Scotland & Ireland in 16 days
16 DAYS, 15 NIGHTS | Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Highlands, Skye, Dublin, Killarney, Dingle, Cliffs of Moher & Aran Islands
PRIVATE TOUR ITINERARY
Discover Scotland & Ireland — see the best of both countries in 15 days on this beautifully guided journey. You'll enjoy private-guided walking tours of Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Dublin. You’ll learn about the long history of Edinburgh. You'll experience Scotland and Ireland’s must-see historical sites, and spectacular scenery along the way. In Scotland, tour the powerfully moving site of the final Jacobite Rising, the Culloden Battlefield. You’ll cruise Loch Ness and visit the Isle of Skye and fortify yourself with a wee dram at a well known Scottish Distillery. In Ireland, enjoy Gaelic tunes in the music filled bars of Dingle and gourmet dinners at hand-picked restaurants. Tour the Slea Head Drive along the Dingle Peninsula, lean into the wind on the very edge of Europe at the Cliffs of Moher and visit the Guinness Storehouse. Discover Scotland & Ireland!
Day 1) Arrive in Edinburgh & Royal Britannia
Arrive at Edinburgh airport where you will be met by your driver-guide. On your way into Edinburgh, visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, the former yacht of the Royal family. From the elegant State Apartments to the gleaming Engine Room, see where the Royal family spent their summer holidays. You may enjoy refreshments or a light lunch at the Royal Deck Tea Room. Next, arrive at your hotel for a three-night stay. Enjoy a welcome dinner and whisky tastings with your guide at a local restaurant.
Day 2) Edinburgh
Today, your local kilt-wearing guide will take you on a whole-day tour of Edinburgh. Learn all about Edinburgh’s long history—see how the medieval townhouses along the Royal Mile contrast with the fine Georgian architecture of the 200-year-old New Town and learn about the many prominent Scottish inventors, doctors, and writers for whom Edinburgh is famous. Visit the majestic Edinburgh Castle to tour this historic military stronghold, the birthplace of the city, and soak up the dramatic views. This afternoon, wind your way through the medieval streets of the Royal Mile. Visit the impressive Palace of Holyrood, home to many kings and queens and where, recently, Queen Elizabeth lay in state before being transferred to Westminster Abbey in London. David I founded the impressive palace as an Augustinian monastery in 1128. In 1501, James IV built a Palace for himself and his bride, Margaret Tudor—the sister of Henry VIII. Mary, Queen of Scots, spent most of her turbulent life in the Palace.
Day 3) Stirling Castle & Blackness Castle
This morning, visit Stirling Castle, just an hour away. The last stronghold of Scotland, Stirling Castle was besieged by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and residence to the Stewart monarchs including Mary Queen of Scots and King James. You’ll tour the castle, including the newly restored Renaissance Palace. This afternoon, on your return to Edinburgh, visit Blackness Castle on the south shores of the Firth of Forth. The castle was built in the 15th century, and massively strengthened in the 16th century as an artillery fortress.
Day 4) St. Andrews
Depart Edinburgh for the beautiful medieval city of St. Andrews, set on the stunning north coast of the Kingdom of Fife. St. Andrews is an important Scottish city, packed with history and charm. Enjoy a private-guided walking tour of historic St. Andrews. You’ll visit the university (founded in 1413), the ruins of the 12th-century cathedral and castle, and for those interested in golf, see the Old Course and learn about some of the city’s golfing history. This afternoon, depart St. Andrews for the Scottish Highlands, where you’ll arrive at your hotel in Inverness for a two-night stay. Dinner tonight is included at a local restaurant.
Day 5) Culloden Battlefield, Cawdor Castle & Whisky Tastings
Today, visit the Culloden Battlefield—the powerfully emotive and atmospheric battlefield where the 1745 Jacobite Rising came to a tragic end. You’ll discover the true story of the 1745 Rising, from both the Jacobite and Government perspectives. Walk the battlefield and explore the key areas of action on Culloden Moor. Next, discover one of Scotland’s most evocative prehistoric sites—the Clava Cairns, an ancient burial ground said to have inspired Outlander. Continue to Cawdor Castle & Gardens, a traditional Scottish Castle built and privately owned by the Cawdor family for over 600 years, with beautiful gardens and where you may enjoy lunch. This afternoon, take a tour of family-owned Glenfarclas Distillery where you’ll learn about how whisky is made and sample a “wee dram” of single malt. Tonight, dinner is included in Inverness.
