Scotland's Castles and Monsters
This tour can be enjoyed by
itself, or can be combined with more time in Scotland, Britain,
You can add extra time in
Scotland or elsewhere at the beginning and/or end of your tour.
And, if you prefer, you can
travel by private car, joining the group only for accommodation,
meals, and any other activities that you might wish.
Total flexibility. And
Our 2004 tour has been
completed. Was it a success? Read what travel writer
and tour member Joe Brancatelli said about it in USA Today -
wife and I spent a week kicking around Scotland last month and
every experience — skillfully arranged by Scotland fan David
Rowell, The Travel Insider—was nearly perfect. If you care about
flowers, you'll be wowed by the endless glens full of heather
and bluebells. The lochs (lakes) and bens (mountain) do make
breathtaking panoramas. There are plenty of castles and stately
homes, lots of regal and commercial history, museums and culture
— and, of course, all the single-malt whisky and salmon you can
2005 dates are still being
confirmed. If you'd like to be advised when the tour is
all arranged, we can
put your name on a waiting list for advance information.
Tour Dates (2004)
The tour is guaranteed to
operate. It will not be cancelled because more than
the minimum number of needed participants have already signed
The tour commences with a
preliminary night of accommodation in London on Sunday, 9 May,
If you're starting your
travels in the US, you'll probably take an overnight flight on
Saturday 8 May (or sooner), to arrive into London on Sunday 9 May
The tour ends on Sunday 16
May when you return to London from Edinburgh by first class
train. You can either then join the Mysteries of Beautiful
Britain tour or else add your own arrangements as it suits you.
If you're traveling
immediately back to the US, you should arrange to take a late
afternoon/early evening train on Sunday or else perhaps add a
night in London and return on Monday 17 May. You'll
arrive back in the US at much the same time and on the same day
as when you leave London.
One night accommodation in
First Class train travel
between London and Glasgow and Edinburgh and London
Large luxury coach for best
views while touring
and complete with onboard restroom for best comfort
Small group, to avoid the
crowded impersonal feeling - maximum size 24 - lots of room
and comfort for everyone on a large 36 seater coach
Expert Scottish guide plus
also David Rowell as dedicated tour leader
Two nights accommodation in a
genuine Scottish castle dating back to 1297 and complete
with resident ghost
Two nights accommodation in
the small country town of Beauly at a family owned Inn
Two nights accommodation in
Breakfasts every morning
Feature dinners at Culcreuch
Castle, Beauly and Edinburgh
Area touring to Stirling,
Braveheart and Rob Roy country in the Trossachs
A Tasting and Tour of the
award winning Glengoyne Single Malt Distillery
Travel along the shores of
Loch Ness, including a visit to ruined Urquhart Castle and
the Loch Ness Visitors Center to learn about 'Nessie'.
Day tour to the very top of
Scotland, and the famed 'John O'Groats'
Visits to stately Blair Atholl
A full free day in Edinburgh
Day 1 (Saturday 8 May) :
Leave the US
You should make your
own arrangements to fly from the US to London, departing on
Saturday 8 May - or earlier if you wish to spend extra time
before the start of the main tour
Day 2 (Sunday 9 May) :
Our tour starts in London
The tour starts today
with a preliminary night at a central London four star
Day 3 (Monday 10 May) :
Traveling to Scotland
Our deluxe 36 seater coach has lots of space, restroom, hot
and cold refreshments, even a video system
Culcreuch Castle - our home for two nights
We'll travel by first
class train from London's Euston Station up to Glasgow
gives us a lovely panoramic view of the English and Scottish
countryside as it travels for five hours up the West Coast
met at the station by our luxury coach and personal guide.
They give us a quick tour around Glasgow, and then we drive the short
distance north to
Culcreuch Castle, central Scotland's oldest inhabited
castle, in the tiny village of Fintry.
