Private Tours Around Scotland
Be inspired! Check out photos and impressions from my previous trips!
Let me take you on my private tour of Scotland
Private tours in Scotland are my speciality – whether you travel alone, in a small group or in a coach, I adapt according to your wishes.
Are you a travel agent or in charge of organising a private group for travel?- are you looking for a guide to travel around Scotland by bus / minibus?
or for a step-on guide for a city tour of Edinburgh?
🚌 Are you coming by bus – I can accompany you from York / Gretna Green / Edinburgh / Glasgow.
🛬 Are you flying in? I greet you at the airport in Edinburgh or Glasgow.
🏨 Do you have accommodation? I’ll pick you up – for a walk or by bus for a day trip, or accompany you on a tour around Scotland.
Turn exploring our big cities on foot or on wheels into an adventures – whether it is in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Perth or Inverness.
Travelling in Scotland is …
… about much more than landscapes, history and castles. Get close to Scotland and her people from the Borders to Orkney – from the east coast to the Hebrides.
As we tour Scotland together you get to know all the peculiarities of the different areas, hear stories and find out about modern day Scotland too.
Nature, alternative energies, engineering, whisky, sports, tales – there will be something for everyone in my mixed bag of stories. We will not forget about filming locations and the Royals. They all have a place.
When I travel around the country, the bus often is my office. It gives me the opportunity to link music to my comments and the views around us.
Get some inspirations for your next visit with views from “my Office” below.
Taste your way through Scotland
Scotland’s fine larder is well known – from the sea with its fish, seafood and seaweed to lamb, Angus beef and venison. It is all first quality and the Scottish kitchen is gaining rapidly in reputation too. In the East all manner of vegetable and fruit is grown from the humble potato through juicy berries to the exotic chilli. Ask about food and drink. What Scots enjoy, their national dish – I am a Culinary Travel Guide.
Just behind the best whisky – gin is making its way into the bestseller list, and here too local flavours dominate. The number of micro breweries is expanding and BrewDog below started off as a micro brewery and is now exporting world wide.
The Highlands of Scotland: The embodiment of all that is associated with Scotland
The highlands are vast and this is only a tiny snapshot. A fault in the earth crust that stretches from Helensburgh (west of Glasgow) to Stonehaven (south of Aberdeen) on the east coast presents the southern line of the highlands that stretch all the way to the far north west of Scotland.
So follow me around as you discover various parts of the highlands and see for yourself just how varied they are. You will find “highlands” nearly everywhere and so you will still be there when you reach the western edges of “North East Scotland”, the NC 500 or the West Coast.
The highlands are everything you expected – empty spaces, mountains, water falls and deep valleys. I never tire of this ever changing landscape. While you are here – look out for Nessie or visit the Royal Family’s favourite holiday home at Balmoral. The late Queen Mum was often seen fishing in the river Dee.
No two routes are the same. Photo opportunities galore!
Feed the reindeer in their natural habitat. The herd of around 120 animals is roaming the hills and a few will appear when our special reindeer guides get out their favourite foods.
Watch sheep dogs at work and get down to do some shearing. No need to worry about animal welfare. These dogs need the work and are allowed to go as long as they want.
Before heading further north along the NC500 we move east.
The well kept secret
You should not miss out on this region. Fly into Aberdeen Airport and take your time to discover this fertile landscape that merges seamlessly into the Grampian mountains. The countless Castles in this region bear witness to hard times when various clans and regents fought over this fertile land.
Aberdeen, the granite city sparkles in sunshine. The city attracts with its old university (end C15) and old town around it whilst a beautiful sandy beach invites for a walk and the harbour shows off the connection to the North Sea industries.
The Lowland part of the north east is particularly fertile and the climate much drier than the west. Come along and find out about the more unusual crops growing here besides the humble potato. Whisky too plays a big part. The coast gives access to fishing and transport and sports a spectacular coastline. On the other hand you are within no time in Royal Deeside with Balmoral Castle and the Grampian Mountains. See some of the wonderful castles below.
“The Ultimate Road Trip” 500Miles (800km) Along the North Coast
Back on our trail up further north, I have followed a large part of the new NC500, a route that takes you from Inverness up the east coast, along the north coast to return down the west coast and back across to Inverness again.
