The North West Highlands & Isle of Skye
This classic 5-day tour showcases the best of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. From dazzling white beaches to the dramatic mountain landscapes of Skye and Assynt, our Grand Tour will live with you forever. As part of a small tour group in the Wee Red Bus you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy world-famous sights like Loch Ness and Eilean Donan Castle as well as some hidden gems that many tourists never see.
- Culloden Battlefield
- Highland capital of Inverness
- Corrieshalloch Gorge
- Beaches and mountains of the North West Highlands
- Eilean Donan Castle
- Isle of Skye day tour
- Loch Ness
- Glen Coe
- Optional whisky distillery tour
- Both Scotland's National Parks
Our 5-day adventure begins in the picturesque village of Dunkeld where you can stroll through quaint narrow streets and/or visit Dunkeld Cathedral (free of charge). Dedicated to St Columba and beautifully located beside the River Tay, a visit to this historic church is a delightful way to start the day.
A short drive takes us to The Hermitage; a lovely riverside walk past one of the tallest trees in Britain to a spectacular waterfall and viewpoint.
Lunch is in the picturesque Victorian Highland village of Pitlochry before we continue north into the Cairngorms National Park with sweeping views across the Spey Valley and the Central Highlands.
We continue our journey to one of Scotland’s most evocative and sacred prehistoric sites, the 4000 year old stone circles and burial mounds at Clava Cairns.
Our final stop is Culloden Moor where the Jacobites were finally defeated by government soldiers in 1746, the last battle to be fought on British soil.
You will have time to walk on the battlefield and learn more about this tragic event that killed 700 Highland clansmen in three minutes. Our base for two nights is the Highland capital, Inverness.
A trip to Assynt and the Coigach peninsula will live with you forever as an area of outstanding natural beauty encompassing hundreds of lochs, beautiful coastline, and native woodlands all set against the stunning backdrop of some remarkable mountains.
This dramatic Highland landscape has inspired many from all over the world. We stop at the pretty fishing village of Ullapool for coffee, before continuing north-west to the unique landscape of Assynt and the Inverpolly Nature Reserve.
Famous mountains such as Suilven and Stac Pollaidh are never far from view. There can be few more scenic roads in the country than that from Badnagyle to Lochinver, where we pause for lunch. It’s then onto stunning Achmelvich beach to enjoy the wild coastline and beautiful sands.
Our drive continues to the ruins of 15th century Ardvreck Castle on the shores of Loch Assynt before we finish this fabulous day at the dramatic Corrieshalloch Gorge.
We say goodbye to Inverness and head to the Isle of Skye via the magic of Loch Ness and the rugged splendour of the Western Highlands.
First stop is the world’s most famous lake, best known for sightings of Nessie, the legendary Loch Ness monster!
There’s an option to take a 1 hour boat trip with views of Urquhart Castle or alternatively spend time at the loch-side village of Drumnadrochit for souvenir shopping and/or a visit to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition.
We continue to the southern end of the loch for lunch in the picturesque village of Fort Augustus.
Dramatic scenery unfolds as we drive west, stopping for photos at the famous viewpoint over Loch Garry and the wilderness of Knoydart beyond. We continue past the Five Sisters of Kintail – a high mountain ridge rising steeply from Glen Shiel – towards world-famous Eilean Donan Castle.
Perhaps the most iconic image of Highland Scotland the castle has been used as the backdrop for countless well-known movies. It is perfectly situated on a small island, surrounded by water and fabulous scenery – a ‘must-see’ Scottish landmark.
From here it’s only a short drive to the Skye Bridge and onwards to Sligachan for a stunning view of the Cuillin Mountains. Our final stop of the day is the island capital of Portree where we will stay for two nights.
Today is spent touring the Isle of Skye and, depending on weather conditions, the itinerary is a flexible one.
In the morning or afternoon we enjoy a half-day scenic drive along the dramatic Trotternish Ridge with its spectacular cliffs and rock formations.
Stops include Lealt Waterfall, Kilt Rock sea cliffs, the Old Man of Storr rock pinnacle and a walk at the Quiraing mountain pass.
The tour often includes exploring the Fairy Glen, a delightful miniature Highland landscape and legendary home of the ‘wee people’!
Other highlights of the island include a drive to the most westerly point on Skye and a walk to Neist Point lighthouse for spectacular views to the Western Isles. Further south the scenery changes somewhat to include the emerald green valley of Glen Brittle, nestled under the mighty Cuillin Mountains.
Here you can enjoy a walk to the enchanting Fairy Pools or stroll on the beautiful sandy beach. The 13th century home of the Clan McLeod, Dunvegan Castle, is also a popular attraction and Talisker malt whisky distillery offers tours and a chance to taste the famous ‘water of life’!
Our day begins with a scenic drive across Skye to the ferry terminal at Armadale for the 30 minute sea crossing to Mallaig.
With spectacular views to the Small Isles and Cuillin Mountains, the iconic black and red Caledonian Macbrayne ferry takes us back to mainland Scotland with wildlife spotting opportunities en route including seals, sea birds and the occasional whale, dolphin or otter.
On arrival in Mallaig we follow the beautiful ‘Road to the Isles’ to Glenfinnan Viaduct which famously features in several Harry Potter movies as the Hogwarts Express train crosses the bridge. Historically this stunning viewpoint also marks the spot where Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) landed on mainland Scotland and raised his standard prior to the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.
As we drive to Fort William for lunch we stop for a photo of Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis at Neptune’s Staircase. This series of locks on the Caledonian Canal raises the water level 20 metres and was designed by the famous Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.
Mountains and lochs provide a dramatic backdrop as we continue to Glen Coe, perhaps the most famous of all Scotland’s glens.
This narrow valley is where the bloody massacre of the MacDonalds took place in 1692. You may even recognise this part of the Highlands, used as a backdrop for many movies including Skyfall.
Our Grand Tour concludes with a photo stop at 13th century Doune Castle. Protecting the gateway to the Highlands the medieval castle has recently been seen as Castle Leoch in Outlander, Winterfell in Game of Thrones but is probably most famous for featuring in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.