Whisky and Other Scottish Wonders
A guided small group 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.
- 1. See important architectural sites in Glasgow on the Mackintosh Trail.
- 2. Learn about the fascinating history of ancient and modern Scotland and it's relationship with Whisky
- 3. Visit fairy tale castles such as Kellie Castle, St. Andrews Castle, and the Falkland Palace.
- 4. Visit Skye, with its dramatic seascapes and volcanic landscapes and distilleries
|29 July 2024 |
Ends 16 August 2024 • 19 days
|28 July 2025 |
Ends 15 August 2025 • 19 days
Scottish Whisky and Other Wonders of Scotland Tour
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Scotland and beyond. We explore Scotland's natural beauty, its ancient Roman, and Gaelic heritage, its World Heritage Sites, and world famous cities, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of Scotland, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.
In this 19-day fully-escorted, small group tour, we visit the whisky distilleries of Cardhu, Speyside Cooperage, and Glenfiddich to learn about the Scottish whisky process and its importance to Scottish culture and economy. The whisky industry in Scotland directly employs 10,000 people, supporting 40,000 jobs across the United Kingdom, 7,000 of which are in rural areas where other jobs may be hard to find. This makes whisky the third biggest industry in Scotland, behind energy and financial services.
Scottish Whisky Tour Highlights
We go beyond whisky, which dates back to the Ancient Celts (they called it uisge beatha, “the water of life”, from which evolved the Anglicised form of the name), and experience the scenic delights and incredible history of the Scottish isles and Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh and Stirling to Glasgow and Perth. Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the skyline of the city, is only one of the many attractions on offer. Edinburgh Castle stands at one end of the Royal Mile, in itself an attraction, with its cobbled streets and wynds (minor streets) branching out of the main road, as well as countless historic buildings including the Parliament and St Giles Cathedral. We also visit the charming town of Grantown-on-Spey and visit Balmoral Castle, the Scottish holiday home to the Royal Family.
In Glasgow, we will explore the Gothic magnificence of Glasgow Cathedral and take an architectural tour along the Mackintosh Trail, which includes a visit to the famous Mackintosh House. The Mackintosh House is a meticulous reconstruction of the home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. Mackintosh, an architect in the early 20th century, rebelled against the Victorian fascination with the past (evident in neo-Gothic architecture) and created designs that look striking and new even today. We also visit the beautiful islands of Mull and Iona.
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;
- Visiting Scotland
- Scotland & Scotch Whisky
- Visiting Edinburgh places to consider visiting
- Country Spotlight; Scotland
- Nelson Mandela Place; a Glasgow story
- Peat and Scotland
- Glasgow's Architectural heritage
- Standing stones, Neolithic history & Whisky
External articles about the history of Scotland for travellers.
- History of Edinburgh castle
- Everything to know about Scotch Whisky
- Understanding the language of the Scotch whisky
- UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland
- Overview of Scottish history
We also publish articles to give more information to our loyal and prospective clients. You can start by reading our our country spotlight on Scotland.
For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
Day 1: Edinburgh
Accommodation: 2 nights at Novotel Edinburgh Centre or similar.
Upon arrival in Edinburgh, we will come to the hotel individually. We will enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant and a whisky tasting before turning in for the night at our hotel.
Day 2: Edinburgh
Accommodation: Novotel Edinburgh Centre or similar.
Today a local guide will join us. Our first port of call is Edinburgh Castle. The castle is perched on Castle Rock, the remains of an extinct volcano, and houses the city’s most ancient building, St. Margaret’s Chapel, dating from the C12th. The castle is located in Edinburgh Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will also pay a visit to Scottish Parliament, then travel to Roslin to see the Rosslyn Chapel. We return to Edinburgh for a meal at our hotel.
Day 3: Perth
Accommodation: 2 nights at The Royal George Hotel or similar.
Our first stop for the day is Kellie castle in Anstruther. We will make our way to the Scottish Fisheries Museum and stop for lunch at the Cellar restaurant or similar.