When you think you can’t top spectacular views from coastline and sea stacks to mountains. Do part of this route with me and you will get not only a glimpse of the future but also hear tragic and fun stories from the past. But make sure you have your provisions. Living here means you can’t just pop to the shops – unless you live in one of the seaside towns.
Inverewe Gardens on the west coast boasts spectacular flowers in the walled garden and rock garden, rhododendron, azalea and eucalyptus, all planted on 2.8 million year old rock! The garden has been here for over 100 years. It is an unexpected sea of green.
Imagine standing in a cave and finding a second chamber with an unexpected 20m (60″) water fall thundering through the sink hole above; it has been created by the “Allt Smoo”, a small river.
Expect the unexptected …Follow the Beatles….
Meet the Vikings in this Island Kingdom
If you can spare the time – don’t miss out Orkney. Orkney is well worth more than just a day trip.
Orkney, with its “capital” Kirkwall (population 9.000) is a group of 67 islands. Not all are inhabited and the majority of the population stays on “Mainland Orkney”.
If you scratch Orkney’s surface it bleeds history – a large area on Mainland is under Unesco World Heritage protection, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. Skara Brae is a miraculously conserved village, The Ring of Brodgar is a stone ring (much older and larger than Stonehenge); Maes Howe is a sophisticated chambered cairn and passage grave.
Kirkwall’s Cathedral is named after their own Saint Magnus. A thriving folk music scene supports the yearly Music Festival.
The fertile land is the making of Orkney Gold awards – excellent beef and dairy products for you to enjoy along with their award winning beer and local whisky.
Isle Of Lewis
If you got the taste for island life, stay in the north, travel west and take the 2hr 45 minutes ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway and head back on the ferry to the western seaboard of Skye.
Have yourself surprised by an island with ever changing weather as the Atlantic carries across the winds and drift wood from the Americas – next stop west! You find beaches that make you think of the Maldives, albeit a bit cooler and peaceful Sundays where no shop is open.
Life today is still different here. Slow down with the islanders. The sea continues to shape life here. You still rely very much on the neighbour in times when the ferry can’t make it across. Ancient monuments remind you that this island has been settled since Neolithic times. The sea was the highway in the old days rather than a barrier.
West Coast & Western Islands (Hebrides)
The Ancient Islands of the Scots – Castles and Beautiful Gardens
Leaving the far north behind, it is hard not to be impressed by the west coast and its hundreds of islands. The west is simply synonymous with mountains, deep sea lochs and beaches. Castles aplenty secured the coast line. Explore the temperate rain forest around Oban or meander through one of the numerous attractive gardens.
The sea lochs reach deep into the rugged coastline, up to 25 miles (41km). Some of them have been created by giant “witches”, similarly to the Hebrides….The landscape is lush due to the gulf stream bringing warm air and water. There is a wealth of history reaching back to neolithic times – not to forget the seafood and fresh fish ‘n chips!
Kilmartin Glen is one of my favourite valleys. Like Neolithic Orkney, this too has been settled since Neolithic times and has all the monuments, standing stones, chambered chairs (graves) to show for it – and you must stand in the Scots’ King’s foot print. It is on a rock at Dunadd Fort – have yourself crowned king of the Scots for the day!
If you would like to buy a home made curry frozen to take away in a small place way off the main road – I can tell you where this is possible !… as everywhere else I mix stories from past and present.
The islands are nearly countless – the number around the Scottish coastline still changes. We count around 790 currently, only 15% of them are inhabited and all with their distinct atmosphere. Isle of Lewis above is the most northerly that is still inhabited.
Isle Of Skye
There is the all time favourite the Isle of Skye – the misty isle as it is know. It is quite young and sports 11 of the 12 island munros – a munro features with 3.000+ feet height. It is a hiker’s and climber’s paradise. While the southern part is very fertile the northern part impresses with the Cuillin mountain range.
Try some local whisky or fresh fish and seafood combined with a boat trip.
The Clan Donald reigned here supreme and have their very own Clan Museum at Armadale Castle to tell their story of the Lordship of the Isles; the castle ruin and gardens are a bonus. Alternatively, you can visit the fully functioning Dunvegan Castle and Garden of rival Clan MacLeod.
Another great experience is to be had when Paul from Skyeskyns introduces you to the process of tanning. Cafe and shop for provenance buying and enjoyment are adjacent.
