Day 1: Glasgow
Your Scottish adventure starts in Glasgow, a lively, friendly city full of character, where you will be warmly welcomed. The City Sightseeing tour bus is the perfect way to get to know Glasgow. Tickets are available from £14 per person (£13.00 concessions, £7.00 children). You can hop on and off the bus at stops along the way to visit attractions such as Glasgow Cathedral, the Gallery of Modern Art and The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. Located right in the heart of Glasgow, the Lighthouse is free to enter and not only houses fascinating exhibits and a permanent centre that celebrates architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, it also offers an excellent panoramic view of the city from the top floor.
Hop back on the bus, or take a 30 minute stroll to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Located in the trendy West End, it houses more than 8,000 interesting objects and artefacts as well as an exceptional art collection including work by Dutch Old Masters and French Impressionists. Afterwards, you can wander along Byres Road, a bustling thoroughfare with boutique shops and places to eat. Meals in this part of the city cost around £15. Hotels are available from £45, and holiday rentals from £30.
- Glasgow knows how to party in the evening, especially in the hip West End where numerous good bars and clubs can be found.
- Ashton Lane in the West End is a pretty cobbled street, home to popular local restaurants and pubs.
- Head to Buchanan Street and the nearby Buchanan Galleries shopping centre in the city center – the area is home to hundreds of high street shops – perfect for picking up new outfits and gifts.
Day two: Loch Lomond
Leave Glasgow behind and hit the road to reach the beautiful shores of Loch Lomond. Car hire in Glasgow costs roughly £40 per day. The drive to Loch Lomond is under 30 miles and takes about 50 minutes. Head to The Village Rest pub in Luss for a tasty lunch. Grab your hillwalking boots and walk off your lunch on the nearby Luss Heritage Trail – an hour-long walk by Loch Lomond that goes through the surrounding countryside. The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park is open all year round and is a true paradise for hikers, with breathtaking views in every direction. If you’re looking for more action, try a Munro (mountain over 3000 feet high). The southernmost Munro is Ben Lomond, and other, lower mountains nearby include Ben A’an and The Cobbler. Continue up the loch to reach An Ceann Mòr in Inveruglas, this purpose built eight metre high lookout platform offers stunning views of Loch Lomond. The perfect place for a selfie.
- If you have a valid driving licence, and come from a European Union country, you can drive in Scotland. If you’re coming from outside the EU and you have a valid licence from your own country, you can drive in the UK for up to 12 months. Make sure you bring your documents. See more information on driving in Scotland.
- Always pack waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear – you never know when the weather conditions might change!
Day three: Oban
If you can tear yourself away from Loch Lomond, then head onwards up the west coast to Oban, about 53 miles north. If you love seafood, then you’re in the right place – Oban is known as the ‘Seafood Capital of Scotland’. Tuck into first-class fish and the fresh mussels. If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, then don’t miss Oban Chocolate Company. In this chocolate factory, shop and café you can try a selection of delicious chocolates for about £5. From Oban you can also take a ferry to the nearby islands of the Inner Hebrides. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the largest island, Mull, and costs £6.90 per person for a return ticket, and £26.00 for a car. A short bus, or car journey from the port takes you to the picturesque harbour town of Tobermory, with its multi-coloured houses along the waterfront. Stop by Tobermory Distillery for a tour and a dram of single malt whisky.
- Check the ferry timetable in advance, as the ferries depart every 1-2 hours, and less frequently in winter. Make sure that you arrive in good time for departure. On weekends and in the summer, it is recommended to book in advance.
- Oban is a popular destination, so ensure you book accommodation prior to arrival.
Day four: Glencoe
Are you ready to visit one of the most atmospheric places in Scotland? Follow the A82 for about an hour to reach Glen Coe, a deep, glacial valley of epic proportions which has a fittingly turbulent history. At the visitor centre, you can find out about the 1692 Glencoe Massacre, when women and children of the MacDonald clan were murdered by government soldiers. Tickets are available from £6.50 per person. Follow one of the low level trails on what is now much more peaceful land, and have a cup of tea in the cafe before continuing your journey. Or if you’re looking to recharge your batteries further, stop by the nearby Clachaig Inn, a cosy guest house and pub where you can relax, get to know a few locals, and try regional ales.
- Parking at the visitor centre is from £2.
- Fort William is the nearest town, and offers a wide range of accommodation options.
Day 5: Isle of Skye
Next you’ll travel on through the Highlands to the magical Isle of Skye. Follow the A87 through the gorgeous Glen Shiel before crossing over the Skye Bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh. Head for the village of Broadford, one of Skye’s larger villages, which stands in the shadow of the Red Cuillin mountain range. Stock up on provisions here before heading north up through the island’s mountainous landscape towards Portree. Roughly 30 minutes north of Broadford, Portree is the perfect touring base for the island, so an ideal place to stay for the evening.
- Make sure you check the weather conditions before you go, and pack suitable clothing for the trip.
- The Isle of Skye is very busy during the summer, it is therefore recommended to book accommodation well in advance.
Day 6 – Northern Skye
Today you can either explore the island’s rugged landscape on foot, or delve into the clan history of Skye. For the former, head north into the Trotternish Peninsula to take a five mile hike up to the Old Man of Storr, an iconic rock stack, or onwards for a four-and-a-half mile circular walk at the mighty Quiraing. Make sure you don’t set off without sensible footwear, clothing and a good map! For a less strenuous day out, head west to Dunvegan Castle, 34 miles from Portree.
The seat of Clan MacLeod, it’s a fascinating castle with impressive formal gardens, and even a seal colony that you can visit by boat! The castle is open between April 1 and October 15. Tickets are £13.00, £10.00 for concessions, and £9.00 for children (seal colony boats trips run between April and September and cost extra). End the day with a tour of the famous Talisker Distillery, 17 miles south west of Portree, and sample the sweet taste of the full-bodied Highland whisky. The distillery is open year-round, excluding 25 – 26 December and 1 – 2 January.
- Be sure to book a whisky tour in advance so you don’t miss out!
Day 7 – Return to Glasgow
From Skye, it’s time to head back south towards Glasgow but there are plenty of scenic stops along the way. It’s an hour’s drive to Eilean Donan Castle, which is one of the most iconic castles in Scotland. Another location worth the detour is Glenfinnan Viaduct, which will be recognisable to Harry Potter fans as being a bridge crossed by the Hogwarts Express in the film Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. You might want to take a well-earned break at the Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum to enjoy a cup of tea with a home-baked scone, and perhaps pick up a souvenir or two. Then it’s only an hour and half down the road to Glasgow, where you can reflect on your Scottish adventure.