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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Premier Edinburgh & Highlands Explorer

Carefully selected premium accommodation makes this touring holiday truly one to remember.

This week-long driving holiday is designed to give the discerning traveller a refined introduction to the contrasts of Scotland. You’ll start with two nights in Edinburgh, before travelling in to the heart of the Highlands, onwards to the dramatic west coast and finish off in a romantic glen. Each of your hotels is perfectly placed to enjoy the surrounding landscape, giving you the opportunity to explore, discover and absorb some of the finest features of this enthralling land.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Feb - Dec

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consider hiring a private driver?

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Day One – Arrive in Edinburgh

Your holiday starts in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital and one of the top city holiday destinations in the world. Visitors from across the globe are drawn here by the wealth of historic sites, galleries and museums, shops, restaurants and bars – not to mention the spectacular sight of Princes Street and the castle rock. Yet it’s still perfectly possible to avoid most of the crowds and find quiet cobbled streets, peaceful cafes and bars and, above all, to enjoy this most scenic of British cities.

Your accommodation in Edinburgh

Formed from a pair of classic Victorian houses, on an elegantly curving terrace not far from the West End of Princes Street, your hotel in Edinburgh is a newly refurbished gem to which we always enjoy returning. Sky-high ceilings and vast picture windows give a feeling of light airiness throughout, the beautifully decorated rooms presenting the perfect opportunity to kick off your shoes after a long day’s exploring.

The in-house restaurant serves a tempting menu of local fayre, while the relaxing bar, lined with art and artefacts, is a fine spot for a glass of something special as you plan your evening out.

Day Two – The Captivating Capital

Stroll along the streets around your hotel, amidst breath-taking architecture, perhaps down towards the nearby Water of Leith or up the hill to George Street, Rose Street and Princes Street, up the Playfair Steps to enjoy the view of Princes Street Gardens and, on a clear day, all the way to Fife. Maybe you’re feeling a little more adventurous and would like to make the easy ascent of Arthur’s Seat for yet more spectacular views of the city and beyond? And you’re sure to want to see the castle, the medieval alleys and closes of the Old Town and to walk the Royal Mile and escape the city completely at Holyrood. We’ll provide all the information you need to make the most of your day.

Day Three – Highland-bound

Collect your rental car this morning, make your way out of the city, cross the spectacular Forth Road Bridge and head through Fife, Perthshire and the Highlands to Speyside, famous for its whisky, castles, rivers and glens. This unforgettable route features many must-see stopping-off points along the way, including Blair Castle and the Highland Wildlife Park at Kingussie.

Your accommodation in the Cairngorms National Park

A recently refurbished Victorian shooting lodge, rescued from near-derelict state by its family owners, your luxury hotel in the Cairngorms National Park is a rare gem, with just 13 beautifully appointed rooms, its own coffee-shop and outstanding restaurant serving the finest Scottish produce. The open-air two-tier terrace is the perfect place to spend warmer, star-filled summer evenings, watching the world and the Highland Cattle go by, with a glass of something special from the extensively stocked bar.

Day Four – On the Scotch whisky trail

Whisky-lovers find themselves in paradise here, with some of the most famous names in malt on your hotel’s doorstep; pick one or two and take your time on tours of your chosen distilleries. With history stretching back centuries and fascinating stories told with enthusiasm and authority by expert guides, you’ll come away with a renewed love for the amber nectar. Several have introduced a ‘driver’s pack’, allowing those in charge of the car to take home drams to be enjoyed later – an award-winning innovation making sure no-one need miss out.

But it’s not just whisky here; superb driving routes through fabulous scenery, imposing castles, delightful villages featuring quirky shopping and the finest local produce served at charming inns and restaurants, are just some of the attractions you can look forward to.

Day Five – Wander to the West Highlands

Today’s classic route will take you along the shores of Loch Ness (possibly stopping off at famous Urquhart Castle or even the Loch Ness Monster Centre at Drumnadrochit – do bring your sense of humour) and down the Great Glen, before arriving at the mouth of Loch Creran and your next destination.

Your hotel on Loch Creran

Could there be anything more romantic than a Victorian-era Scottish Baronial mansion, with an acclaimed restaurant, set on its own 300-acre private island, teeming with wildlife and surrounded by the most breath-taking vistas? We don’t think so, and we’re sure you will fall in love with this extraordinary place. Beautifully manicured hotel grounds give way to rugged hillside and raised beaches, inviting you to explore and discover, treating this fabulous setting as if it were your very own. Inside, relax amidst lavish surroundings in one of several supremely comfortable guest lounges, and in the evening enjoy world-class dining with perhaps a bottle or two from the remarkable wine list.

There’s little need to leave the island, with both indoor and outdoor past-times catered for – from tennis, badminton and putting in the indoor sports hall, to luxurious ESPA treatments and an inviting heated swimming pool. Try a few swings on the driving range then pit yourself against the challenge of the nine-hole golf course. If you like your sport genteel but competitive, take to the croquet lawn.

Day Six – Wonderful West Highlands

The pretty port of Oban is just a short, scenic drive from your hotel, while the surrounding landscape offers walking and picture-postcard photo-opportunities at every turn. Drive just a little further to an outstanding seafood restaurant at Port Appin and perhaps allow the ferryman there to tempt you on to the island of Lismore, easily explored on foot or locally available rented bicycles.

Day Seven – Gleneagles

Today your scenic route passes Loch Etive and Loch Awe, before reaching your final base, one of the foremost hotels in Britain.

Your hotel in Perthshire

You’re in for a special treat on the last night of your holiday, at this world-famous five-star golf resort, nestling in breath-taking Perthshire countryside.

Its French chateau-inspired architecture and beautifully presented landscaping are just the start of this hotel’s myriad charms. With championship golf courses, a world-class spa and more outdoor activities and opportunities than you could ever use, this is the perfect place to relax and indulge.

Despite the obvious luxury on offer – including three restaurants, one of which carries a Michelin star – we love the hotel’s delightfully unstuffy manner, and friendliness of the eager-to-please staff. A classic Scottish jewel.

Day Eight – Return home

Edinburgh is within 90 minutes’ drive.


A four-centre, self-drive touring holiday, including the city of Edinburgh, and three different parts of the Highlands, finishing in the world-famous Gleneagles five star resort.


£1475 per person  in February & December, £1525 in March & November, £1575 in April & October, £1625 in May to July & September and £1750 in August. 

Prices for this self-drive holiday are based on two people sharing a room for 7 nights on a bed & breakfast basis, and one night, at Gleneagles, with dinner in the main restaurant included. (If you would like to dine at the Andrew Fairlie, Michelin Starred restaurant at Gleneagles, please ask for the applicable supplement.)

Car hire is not included, but we can arrange a wide selection of vehicles, either manual or automatic. We would recommend collecting a hire car as you leave Edinburgh, to avoid the challenges of city centre parking!

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.

Check availability for Premier Edinburgh & Highlands Explorer

This holiday can be arranged from February to early December.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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