Scotland

An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983

Small group tour of Scotland

Scotland: a picturesque land that is more than just a castle, a loch and an isle or a whisky distillery and a mythical lake monster in loch ness. The rugged mountainous scenery of the Scottish highlands became the backdrop of a rich history from as far back as the Roman and Viking empires that eventually became Scotland.
A small group tour of Scotland is often about exploring off the beaten track for authentic experiences. Whether you are on a day trip to explore St Andrews, Fort William or the royal yacht Britannia in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh before visiting Arthur’s seat or a walking tour along the Royal mile, Scottish history is always close. As you travel beyond the city, it is national park scenery that shows the beauty of the landscape. Your tour of Scotland takes you up towards the Scottish highlands along the coast towards St Andrews and then Trossachs National park, Cairngorms National park with a loch or two to view including loch lomond or time at Glen coe in the Western highlands with spectacular scenery. Like Wales a Castle or two is to viewed such as Doune castle, Stirling castle, midhope castle and Urquhart castle on loch ness, those key to Scottish history and those key are likely to be a guided tour as part of your day trip.
Edinburgh Scotland’s capital is often a good place to start a tour of Scotland, but you will also be told Glasgow is good place to start a tour of Scotland. Such is the Scottish history of rivalry between these two cities. Odyssey has a tour from Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Before the Vikings, Scotland was settled by the Picts, who were said to have migrated from Scythia (Scandinavia) before forming powerful kingdoms in what is now northern Scotland and from there these clans headed south. Malcolm II, who was king from 1005 to 1034, became the first king to reign over land roughly corresponding to much of modern Scotland.Our article on Scottish History provides great background reading on the formation of Scotland and Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh
Learn more about Scottish culture including their sense of humour and a fascinating history on your tour of Scotland, a vacation mixed with education with amazing landscapes and beautiful scenery serving as your backdrop. The winding cobblestone roads in Glasgow and Edinburgh starkly contrast with the Scottish highlands that often include Ben nevis and the Scottish isle of the outer hebrides or isle of Skye but their beauty blends just as well as their world-famous Scottish whisky on many Scottish tours. Anything Scottish is unique in Great Britain.

 

Group tour of Scotland for seniors

Our small group tours of Scotland are ideal for mature or senior travelers for solo travellers or couples seeking an intimate guided tour led by an expert tour manager and local guide. Any tour of Scotland will have selected and compiled a day tour with an eye to getting off the beaten path while also providing the opportunity to explore the major cities with a tour of dynamic Edinburgh and a chance to visit lively Glasgow and creative Aberdeen.
Our tour Scottish tours delve into 5,000 years of the country’s history; examine the Jacobite Rising and visits the key locations where events that shaped the history of the Jacobites occurred such as the Culloden battlefield , including Edinburgh Castle; and explore the role of whisky distillery as a business in Scotland, which dates back to the Ancient Celts. On a day tour Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh we take high tea in the Signet library and visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse Edinburgh castle and take a walking tour with a local guide of the Royal mile; while our Scottish Isle and Shetland Isle tour allows you to journey to some of the world’s great repositories of archaeological treasures on the outer Hebrides and isle of Skye. If you are considering joining an Odyssey tour of Scotland, some of things to think about include what places you would like to visit the isle of Scotland or a castle collection in the Scottish Highlands and whether a coach or walking tour suits you, when you would like to go and the best way to travel around the country.
Whatever sightseeing tour you choose for your Scotland vacation, from a tour of the entire country or the islands of Scotland to immersing yourself in one city , Odyssey Traveller makes sure you have time to learn about and appreciate Scotland’s culture, scenery, history and people whether a solo traveller or with your companion.
Crafted tours for mature World Travellers

Small group tours of Scotland

Seven Ages of Britain, snapshots of Britain through the ages.

This guided tour starts in Scotland and finishes in England. On Orkney we have a day tour to the UNESCO World heritage site, Skara Brae, before travelling to city of York. Your tour leader continues to share the history from the Neolithic to the Victorian era. The tour concludes in the capital city, London.

Departing Aug, Apr

Queen Victoria's Great Britain: a small group tour

A small group tour of England that explores the history of Victorian Britain. This escorted tour spends time knowledgeable local guides with travellers in key destinations in England and Scotland that shaped the British isles in this period including a collection of UNESCO world heritage locations.

