly point (that’s Dunnet Head), John O’Groats is certainly best known as the end point of the 874-mile trek from Land’s End in Cornwall. Onto the Castle of Mey, the beloved residence of the Queen Mother, which stands in a magnificent setting on the north coast of Caithness with glorious views across the Pentland Firth. The castle, with its jutting turrets, is kept as it was when The Queen Mother was in residence and the gardens are a delight with her personal touch apparent everywhere
After breakfast, travel the short distance to Gills Bay for the 09.30 crossing to St Margarets Hope on Orkney. As you cross the Pentland Firth you will see the islands of Stroma and Swona in the distance where common and grey seals often bask on the shores. On arrival, you will be met by a local guide for a full day exploring Orkney’s mainland including Skara Brae, an amazing Neolithic village which lay buried by sand for 4000 years; the stone Ring of Brodgar to view the ancient standing stones, reminiscent of those at Stonehenge; the historic manor house at Skaill; the delightful chapel built by Italian POWs and the remains of battleships scuppered at Scapa Flow. Enjoy some free time in Kirkwall, the vibrant capital and a fascinating Norse town. Head back to the mainland on the late afternoon ferry
DAY 6 – North Coast Route – Head west today across the famous North Coast Route, described as Scotland’s Route 66. The main roads along the northerly coastal edges of Scotland give you an opportunity to marvel at the breathtaking views around every corner. Stop in Durness, the most north westerly village in the British mainland, surrounded by the dramatic landscape of Sutherland. In the afternoon head south to the picturesque fishing town of Ullapool, nestled on the shores of Loch Broom to check into the centrally located 3* Royal Hotel for 2 nights stay. DBB
DAY 7 – Ullapool – Enjoy a day at leisure in one of the most alluring spots in the Highlands, a wonderful destination and gateway to the Western Isles. The town has a distinctive appeal with its row of whitewashed cottages arrayed along the harbour and special views of the loch and its flanking hills. The harbour once served as an emigration point when thousands of Scots headed off or a new life across the Atlantic including Nova Scotia and you may like to visit the small Ullapool Museum which traces the history of the town (admission not included – approx. £5 pp in 2022)
DAY 8 - Heading South - Your final day in Scotland sees you heading back south via Loch Ness. Enjoy the vista of Loch Ness in all its natural wonder as you head along its shores and then through the Trossachs National Park to your final overnight stop at 3* Winnock Hotel, Drymen. DBB
DAY 9 – As your epic adventure comes to end, head back to interchange today with comfort stops en-route, arriving home during the eveningBack to top
Castletown Hotel, Caithness - 3 nights
Located in the heart of the picturesque fishing village of Castletown, around 5 miles from Thurso, this 3* family-run hotel offers comfortable bedrooms which are traditionally furnished and equipped with TV, hair dryer and tea / coffee making facilities.
There is no lift but there are ground floor rooms.
The restaurant specialises in traditional Scottish and British cuisine using local produce and there is also a bar.
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THE ROYAL HOTEL, ULLAPOOL – 2 nights
The 3* Royal Hotel is located at the entrance to the fishing port of Ullapool with breathtaking views across Loch Broom and the surrounding Highlands.
All 52 bedrooms are well equipped and a shared balcony running around much of the upper floor affords the opportunity to soak up the scenery.
The regional public bar is a perfect place to experience local hospitality and there is also a comfortable and intimate lounge. Meals are served in the Ballroom.
There is no lift but there are some ground floor rooms