Follow in the footsteps of great Scottish heroes on this historic and scenic day trip into the Scottish heartlands. With at least 5 interesting stops and lots of time off the bus this is our ever-popular ‘taste of Scotland’ day tour!
On our short journey to Stirling (travel time approximately 1 hour) we briefly pass Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and one of several palaces built originally for Scotland’s Kings and Queens. Although only a quick glimpse it’s a fascinating reminder of Scotland’s past.
During the Wars of Independence Stirling Castle was seen as the ‘key’ to the Kingdom of Scotland and was home to the Scottish Royals until the early 17th century.
Arguably Scotland’s most important historic building, Stirling is undoubtedly a great castle. A recent survey rated it the UK's favourite heritage attraction in terms of value for money, customer service and quality of information. It also featured in Lonely Planet's recent list of Europe's 40 "most amazing experiences".
We stop here for at least 1 hour 15 minutes where you will have the opportunity to tour the castle itself (adult £14.50, concession £11.60, 5-15s £8.70, under 5s free). Show your Heart of Scotland booking receipt to receive a further 10% discount on these prices or simply stroll around Old Stirling (ancient capital of Scotland). The view from Stirling Castle across the River Forth to the National Wallace Monument is inspiring.
Loch Achray and the Trossachs
Scotland’s greatest patriot, Sir William Wallace, launched an attack on the occupying English forces from here and his spectacular success at the Battle of Stirling Bridge (September 11th, 1297) is the stuff of legend.
After departing Stirling we drive past Doune Castle (a 'must see' for 'Monty Python and Outlander fans!) and before long we are face-to-face with our great friends the hairy Highland cows, everyone's favourite photo stop (April to October).
The Wee Red Bus on the Duke's Pass scenic drive
Our journey to Aberfoyle takes us along the banks of Lochs Venachar and Achray, through the beautiful Trossachs - the 'Highlands in Miniature' - and over the Duke's Pass scenic drive, a stunning Highland landscape of lochs and mountains.
This is Rob Roy country, popularised by Sir Walter Scott's books and poems. Legends and superstition of faeries or 'wee people' abound in these hills...
From Aberfoyle it's only a short distance to Loch Lomond. We traverse the Highland Boundary Fault as we go; a coast-to-coast geological rift which defines the landscape of this area.
Loch Lomond nature walk and Highland viewpoint
It is visible with the naked eye when we arrive at Balmaha, Loch Lomond.
Here, by the famous ‘bonnie banks’, your guide will accompany you on a short nature walk, culminating in a superb Highland viewpoint and photo opportunity over Scotland’s largest lake and the Arrochar Alps mountain range.
Scotland’s geological definition between Highlands and Lowlands can be seen in all its glory from here!
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs were designated Scotland’s first National Park in 2002 and it remains an extremely popular area with locals and visitors alike.
We finish the day at Glengoyne Distillery, situated in a wooded valley in the southern Highlands.
The distillery, which takes its name from ‘Glen Guin’ or Glen of the Wild Geese, has been producing a high quality single malt for nearly 200 years.
You will, of course, have the opportunity to tour this beautifully located distillery and sample the delicious 12 year old product for yourself! (adults £7.50, over 60s £6.00, under 18s £5.00).