This is a firm favourite with people who want a flavour of the Scottish Highlands, seeing stunning lochs and glens but also viewing a variety of historic sites and castles.
Leaving Edinburgh we cross over the Firth of Forth on the Forth Road Bridge, which gives us a superb view of the Forth Rail Bridge, built in 1890 and regarded as one of the industrial wonders of the world. We travel through the Kingdom of Fife, passing Lochleven Castle, set on a small island in Loch Leven and once the prison of Mary Queen of Scots.
Heading north, we reach the driveway for Scone Palace, home of the present Earl of Mansfield. We drive through the extensive parkland, arriving at the main entrance and often being greeted by the peacocks roam the grounds! All Scottish monarchs from 838AD were crowned at Scone and the place is steeped in history. Tour the gothic palace followed by a wander round the grounds before we travel through the fair city of Perth and by medieval Huntingtower Castle.
Continuing through Perthshire we pass through the handsome market town of Crieff near the Famous Grouse experience at Glenturrent distillery. The scenery starts to get quite spectacular now as we head into the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park entrance at Breadalbane.
Stopping at St Fillans at the west side of Loch Earn this really is secret place that the locals would like to keep to themselves as hardly any (if any) tours go this way! We could have a bite to eat at the excellent Drummond Hotel which overlooks the loch. Continuing along the north side of Loch Earn to Lochearnhead we then turn south through the Strathyre Forest. The Rob Roy bar at Kingshouse is a cracking wee pub with an open fire and serves excellent food. We head down the cul-de-sac that is the tiny road into the Braes of Balquhidder to Balquhidder, next to the ruins of the old kirk that is the final resting place of Rob Roy MacGregor (often described as Scotland’s Robin Hood).
Back along the small road we continue south by Strathyre before stopping at Loch Lubnaig which is quite spectacular. Although a bit of al tourist trap many people like to get a picture of themselves next Hamish the highland cow at Kilmahog! We continue on to 14th century Doune Castle, the castle featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Heading back to Edinburgh we get great views of the Wallace Monument and the mighty Stirling Castle, both of which can be visited on variations of this tour. Traveling back to Edinburgh, we pass the magnificent roofless remains of Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and a royal palace until being burned in 1746. It’s then back to your accommodation.
There are many other options and variations to this tour. Other castles and stately homes in the area include the mighty Blair Castle, ancient seat of the Earls and Dukes of Atholl; Castle Campbell, chief lowland stronghold of the Campbell Clan; Castle Menzies, a "Z" plan fortified tower house, Elcho Castle, which dates back to 1570 and Balvaird Castle dating from 1500.
Other optional historic sites are the Dunkeld, the stunning conservation village on the banks of the Tay, with its Cathedral, historic bridge and whitewashed shops, cottages and hotels. Nearby is the Hermitage, an attractive woodland walk leads along the banks of the River Braan, through mixed woodland and past a handsome single-arched bridge to the picturesque folly of Ossian’s Hall.