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Day One – Journey to the Kingdom of Fife
Travelling from Edinburgh, you’ll cross the impressive Queensferry Crossing – perhaps stopping off to marvel at the three mighty bridges here – and making your way in to the Kingdom of Fife. Along the way there will be castles to discover, with Falkland Palace and Kellie Castle two of our favourites, as well more malt to taste – we’ll make sure you discover the finest.
Your hotel in Fife
A family owned-and-run pub/restaurant-with-rooms of endless appeal is the location for your first two-night stop. In a lovely coastal location, summer sees the expanse of golden sand on the doorstep used by the local cricket club; what better way to while away an afternoon than to sit on the deck with a cold one, hoping to witness the fall of a few wickets?
A menu of the very best local ingredients is served in the airy restaurant or cosy bar, while the accommodation presents a most comfortable place to lay your head.
Day two – Savour Your First Dram
Breakfast at your hotel will set you up, before you take the time to head out for the first full day of your holiday. Today, you’ll experience the ‘dream-to-dram’ story of Kingsbarns, the county’s newest distillery, set within the rescued former-ruins of ancient farm buildings (making sure to provide soft drinks for the driver – or we can arrange transfers for you so the driver can take the day off!) before returning to your hotel for dinner.
Day three – To the Highland Gateway
Travelling northwest today on your way to the edge of the Highlands, where you’ll spend two nights at a small family-run hotel in the charming Perthshire town of Pitlochry.
Your hotel in Pitlochry
Your accommodation is a beautifully presented, family owned property featuring supremely comfortable rooms and an acclaimed restaurant. Step through the front door to reception and the calming atmosphere is immediately obvious, the wealth of original features – ornate plasterwork and wood, tall picture windows and even taller ceilings – contrasting perfectly with the owners’ additional touches of flair and a roaring log fire.
Day Four – Whisky waiting and castles calling
Just on the doorstep of your hotel, amidst classic Scottish scenery, you’ll find superb castles – Blair Castle is particularly picturesque – as well as a number of fine distilleries, including Edradour, Scotland’s smallest, and Blair Atholl, one of its oldest. You’ll feel spoiled for choice, but don’t worry too much: we’ll provide a comprehensive list of suggestions to help you make the most of your time.
Day Five – Classic Scottish touring route to Aberdeenshire
Make sure you spoil yourself at breakfast once more, before heading off for what could be one of the best day’s driving you’ll ever have. Scotland has some of the world’s finest touring routes and today you’ll experience one of our favourites as you traverse the Spittal of Glenshee in Cairngorms National Park, through the classic town of Braemar on the way to the heart of Aberdeenshire. The forbidding mountain scenery and spectacular setting combine with the twisting, sinuous road surface to make for a memorable day behind the wheel.
Your hotel in Rural Aberdeenshire
A Baronial mansion house set on a lush 240-acre estate and parkland golf course is the setting for your hotel in this most peaceful corner of Aberdeenshire. Roll along the endless, gentle driveway – perhaps spotting a little resident wildlife along the way – to the impressive main house where you’ll find a ‘cave’ bar carved from original 13th-century structure, a peaceful restaurant and your fine accommodation overlooking the golf course.
Day Six – Castle County
You want castles? Then you’ve really come to the right place. There are more castles-per-acre in Aberdeenshire than anywhere else in the UK, so we recommend taking your time over an early breakfast and heading out to experience the moats, portcullises, ramparts, turrets and flying buttresses found all over the county. As well as the castles and their features, you’ll find tremendous driving routes and some of Scotland’s most delightful towns and villages, each featuring shopping, historical attractions and inviting eateries serving some of the best local produce you’ll find anywhere.
Day Seven – Castles, castles, castles! And More Whisky…
A leisurely approach to visiting castles means a limited number per day, so a second day of exploring awaits, with more of Scotland’s classic driving routes to experience along the way. After another hearty Scottish breakfast, head out in to classic scenery and make for the castle of your choice. We’ll give you a number of suggestions so you can make the most of your days, meaning you won’t waste a moment.
Today you’ll also enjoy a tour of one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries – perhaps towards the end of the day, taking advantage of the hotel’s free transfer.
Day Eight – Cross Country to the Shores of Loch Ness
It’s east to get lost in superlatives on a day like today, taking in more of the country’s best tarmac on the way to one of the world’s most famous bodies of water. You’ll scythe through Speyside’s Malt Whisky Trail, skirting the northern reaches of Cairngorms National Park and taking in our favourite route around Loch Ness on the way to your hotel on its southern tip.
Your Hotel by Loch Ness
Family owned and run, your country house hotel in Fort Augustus features cosy accommodation, while its restaurant has developed a well-deserved reputation for serving some of the finest food in the Highlands. We love it here.
Day Nine – Around Mighty Loch Ness
Your hotel’s location here within walking-distance of the loch means taking a day off from driving is simple; perhaps enjoy a boat trip on the loch and a visit to evocative Urquhart Castle, or rent a bike and take in a stretch of the Caledonian Canal.
Day Ten – Return home
Enjoy a final, fabulous breakfast before making your way home via another stunning driving route, through the majestic valley of Glencoe
A meandering self-drive route, covering much of the best scenery in the country, beginning your holiday with a stop in the “East Neuk” of Fife, then head towards the Perthshire town of Pitlochry then through the Cairngorms National Park to Aberdeenshire then finally on the shores of Loch Ness.
£1315 per person for March & November, £1335 per person for April & October, £1445 per person for May to September.
Prices based on two people sharing a double/twin room for nine nights on a bed & breakfast basis (dinner is also included on your first two nights).
The holiday includes an Historic Scotland Explorer Pass, covering entrance to many castles and other sites of interest, as well as tours at the Kingsbarns distillery in Fife, Edradour Distillery and Glen Garioch Distillery.
This combination, and the distilleries included, can easily be tailor-made to suit.
We can also assist with car hire for this self-drive tour. If you are looking for a public transport based itinerary we would recommend taking a look at our Highlands, Castles & Whisky by Train tour.
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.
This holiday can be arranged from March until November.
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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