This evening we'll have a welcome dinner by candlelight
in the Great Hall at Culcreuch Castle and get to better know
our traveling companions.
To break the ice, and for some fun, we'll be holding a
'Travel Insider' competition, with a suitable prize
for the winner awarded at dinner.
Option : If you
prefer, you can collect a rental car in Glasgow and follow
the group itinerary at your own pace.
Day 4 (Tuesday 11 May) :
Stirling, Braveheart and Rob Roy
Glengoyne, described as the most beautiful
distillery in Scotland
Today we tour through
the beautiful Trossachs, and visit Stirling and its
impressive castle, known variously as the 'Key to the
Kingdom' and 'The Gateway to the Highlands'.
You'll see the Wallace Monument that commemorates
William Wallace, made famous in the movie Braveheart, and
visit the Rob Roy exhibition in Callander that features the
controversial character known as 'the Scottish Robin Hood'.
There'll be time also for a visit
to Doune Castle, featured in
Monty Python and the Holy
Grail, in a beautifully evocative quiet
setting, before ending the day with a Tasting and Tour at the
Glengoyne Single Malt Whisky Distillery.
Day 5 (Wednesday 12 May) :
Castles and Monsters
Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness
The Lovat Arms in Beauly
We leave Culcreuch this
morning and travel via Crianlarich and Glencoe before continuing
on to Fort William and up through the 'Great Glen',
alongside the Caledonian Canal. Soon Loch Ness appears
and we follow the loch up to Urquhart Castle, where we stop
for lunch and some monster spotting.
We then continue a short way further north to
Drumnadrochit where we visit the Loch Ness Visitor Center
and have a chance to learn about Nessie, the famous (some
would say fabled) Loch Ness Monster.
Our day of touring ends in the lovely small town of
Beauly, where we'll enjoy two nights at a family owned Inn.
Day 6 (Thursday 13 May) :
David at John O'Groats
Dunrobin Castle. The oldest part dates back to 1401
Today we travel to the
official northern most part of Scotland - John O'Groats.
Get your photo taken next to the famous sign to prove you've
Then we visit the less well known true northern most
point of Dunnet Head, a lovely lighthouse on a peaceful promontory.
If you also join the Mysteries of Beautiful Britain
Tour, you'll have a chance, a week later, to visit the
official and true Southern most points of Britain as well,
where you can get a similar souvenir photo and become a
member of the exclusive group of people that have traveled
Britain 'from Land's End to John O'Groats'.
Our tour takes us through plenty of Scotland's
highlands, and for a while we drive along the North Sea.
We include stops in a couple of the
small towns we pass through, and at Dunrobin Castle.
We return back to Beauly for the evening.
Day 7 (Friday 14 May) : To
We leave Beauly this
morning and travel through the center of Scotland.
We enjoy a visit to Blair Atholl Castle, and then have
lunch in the lovely town of Pitlochry, before continuing on to Edinburgh, the capital
will commemorate the end of our group touring with a group
dinner this evening in Edinburgh in our lovely centrally
Day 8 (Saturday 15 May) :
Edinburgh As You Like
Edinburgh Castle, overlooking the city
There's lots to see and do in Scotland's historic capital
Spend today seeing as
much, or as little, of Edinburgh as you wish to.
Maybe you'd like to tour the Royal Yacht Britannia, now
moored in the harbor. Or perhaps you'd like to tour
And maybe you'll choose to go up to Edinburgh Castle and
walk the 'Royal Mile'. There is a fascinating Whisky
Tour, and lots of whisky shops. Or maybe the ladies -
and the men, too - would like to buy a kilt.
There's a lot to see and do in and around Edinburgh.
And you're free to go where you wish.
Day 9 (Sunday 16 May) :
Return to London (or extend on your own)
Return back to London by comfortable fast first class train
You can choose
whichever train you prefer to return to London today.
You have an open first class ticket that is valid on all
generally leave every 30 minutes, and the journey down
Britain's premier rail line is just under 5 hours.
