Treasures of Scotland
Admire the stately homes, castles, galleries and gardens of bonnie Scotland, taking in the awe-inspiring scenery of the Highlands and the Lowlands Lowlands as well as its islands.
Discover Scotland’s distinctive artistic and architectural heritage, ranging from traditional village dwellings to grand mansions and remarkable art nouveau masterpieces. Explore impressive royal residences and aristocratic estates set against a backdrop of untamed landscapes, from the rugged Highlands to the rolling hills of the Lowlands and wild Orkney Islands.
This tour is part of the World Art Tours program organised by the Art Gallery Society of NSW in partnership with Renaissance Tours.
Depart Australia or New Zealand on suggested Qatar Airways flights to Edinburgh via Doha. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.
Arrive in Edinburgh in the early afternoon on suggested flights and make your way to the hotel.
In the afternoon, attend a welcome briefing and special welcome dinner with Kenneth and fellow travellers.
After a morning talk by Kenneth, begin your exploration of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital. Visit the National Monument of Scotland, dedicated to soldiers who fell during the Napoleonic wars, as well as Greyfriars Church, one of the oldest surviving buildings in Edinburgh built in the seventeenth century.
Then, enjoy a guided tour of the National Gallery of Scotland housing works by Bernini, Botticelli, Cezanne, Monet and Gauguin, as well as art spanning the course of Scottish history up to the twentieth Century.
Dinner this evening will be in a local restaurant.
This morning, enjoy a private guided tour of Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the skyline of the city. Archaeologists have determined that the site on which the castle sits has been inhabited since the Iron Age and there has been a royal castle on the site since the thirteenth Century. The castle was involved in many historical conflicts and has claim to be the most besieged place in the British Isles. Today the castle is the backdrop for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo during the annual Edinburgh Festival.
Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, followed by a leisurely stroll down the Royal Mile, stopping to admire sights along the way and finishing at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Discover the history of Holyroodhouse and Abbey with a private guided tour and explore the former residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the sixteenth century. Today Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland.
After a morning talk by Kenneth, transfer to the National Museum of Scotland for a private guided tour by a curator. The museum houses Scottish artefacts from pre-history, through the medieval period and down to more recent history.
In the evening, travel to the village of Roslin for a private visit of the fifteenth century Rosslyn Chapel. The chapel was founded by the Scoto-Norman Sinclair family and restored in the nineteenth century by Queen Victoria. The chapel is steeped in myth and legend, said to be the final resting place of the treasure of the Knights Templar, Holy Grail and even hiding the Crown Jewels of Scotland.
This morning visit the Royal Yacht Britannia for a red carpet private tour of the vessel. The ship was the royal yacht of the British monarch from 1954 until 1997, the eighty-third such vessel in a long line of ships dating back to the reign of Charles II in 1660. Enjoy morning tea on board in the Royal Deck Tea Rooms.
In the early afternoon, transfer to the Scottish Whiskey Centre for a tour through the production process of one of Scotland’s leading exports and to admire the world’s largest collection of Scottish Whiskey.
This morning, travel to the town of Queensferry for a guided visit of the majestic Hopetoun House. The house was constructed between 1699 and 1701 and is today the family home of the fourth Marquis of Linlithgow.
After lunch at Hopetoun House, continue to the town of St Andrews. The town is home to the University of St Andrews, the third oldest university in the English-speaking world as well as the ruins of a twelfth century castle. St Andrews is also known worldwide as the home of golf. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, founded in 1754, exercised legislative authority over the game until 2004 in all countries except the United States and Mexico.
In the morning enjoy a talk by Kenneth, then travel to the village of Longniddry to the stately residence of Gosford House. Enjoy a guided tour of the house and grounds followed by lunch on the grounds of this stunning manor. Built in the neoclassical style at the turn of the eighteenth century by the seventh Earl of Wemyss, the house was occupied by the British army in World War II and today is still in the hands of the original owners.
Check out of the hotel in the morning and transfer to Edinburgh airport for a flight to Wick (flight included in the tour price.)
On arrival in Wick continue to John O’Groats, the most northerly town in the British Isles. After lunch, explore the town with a short guided tour, including the Duncansby Head Lighthouse, the most northerly point of the island of Great Britain.
Then, continue to nearby Thurso and check into the hotel in the late afternoon.
Today, take a ferry across the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Islands. Keep an eye out for gannets, seals, puffins, pods of porpoise and the occasional whale as you sail through the Churchill Barriers, which connect five islands to form the eastern boundary of Scapa Flow.