Day 6) Loch Ness, The Western Highlands & Isle of Skye
This morning, leave for Loch Ness, famous for the legendary Loch Ness monster, Nessie. You’ll enjoy a cruise on this beautiful loch and be treated to panoramic views of the Highlands as you approach Urquhart Castle for a visit to this famous castle perched majestically above the shoreline. Next, follow the long straight valley called the Great Glen to Fort Augustus for lunch. Continue to Loch Duich, where you will visit the romantic Eilean Donan Castle before crossing by bridge to the Isle of Skye. Arrive at a former hunting lodge for Clan MacDonald and now a delightful family-run inn where you are assured a comfortable, relaxing stay with loch views. Tonight, enjoy dinner at the lodge serving delicious home cooking and where you may lounge in the bar and living room, all with a waterfront view.
Day 7) Isle of Skye
Today, set out to explore the Isle of Skye beginning with a drive to the Sligachan, with views to the Black Cuillin mountains. Then journey along the west coast where you will visit Dunvegan Castle, seat of Clan MacDonald, or Neist Point, the most westerly point of Skye, with dramatic sea and cliff views. Continue to the harbor town of Uig for lunch. This afternoon tour around the stunning Trotternish peninsula with visits to include the Museum of Island Life, the Old Man of Storr, and Kilt Rock, with its magnificent views from Quiraing. Return to your hotel through Portree, the largest town and capital of the Isle of Skye. It is here at Portree that Flora MacDonald aided Charles Edward Stuart’s (Bonnie Prince Charles’) escape after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden. Dinner is included this evening at the inn.
Day 8) Loch Ness & Western Highlands
Depart for Armadale where you will board the ferry to Mallaig on the mainland. Continue by the silver sands of Morar, the Glenfinnan Tower Monument—where Bonnie Prince Charles rallied support for the Jacobite Rising of 1746—and the shores of Loch Linnhe to Glencoe. This afternoon, visit Glencoe, where you will learn about the Glencoe Massacre and see a replica 17th century turf and creel house, before arriving in Glasgow for an overnight stay at a centrally located hotel.
Day 9) Fly to Dublin, Rock of Cashel & Kenmare
This morning, depart for Glasgow Airport where you will board your flight to Dublin and where you’ll be met by your Irish driver-guide. Next, depart Dublin for one of Ireland’s most historic and evocative sights: The Rock of Cashel. St. Patrick himself was here more than 1,500 years ago and, ever since, the Rock has been the spiritual heart of Ireland. Continue on to quaint Kenmare—with its rows of vividly painted shop fronts and go-for-a-stroll atmosphere—for a one-night stay in this the quintessentially Irish town, known for its culinary specialties. Dinner tonight is reserved at a local gourmet restaurant.
Day 10) Killarney National Park
Today, experience the spectacular wild scenery of Killarney National Park. View Molls Gap, Ladies View and Torc Waterfall, and visit the evocative Ross Castle and the beautiful Muckross House & Gardens, all set against stunning natural beauty. Enjoy a jaunting car ride (horse and carriage ride) in the beautiful National Park. Continue your journey to the pastel-painted, quintessentially Irish harbor town of Dingle for a two-night stay. Dingle is a lively Gaeltacht town of seafaring heritage where instrumental music and song have a long tradition. You will arrive in time to explore this colorful town. Dinner recommendations will be made by your driver.
Day 11) Hawk Walk & Dingle Peninsula
Today, discover the Dingle Peninsula along the Slea Head Drive, one of the most scenic routes in Ireland which will include a Hawk Walk, an incredible experience. You will learn how to hold a hawk as they fly between all of you along the beach. Visit the Blasket Island Heritage Center, with stunning views of the wild Atlantic coast and islands. The Blasket Centre is a fascinating museum, honoring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until their evacuation in 1953. You will experience incredible coastal views, and visit a sheep farm for a sheep dog demonstration. Tonight, explore more of Dingle’s delights for which your driver will make recommendations.
Day 12) Conor Pass & Wild Atlantic Way
This morning, drive across Ireland’s highest mountain pass, the Conor Pass. You’ll follow the Wild Atlantic Way north, cross the Shannon estuary by ferry, and head to the sensational Cliffs of Moher, where you will find yourself leaning into the wind on the very edge of Europe, more than 600 feet above the waters of the North Atlantic. Next, arrive at your luxury country house hotel with its own private medieval-ruined castle. The hotel is strikingly situated with magnificent views of the Atlantic and the Aran Islands. Tonight, enjoy a gourmet dinner at the hotel.