After lunch we will make our way to St. Andrews, which is Scotland’s oldest university town. Stones pillaged from its cathedral were used to build the castle erected for the town’s bishops in the year 1200. We will drive around the world’s oldest golf links, known as the Old Course, and past the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, where the rules of golf were first drawn up. We then continue our drive to Perth.
Day 4: Perth
Accommodation: The Royal George Hotel or similar.
Today we will take a full-day excursion to Cupar. Our first stop will be Tarvit Mansion. We will visit a farmers market, then transfer to Falkland Palace. Upon arrival in Perth, we will enjoy dinner at our hotel.
Day 5: Grantown-on-Spey
Accommodation: 4 nights at Grant Arms Hotel or similar.
En route to Pitlochry, we will have the chance to view the Tummel Bridge as well as the Queen’s View. Queen Victoria made this site’s spectacular scenic views famous in 1866.
In Balmoral we will have entrance to the Balmoral Castle. We end the day in Grantown-on-Spey with a dinner in our hotel.
Day 6: Grantown-on-Spey
Accommodation: Grant Arms Hotel or similar.
Today is whisky distillery day as we will have a day of whisky education and tasting. We will enjoy tours of Cardhu distillery, Speyside Cooperage, and Glenfiddich distillery. The remainder of the day will be at leisure.
Day 7: Grantown-on-Spey
Accommodation: Grant Arms Hotel or similar.
We will tour Haddo House in Ellon, before making our way to Pitmedden Gardens and the Museum of Farming Life.
Day 8: Grantown-on-Spey
Accommodation: Grant Arms Hotel or similar.
Our first stop for the day will be Brodie Castle. We will also stop to see Sueno’s Stone, before making our way to Findhorn, where we will visit the Findhorn Heritage Centre and Icehouse. Our last stop for the day will be Elgin, where we will visit the cathedral before ending the day with a dinner in our hotel.
Day 9: Invergarry
Accommodation: 2 nights at Glengarry Castle Hotel or similar.
Today we will strike out to Culloden Battlfield Visitor Centre. Here on April 16th 1746 the last battle on British soil was fought. Following recent excavations on the battlefield, historians now label the battle a civil war between those who wanted the Stuart kings restored to the throne and those who wanted to retain the status quo. English and Scottish, Protestants and Catholics, and men from the same clans fought on both sides. The new centre houses a fascinating exhibition. A tour of the battlefield will show us even further detail of the events of that fateful day.
We will make our way to the Loch Ness Visitor Centre, and stop for photos en route to Invergarry, where we will enjoy dinner at our hotel.
Day 10: Invergarry
Accommodation: Glengarry Castle Hotel or similar.
We will take a steam train to the bustling fishing port of Mallaig, where we catch a ferry to the Isle of Skye. We arrive in Armadale, where we will visit the Clan Donald Museum. We end the day in Invergarry.
Day 11: Tobermory
Accommodation: 2 nights at Western Isles Hotel or similar.
We will stop to view Neptune’s Staircase in Banavie, built by Thomas Telford in 1822. The canal joins the 3 lochs that occupy the glen, enabling shipping from the Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea. Today, the canal is used for recreational boating.
Our next stop is Glencoe, famous for its beauty and ice carved landforms. The road through the glen cuts through an ancient volcano. It was here that members of the MacDonald Clan were massacred in 1692. Through our visit to the Glencoe Visitor Centre and our drive along the glen, we will learn the story of the massacre. Our final stop will be at Oban, a town of Victorian character on the coast, before travelling to our accommodation.
Day 12: Tobermory
Accommodation: Western Isles Hotel or similar.
Day 13: Port Ellen
Accommodation: 2 nights at The Islay Hotel or similar.
We will take a ferry from Craignure to Oban, and view McCraig’s tower. In Kilmartin we will visit the Kilmartin House museum of Ancient culture. Our last stop for the day will be Finlaggan Information Centre, and we will enjoy dinner in the hotel.
