This 10-day escorted tour of Scotland’s highlands starts with two nights and sightseeing in Edinburgh before crossing Forth Road Bridge to St. Andrews-the home of golf. Then it’s off to the highlands through the grand Grampian Mountains to Culloden, where
Glasgow is Scotland's biggest city and major tourist destination, possessing some of Britain's finest architecture and hosting a variety of cultural events and attractions.
Glasgow has been described as the finest surviving example of a great Victorian city. Of particular interest is George Square - lined by several buildings constructed in the Italian Renaissance style. Few buildings pre-date 18th century. The most prominent of these are Glasgow Cathedral, and Provand's Lordship, which is the city's oldest house (c. 1471) and now a museum. The cathedral, situated on high ground to the east of the city and dating in parts from 12th century, is an outstanding example of Gothic architecture. The city has numerous parks and ornamental open spaces, including the Botanic Garden and zoological gardens. Glasgow grew around a church built in the 6th century by St Kentigern, who converted Scots to Christianity. The commercial growth of the community dates from the union of Scotland and England in 1707 and the opening up of trade in the 18th century when Glasgow became a major port and shipbuilder.
Dominated by the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, this picturesque city offers shopping on Princes Street, the grandeur of the Royal Mile, St. Giles Cathedral and historic Palace of Holyrood House, where Queen Mary lived and many Scottish kings were wed. Or venture across the moors to marvel at the scenic Highlands.
Inverness is an excellent tourism destination. With its suspension bridges across the River Ness and old stone buildings, it is a pretty place well-known for its floral displays. Walk along the river banks and to the Ness Islands for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the shops. Cross the river on little bridges and visit Bught Park. The Floral Hall has a sub-tropical horticultural extravaganza with a small waterfall, fish and all sorts of plants and trees. Walk up the river in the other direction and see Ben Wyvis on the skyline. Inverness has an excellent museum and art gallery. Local history talks take place here. Eden Court Theater, situated near the cathedral, has events listings and incorporates part of the old Bishop's Palace and is said to be haunted by the 'Green Lady' ghost of a wife of one of the bishops who hanged herself there. Also check out art.tm which is an art gallery and studio. The Spectrum Centre has a cafe and is the meeting place for local clubs and education classes. Look out for Scottish Showtime music and dance performances during the summer.
Tucked into a bay at the top of the Argyll Peninsula on the central west coast of Scotland, Oban is a ferry port for the islands and a center for Gaelic history and culture. McCaig's Tower, a replica of the Colosseum of Rome, was built in 1900 by a local banker. Argyll, home of the Clan Campbell, was once the ancient Scottish Kingdom of Dalriada. In mist-shrouded Kilmartin Glen, one of the most beautiful in Scotland, are the ruins of Dunadd Castle, where a weathered rock inscribed with a boar head marks where Scottish kings were crowned until the 11th century. Nearby, stone circles attest to a civilization dating back 5,000 years. Loch Fyne is where the present head of the Campbells, the Duke of Argyll, makes his home at Inverary Castle. The 19th century castle was admired by Sir Walter Scott as a fine example of the Scottish baronial style.
Thurso is mainland Scotland's most northerly town, and home to the country's most northerly railway station. Located on the north coast of Caithness, its seaward views are dominated by the distant cliffs of Dunnet Head to the north east, and those of the island of Hoy to the north. In more recent times the arrival of the Kylesku Bridge and many stretches of road wide enough to boast white lines down the middle have made the far north west much more accessible. But recent developments have done nothing to diminish the utterly superb scenery the area has to offer; and there remain some stretches of single track road to add interest to the trip. Also of interest, the sometimes turbulent seas of the Pentland Firth have led to Thurso becoming an unlikely center for surfing.
Inverewe Garden was started by Osgood Mackenzie, born in 1842, the son of Sir Francis Mackenzie, laird of Gairloch. On his father's death Osgood's brothers inherited the Gairloch Estate, and so, with his mother's help the 12,000 acre Inverewe and Kernsary Estate was bought for him. It was 1862 and Osgood was 20 years old.
Osgood chose a site for his new house; a barren and rocky promontory in Loch Ewe, and by 1870 was well on the way to completing his Scottish Baronial Style mansion and its accompanying garden.
** This departure has been designated a guaranteed departure by the operator, meaning that the minimum number of guests has been met, although still subject to weather and other conditions.
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