Departing Sep, Apr, Jun
Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Guaranteed

Scottish Islands and Shetland small group tours for seniors

An escorted tour of the Scottish isles including the isle of Skye draws on local guides to share their knowledge of the destinations in this unique part of Scotland. UNESCO world heritage site are visited as breathtaking scenery and authentic experiences are shared in a group of like minded people on this guided tour of remote Scotland.

 

 

20 days
Departing May, Sep, Jul
Whitby Abbey walking britain
Guaranteed

Rural Britain | Walking Small Group Tour

A walking tour into England, Scotland and Wales provides small group journeys with breathtaking scenery to destinations such as  Snowdonia national park ,  the UNESCO world heritage site Hadrians wall and the lake district.  each day tour provides authentic experiences often off the beaten path from our local guides.

 

22 days
Departing Jun, Sep

Scotland's Great Trails Walking Tour

An escorted walking tour of Scotland. This trip is mainly in the Scottish Highlands. Your tour leader guides you to Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond and Craignorms National park with experienced local guides. The tour for mature couples and solo travellers finishes in Edinburgh with time to visit Edinburgh Castle and the Royal mile a UNESCO World heritage site.

 

13 days
Departing Aug, Jun

British Gardens Small Group Tour including Chatsworth RHS show

This small group tour will explore gardens in Scotland and England with knowledgable local guides and a tour leader. We explore the gardens in and around Edinburgh, Chester, Stratford upon Avon – Shakespeare’s birthplace, Oxford and London in a 22 day tour.

Departing Jun

Edinburgh City Tour

A guided tour of the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is a day tour collection with a tour leader and local guides. The old town of Edinburgh including the Royal mile and New town of Edinburgh are a UNSECO world heritage site and are included in our itineraries as well the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

 

5 days
Departing Jun, Jul

Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow

Spend 22 days in 3 cities in England and Scotland. Your tour leader and Knowledgeable local guides examine the history of these great cities. Liverpool & Glasgow faced onto the Irish sea, and Newcastle onto the North sea,  and all where connected to the city of London.

Departing Sep, Jul, Jun

Scotland small group tour | Tracing 5,000 years of history

This guided tour of Scotland with a tour leader and local guides includes the isle of Skye, Orkney islands, the Scottish highlands with breathtaking scenery. Edinburgh including the royal mile, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Fort William, Urquhart castle, Stirling castle, loch lomond, Hadrians wall and New Lanark also a UNESCO World heritage site.

 

22 days
Departing Jul

Whisky and Other Scottish Wonders

A guided tour of Scotland is a day tour collection  that includes Edinburgh, the royal mile, Edinburgh castle, and the old town a UNESCO World heritage site Experience and learn about, Kellie castle, St Andrews, Skye,  Balmoral castle, Loch Lomond and Loch Ness as well touring the Scottish highlands to finish in Glasgow.

 

19 days
Departing Aug

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Small Group Tour

One of the few European tour companies to have in Scotland an escorted small group tour of Edinburgh during the fringe festival. As well attending performances, this trip includes time to  experience, the old town,  new town and the royal mile, a UNESCO world heritage site plus Edinburgh Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse.

 

9 days
Departing Aug

Jacobites, Scottish History small group mature travellers tour

Small group tour on the Jacobites commences in Edinburgh. During the 19 days you visit 19 locations including the Culloden battlefield as you travel from Edinburgh as far north as Inverness to finish in Glasgow.  Learn from 10 specialist guides about the Jacobites.

17 days
Departing Aug

Prehistoric Britain small group history tour including standing stones

This guided tour invites you to explore UNESCO World heritage sites at Skara Brae in the Orkneys, Isle of Skye, and Stonehenge in a prehistoric tour. This escorted tour has trips to key sites in Scotland, and the Irish sea in Wales such as Gower Peninsula and National Museum in Cardiff and England. Each day tour is supported by local guides.