Day 14: Port Ellen
Accommodation: The Islay Hotel or similar.
Today we will visit Bowmore Roundchurch, before travelling to Port Charlotte to visit the Museum of Islay Life and enjoying time to explore in Port Charlotte. Our next stop will be Kildalton, where we will see the Kildalton Church and the second largest common seal colony. Next we will have a guided tour and tasting at Ardberg Distillery, and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 15: Glasgow
Accommodation: Jury's Inn or similar.
Today we will take the ferry from Port Ellen to Kennacraig, and explore Inveraray Castle. From Inveraray we will enjoy tea at Lodge on Lock Lomond or similar in the pretty village of Luss. Loch Lomond is known as the “Queen of the Scottish Lochs.” The loch is one of Scotland’s many lakes carved out by glaciers during the last Ice Age. We end our day arriving in Glasgow and enjoying dinner at our hotel.
Day 16: Glasgow
Accommodation: Jury's Inn or similar.
First we will go to Falkirk to view the Falkirk wheel and Kelpies. Our next stop is Stirling. Set at the crossroads of the nation and also set at the highest navigable point of the Forth River, Stirling was of extreme strategic importance. In fact, it was the most important piece of medieval real estate in Scotland. Stirling held a key position in Scotland’s struggle for independence. Stirling Castle, sitting directly above the town, crowns a 77 metre volcanic crag, and is a magnificent castle that stood at the heart of Scottish history for several centuries. From its ramparts no less than 7 battlefields can be seen. There is much to see here including the Great Hall, the Royal Apartments, and the C 16th Chapel Royal. In the tapestry room, we can see the painstaking recreation of ancient tapestries. From the castle we will go to the Battle of Bannockburn visitor centre, then enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 17: Glasgow
Accommodation: Jury's Inn or similar.
After a morning at leisure, we will tour Glasgow, which was the main centre of the Industrial Revolution in Scotland. In fact, some say the revolution began here. Since the 1960s however, Glasgow has undergone a revolution of a different nature — a cultural revolution, culminating in the award of European City of Culture in 1990. A local guide will show us some of the main sights and provide us with some fascinating insights into the city’s history. We will visit the Museum of Piping and the Glasgow Cathedral.
Day 18: Glasgow
Accommodation: Jury's Inn or similar.
We will take an architectural tour along the Mackintosh trail. The Mackintosh trail includes the Art museum, House for an Art lover, the Lighthouse, the Mackintosh house, the Mackintosh church, Marty’s public school, Scotland, street school, the willow tea rooms, and the Hill house. After an afternoon at leisure, we will have a farewell dinner and whisky tasting.
Day 19: Glasgow
Our tour will end today after breakfast.
- Itineraries may change if flight schedules, site availability, and other inclusions have to be amended prior to departure.
- Group size limited to 16.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 18 nights of accommodation.
- 18 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 8 dinners.
- Transport in comfortable and modern coaches.
- Ferry services.
- All excursions, entrance fees, and local guides.
- Gratuities and necessary tips.
- Services of a Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
What’s not included in our Tour
- International airfares and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive international travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
See this image Scotland's Secret History: The Illicit Distilling and Smuggling of Whisky
Illicit distilling in Scotland was seen as a 'right of man' at the end of the 17th century. Attempts to enforce excise duty on the spirit were therefore met with resistance, ranging from riots to more and more ingenious ways of avoiding paying tax. In this book and Charles MacLean and Daniel MacCannell give a fascinating insight into the day-to-day struggles that led to the increase in illicit distilling from the mid-1600s, then to its eventual demise in the early twentieth century. The Cabrach, a wild and sparsely populated part of Aberdeenshire, became renowned for its production of illicit whisky. Local inhabitants mixed farming and distilling with great skill, creating a network of stills and distribution to evade customs. Using new research first-hand historical accounts and official records, the authors show how spirits from this small parish were made and travelled far and wide, across the border to England and across the North Sea to France, firing up revolution and lending solidarity to the struggles of the Jacobites.
