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Please check in with your driver guide at Bus Stand ZE, Waterloo Place 15 minutes before departure
- Transport in a luxury 16 seat Mercedes Wee Red Bus
- Fully guided services of a Heart of Scotland tour leader
- Entry fees to attractions
- Meals and refreshments
- Maximum group size of 16
- Holy Island
- Alnwick Castle - the Harry Potter castle
- Alnwick Garden
- Lindisfarne Castle
- Northumberland coast
- Lindisfarne Priory
- Northumberland National Park
- The beautiful Scottish Borders
- Lots of time of the bus
This exciting tour explores Holy Island, scene of the first Viking invasion of Britain, and Alnwick Castle (filming location for Harry Potter and Downton Abbey) before returning north to Edinburgh via the beautiful Borders.
Our scenic drive towards the historic border town of Berwick-on-Tweed follows the sweeping coastline of the North Sea. Soon we cross the ancient Scotland / England border into Northumberland. Lindisfarne or Holy Island is a tidal island settled around AD 635 by Irish monks who had moved to Scotland. From here the Christian message spread throughout the north of England. In 793 a fierce Viking invasion heralded the beginning of the Viking Age.
'In 793 a fierce invasion of Holy Island heralded the beginning of the Viking Age'
Located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty you will have plenty of time to enjoy a short walk to 16th century Lindisfarne Castle, visit the Priory where the famous Lindisfarne Gospels were created and to enjoy the spectacular views to Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands.
You may also wish to buy some delicious souvenir Lindisfarne Mead from St Aidan’s Winery. * See note at bottom of page regarding tidal access to Holy Island. After a short drive we arrive at Alnwick Castle at lunchtime.
This magical place (the ‘Windsor of the North’) is one of Europe’s finest castles and has been at the centre of many historical events – from bloodthirsty battles between the Scots and the English to the intrigues of the Guy Fawkes plot.
Its sumptuous setting and exquisite architecture has famously been used as a filming location for ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘Harry Potter’ (Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry), ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’, ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Blackadder’.
Visit the Downton Abbey exhibition featuring costumes, photography and props from the series and revisit some of your favourite Harry Potter filming locations. There are guided historical and film tours as well as costumed actors in the castle grounds. Check the events board on entry to make the most of your time here.
'Alnwick Castle has famously been used as a Harry Potter filming location'
There are numerous fun and interactive activities for children and we will stop here for a minimum of 2.5 hours so you can fully appreciate and enjoy this amazing castle. Next door to the castle is the world-renowned Alnwick Garden. The fabulous Grand Cascade, Walled Garden and Poison Garden are part of an expansive network of formal planting which attracts visitors from all over the world.
Although separate attractions, we have an agreement whereby customers can enjoy a combined ticket to both the Castle and Garden with a Heart of Scotland Tours discount. Our special 25% discount prices are Castle adults £12.15 (5-16s £6.80), Garden adults £10.20 (5-16s £4.20), Castle and Garden adults £20.75 (5-16s £9.50).
The tour returns north through scenic Border country following in the footsteps of feuding clans and families, known as Border Reivers, who fought a series of violent raids across the border hills until the end of the 16th century. We stop for refreshments and an opportunity to admire the beautiful rolling landscape which nestles between two historic and proud nations.
* Please note the crossing to Holy Island is dependent on tidal conditions and is always at driver discretion. Your driver will ensure that crossing times allow for a healthy safety margin. If the tour is unable to cross in the morning then we will endeavour to visit in the afternoon or stop at Bamburgh beach and the impressive castle instead.