Presently, we are taking bookings for Canadian tours only.  Read More

Scottish Borders Off the Beaten Path

This unique, off-the-beaten-path tour takes in the south of Scotland, where we will experience Scotland at its traditional best. 
This region, which features imposing castles, elegant abbeys, stately mansions and dramatic ruins, has a turbulent and romantic history. With a landscape of rolling hills and open countryside in the west, and gentle valleys and picturesque villages in the east, it is really no surprise that these lands inspired the works of literary greats like Sir Walter Scott and John Buchan. 

A quick sail across the Firth of Clyde will take us to the Isles of Arran and Bute. Arran has all the natural features of a typical Scottish island; a dramatic and ever-changing coastline, imposing mountain peaks, sheltered beaches and verdant forests. Beautiful Bute is a compact island of extraordinarily varied landscapes, as well as distinctive architecture in the resort towns that combines Victoriana and art-deco style. Both islands are a pure delight to visit!

* Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tour Highlights

   • Scotland’s Capital City, Edinburgh
   • Traquair House - Scotland’s oldest, continuously inhabited house
   • Bamburgh Castle
   • The iconic Alnwick Castle (Downton Abbey)
   • Abbotsford - the home of Sir Walter Scott 
   • Alpaca Trekking
   • Melrose Abbey
   • Dumfries and Galloway 
   • Isle of Arran, including the Arran Distillery
   • Isle of Bute, including Mount Stuart
   • Glasgow

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for Glasgow.
We transfer to our fabulous 4-star hotel perfectly situated in beautiful Scottish Borders countryside. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
On our city tour of Scotland’s capital we’ll see the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace and Arthur’s Seat. On our guided tour of the National Museum we’ll discover both world-famous and curious objects that helped shaped Scotland’s history. There will be free time to enjoy Princes St. Gardens, shop in the quaint boutiques or enjoy a pint at one of the famous pubs!
We visit Carcant Farm, for a demonstration of the training of Border Collies to prepare them for hill work, and an opportunity to interact with these wonderful animals. Then we head to Traquair House - Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House. Built in 1107 AD, it has been the home of the Stuart family since 1491, and has been visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens. After a tour of the house, we will enjoy a beer tasting in the micro-brewery located under the chapel.
We discover Abbotsford - the extraordinary 19th century home of the great novelist Sir Walter Scott, who popularized the tartan, saved the Scottish banknote and rediscovered his country’s Crown Jewels. 2021 will mark the novelist’s 250th birthday, so it’s a perfect time to explore the treasure trove of intriguing objects which inspired his novels. We then proceed to Melrose Abbey - a magnificent ruin with lavishly decorated masonry. Founded in 1136, this is probably Scotland’s most famous ruin.
We leave Scotland and cross over to Northumberland (England) for the day. Our first visit is Alnwick Castle - the palatial home of the Duke of Northumberland. Here we will have a Downton Abbey themed tour, and see the rooms used in the show, hear behind the-scenes filming anecdotes, and learn how a real stately household operates. Next is Bamburgh, England’s finest coastal castle and a royal seat of Northumberland Kings since the 7th century. Our guided tour will take in over 2000 years of history. For dinner we will dine in a lovely pub in an idyllic location.
We visit the magnificent Bowhill House and Estate - home of the Scotts of Buccleuch for two centuries. Our guided tour will show us the home’s grandeur and the renowned Buccleuch Art Collection. Our afternoon is spent walking and admiring the stunning scenery of the Scottish Borders region, in the company of an Alpaca.
We first stop in Moffat - a jewel in the crown of southern Scotland, with healing sulphurous waters and historical ties to sheep farming. Here we will enjoy the tree- lined streets full of great places to eat and shop (try the famous Moffat Toffee). Then we proceed to the historic town of Dumfries, and visit the Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum, as well as the Devil’s Porridge Museum - an explosive Wartime Experience! Later we arrive at our hotel for a 3-night stay.
 We first visit the historic harbour town of Kirkcudbright. It is known as ‘Artists` Town’, because the streets behind the harbour have housed generations of creative painters and craftworkers. Then it’s on to Wigtown, known as Scotland’s ‘Book Town’, as there are 30 book related businesses here. You will find Scottish, Irish and English literature, rare and antique books, first editions and collectables, and special interest and children’s books.
The historic town of Dumfries, known as the ‘Queen of the South’, is South West Scotland’s largest town. It has been a Royal Burgh since 1186 and is steeped in Scottish history. With many museums, shops, cafes and pubs, there is plenty to do here on your free day.
We visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of New Lanark - an 18th century village and model industrial community with cotton mill buildings, workers' housing and school, all built by Robert Owen as an experiment in utopian idealism. We’ll explore the village and see how people lived and worked in Owen's time. Included today is a scrumptious Afternoon Tea! Then we’ll proceed to the Glasgow area for our final 4 nights.
We cross the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran. The diverse landscape here includes fertile valleys, meadows and sandy bays overlooked by palm trees thriving in the warm climate of the southern part of the island, and a rugged landscape of deep gorges and lofty mountains in the north. We will stop in villages along the way, ending with a visit of The Arran Whisky Distillery where we can enjoy a wee dram!
We visit the tranquil Isle of Bute, known as the ‘Jewel of the Clyde’. Here we visit Mount Stuart - a spectacular 19th-century Victorian Gothic mansion with extravagant interiors and expansive wild gardens. We will also enjoy some free time in the seaside resort of Rothesay.
On our tour of Glasgow we’ll see the 19th century Victorian architecture, delightful parks, Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow Green, Glasgow University and the River Clyde. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Scotland’s largest city. This evening at our Farewell Dinner we will lift a glass and say Slainte to this incredible Scottish journey!
We fly home from Glasgow.
Presently, we are taking bookings for Canadian tours only.  Read More

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