 

Departing Aug

Articles about Scotland

Part of Stirling Castle

Stirling, Scotland

Stirling looks somewhat like a miniature Edinburgh with its cobbled streets, historic buildings and crag-top castle but it is an appealing and charming city in its own right with plenty to explore apart from its…

Scone Palace

Perth, Scotland

Perth, which lies elegantly on the River Tay, regained its city status in 2012. Once thought to be the ancient capital of Scotland, Perth built its fortune on weaving, fishing and brewing industries, giving the…

Oban, Scotland

The seafood capital of Scotland and the gateway to the Hebridean Islands, Oban is a beautiful waterfront town on a near perfect horseshoe bay. Located within the Argyll and Bute council area, Oban is surrounded by…

River Ness Footbridge, Inverness, Scotland

Inverness, Scotland

Regarded as the capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness lies along the River Ness and is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom. A vibrant cathedral city, Inverness is known for its proximity to the…

Thurso's beaches

Thurso, Scotland

The Scottish mainland's most northerly town, Thurso, is a charming gateway to the Scottish Isles and, being on the country's north coast, is considered to be Scotland's surf capital. The remote town is on the…

Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeen - Scotland

Aberdeen, Scotland

Aberdeen, Scotland A port city in northeast Scotland, Aberdeen is the country’s third most populous city. Often called the Granite City, in reference to the silvery granite from the nearby Rubislaw Quarry used in many…

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The second-largest of Scotland's islands, the Isle of Skye is known for its breathtaking, dramatic landscapes, beautiful natural wonders and quaint villages. As well as stunning scenery, such as rugged mountains, glittering lochs and impressive…

Columnar Basalt, Scottish isles

The Scottish Isles

When one thinks of island-hopping, images of Scotland probably don’t immediately come to mind but Scotland is island-rich, with some of the most awesome scenery in the United Kingdom. There are nearly 800 islands that…

City of Edinburgh at dusk

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland since the 15th century but it has been inhabited since the Stone Age. It has been a Roman settlement, who constructed the Antonine Wall as the Empire’s northernmost defence,…

Inverness castle, Scotland

Birth of Scotland

The Birth of Scotland In A History of the Scottish People (1560-1830), T.C. Smout describes Scotland as an isolated, wild place. “More than half the land was barren mountain,” he says, and, quoting G.W.S Barrow, adds:…

Chambered Tomb

Lumps and Bumps: How to Read the British Landscape

The British landscape has been worked and re-worked. It is secrets of this palimpsest landscape is revealed through drainage patterns and prehistoric features all the way through to the modern day. These small group tours for mature and senior travellers examine the landscape from the Neolithic, to Roman, through the seven ages of Britain in walking tours and history tours of Britain.

Woman stacking peat blocks

Peat and Scotland

Peat and Scotland The iconic Eilean Donan castle in the western Highlands of Scotland, surrounded by marshland and peatland. Peat is a traditional fuel in Scotland that is formed from layers upon layers of partially…

Best walking tour of Scotland for older travellers

Scotland is renowned for its natural beauty and one of the best ways to explore the country’s spectacular scenery is a walking tour. The Scottish highlands and the national park created are some of the largest areas of wilderness in Western Europe and how better to get a sense of its dramatic landscapes then from exploring the rugged mountains and inky loch(s) or the verdant countryside and white sand beach of any isle. Taking a Walking tour in Scotland, you can smell the fresh air that drifts across the Scottish Highlands, spot otters dancing along the coast and scale the peaks of the Cuillin. Walking activates our endorphins, and there is no better way to feel a sense of connection to the land. Enjoy a unique day trip travel experience with a walking tour of the Scottish wilderness.
Odyssey Traveller offers walking tours designed especially for senior and mature travellers. Suitable for couples and singles, they are tailored toward varying levels of fitness and are flexible. So, if you would prefer to spend an afternoon sipping tea and watching the world go by, you can rejoin the rest of the small group later. Each Walking tour are fully mapped out, designed to maximise experience, and are guided by people in the know. Discover the world at a slower pace and get your feet dirty!
On our Scotland Walking Tour allows you to experience two of Scotland’s most impressive trails: the Formartine and Buchan Way and Rob Roy Way. On this small group tour of Scotland you discover the country on these long-distance walks that will take you through scenic glens, rolling farmlands, and reveal a beautiful loch or castle on occasion, with plenty of interesting historic sites to stop at along the way. On each day trip we will walk up to 15 kilometres per day with the help of a dedicated Odyssey tour guide and a local guide. The Formartine and Buchan Way follows a former railway line, starting in Aberdeen and ending on the coast at Fraserburgh home to the Museum of Scottish lighthouses.