Day 13) The Aran Island Inis Oírr, Cliffs of Moher & Burren
Today, you’ll board a ferry at Doolin Harbor bound for the stark beauty of Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands. On arrival, enjoy a pony and trap (cart) tour of the island. On your return to the mainland, admire the Cliffs of Moher in the most spectacular way, from the sea. This afternoon, explore the intriguing rocky landscape of the Burren and its hardy prehistoric residents, including the Poulnabrone Dolmen—also called the ‘Hole of Sorrow’—the most iconic of Ireland’s megalithic structures. This evening, prior to dinner, which is included, take a private-guided tour of the hotel’s medieval Castle by the hotel’s owner.
Day 14) Birr & Kildare
Today, depart for the picturesque heritage town of Birr, developed around the Birr Castle estate of the Parsons family, the Earls of Rosse. Heaving with history, Birr is one of Ireland’s premier heritage towns and proud of its unique character spanning many centuries. The tree-lined malls and avenues of elegant houses dating from the 1800s tell a fascinating story. The castle itself is the home of the 7th Earl of Rosse; the house is not open to the public but you may visit the award-winning gardens. From Birr, continue your journey to Kildare to visit the Irish National Stud and view the famous Kildare horses. Next, arrive in Dublin for a two-night stay at a centrally-located hotel, within walking distance of all main sights.
Day 15) Dublin
This morning, enjoy a private-guided walking tour of Dublin, learning about it’s often calamitous history, from the days of Viking raids to the hard centuries of British occupation, to its remarkable literary legacy, to the modern city of today. You’ll visit the stunning Old Library, Trinity College, for an illuminating look at the remarkable Book of Kells, an illuminated and intricately illustrated book of the gospels believed to be created in 800 AD. You’ll have the afternoon on your own to take in some of Dublin’s other world-class sights such as Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle, the interactive Epic Immigration Museum or the Jameson distillery.
Day 16) Transfer to Dublin Airport
Transfer by private car to Dublin Airport for your return flight.
Included with this private tour:
15 nights of hotel accommodation
9 three-course gourmet dinners
Daily Scottish or Irish breakfast
Your very own professional
Travel in a premium SUV or minivan
Airfare Edinburgh to Cork
All entrance fees
Just a few private tour highlights:
Private-guided walking tours of Edinburgh, St. Andrews & Dublin
Horse & carriage ride in the Killarney National Park and on Inis Oírr
Boat tour to Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands
Scottish Distillery tour
Loch Ness cruise
Subject to availability, you may choose your own dates.
$7,890 per person (group of 6 people)
$8,990 per person (group of 4 people)
$12,490 per person (group of 2 people)
All prices are in US dollars and for Superior Boutique Lodgings based on sharing a room for double occupancy,
For a full itinerary with details of all lodgings, and everything included in the tour price, please enquire.
Want a luxury private tour? This tour can be customized to your wishes or offered with 5 star Luxury Boutique. Simply call, or email us with your specifics and we'll plan a program that's right for you.
In this category, we have hand-picked
five-star guest houses or smaller luxury hotels. These lodgings are often family owned and offer a truly unique, authentic and welcome atmosphere where you are more likely to engage with local people than in a higher-end hotel. Some tours involve a mixture of both Superior and Luxury Boutique.
Through years of experience we have hand-picked luxury boutique hotels which are not only very comfortable in the traditional sense, but as importantly offer gourmet food and an ambience of lasting memory. All our hotel choices are of unique character, range from 4-star to 5-star, and are either downtown or enjoy a spectacular rural or village setting.
Our detailed offer to you will specify the hotels recommended.
Scotland & Ireland
For me, our trip to Scotland and Ireland couldn't have been better. Your careful research and planning made for a full, yet relaxing and absolutely delightful trip. We saw so many sights and beautiful natural landscape. I felt like we had all the time we wanted at each stop, were able to leave when we were done, and had flexibility to make extra stops. How refreshing compared to large group tours! And I felt safe at all times with your driving and with Noel in Ireland. Both of you made wonderful company without feeling at all intrusive.
The accommodations were just beautiful! Elegant, comfortable and relaxing, great service. The excellent food, choices, presentation and sevice were all just amazing. Looking back, I realize that, while we were busy and active all day, we weren't too exhausted to enjoy those fantastic dinners. I'm sure your traveling experience and planning, along with us being able to relax while we were driven, made that possible.
Thank you so much! I enthusiastically recommend Wanderlust tours.
Cynthia H. - Wisconsin