A bit further south, stop off at Mull and add another day at Iona and Staffa. These islands are not quite as remote as the outer Hebrides, still worth a visit.
Mull is Scotland in miniature – the same as Arran. The Highland Boundary fault runs through both and so you find lowland in the southern part and upland in the northern part. Visit the dairy, the charming chapel of Our Lady, Star of the Sea or look out for golden eagles.
Take a stroll through the wonderful sculpture park of a local artist. Tobermory on Mull is particularly well known to British children as it is home to the BBC programme Balamory. Maybe that is why the Beatles bought some land here? 😊
Iona & Staffa
Iona – Another 10 minutes’ ferry ride takes you from Mull on to the Isle of Iona, home to Scottish Christendom. Here, St Columba set up with his 12 followers. St Oran’s Chapel has stood the test of times since around 1150 whilst the Abbey Church itself has been partly rebuilt. You find the burial ground for kings for hundreds of years. As soon as you set foot on this island, a sense of calm will envelop you – perhaps the reason for a large number of pilgrims still coming for a retreat every year.
Staffa – Know Mendelson’s Hebrides Overtures? Mendelssohn was inspired for this composition by Fingal’s cave and its fantastic acoustic and stunning sights. The basalt columns that form this island are considered as a continuation of the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland – makes perfect sense, given that the separation happened only 60 mio years ago. This uninhabited Island is well known for its puffin colonies.
Arran is also called “Scotland in miniature”. The fault that separates the Lowlands from the Highlands continues here across the island, providing lush green pastures in the south and rugged mountains in the north. Due to its geographical location, it has always been popular for short holidays from Glasgow.
Make the most of it, go for a great walk or visit Brodick Castle with its wonderful gardens.
You will find some interesting artisan shops. Let me just mention Arran cheese and two whisky distilleries – one in the Lowland part and one in the Highlands, not to forget the omni present gin distillers.
Hear about people’s joys and trials then and now.
Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway
This was the last area for me to discover properly. It is – like many areas – vastly different, with an amazing coastline and a lot to discover. What is Sir Walter Scott for the Borders, is Robert Burns for Ayrshire. He his our national bard and was recited on opening of our new Parliament Building in Edinburgh in 2004.
So it is here that you find his birthplace museum and a dedicated Robert Burns Museum. I am sure you know Auld Lang Syne…? On the other hand there is Wigtown, the famous book town, famous for its yearly book festival
The landscape of the Mull of Galloway is just breathtaking with its varied coastline and mountains. Again – like the Borders, the continuous border wars left their scars as much as the reformation. Go back to 6th century St Ninian’s church, Scotland’s oldest place of worship, in Whithorn.
Not to forget the industrial heritage. The list topics is endless the well known Belted Galloway cows to Turnberry Golf course.
Ayr and Ayrshire – This is the land of Robert Burns, Scotland’s favourite bard of the 18th Century. This landscape has a lot for you to discover including the electric brae. You need to be on this road to not believe your eyes.
Wigtown – You have to visit this small town on the coast if you like books. It is the book town and hold an annual book festival. It is a long way down but the way there is just breath taking and no less exciting than travelling north.
Get In Touch!
Interested in taking a tour? Get in touch today using the contact form below and let me know which locations you are interested in visiting. I’ll be in touch as soon as possible!
Find out more about other tour options I have available below!
Walking Tours in Edinburgh
The only way to really get to know Edinburgh and its people is a guided walk tour in a small group. Get in touch if you are interested in a private tour or check out the set tour suggestions.
Walking Tours Near Edinburgh
You need not travel far to feel totally removed from the big city – Dunfermline and South Queensferry are only a bus ride away from the centre of town. Combine a walk tour in a small group with time to
yourselves and make it a day trip. Find out more about the attraction of both to all ages by clicking below.
Day Trips From Edinburgh
There are some great day trips from Edinburgh in all directions. I have selected five suggestions for you to contemplate. They each contain more than can be done in a day – so select your favourite bits, add a distillery if you wish. I will adapt to your ideas and make it a great day out for all.
Private Tours In Scotland
Planning for a tour of Scotland? This is my favourite page. It shows you a snapshot of places I have guided in the past. Including a few things to do in Scotland. Be inspired !