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Day one – a thrilling flight from Glasgow to Islay
Begin your best of Scotland trip in style. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of taking off from Glasgow Airport bound for an island off Scotland’s spectacular west coast, and there are few more appealing islands than Islay. Home to no fewer than nine single-malt distilleries, including some of the most famous names in whisky, Islay stands proudly as a major hub for whisky-production. But it’s not just about the amber nectar: charming villages, ancient historical sites and alluring accommodation make Islay one of our favourite places to visit.
You’ll be met at Islay airport and transferred to your hotel.
Your hotel on Islay
Set in the alluring village of Bowmore, on the shores of Loch Indaal, this hotel has a long and varied history, linked to the distillery that carries the village name. Recently refurbished to an exacting standard, the rooms are a comfortable blend of traditional Highland fabrics, exposed masonry and modern bathrooms, while the restaurant serves a very good menu of local produce prepared with flair and served with style.
Day two – a whisky-flavoured day on Islay
This morning you’ll be met at your hotel by your own private driver/guide and taken on a terrific day out around Islay, with two distillery tours included, and you’ll be taken to the most significant and picturesque spots around Islay along the way. If whisky is not your thing, though, do just let us know – all our trips can be tailor-made, so you could choose to concentrate on the culture and history of the island, perhaps making a short trip over to neighbouring rugged Jura instead?
Day three – return flight to Glasgow and onwards to the Isle of Lewis
Not one, but two fun flights today, first returning to Glasgow for a short layover before taking off for Stornoway on the enchanting Isle of Lewis. You’ll be met at Stornoway airport and transferred to your accommodation.
Your guest house in Stornoway
Opened just a couple of years ago, your guest house in Stornoway quickly gained plaudits as one of the best in the Outer Hebrides. The local owner is a natural at making guests feel welcome the moment they arrive and has worked hard to make her home as comfortable and relaxing a place to stay as possible. Not to mention the fabulous Hebridean breakfasts, featuring world-famous Stornoway black pudding!
Day four – a guided day out on Lewis and Harris
This morning you’ll be met at your guest house and taken on a wonderful guided day out on the Isles of Lewis and Harris. Despite occupying the same landmass, these are islands of huge contrast – Lewis often flat and beautifully bleak; Harris mountainous and majestic, featuring some of Europe’s most breath-taking beaches. What they have in common is an abundance of wildlife – on land, in the air and their surrounding waters – and your guide is an expert on where best to catch a glimpse of some of Scotland’s most elusive creatures, including playful otters. Again, the day is yours, and can be tweaked and tailored to suit.
Day six – leave Lewis for Inverness
Today you’ll be transferred back to Stornoway Airport, to catch another exciting flight to the Highland Capital. Inverness is a bustling and thriving city set on the fast-flowing River Ness, with several terrific restaurants, some quirky shopping and easy access to breath-taking Loch Ness.
Your guest house in Inverness
An impressive Victorian villa set on a quiet residential street just 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of town, your guest house in Inverness exudes charm and comfort. The owner has worked hard to create an atmosphere of unstuffy informality, and always serves one of the best breakfasts.
Day seven – along the Great Glen to Skye and Scotland’s most charismatic castle
This morning you’re off on a small group tour from Inverness, along the length of Loch Ness and the Great Glen to the Isle of Skye. Three of Scotland’s most famous features in one breath-taking day out: also included in the trip is a stop-off at Eilean Donan Castle, famous from innumerable film and TV appearances and regarded as one of the country’s most picturesque fortresses.
Day eight – fly north
Today you fly on to Kirkwall for three nights in Orkney. The islands of Orkney form a mystical archipelago and there may be no more historically significant place in Europe, with evidence of sophisticated human habitation here stretching back some 5,000 years.
Your hotel in Orkney
Set just on the edge of Kirkwall, your hotel is a purpose-built, family owned small hotel with an acclaimed restaurant. The local family has worked hard to imbue the place with a unique feel, filling it with pieces collected over many years, giving every bedroom an atmosphere of its own, and the bar and restaurant an unmistakably Orcadian air.
Day nine – get to know the islands and history of Orkney
Our carefully chosen local driver guide will collect you at your hotel this morning for a wonderful day out around Orkney. The wealth of simply staggering Neolithic sites around Orkney are not to be missed, from the staggering height of the Standing Stones at Stenness to the ancient dwellings of Skara Brae. You’ll learn about more recent history too, from Vikings to the World Wars, with all of the questions you can think of answered with expert precision and good humour.
Day 10 – exploring Kirkwall
You have a final day at leisure to meander around the Orkney capital, perhaps visiting Britain’s most northerly cathedral, picking up some last-minute gifts or taking a tour of the Highland Park distillery. Now would be the perfect time to raise a glass to the end of your holiday, having seen and experienced the very best of Scotland.
Day 11 – fly away home
You’ll be transferred this morning to Kirkwall airport for your flight back to Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Island-hop your way around the best of Scotland, with two nights on Islay, three on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, two nights in the Highland capital of Inverness, including a day trip to Skye, before finishing with three nights at Kirkwall in Orkney.
£2415 per person in April & October, £2525 per person for departures from May to September.
Price is based on two adults sharing a double or twin en-suite room for 10 nights on a bed and breakfast basis in our hand-picked selection of small hotels and guest houses; return flights from Glasgow to Islay, flights from Glasgow to Stornoway, Stornoway to Inverness, Inverness to Kirkwall and Kirkwall to Edinburgh or Glasgow; private guided tours of Islay (with distillery visits and tastings) and Lewis/ Harris, guided tour of Mainland Orkney and a tour of Skye and Eilean Donan castle as part of a small group.
We would also be delighted to assist with reservations in Glasgow and Edinburgh at the start and end of your trip from our selection of centrally located hotel options.
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.
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.
Last month I was in Orkney for the first time. I have never been that far north before. I flew from Glasgow to Kirkwall, the main town, instead of tak...
All the guides were knowledgeable, personable and top notch. We could not have asked for more!Shirlene & Mark , USA
This holiday can be arranged from April to October.
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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