New for 2017, I will be offering a full-day excursion package out of Edinburgh to the beautiful Isle of Arran, giving visitors a chance to experience 'Scotland in a Day'!
With its landscape and many historic and cultural attractions, the island is often described as Scotland in miniature - and with it being a short drive from Edinburgh, Arran offers an accessible alternative to day trips to the Highlands.
Here's what a sample itinerary might look like - but your day would be tailored to suit you, so you can mix and match a unique package of activities!
07:00 - Hotel pick-up from your accommodation to travel across country, through Glasgow to catch the ferry to the Isle of Arran
09:45 - Ferry departs for Arran, arriving approximately 1 hour later
10:45 - Arrival in Brodick on the Isle of Arran
11.00 - Visit to Brodick Castle, formerly home to the Dukes of Hamilton. There has been a castle on this site since the 5th century, and it later played a vital role in Robert the Bruce's efforts to remove Scotland from English rule in the 14th century. The castle has superb gardens and a tearoom for a mid-morning coffee and home baking before exploring the rest of the island.
12.15 - Drive north around the 'Highlands' portion of Arran, to enjoy the spectacular scenery - soaring hills and cliffs running down to the coast. You may get to see seals sunbathing in the coastal waters, or deer grazing on the grasslands, or eagles soaring over the characteristic glens and valleys...
13:00 - Tour of the Isle of Arran distillery, the island's only Scotch whisky distiller, followed by a sample tasting of this distinctive flavour of Scotland. Lunch is also available at the CASKS cafe, where all produce is locally sourced and freshly prepared every day.
15:00 - Drive down the west coast of Arran, with sea views across to the Kintyre Peninsula. Take a walk to one of Arran's oldest historic sites, either to the 4,000 year old standing stone circles on the moor at Machrie, where ancient settlers erected these monolithic memorials and burial cairns, or take a walk through a forest and along the coast to visit the King's Cave, where Robert the Bruce is alleged to have taken shelter and had his legendary encounter with a spider.
17:30 - Drive through the coastal areas of Arran's southern 'Lowlands' region, with views to the lighthouse on the Pladda rocks at Kildonan, then on to enjoy views over to Holy Isle, home to St Molaise in the 6th century, and latterly to a community of Buddhists, drawn to the peace and tranquility of this isolated island.
18:00 - Stop off at Lamlash to see the monument erected for the families resettled here during the Highland Clearances of the 19th century, and from where many families emigrated to North America to seek a better life for themselves.
18:30 - A traditional Scots dinner of local fish and chips, eaten on benches overlooking the harbour in Brodick.
19:20 - Ferry departs Brodick for the mainland.
22:00 - Drop-off back to your accommodation in Edinburgh.
This is only an example of the activities available for your visit. Alternative options include:
The day is yours to plan and enjoy at your leisure! Pack it full of activities, or keep it chilled and relaxed, with an emphasis on scenery and sightseeing. This full-day 'Scotland in a Day' package is available to book from April to September from £550 for up to four people (or from just £350 if you have a car and are happy to do the driving yourself!).
Contact me to discuss a quote for a tailored package to suit you!
Edinburgh Expert Walking Tours is run by Gareth Davies, an adopted native of Edinburgh with 19 years of experience living and working in the city...