Settle into the medieval old city of Stirling and enjoy a week ensconced in Scotland’s history and culture. During your stay, trace the legends of William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots; cruise Loch Lomond; visit the country’s oldest distillery; and experience the thrill and pageantry of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Starting at: $4,990 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Scotland's Edinburgh Castle
 St. Salvator’s Quadrangle, the University of St. Andrews
 The Royal Mile, Edinburgh
 Ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral
 The town and coastline of St. Andrews
 The town of St. Andrews
 Traditional whisky distillery
 Traditional Scotch whisky
 Stirling Castle
 Robert the Bruce at Stirling Castle
 Vista of Old Town, Edinburgh, with St. Giles Cathedral
 Edinburgh's Military Tattoo
 Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
 Panoramic view of Stirling Castle and environs
 The Trossachs
 Panoramic view of Edinburgh
 The Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle
 Scone Palace

Heart of Scotland: A One-Week Stay in Stirling

Featuring the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

9 days from $4,990

Settle into the medieval old city of Stirling and enjoy a week ensconced in Scotland’s history and culture. During your stay, trace the legends of William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots; cruise Loch Lomond; visit the country’s oldest distillery; and experience the thrill and pageantry of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: This Cultural Stay includes well-paced touring days, with several full-day excursions with transfers by motor coach. Most excursions last from four to six hours and there is leisure time on many afternoons. Expect standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and outdoor activities; daily walks of up to three miles over sometimes difficult terrain that includes cobblestones, hills, and uneven pavement, and unpaved trails; embarking and disembarking boats; stairs without handrails and absence of elevators (including hotels); and longer walks to get to area where coaches are prohibited.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 – Depart the U.S. for Edinburgh, Scotland

After an overnight flight to Edinburgh International Airport, meet your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director and receive an welcome kit with maps and information about your destination. Transfer to Stirling and settle into your Victorian hotel within the town’s medieval walls. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner featuring traditional musicians, a haggis ceremony, and Highland dancing. (R,D)

Day 3 — Stirling

Set on a bend in the River Forth and dominated by an imposing castle built high atop a volcanic plug, Stirling sits at a crossroads in Scottish history. The city castle was the childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots, and in the surrounding countryside, Scottish legends Robert the Bruce and William Wallace won pivotal battles for Scottish independence. Take a guided tour of these historic sites today, visiting the 700-year-old Bannockburn battlefield where Scottish King Robert the Bruce defeated King Edward II against all odds. Then tour Stirling Castle, learning about Queen Mary’s tumultuous life as you walk through the Great Hall and the royal chambers. Explore the ramparts and the serene gardens before free time to get to know Stirling on your own. Later, meet with local residents for an engaging discussion about everyday life. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park/Luss

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, where rolling munros, or mountains shelter pristine lochs. Enjoy a cruise on Loch Lomond and stop in the picturesque town of Luss for lunch at a lakeside restaurant. Stroll amid the town’s quaint rows of slate and sandstone cottages, originally built for workers at the nearby slate quarries. Later, take a scenic drive through Aberfoyle and Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in the heart of the Trossachs, stopping to admire the spectacular views. (B,L)

Day 5 — St. Andrews

Visit the impressive National Wallace Monument this morning, a soaring tower that overlooks the fields where Wallace led his troops to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Continue to St. Andrews on Scotland’s eastern coast, a royal town known as the birthplace of golf. The evocative ruins of the town tell a fascinating story of the centuries-long struggle between the English and the Scots. Visit the haunting remains of the medieval castle, perched over the sea, and admire the grandeur of the what remains of the 12th-century cathedral. See golf’s most iconic turf, the Old Course at St Andrews, where the sport has been played for more than 600 years. After lunch, enjoy free time to meander through the historic town center or take a walk on West Sands beach, where scenes from the award-winning movie Chariots of Fire were filmed. (B,L)

Day 6 — Edinburgh and the Military Tattoo

Visit the World Heritage-listed Forth Bridge, a working cantilever railway bridge that was one of the longest in the world when it opened in 1890. Then immerse yourself in the magic of Edinburgh, a city on seven hills that is rich in architecture, history, culture, and character. Set out on a panoramic city tour, discovering the sites of both the medieval Old Town and the elegant Georgian New Town. Stroll the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle, a former royal residence and important military stronghold perched atop a volcanic crag known as Castle Rock. On a guided tour of the Royal Palace within the castle walls, see the Scottish crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, a storied sandstone rock upon which the monarchs of several different countries were crowned, and learn about the role of the castle in Scottish history. You’ll have free time for dinner before meeting up for the legendary Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an annual event featuring military bands from all over the world, as well as bagpipe and drum players, traditional Highland dances, and fireworks—set against the backdrop of the castle walls. (B,L)

Day 7 — Stirling / Perth / Crieff

Enjoy a leisurely morning in Stirling before your afternoon journey to Perth, an ancient city set on the River Tay. Your destination is Scone Palace, an opulent Georgian manor house built at the site where kings such as Robert the Bruce were crowned. Take a guided tour of the palace to admire its stunning antiques and artwork, meander through its superb gardens, and try your luck at navigating the famed Murray Star Maze. Next, head to nearby Crieff for a visit to Glenturret Distillery. Established in 1775, Glenturret is Scotland’s oldest working distillery and is especially known for producing The Famous Grouse, Scotland’s best-selling whisky. Sample its fine single malt whisky and discover the secrets behind the centuries-old blending process used to create this celebrated brand. (B)

Day 8 – Stirling

Today is yours to spend as you wish! Stay in Stirling to soak up its charms, or plan an outing with the help of your Travel Director. You might visit nearby distilleries, take a walk in the countryside, or venture further afield to see the Falkirk Wheel or explore Glasgow. Gather with your fellow travelers this evening to toast your Scottish sojourn with a farewell dinner and a ceilidh, a traditional Gaelic party with music and dancing. (B,D)

Day 9 — Return Home

After breakfast, transfer to the Edinburgh International Airport for your homeward flights. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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