Scotland in winter has been on my bucket list for a long time. In December, Rob and I decided to make the dream a reality and we headed off to Edinburgh for a holiday. We didn’t have much time in Scotland, so we decided to take a bus tour out of Edinburgh to get a little taste of the Scottish Highlands. It had snowed the day before in Edinburgh, so I was really excited to the Highlands under a blanket of snow. And let me just tell you, the trip out there did not disappoint.
The bus tour offers various pick up spots around Edinburgh, we decided to go to the first pick up spot to make sure we got good seats. The meet point is along the Royal Mile, close to Saint Giles Cathedral. It was a quick bus trip and a short walk from our hotel. It is an early start, but you cover over 530 km’s in one day – so the tour really is action packed.
Even if you are travelling in a tour bus that looks like this:
The first stop is to Deanston Whisky Distillery, which is just past Stirling Castle. To be honest, we had never heard of Deanston before the tour but that didnt stop us from doing the tour of the distillery and sampling a few whiskys.
Rob was quick to remind me of the difference between whiskey and whisky. Only Irish whiskey is spelt with an E. Regardless of the spelling, I think I have done enough tastings to know that whiskey/whisky is not my jam. It must be an acquired taste, I am yet to enjoy drinking it. But I enjoyed the tour and looking at the cellar with all the casks.
After have a few toots by 10am, we were ready to really exploring the Scottish Highlands. Our next stop was a short photo stop within Glencoe. I have to just say that being in those mountains, with all the snow, it simply took my breath away.
After taking in the scenery, we got back into the bus and made our way through various lochs/ lakes, our main spot for the day was at Fort Augustus, to explore Loch Ness. Part of the tour was the opportunity to take a boat cruise on Loch Ness. A chance to see Nessie up close? Sure why not.
The boat cruise is an hour long, granted it was the middle of winter but you are able to stay indoors or undercover so you are still able to keep warm, whilst enjoying the view. After the boat cruise, we still had an hour left to explore the small town, we opted for walking along the lake and taking in more of the view.
Unfortunately Nessie was hiding when we were there, so we will have to go back and see if she pops up. The weather was a little chilly to be outside, but I definitely feel like visiting the lochs was a highlight of this tour.
We made a short photo stop at the Commando Memorial which is a war memorial site just outside Fort William, but to be honest I wasn’t too interested in this stop and decided to stay on the bus and keep warm.
Because it is a long day out, they do make plenty of stops for toilet breaks along the way, which is great but does make the day even longer. We arrived back in Edinburgh just after 8:30pm, over 12 hours exploring the Scottish Highlands – it was an action-packed day, and I thoroughly recommend it. As I said, the highlights for me were definitely Glencoe and Loch Ness. Over and above the tour stops – Graham our bus driver and tour guide really just made the trip for us. He was hilarious, and kept us entertained and smiling the entire day, It really seemed like he enjoyed his job, had a lot of info on hand for anyone who was interested and really just made a huge effort to make everyone enjoy the day. If you are looking for a bus tour while in Edinburgh, then might I suggest you do this one. This is not a sponsored post, I just really personally enjoyed the trip.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO SCOTLAND? DID YOU SEE NESSIE?
Live Simply & Travel Slow,
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