Scottish Islands

Shetland Islands
St. Ninian’s Isle, Shetland Islands
When one thinks of island-hopping, images of Scotland probably don’t immediately come to mind but Scotland is island-rich, with some of the most beautiful scenery in the British isles. There are nearly 800 isle that are part of Scotland, scattered around its western and northern coast. Each of these islands has its own individual character, identity and charm but only 60 of them are populated and ferries run to only 46. No point on any Scottish isle is greater than eight kilometres from the coast.
Exploring these islands on a Scotland tour, with their sea loch, peat moors and grasslands dotted with sheep and cattle, is to walk through Scottish history. There are crofts abandoned during the Highland Clearances, ancient standing stone formations and brochs. The diverse geology and climate of the more remote islands influenced local landforms and land use, creating a unique culture and heritage. There are three main groups of Scottish islands: The Inner and Outer Hebrides including the isle of Skye , the Orkney Islands, and the Shetland Islands. If you are interested in visiting the ScottishIslands, please take a look at our Scottish tours of the islands , which visits the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland islands including UNESCO World heritage sites such as Skara brae over 20 days. To learn more about the Scottish Isle, please take a look at our article on the islands.

 

The need to know

Touring Scotland

Getting around

Odyssey usually travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Scotland has a centralised and impressively extensive rail network run by Transport Scotland, which links towns to the major cities. It is also covered by a bus network that is said to place 95% of the popuation within 5 minutes walk of a bus stop, catering to local, national, and international services.

Accommodation

In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our long stay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.

Tour Guides

Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.

Geography, environment & weather

Scotland forms part of the United Kingdom, and the northern third of the island of Great Britain as well as 790 additional surrounding islands. These are encompassed by the Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides. In terms of topography, it’s mountainous and rugged, although most of the population is to be found in the Lowlands in the south and east.

Scotland’s climate is above all distinguished by its changeability and variation. Sometimes, a short drive will take you to completely different conditions, so the key to preparation is layering! During Spring, Summer, and Autumn, max temperatures tend to range between 7 and 17 degrees celcius, and during winter, the average maximum temperature is 5 degrees. In Spring and Autumn, you’ll find that the weater is usually pleasant but there will still be snow on the mountains. The country is also known for its rain. However, because of Scotland’s topography, it rains far more in the west than it does in the east. Scotland’s sunniest location is The Fife Coast, with an average of 1500 hours of sunshine per year.

World Heritage Sites

The United Kingdom boasts 31 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, many of which are located in Scotland. You can view the official list of the sites here https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/gb. It is well worth visiting every site, if you are able. But here’s a few highlights from the bunch:

New Lanark – a picturesque restored 18th century mill village that sits on the River Clyde. It includes recreated houses of those who worked at the cotton mill, and includes a shop selling locally made textiles!

The Forth Bridge – This is a distinct and gorgeous bridge that crosses the Firth of Forth. In 2016, it was voted Scotland’s greatest manmade wonder, and is often seen as a symbol of the country.

The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh – This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but remember, if you’re visiting Edinburgh, take your time to explore and wander through one of the best-preserved cities in the UK.

Festivals & events

The most famous and grandest Scottish festival is, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. If you’re interested in the Fringe, check out Odyssey’s tour, which runs every year and includes a series of hand-picked events!
Also worth putting on the calendar is the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Fesitval, which takes place around May each year, and includes over 500 whisky-centric events. These include distillery tours, tastings, and much more.
If you’re into literature, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is among the world’s finest writers’ festivals. Taking place in August, it usually hosts around 1,000 writers and thinkers from across the globe.

Reading List

  1. The Island Nurse by Mary J MacLeod
  2. The Furrow Behind Me: The Autobiography of a Hebridean Crofter by Angus MacLellan
  3. Standing Stones by Beth Camp
  4. The Scottish Islands:
  5. A Comprehensive Guide to Every Scottish Island by Hamish Haswell-Smith

Eating & Drinking

Now is a better time than ever to explore Scotland’s food and drink culture. This is because in early 2018, Scotland began to implement a national strategy to position itself as a global destination for cuisine.

Scotland is probably best known for its whisky, the export of which brings billions of dollars into the economy. In regions known for whisky such as Speyside and the Isle of Islay, many distilleries are open for tours and tastings. You’ll also find that the flavour of whisky differs significantly depending on its region of origin, so it’s worth exploring a range of distilleries!

But Scotland isn’t simply a nation of whisky. Scottish lobsters are among the most sought after in the world, showing up on the menus of many Michelin-starred restaurants. Scotland is also known for its salmon, which is the nation’s biggest food export. It is generally of prestige quality, a product for which buyers will pay a premium.

Health & Safety

While much of Scotland is usually safe to travel around, it’s important to stay alert to anything unusual. Also, you will often see signs warning of pickpockets in areas popular with tourists, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your belongings at all times.

