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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold Award

Scottish Highlands

Overflowing with jaw-dropping scenery from giant mountain ranges to wild, windswept beaches, dark forests, deep lochs and magnificent castles.

Many of Scotland’s iconic sights and immortal images can be found here in the Highlands. There’s a definite risk of tripping over excitable production crews filming the next big drama, box-office thriller or wildlife documentary. Scenes from Outlander, Skyfall, Harry Potter and Macbeth were all inspired by the resplendent, atmospheric and sheer ‘otherness’ of the place.

Surprisingly remote, this is one of the most sparsely populated areas in Europe. You can drive for miles along spectacular roads in the West Highlands or gaze for hours from your train window over the bleak and isolated beauty of Sutherland’s ‘Flow Country’ and see not a soul. However, a visit to The Scottish Chocolate Centre or a Speyside whisky tour will bring convivial company. With so many regions to choose from, we can help you to find the places that you really want to see, enjoy the famous sights you’ve heard so much about and uncover a few secrets too.

Top Tips for your Scottish Highlands Holiday

Watch a demonstration of the fascinating ancient art of barrel-making at the Cooperage on Speyside before embarking on a whisky tour and tasting.

Drive along the Moray Coast, famed for its excellent sunshine record, and stop off at fabulous Cullen Beach where dolphins are sometimes spotted.

Call in to the Scottish Chocolate Centre in Grandtully, home to international award-winning Highland Chocolatier, Iain Burnett.

Visit a castle or two or three - from atmospheric ruins to renovated stately homes, there are so many to choose from.

Head for Applecross for stunning views across to Skye and a super seafood lunch at the inn.

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Things To See & Do

You can really enjoy the thrill of the open road in the Highlands and there are some wonderful routes and mountain passes to motor along, including the North Coast 500, Glencoe, the Rest and be Thankful, Glenshee, Glen Spean, and the hairpin bends of the Bealach na Ba.

You might like to explore lovely Perthshire with its rushing rivers and misty glens. This is great walking country and is famous for its connections with the outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor. In Pitlochry look out for the Festival Theatre which offers a year round programme – and tasty lunches overlooking the river. Blair Castle in nearby Blair Atholl is highly recommended for an impressive insight into Scottish social history.

The quiet and peaceful beauty of Ardnamurchan is hard to beat; a long, narrow peninsula along the shores of Loch Sunart, it includes the most westerly tip of the British Mainland.

Head to the far north, by scenic train-journey or car, to discover the wilderness of the Flow Country, atmospheric highland glens now long-deserted, but once home to thriving communities, and the glorious coastal scenery of Sutherland and Wester Ross.

While others tick off John O’Groats, head a mile or two further north east to Duncansby Head, with its squat lighthouse and expansive views across to the Orkney Islands. A short walk along the coast, taking in the salty air, will reveal the jagged beauty of a rocky arch and sea stacks, battered into creation by the relentless tides.


Travelling To & Around

Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports all act as easy gateways to the Scottish Highlands – pick up a car and you’ll be out in the countryside in less than an hour. Or you could fly directly to the Highland capital, Inverness, and begin your trip from there.

Trains serve the major cities well, including the overnight Sleeper service from London. Beyond that, the West Highland Line, Kyle to Inverness Line and the Far North Line journey through spectacular scenery and provide the basis for our independent train touring holidays. Pre-arranged local driver/ guides or short taxi hops ensure everything connects smoothly – just leave that to us and make the most of your break.

Distances may not appear big on a map but roads can be twisty and narrow, especially when heading off-the-beaten track, so do take your time to ensure a stress-free holiday in the Scottish Highlands. A self-drive or fly-drive holiday can help you reach some of the further-flung spots with ease, while our carefully-designed train tours will dispense with the need to drive, yet still make sure you take in the highlights and some hidden gems along the way too.

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