Whisky: Malt Whiskies of Scotland
This beautifully presented Little Book is an excellent introduction to the world of Scotch whiskies. It includes the major Scotch whiskies and the distilleries that produce them.
The book includes details of the very best of Scottish single malts and deluxe whiskies, covering Speyside (Cardhu, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich) the Highlands and Islands (Blair Athol, Glenmorangie, Talisker), to Islay (Ardbeg, Laphroaig), the Lowlands (Auchentoshan, Glenkinchie) and Campbeltown (Glen Scotia). It is completely up-to-date, including new Scottish distilleries which have yet to bottle spirit or establish a core product.
What’s more, an introduction exploring the current whisky boom and how distilleries are coping with this surge in demand makes this attractive Little Book a great introduction for anyone looking to learn about whisky.
Scotland: A History
A series of studies by well-established scholars of Scottish history, from Roman times until the present day, that offers the opportunity to go beyond the old myths, legends, and romance of Scottish history to the much more rewarding knowledge of why Scotland was a remarkably successful, thriving, and important kingdom, of international renown.
Glasgow; A History of the City
Beloved, reviled – and not only by Glaswegians – Glasgow isn't just the Industrial Revolution nor the Victorian slums. Founded in the sixth century, its forebears pushed back the Romans.
The roof of its cathedral, founded in the twelfth century, survived the Reformation. Its fifteenth-century university welcomed Adam Smith and the Enlightenment. It prospered from sugar, tobacco, cotton and slavery in the eighteenth century, and saw the rise of the Red Clydesiders in the twentieth.
Glasgow's not just a city, it's an urban civilization in itself, unique and fruitful. Its denizens have seen the city rise and fall, they have survived bombs and demolitions, and somehow kept their humour intact.
Now these people and this city play a pivotal role in Scotland's future, and in the future of the UK. It's time for a book that tells the story in all its complexity.
A History Of Scotland
Scotland is one of the oldest countries in the world with a vivid and diverse past. Yet the stories and figures that dominate Scottish history - tales of failure, submission, thwarted ambition and tragedy - often badly serve this great nation, overshadowing the rich tapestry of her intricate past.
Historian Neil Oliver presents a compelling new portrait of Scottish history, peppered with action, high drama and centuries of turbulence that have helped to shape modern Scotland. Along the way, he takes in iconic landmarks and historic architecture; debunks myths surrounding Scotland's famous sons; recalls forgotten battles; charts the growth of patriotism; and explores recent political developments, capturing Scotland's sense of identity and celebrating her place in the wider world.
Whisky Words: Whisky and Distilling in the United Kingdom Through the Victorian Age
Media coverage of whisky and distilling of all sorts is at an all-time high. The number of resources available to curious imbibers are unlimited and continually expanding. Print options range from books to magazines to newspaper features. Brand Ambassadors are found at the corner of nearly every bar. Electronic outlets are beyond overflowing with websites, blogs, podcasts, video channels, corporate materials and pages, posts and tweets from every corner of the social media universe. There seems to be no end.
But it wasn't always this way.
As the whisky industry began to 'mature' from the Excise Act of 1823, information began to slowly trickle out. This book is a look at what was available to the whisky enthusiast in the following period of growth in the UK, the Victorian Age. Stories, articles and chapter-ized material sourced from engineering and technical journals, newspapers and period magazines, in-depth and expansive descriptions of the whisky-making process lead into distillery visits that both pre-and post-date Alfred Barnard's legendary tour. John's Lane (Powers), Royal Irish, Ardlussa, Jura, Jones Road, Ben Nevis, Oban and London's Thames Bank Distillery (from 1842) are all documented here in tones ranging from purely technical to downright jovial. Barnard's rare work "A Tourist's Visit to Argyllshire and West Highlands" is examined twice. Local whisky thievery and distillery expansions in the 1890's are further detailed alongside publicly reported newspaper articles on whisky's greatest scandal and trial,
The Pattison Whisky Crash.