Electrical supply

Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. The electricity supply runs at 230V, 50Hz. British plugs have three flat, rectangular pins which form a triangle. These are shared by Ireland, Malta and some former British colonies, but Australia is not one of them.

See All

Tour Reviews

We found all the guides in each place excellent, some more than others, but always knowledgeable and obviously in love with their chosen careers. David our coach driver was excellent also, coping with some difficult situations with a cool head and providing us with a running commentary on a country he knows so well - especially Norfolk his home county!
Sally and Angus H. June 2017
Please evaluate your tour Program Leader, Robert Williams Communication - Exceeded expectations Organisation - Exceeded expectations Local knowledge - Exceeded expectations Engagement - Exceeded expectations Friendliness - Exceeded expectations Care and concern for your needs - Exceeded expectations Do you have any comments to make (good or bad!) about your tour Program Leader? - I cannot compliment him too highly
Participant -17
Great hotel (perfect location), wonderful tour guide (Robert was excellent in every respect), the half-day walking tour was fun and informative, and the events selected exposed me to Fringe events I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. Very well thought out and put together.
Participant -17
Excellent selection and diversity from different types of events. We saw wonderful things that would not have occurred to me on my own.
Participant -17
Excellent itinerary, transport and local guides!
Participant 2016
Our driver and guide was exceptional; full of information about places we visited. Resourceful when we had extra time, in organising 'wee adventures'. Diverted several times to accommodate the special interests of group members.
Participant 2015
Overall the trip was great and met my expectation.
Errol H. June 2017
Lovely hotel and the location could not have been better. I'd stay there again.
Participant -17

FAQs

Scotland has a single time zone , Greenwich mean time. The nation observes daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you make sure you tip an appropriate amount for services, as is the case throughout much of Europe. It’s customary to tip 10-15% of the bill at restaurants, or 1 to 3 GBP at a more casual establishment. It’s polite to round a bill up to the nearest whole figure or leave the change when buying drinks. It’s also customary to tip 10% in taxis, and leave a note or two with hotel porters and concierges.

Internet access is easily accessible, and most hotels and many cafes will be able to offer it.

However, when visiting the remotest parts of Scotland the service maybe non existent or of a poor or low quality until you reach more built up areas.

Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Scotland. Many providers will offer a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.

Articles about Scotland published by Odyssey Traveller.

The following list of articles published by odyssey Traveller for mature aged and senior travellers to maximise their knowledge and enjoyment of Scotland when visiting:

For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.

External articles to assist you on your visit to Scotland

Responsible Travel Tips for Scotland

  • If sightseeing in rural areas, remember to be respectful of residents and locals. As well as being tourist attractions, these are peoples’ homes!
  • Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice, a bit of Gaelic perhaps.. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language and it’s slang, the greater your experience of the country will be.
  • Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
  • Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
  • When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
  • Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
  • Before departing, make sure you have a number of euros in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.

About Odyssey Traveller

We specialise in educational small group tours for seniors, typically groups between six to 12 people from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada  and Britain. Our maximum number of people on a tour is 18 mature aged travellers.We have some 150 tours and offer 300 scheduled departures on offer each year. Odyssey has been offering this style of adventure and educational programs since 1983.

Odyssey Traveller is committed to charitable activities that support the environment and cultural development of Australian and New Zealand communities.

Odyssey Traveller scholarship for Australia & New Zealand University students.

We are also pleased to announce that since 2012, Odyssey has been awarding $10,000 Equity & Merit Cash Scholarships each year. We award scholarships on the basis of academic performance and demonstrated financial need. We award at least one scholarship per year. We’re supported through our educational travel programs, and your participation helps Odyssey achieve its goals. Students can apply for the scholarship by clicking on this link to find out more details. 

Join our loyalty program when you join an international small group tour.

Every International small group tour taken typically contributes to your membership level in our Loyalty Program for regular travellers. Membership of the alumni starts when you choose to take your first international small group tour with Odyssey Traveller, discounts in tour pricing for direct bookings accrue from your third tour with Odyssey Traveller. To see the discounts and benefits of being a Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Diamond alumni member with us, please see this page.

For more information on Odyssey Traveller and our educational small group tours, visit and explore our website., remember to visit these pages in particular

Alternatively, please call or send an email.

Subscribe to our newsletter and save!

Receive a AUD$350 voucher towards your first small group tour
Join our newsletter mailing list to gain exclusive access to special offers and promotions.