Upon arrival in Orkney, travel to the capital Kirkwall to enjoy some free time to explore the capital.
After lunch, visit the ancient Standing Stones of Stenness, thought to be the oldest “henge” in the British Isles. Then, travel to the 5,000-year-old Skara Brae, a prehistoric Neolithic settlement. Perfectly preserved under sand dunes, it was discovered in 1850 during a winter storm. Both ancient sites comprise a large part of the Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage site.
Travel to Stromness to enjoy a visit of the Pier Arts Centre, housing works donated by peace activist and philanthropist Margaret Gardiner before returning by ferry to Thurso.
Check out of the hotel in the morning and travel to the city of Inverness, enjoying a talk by Kenneth en route. Regarded as the capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness Castle was the former residence of the Gaelic king Mac Bethad Mac Findláich, who was the inspiration for the character of Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play of the same name.
Check into the hotel in Inverness in the late afternoon.
This morning journey to Eilean Donan Castle for a guided tour. Located on a small island and connected to the mainland by a short bridge, the picturesque thirteenth century castle was built to provide a strong defensive position against Norse expeditions and is one of the most iconic images of Scotland. Marvel at the impressive banqueting hall and discover the collection of the billeting room which houses some of the castle’s fascinating collection.
Return to Inverness along the shores of scenic Loch Ness.
Arrive in Inverness in the late afternoon.
Check out of the hotel in the morning and drive to Glasgow, stopping in the city of Perth and enjoying a talk by Kenneth en route.
After lunch, continue to the Antonine Wall at Rough Castle for a visit of this ancient monument. A turf fortification built by the Romans, the Antonine Wall represented the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. The associated “Rough Castle” was one of sixteen forts that lined the wall from between which troops would move, using the road known as the Military Way.
Arrive in Glasgow in the late afternoon and check in to the hotel.
Explore Glasgow this morning with a guided coach tour of the architectural legacy of Charles Rennie MackIntosh. Begin the tour at the Hunterian Art Gallery, the oldest museum in Scotland, followed by the Glasgow School of Art and the once famous nineteenth century Willow Tea Rooms. Visit the Scotland Street School Museum, the design of which MackIntosh based on Rowallen Castle. Then, enjoy a light lunch at leisure at the House for an Art Lover, whose design was inspired by the works of the great architect.
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the hilltop castle of Culzean. Built in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the castle incorporates a large drum tower with a circular saloon overlooking the sea, a grand oval staircase and a suite of well-appointed apartments.
Dinner this evening is in a local restaurant.
This morning, visit the towering Wallace Monument, built to honour Scotland’s National hero, Sir William Wallace. Wallace was a Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders in the Scottish Wars of Independence, defeating the English in the battle of Stirling. Admire the views from the base of the tower, to the south Glasgow and to the north Stirling, whose fields hosted the famous battle.
Then, enjoy a guided tour of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery by a curator. Designed by Sir John W. Simpson and financed by the International Exhibition of 1888, it contains one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the world as well as works by the Old Masters and French Impressionists.
After lunch, enjoy a guided tour of the Museum of Modern Art to view the works of both local and international artists. The collection is housed in a neoclassical building in St James Square and has had many different uses, including once housing both the Royal Bank of Scotland and Royal exchange.
In the morning drive to the shores of Loch Fyne for a guided tour of the historic Inveraray Castle. Built in the late eighteenth century on the shores of Loch Fyne, it is the one of the earliest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Europe. The castle is the seat of the Dukes of Argll, chiefs of the clan of Campbell. The family still reside in the building in the private apartments on the top two floors.
Enjoy a special farewell lunch with Kenneth and fellow travellers in a local restaurant in Inveraray, followed by a guided tour of Hill House, in Helensburgh. Hill House is one of the most renowned works of Charles Rennie MackIntosh. Having not only designed the house, MackIntosh also designed most of the interior, furniture and fittings.
Return to Glasgow in late afternoon.
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
17 February 2020
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness levels definitions.
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for the United Kingdom.
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in centrally-located 4 and 5-star hotels (or best available) with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (M=Morning Tea, L=Lunch, D=Dinner); drinks with dinners
- Lectures and talks by your tour leader, Kenneth Park
- One-way Economy Class flight from Edinburgh to Wick (30kg luggage allowance)
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including entrance fees as per itinerary
- Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, room service etc.
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your agent for assistance)
- Airport porterage
Edinburgh –Waldorf Astoria, Caledonian*****
Thurso – Muthu Royal Thurso Hotel***
Inverness – The Kingsmill Hotel****
Glasgow – The Grand Central Hotel****
N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.