Alison Weir Tours

Caledonia: The Splendours of Scotland

 

OVERVIEW

9 nights, 17th to 26th May inclusive, 2019

 

Following the success of our first Scottish tour, Mary, Queen of Scots, in 2014, we are delighted to be returning to Scotland to travel even further afield and explore the spectacular scenery and the historic heritage, food and culture of this beautiful ancient kingdom.  Our tour is built around four themes: William Wallace and Robert the Bruce; the sixteenth-century Stewarts and Mary, Queen of Scots; Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites; and Queen Victoria and her descendants, including H.M Queen Elizabeth II.

 

There is another theme too: for those who enjoyed the books and the TV series of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, there will be the opportunity of visiting many of the sites used in the series.

 

To enhance your experience, and share their knowledge, six historians will accompany you on the tour: myself, Sarah Gristwood and Nicola Tallis; Julian Humphrys and (for part of the time), Tracy Borman, Michael Jones and Siobhan Clarke.

 

We are aware that some guests may have visited some of the historic sites on Caledonia already, on our Mary, Queen of Scots tours. For them, and to give every guest a wider choice, we are offering alternative itineraries on those days. We are also offering a more relaxing alternative to our long day out in the Scottish Highlands. 

 

We will be staying in three of Scotland’s most luxurious hotels, and visiting royal palaces, castles, stately homes, churches, gardens, museums and the home of Scotland’s famous monster. As usual, there will be an enrichment programme of talks and visits by guest historians, and all the other elements that go to make up an Alison Weir Tour.

 

Staying at:

 

The Principal Hotel, George Street, Edinburgh 5* (3 nights)

Boasting an enviable location in Edinburgh’s city centre, the historic and chic Principal is close to Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens and the Royal Mile, and offers world-class service. It has elegant rooms, conference and meeting rooms and This Grade II listed building with its distinctive facade was built in 1775, and has undergone a great refurbishment project that has transformed the  elegant bedrooms and public areas. The architecturally-designed interior has created a sense of restored grandeur with simple detailing and the use of natural materials. Each room features a flat-screen TV, free WiFi, and an en suite bathroom. The hotel has a gym and offers free high-speed WiFi. The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen serves seasonal Scottish produce throughout the day and night. Coffee, cakes, pastries, sandwiches and salads are available at Burr & Co, open seven days a week. A full room service menu is also available.


Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire 5* (3 nights)

Established in 1924, The Gleneagles Hotel is a prestigious resort in the heart of Scotland and one of the most famous hotels in the world. Set within 850 acres, it offers three championship golf courses and a spa, along with a falconry school. Guests can also enjoy off-road driving, horse-riding, dog training, shooting and other leisure pursuits. This grand resort offers a variety of elegant rooms and luxurious suites, with free Wi-Fi. The Gleneagles Hotel serves an award-winning full Scottish breakfast. It has three restaurants, including Andrew Fairlie’s, Scotland’s only 2-Michelin-starred restaurant, and several elegant bars. Gleneagles Hotel also offers The Club, where guests can enjoy fitness classes. It boasts 2 swimming pools, a sauna, a steam room, a gym and an outdoor hot tub. Set amongst rolling hills, the resort is home to The PGA Centenary and National Academy Golf Courses, along with The King’s Course and The Queen’s Course.


Fonab Castle Hotel, Pitlochry, Perthshire 5* (3 nights)

Nestling in the picturesque Scottish Highlands, Fonab Castle Hotel, refurbished and opened in 2013, boasts luxurious rooms, scenic views, mature gardens and free WiFi. Each individually designed room has been decorated sympathetically to blend a contemporary style with the original architectural features. The elegant en-suite bathrooms have spacious walk-in power showers, bathrobes, slippers and Thierry Mugler toiletries.Luxury Egyptian cotton, a flat-screen smart TV with Revo entertainment system, a Nespresso coffee maker, tea making facilities, fresh fruit and mineral water are also included. Some rooms offer views of the Loch Faskally or of the Highlands’ landscape. There are two on-site restaurants; the Fonab Brasserie, offering lighter meals, and the Sandemans Fine Dining Restaurant, for a sophisticated dining experience. On warmer days, guests can enjoy an al fresco dinner on the terrace overlooking the loch. The cellars boast a great selection of wines, whiskies and gins.Pitlochry Golf is only a 5-minute drive away,


Visiting:

The Royal Yacht Britannia

 

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison in Outlander)

OR

Drumlanrig Castle (Bellhurst Manor, seat of the Duke of Sandringham in Outlander)

  

Dirleton Castle

Tantallon Castle

Lennoxlove House

 

Rosslyn Chapel

Hopetoun House (seat of the Duke of Sandringham in Outlander)

Midhope Castle (Lallybroch in Outlander) (unless closed to visitors)

Blackness Castle (HQ of Black Jack Randall in Outlander)

 

Doune Castle (Castle Leoch in Outlander)

Stirling Castle

 

St Andrews Castle, Cathedral and town

Kellie Castle

 

Scone Palace

Tibbermore Church (scene of the witch trial in Outlander)

Drummond Castle Gardens (Versailles in Outlander)

 

Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre (Outlander)

Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle (cruise)

OR

Blair Castle, House of Bruar and the option of free time in Pitlochry

 

Balmoral Castle

Crathie Kirk

Glamis Castle

 

Falkland (1940s Inverness in Outlander)

Falkland Palace

Culross (the Mercat Cross area is the village of Cranesmuir in Outlander)

Culross Palace

OR

Aberdour Castle (the French monastery in Outlander)

Dunfermline Abbey and Palace

The Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum

 

 

Included meals

(4 dinners, 4 lunches plus lunches for those who opt to visit Drumlanrig Castle and Blair Castle, 1 champagne reception)

 

Gala welcome drinks and dinner on the Royal Yacht Britannia

Lunch at Drumlanrig Castle for those visiting the castle

Lunch at The Tweeddale Arms, Gifford

Lunch at the Stables Tearoom, Hopetoun House

Drinks and a ‘Taste of Scotland’ dinner at Gleneagles Hotel

Lunch at Scone Palace

Lunch in the Tullibardine Restaurant for those visiting Blair Castle

Drinks and dinner at Fonab Castle Hotel

Lunch in the Piper’s Hall Café, Balmoral Castle

Gala farewell drinks and dinner at Glamis Castle

Farewell champagne and canapes reception at the Principal Hotel