With so many interesting and historic castles scattered around the country is it not too difficult to stop at places on the route.
Most of the castles are managed either by Historic Scotland or National Trust for Scotland. Buy an Explorer pass early in your vacation to enjoy free entry to many of these historic properties.
See below for a list of some of the most popular castles, a map showing approximate locations of castles in Scotland and image gallery of some of the most popular castles for visitors to Scotland.
- Edinburgh Castle – in the city of Edinburgh
- Stirling Castle – Stirling
- Urquhart Castle – on the west bank of Loch Ness. You can choose to drive there or combine the visit with a short boat trip on Loch Ness
- Dunvegan Castle – on the north west of Isle of Skye. The seat of Clan MacLeod.
- Dunrobin Castle. Near Brora 50 mile north of Inverness. A falconry display is included in your ticket price. Shows take place at 11 am and 2 pm most days during the summer.
- St Andrews Castle in the town of St Andrews
- Glamis Castle, childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and birthplace of Princess Margaret, located near Dundee. An outstanding property beautifully maintained, and the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore since 1372.
Many of the famous distilleries that produce the world’s finest Scotch are open for tours and tastings. We include many of them in our tours.
The tours usually include a walk round the production facilities with a guide who will explain the processes involved.
The tour usually concludes with a tasting of the malt whisky made at that location. If you have a favourite malt whisky let us know and we will try to include the distillery where it was made in your itinerary.
Blair Athol Distillery, Pitlochry
Situated in Pitlochry, the Perthshire town at the gateway to the Highlands, this distillery produces malt whisky that is added to the famous Bell’s blend, as well as a small selection of single malt bottles.
The tour is engaging and well thought out, with the expert guides capable of answering even the most complex of questions.
If you like your whisky without a trace of peaty, smoky nose and flavour, this is the tour for you.
Glenkinchie Distillery, Tranent
The ‘Edinburgh Malt’, this distillery is within an easy distance of the Scottish capital, and is well worth a visit.
There is an excellent model of the distillery in the visitor centre, and there are a selection of tours to choose from, with a handy shuttle bus from Edinburgh possible, meaning you do not need to worry about designating a driver.
Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay
A single year older than Lagavulin, the Laphroaig name is the most famous of the Islay whiskies, and consistently sells the most worldwide.
The name itself means ‘The beautiful hollow by the broad bay.’ This distillery also offers a selection of different experiences, ranging from tastings to a four and a half hour ‘water to whisky’ experience.
As a part of the standard tour, the option to take away your wee dram as a miniature if you are driving is a good touch.
Talisker Distillery, Isle of Skye
Moving north to the Isle of Skye, Talisker is now the only distillery to visit on this famous island and the dramatic views of the Cuillin mountains are to be savoured.
In summer this distillery can get very busy, so it is wise to book a tour in advance. The whisky is not as peaty as those from Islay, but is still heavier than those from Speyside, or other Island whiskies.
The standard tour is also available with a ‘bolt on’ whisky flight, for those who cannot spare the time for the full tasting.
The Glenlivet Distillery, Glenlivet, Ballindalloch
Another award winning visitor experience, this Speyside distillery is situated in a remote Cairngorm glen full of history and exciting stories.
A favourite whisky of Charles Dickens, around half of the single malt produced by The Glenlivet distillery is sold to America.
As well as a selection of tours and tastings, the distillery provides details of different local walks in the area, tied in with the smugglers’ history of the whisky.
It's never too early to start planning your vacation. If you are looking to visit Scotland in 2020 or later, or even a last minute trip this year, please get in touch for your customised quote.