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Scottish Highlands, Loch Ness and Glen Coe Day Trip from Edinburgh

Badge of ExcellenceEdinburgh, United Kingdom

From $66.80

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 12 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English

Overview

Discover the dramatic beauty, history and mystery of Scotland on this full-day trip from Edinburgh. Aboard a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle, wind through the Scottish Highlands and marvel at the majesty of Cairngorms National Park and the mysterious Loch Ness—fabled home of the elusive water monster, Nessie. Spot the famous Urquhart Castle en route and hear about legendary warfare like the battles of William Wallace and the massacre of Glen Coe in the 17th century.
  • Head into the Scottish Highlands and travel through the fantastic landscapes of Cairngorms National Park
  • See the famous Loch Ness, believed to be home to a mysterious sea creature
  • Visit Glen Coe, a place known as much for a horrific massacre as its gorgeous scenery
  • Explore the ancient Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness
Operated by:

What's Included

  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Local live driver guide
  • Panoramic windows
  • Food and drinks
  • Loch Ness Cruise & Urquhart Castle Tour, £25 cash
  • Gratuities
  • Children under 3 years not accepted

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • 1 Parliament Square
    1 Parliament Square, Edinburgh EH1 1RF, UK

    Please check in with Highland Experience staff inside/outside Caffe Nero by 07:45

Start time

08:00 AM

End point

  • Lawnmarket
    Lawnmarket, Edinburgh EH1, UK

    Please note: During August, and other times when there are events taking place at Edinburgh Castle we will use an alternative end point in Edinburgh's New Town.

What To Expect

Your full-day tour through the Scottish Highlands departs from central Edinburgh in the morning. Meet your friendly guide and settle in for the northbound ride toward Inverness. Along the way, pass the dramatic Forth Railway Bridge—a UNESCO-listed bridge that once boasted the largest cantilever span in the world – and pause in Pitlochry for some tasty refreshment (own expense). 

Continuing north, wind through Cairngorms National Park, catching lovely views of peaks and waterfalls rushing through craggy ravines. Soon arrive at the mythical Loch Ness, where you have free time to explore the surrounding countryside, visit Urquhart Castle, or grab lunch (own expense). Or purchase an optional cruise on the loch for some tranquil sightseeing and a cheeky search for the famed water monster, Nessie. 

Next, continue your coach tour to Glen Coe, a glen of breathtaking beauty that boasts high mountain peaks, ridges, bubbling rivers, and waterfalls. Hear about the historic MacDonald clan that resided here and suffered in the brutal massacre of 1692. 

From here, begin your return trip to Edinburgh, passing Stirling Castle on the way. Snap some photos of the historic site—former residence of Scottish royals including Mary, Queen of Scots—and learn about its colorful history, riddled with warfare such as the Battle of Stirling Bridge, led by William Wallace. 

Then relax for the return ride to Edinburgh, where your full-day trip ends back at the starting point in the evening.

Pitlochry

The first stop of the day is in this charming little town - time to stretch your legs and grab that all important coffee or tea.

40 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Cairngorms National Park (Pass By)

Through the Cairngorms and the wild wilderness.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children under 3 years not accepted
  • English Only
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • On 26th December there will be no cruise or castle visit available.
  • Please note this tour may operate in reverse
  • Check-in for the tour is 7.45am with departure at 8.00am sharp
  • On 1st January there will be no cruise or castle visit available.
  • Visit to Urquhart Castle & Loch Ness cruise £25 with Highland Experience discount, cash required. No need to pre book.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 32 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

