Settle into medieval Stirling and spend a week ensconced in Scotland’s history and culture. Trace the legends of William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots; cruise Loch Lomond; visit the country’s oldest distillery; then head to Edinburgh to experience the thrill and pageantry of the Military Tattoo.

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

Heart of Scotland: A One-Week Stay Featuring the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

9 days from $4,990

Settle into medieval Stirling and spend a week ensconced in Scotland’s history and culture. Trace the legends of William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots; cruise Loch Lomond; visit the country’s oldest distillery; then head to Edinburgh to experience the thrill and pageantry of the Military Tattoo.

or Call 855-330-1542

SOLO TRAVELERS

Save $250 per person when you book by August 30, 2024!

No Single Supplement for solo travelers! (Limited availability, book early to ensure your space)

Overview

Immerse yourself in the ancient heart of Scotland, getting acquainted with its history, natural beauty, and contemporary culture during a weeklong stay. From your base in the medieval old town of Stirling, discover the legacy of Scottish heroes King Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace, the subjects of the movie Braveheart. Explore the childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots, and tour majestic cathedral ruins in seaside St. Andrews. During a full day in Edinburgh, experience the thrilling Military Tattoo, staged on the castle grounds. Enjoy a wide variety of activities, from a distillery visit to a cruise on Loch Lomond, as well as free time to explore Scotland’s enchanting towns and cities.

Highlights Include:

  • Stirling: Stay in a Victorian landmark within the medieval walls of Stirling, and explore the history of this royal town and its region—where both William Wallace and Robert the Bruce defeated the English in the wars for Scottish independence. Venture to famous battlefields, and take a guided tour of the town’s castle, once the home of Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • Edinburgh and the Military Tattoo: On a full-day excursion to this World Heritage-listed city, take a guided tour of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile as well as the Georgian New Town. Experience the Military Tattoo, a thrilling annual spectacle of military bands from around the world and traditional Highland dancing set against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
  • Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park: Spend time discovering this vast and wild landscape of lochs and munros, or mountains. Set out on a scenic cruise on Loch Lomond and enjoy a lakeshore lunch in charming Luss. Admire the stunning views on a drive through Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
  • St. Andrews: Take a day trip to seaside St. Andrew, a pilgrimage destination and Scotland’s oldest university town. Meander among the evocative ruins of the town’s castle and its 12th-century cathedral, once one of the most magnificent buildings in the country; and enjoy free time to explore the town further.
  • Perth and Crieff: Visit the opulent Scone Palace, set on the site where Scottish kings were crowned. Then head to Glenturret Distillery, the oldest working distillery in Scotland, for a tour and a tasting of its fine single malt whisky.

Itinerary

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

After an overnight flight to Edinburgh International Airport, you'll be met 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

You’ll start each day during your stay with a hearty Scottish-style buffet breakfast. Set on a bend in the River Forth and dominated by an imposing castle built high atop a volcanic outcropping, 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. See the ramparts and explore 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. (2023: B,L,D) (2024: B,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 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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