Royal Tales & Highland Trails

Royal Tales & Highland Trails

Visit Balmoral & Crathes Castles, have a 'wee dram' and absorb the magnificent Highland scenery on this 5 day tour


Visit Balmoral & Crathes Castles, have a 'wee dram' and absorb the magnificent Highland scenery on this 5 day tour


Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, having been first leased in 1848 the purchase of the land on which Balmoral stood was comlpeted in June 1852. Prince Albert subsequently decided to build a new Castle as the current one was considered not large enough for the Royal Family.

The foundation stone for Balmoral Castle was laid by Queen Victoria on 28th September 1853 and can be found at the foot of the wall adjacent to the West face of the entrance porch.

The Castle was completed in 1856 and the old building was then demolished.

When Queen Victoria died in 1901 Balmoral Estates passed, under the terms of her will, to King Edward VII, and from him to each of his successors and Balmoral Estates has been more than just a favourite home to successive generations of the Royal Family. Although it remains largely the same as it was in Queen Victoria's reign, successive Royal owners have followed the initiative of Prince Albert in making improvements to the estate.


Speyside Distilleries

Speyside is home to some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery and lush landscapes, as well as roughly half of the country's distilleries. It is located in the Highlands, east of Inverness, and reaches from the glittering Moray coastline down towards the Cairngorms National Park. The region takes its name from the River Spey, and most of its distilleries are in the beautiful surrounding glens. The rich supply of pure water helps to produce smooth and complex whiskies that provide an elegant contrast to the salty and heavily peated whiskies from other regions. Speyside whiskies are characterised by sweet and fruity notes, ranging from ripe pears to sultanas. Hints of nuts and malt are common, and some also possess a refined smokiness.

In Speyside you're never far from a distillery. From small-scale producers who handcraft whisky using traditional methods to some of the most famous distilleries in the world, it is the perfect place to learn about the art of whisky creation.


Scotland's Castle Trail

Step back (or drive back!) in time through the last millennium of our country's heritage and experience Scottish castles at their best on Scotland's only Castle Trail. A selection of thirteen of the world's most unique castles ranging from the fairy tale magic of Craigievar, to the rugged splendour of Kildrummy Castle ruins, to the elegant timelessness of the country house grandeur of Leith Hall.

Crathes Castle

Standing against a backdrop of rolling hills and set within its own glorious gardens, Crathes Castle is every inch the classic Scottish tower house.

Inside you'll find a labyrinth of cultural history, from family portraits and fine antique furniture to painted ceilings. The walled garden is split into eight sections that encompass every green delight imaginable - a sculpted topiary, soft herbaceous colours and modern exotic blooms.

Nature spotters will love the waymarked trails along the Coy Burn - keep an eye out here for buzzards, herons and kingfishers.

Day 1

A morning departure from Cumbria as we head north via Glasgow to Dundee and then on towards Aberdeen and a 4 night stay at the stunning Ardoe House. Dinner in the hotel.


Day 2

This morning we head into Royal Deeside and Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Royal residence is set amongst magnificent scenery in the shadows of Lochnagar and was described by Queen Victoria as 'my dear paradise in the Highlands'. To enhance our visit we have arranged for a local guide to take us on a tour of the castle and grounds, telling us some Royal tales along the way. We return to Ardoe House via the quaint riverside town of Ballater. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Day 3

No visit to the area is complete without a visit to the famous Speyside Whisky Trail, so we head over the mountain tops and through the villages of Lecht and Tomintoul on our way to Grantown on Spey. The area is home to more than a dozen famous distilleries and we include a tour along with a tasting and guidance from a whisky expert. Dinner on our return to the hotel.

B, D

Day 4

This morning we head to Banchory where the 50 mile 'Castle Trail' starts, home to more castles per acre than any other area of the UK. We include entry into the 16th Century Crathes Castle & Gardens with its turrets and towers, winding staircases, ornate ceilings, 240 hectares of formal gardens and its resident ghost! In the afternoon we have some free time in Aberdeen, Scotland’s 'Granite City'. Final dinner at the hotel.

B, D

Day 5

We leave our hosts and return home to Cumbria, comfort stops en route.


B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Ardoe House Hotel

Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa is a beautiful 4-star 19th century mansion house set in 30 acres of tranquil Aberdeenshire countryside with 120 traditionally decorated bedrooms including 2 rooms for people with reduced mobility.

The classic rooms offer all the comforts of home including a sumptuous king size bed, en-suite facilities, TV, hospitality tray & large work desk area and many of them offer beautiful views over the landscaped gardens.

When it comes to dining, Blairs Restaurant boasts a kitchen that does justice to its grand surroundings. The award winning chefs conjure up one winning dish after another, using fresh, local produce and the finest international ingredients.

The Ardoe Spa offers luxurious spa treatments, an indoor heated pool and fitness room.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
High Hesket Palmerstons Furniture Store
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Old Bus Station Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
From Price Call Back Telephone Favourites

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Autumn Spring 2018 2019
Summer Brochure 2019
Autumn Spring 2019 2020