If you prefer, you can stay longer in Edinburgh or travel on
elsewhere as it suits you. Your train ticket is
actually a Britrail Pass good for three more days of first
class travel anywhere in Britain, anytime in the next seven
Tour Cost (Spring 2004)
$1795 per person, share
Want more information?
Got questions you need answered?
You can chat with David directly if he is online. Click on the
button below if it says 'Click for Live Help'.
A single supplement of $445
is available. We will also help to match together singles
if you'd like to share with a compatible fellow single traveler.
These prices reflect a 3% discount
A $200 per person
non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your places on
You are responsible for
arranging your travel between the US and London.
What about the Air Fare?
You will save money and gain
flexible convenience if you arrange your own air travel.
These days airlines seldom give discounts to groups, and
sometimes even charge more, while also adding extra restrictions
to the tickets!
You can choose whichever
carrier has the best fare and the best schedules for you, and
you can also choose a carrier that you wish to earn miles with.
You can even cash in miles and fly on frequent flier awards.
We'll be pleased to answer
any questions you might have about arranging your air
transportation, of course.
How to Extend or Vary this Tour
There are many ways you can
extend or vary this tour.
You are encouraged to add
the Mysteries of Beautiful Britain Tour to this tour.
You can also spend more time
in London before the start of this tour, and/or, if you wish,
you can travel up to either Edinburgh or Glasgow before the main
group and spend time in and around these areas, too.
During the tour, all of the
day touring is of course optional and you can substitute your
own activities if you prefer. And, indeed, if you wish,
you can even rent a car and follow the group's itinerary in your
own car, rather than in the coach with the rest of the group.
After the tour, you can
spend more time in Edinburgh, or travel on anywhere else in
Britain by train, making use of the other two days of train
travel on your first class Britrail pass.
Truly, this tour gives you a
great number of ways to add extra time and sightseeing.
And, if you have more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
We're here to help ensure your experience is as good as
Suggested Tour Extensions
We suggest you arrive in
London a day or two before Sunday 9 May, so that you are well
rested when the tour starts.
If you arrive on Friday 7
May, or earlier, you might be interested in experiencing a day
excursion by steam train on 8 May. This goes to Oxford and
Worcester, and would make a fascinating contrast to the modern
train journey we'll be taking on Monday, 10 May. I (David)
will probably be doing this day tour myself.
Ask me for more information if it is of interest.
Tour Terms and Conditions
standard terms and conditions
apply to this tour.
In addition, please note
these extra terms :
1. The 45 day
payment due date is considered to be Friday, 26 March.
2. US citizens require a
current passport that will not expire for at least six months
after the date of their planned return back to the US in order
to be admitted to Britain. They do not require a British
visa. Citizens of other countries should check with the
airline that will transport them to Britain to determine what
passport and visa requirements may apply.
3. UK residents will not
qualify for the Britrail pass which is used to provide train
travel between London and Scotland. We will quote an
adjusted price for such people.
4. Tour price is based on a
UK/US exchange rate in the wholesale range between 1.77 and
1.87. If the exchange rate varies outside of this rate
prior to final payment being received, the tour price will be
adjusted (either up or down) to reflect the change in the cost
of tour components. If the price of the tour increases by
more than 5%, participants will be offered a no cost, no penalty
opportunity to cancel and receive a full refund of all monies
5. A $50 discount is available
to seniors aged over 60 at the start of the tour (due to a
discount on the Britrail pass).
6. Triple share
rates may be available. Ask for a quote if this is
plenty of room in the coach's luggage bays for as much luggage
as you choose to bring. But you'll find it easier on
the train journeys, and in the hotel rooms, if you try and limit
yourself to one main suitcase and one smaller item per person.
The Travel Insider is
licensed by the State of Washington as a seller of travel -
registration number 602 036 247.
12 Jan 2004, last update
08 Jan 2013