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

Scottish Castles, Glens and Whisky

A classically Scottish self-drive trip incorporating fabulous scenery & ancient architecture with a generous splash of the national drink.

Begin your self-drive holiday in the Perthshire town of Pitlochry before heading north to your Cairngorms retreat. From here, journey eastwards to Aberdeenshire before ending your holiday in the heart of St Andrews. 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 awash with quirky shopping, historical attractions and inviting eateries – and, of course, drams of whisky!

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Mar - Nov

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Day One – Journey to the Highland Gateway

Travelling from Edinburgh, you’ll cross the impressive Forth Road Bridge on your way north to the edge of the Highlands, where you’ll spend two nights at a fine country house hotel just a few miles north of the charming Perthshire town of Pitlochry.

Your hotel in Killiecrankie

Originally a church minister’s country residence, this charming small, friendly hotel is set in glorious wooded grounds in a tranquil setting deep in the heart of the rolling Perthshire countryside, with views across the Pass of Killiecrankie to the densely wooded hillsides bordering the River Garry.

Day Two – 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 Three – Towards your classic Cairngorm lodge

Take your time over a sumptuous breakfast and get ready for the drive northwards through the Cairngorms National Park. With jaw-dropping scenery helpfully provided at regular intervals, this is one of the most picturesque drives in the whole of the UK, and there are plenty of places to visit along the way.

Your hotel in the Cairngorms

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

Day Four – More castles and whisky

Following an unforgettable breakfast at your hotel, head out to the Cairngorms National Park for an equally unforgettable day. You’ll find the whisky mecca of Speyside close-by, with a multitude of distilleries containing world-class visitor facilities, and several have adopted a ‘driver kit’ allowing the designated driver to take away drams to enjoy later, so no-one misses out. The Speyside Cooperage is one of our favourite attractions in the area, with a new 4-D immersive cinema experience and a viewing gallery where you can watch the coopers create and repair casks against the clock. There are several excellent lunch-spots along the way in the pretty Highland towns and villages dotted around the area and we’ll point you towards our favourites.

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 best touring routes and today you’ll experience one of the finest as you traverse the Lecht Pass and reach an altitude of 2,089ft above sea-level, before dropping in to the highest village in the Highlands. 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 Aberdeenshire

Another of our current favourites, this recently opened, family run B&B is set within a spectacular Victorian property on the banks of the River Dee. The proprietors have created accommodation of rare quality, with generously proportioned bedrooms and impressive modern en-suites combining with traditional architectural features to make a fabulously comfortable place to stay. Weather permitting, breakfast is served on the terrace overlooking the garden and down to the river, while the guest lounge with cosseting sofas and roaring fire is the perfect place to enjoy afternoon coffee or pre-dinner drinks.

Several local dining options are available within easy walking-distance, with even more just a short drive away.

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 awash with quirky shopping, historical attractions and inviting eateries serving some of the best local produce you’ll find anywhere.

Day Seven – Castles, castles, castles!

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 wonderful 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.

Day Eight – Journey south to the Kingdom of Fife

We know you’ll find departing your hotel far from easy, so take your time over breakfast, pack the car and say your goodbyes, before another terrific day on the road. We’ll provide directions for more of Scotland’s most enjoyable and spectacular driving routes as you make your way south, crossing the silvery Tay at Dundee and making your way in to the Kingdom of Fife. Along the way there will be more 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 Michelin-starred, family owned-and-run restaurant with luxury rooms is the location for your last two-night stop. Set in a 17th-century building, your hotel has, down the centuries, served as hotel, pub, coaching inn and restaurant, and enjoys an uninterrupted history of offering hospitality for over 250 years.

The quality of food and accommodation on offer here is virtually unrivalled, and is the perfect place to enjoy your last two nights away, with the wonderful tasting menu dinner included on your first night here.

Day Nine – Savour one last dram

The legendary breakfast at your hotel is sure to leave a lasting impression, before you take the time to head out for the last 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 a fabulous holiday’s-end dinner.

Day Ten – Return home

Enjoy a final, fabulous breakfast (maybe even in bed!) before making your way home.


Begin your self-drive holiday from Edinburgh or Glasgow then head towards the Perthshire town of Pitlochry before heading north to the Cairngorms National Park. From here, journey eastwards to Aberdeenshire before ending your holiday in the Kingdom of Fife.


£1325 per person for March & November, £1345 per person for April & October, £1425 per person for May, June, July & September, and £1455 per person in August.

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 Kings Barns distillery in Fife, Speyside Cooperage, Edradour Distillery and Aberlour 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.

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 Scottish Castles, Glens and Whisky

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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