Explore the musical diversity of Glasgow, Stirling, Cawdor, and Edinburg – a Scottish Intermezzo. Scotland occupies the northern third of Great Britain and is home to almost 800 small islands. Scottish people are proud of their nationality, but also have a worldwide reputation for warmth and friendliness. Rich in history, Scotland has been handing down its traditions for close to a thousand years, and its culture has been shaped by a long tradition of strong-willed and influential characters.
Relax and enjoy our scheduled flight from North America. [/activity]
Day2Welcome to Scotland
Town of Stirling
Our first stop will be Stirling the medieval town that grew up around one of Scotland’s most important fortresses and the Old Town is still surrounded by its original 16th century walls. The town served as the backdrop for one of William Wallace’s 13th century battles and continued to be of strategic importance in the Jacobite uprisings.
Tour Stirling Castle
Tour Stirling Castle, which dates from the Middle Ages and was an important seat of two kings; James IV and James V. View the Museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, presenting an excellent exhibit of colors, pipe banners, and regimental silver. From the castle there is a wonderful view of the Wallace Monument.
Continue to Oban
The Oban area will be our base for the next two nights. While here, we will enjoy breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
Day3Isles of Mull and Iona
Set sail for Mull
We will board the ferry at Oban and set sail for Mull. The landscape of Mull is wild and desolate with its moorlands, rocky cliffs and castles.
Set sail for Iona
Visit the quiet and peaceful Isle of Iona where 1,400 years ago, St. Columba came to this remote island and established his monastery, making Iona the cradle of Christianity in Scotland. For centuries, the island was also the burial place of Scottish kings. The 13th century Abbey is the highlight of Iona, standing on the site of Columba’s first church.
First Concert Performance
Your concert performance will be today. Venue options include the Abbey. Then, we will board the ferry at Iona and set sail for Oban.
Day4Look for Loch Ness
Travel from Oban to Fort William
Fort William is the largest town in the Scottish Highlands and its second largest settlement, after Inverness. It is an important center for hill-walking and climbing, due its proximity to Ben Nevis and many other Munro mountains. As a result, it promotes itself as the “Outdoor Capital of the UK.” Fort William is also the location where the opening sequence for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was filmed.
Journey from Fort William to Loch Ness
Search for the Loch Ness Monster, beginning with an expedition along the shores of the Loch. If we are unsuccessful in our sighting, our visit to the Loch Ness Monster Museum provides photographic evidence to challenge the skeptics.
Head to Inverness
Inverness is known as the capital of the Scottish Highlands and is located at the end of the beautiful Moray Firth, only a few miles from Loch Ness. The city’s name is Gaelic for ‘mouth of the river Ness.’ Gaelic appears on the majority of road signs around the city and a considerable number of people in Inverness still speak the ancient Celtic tongue. Take a Walking Tour of Inverness.
Hotel Check In
Our base for the next night will be the Inverness area, where breakfast and dinner will be provided at the hotel.
Day5Cullodon to Cawdor to Aberdeen
Culloden Battlefield Visitor Center
Visit the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Center, commemorating when on April 16, 1746 the Jacobite army under Bonnie Prince Charlie was slaughtered here by Government troops led by "Butcher Cumberland," George II's younger son, finally ending the hopes of the Stuart restoration to the British throne. At the visitor center we will follow the audio-visual program
and exhibition area explaining the battle.
Travel from Cullodon to Cawdor
Visit Cawdor Castle, built in the 14th century by the Thanes of Cawdor, the title infamously bestowed on Macbeth.
Head to Aberdeen.
As Scotland’s third largest city and Europe’s offshore oil capital, Aberdeen has flourished since the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the early 1970s. Widely known as the Granite City for the stone used in many of its buildings, its outlines are softened by year-round floral displays in the public parks and gardens (the Duthie Park Winter Gardens being the largest indoor gardens in Europe).
We will take a Walking Tour of Aberdeen where we will view the Fish Market, Old City with its cobbled streets and quaint cottages and Duthie Park.
[activity title="Check in to hotel"]
We will stay in the Aberdeen area, our base for the next one night. Breakfast and dinner will be included at the hotel.
Day6Aberdeen to St. Andrews to Edinburgh
Travel to St Andrews
Located on the east coast of Fife, St. Andrews is Scotland’s oldest university town. It was built out of stones pillaged from St. Andrews cathedral (now in ruins), which was at one time the largest cathedral in Scotland. St Andrews is also the 'Home of Golf', where the game was
first played in around 1400 and today attracts visitors from all over the world to play on the world famous courses. Visit Holy Trinity Church, a beautiful old church where Knox preached his first and last
Second Concert Performance
Your concert performance today will be in St. Andrews.
Head to Edinburgh
Edinburgh is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most attractive cities, due primarily to its impressive medieval and Georgian districts and surrounding Lothian Hills. It is as famous for the arts as it is for its long and turbulent history. Both the Old and New towns are listed as
UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Hotel check in
For the next two evenings we will enjoy the convenience of our centrally-located Edinburgh hotel, where daily breakfast will be included.
Tonight we will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.
Day7Final Concert Performance
Visit Edinburgh Castle
Visit Edinburgh Castle, a place filled with history, legend and lore. Our visit will include St. Margaret's Chapel, the State Apartments, the Great Hall and the Crown Chamber, which houses the Honours of Scotland (Scottish Crown Jewels).
Visit St. Giles Cathedral
Visit St. Giles Cathedral, which was at the center of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. John Knox, who had been appointed as Minister of Edinburgh, preached here from 1560 to 1572, and eventually St. Giles would become the first Presbyterian Church in Scotland. Behind the cathedral is John Knox’s Grave, which we will also try to see as it has been paved over in the centuries since his death.
Final Concert Performance
Your concert performance will be in Edinburgh today. Celebrate by enjoying dinner at a local restaurant.
Day8Depart for Home
Our rewarding and enjoyable tour comes to an end as our Tour Director accompanies us to the airport on our final day. [/activity]