about cancellations.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips


This was a long day, but it was so worth it!
This is a really long day and if you don’t like coach travel it’s not for you, but we absolutely loved it.
Reviews
4.5
1,419 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 1,419 reviews
Alex our trip guide gave...
Rajagopal_M, Jan 2023
Alex our trip guide gave us a great experience going around the highlands. The way he narrated the details about places and history and the stopping points and all were comfortable and safe. We enjoyed the trip.
Brilliant - don't miss it
Leanne_W, Jan 2023
Faultless from Steve B(est) driver to sing-along on the return bus journey (gotta love The Proclaimers). Steve was passionate and his enthusiasm easily absorbed. Informative and interesting stories complementing beautiful scenery. Perfect for a brief overview of The Highlands. Would definitely do it again.
Wee dream come true
Elisa_B, Jan 2023
Dream com true ! We followed the tour with Maj which was an absolute delight of stories & smoothness when it came to each stop. From a guided explanation of whiskeys to scottish tales, we drove all through the Highlands with wonder. Made me want to try to bag a Monroe. We will be back.
Beautiful day trip worth strapping in for.
Irene_H, Jan 2023
Gorgeous day trip with a fabulous guide passionate about all things Scotland. Boat trip on the Loch was surreal and eerie and in spite of myself I looked for that monster! Food options for breakfast and lunch were very average but fish and chips for dinner were the bomb.
GREAT excursion!!! - makes us want to return
Cara_H, Jan 2023
Steven B was great - gave us an adequate amount of silence but shared fantastic information. Highly recommend the castle and Loch Ness add-ons. Long day but great trip.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Nestor great guide
MICHELLE_P, Dec 2022
Nestor was amazing, felt safe with his driving skills.. enjoyed listening to the history of Scotland.. the best experience
1 traveler found this review helpful
Enjoying the Highlands
Stefania_M, Dec 2022
Great Steven B, he drove through snow and ice safely, guided the trip explaining history and places, engaged with music ...his Scottish accent could not have been understood by everyone, but who could as us, enjoyed his nice jokes. Absolutely something to do, better in spring, summer or fall due to weather conditions
Just wonderful
Bethany_M, Dec 2022
Our guide Chris was phenomenal! Great stories and histories of things we passed along the way without overdoing it. The perfect amount of stops and timing. I would book this tour again. The food at the places we stopped was not good. There are better places nearby with higher quality food and better prices and atmosphere (not cafeteria style) but they don’t have a partnership with the companies. Would be nice to explore those options.
Beautiful
Domonique_P, Nov 2022
It was a lovely tour, would do it again. Alex was very knowledgeable and overall a great guide and save driver.
2 travelers found this review helpful
Maj for the win
Mikaela_M, Nov 2022
Maj was our tour guide and he made the day a great experience. We thoroughly recommend this company and their services. If you can get on Majs bus you should - he will make you laugh.
The B in Steven B. Really Does Mean “Best”
Maitee_Q, Oct 2022
Steven B was an absolute gem to have on this tour. I was honestly impressed by how many things we managed to see in one day without feeling rushed. Maybe those who enjoy history a bit more than myself would find that we did not spend enough time in each location, but for me, the ride was half then fun. Visiting the highlands through the road Steven took us on was absolutely breathtaking. I liked that we stopped frequently and that Steven filled us in on all the interesting things that had happened in each location. If anything he should’ve spoken more because he was really entertaining. The smaller bus size also made our experience more personal than what you get on a coach bus. The fact that Steven was both the driver and the guide fascinated me, especially because he did both so well. My only critique is that I wish we would’ve had a whole hour to eat supper in our last stop. The extra 15 minutes wouldn’t have changed our arrival time too much but would’ve given us a better amount of time to eat properly and walk around before a nearly 2h ride back to Edinburgh. Other than that though, I can’t say I have any complaints about my day, I really had a blast! Thank you Steven!
Great weather great driver equals great exoerience
xie_J, Oct 2022
We had a really good time on this tour. Eddie was great and we had a great weather as the sun was up! Eddie was able to squeeze us into more sites because the weather cooperated with us. Eddie was very cautious with driving and looked after all the people in the tour. Would definitely recommend!
Great
Charlotte_R, Oct 2022
Steven B. was a Great tourguide. The countryside was amazing. It wasn‘t boring at all to sit in the bus all day. We had a great time!
Great 1 Day Highland Tour
Jeremy_B, Oct 2022
Great way to see the Highlands in a day. If you have limited time, this is a great way to go. Get to stop for plenty of photo ops and see some highland cows
Recommended only if you have just a day for the Highlands
Shashwat_A, Oct 2022
We just had a day and wanted to experience the Highlands. The travel got tiring but can't really help it. The Highlands aren't really meant to be experienced in a day. The tour was good overall. We got to see the main parts. Would definitely recommend the cruise on Loch Ness. You'll have to pay extra but it's totally worth it. The guide could have been better. Considering it was a 12hr tour, there wasn't a lot of explaining happening.
1 traveler found this review helpful
A nice calm day in the Country.
Carol_S, Oct 2022
Excellent tour of Scotland Countryside. The Highland Cows were a star of the day. Be sure to confirm drop off point with driver. Being from California loved the green countryside, and the Lochs.
Stunning Scenery.
donnapaice, Sep 2022
The tour was almost 13 hours from start to finish so it was a long day, but very enjoyable. Our driver/guide, Alex, was fabulous: Knowledgable, funny and helpful. The highland scenery is stunning - we were so happy we got to experience this beautiful part of the world. We paid the additional £25 to visit Urquhart castle and cruise Loch Ness and it would have been a shame not to do so. This should be included in the cost of the tour - only 2 of our 27 participants didn’t add it on. The meal breaks were not long enough to use the bathroom and get food - we felt very rushed. Our only other issue with the tour was that we only saw a couple of hairy coos!
Unmissable
shayna_m, Sep 2022
This tour was AMAZING! The tour guide was very knowledgeable and quite funny. We saw some of the most beautiful sights we’ve ever seen in the form of the Scottish Highlands and it was amazing to see some fun movie locations as well, along the way. Loved Loch Ness and highly recommend the “adult” hot chocolate ;)
A great way to see Scotland
reevans1s, Sep 2022
We only had a day to explore as much of the country as possible and this was a great way to do it. While yes it’s a lot of coach time, if you’re listening to the stories, history and music while watching the scenery go by you’re guaranteed a great trip. Stephen was our guide and I would take any tour he led. He loves his country, knew his history and interjected great humor. 10/10!
Great tour
CASTLEMEDIEVAL, Sep 2022
This was a fun long tour. Our tour driver was Steven B. ,and he was the best! He was handsome and funny! Was able to take so many photos from all the great stops, I would definitely recommend this tour.
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Product code: 5256HLOCHNESS