On this thoughtfully paced, small-ship cruise, you’ll see the beauty of Scotland on land and at sea. The 11-day itinerary captures the many sides of Scotland and its islands, even going as far as the isolated Shetland Islands. Begin and end your journey in the country’s crowning cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with gorgeous landscapes along the way.
Among the authentic experiences, you’ll drink in stunning views from the deck and sip single-malt whiskies, while visiting lesser-known locales on the isles of Mull, Skye, and Lewis, plus make stops to traverse the dramatic clifftops of Orkney on foot and see Neolithic monuments. Each day reveals another unexpected layer of Scotland’s richly woven heritage, encompassing music, dance, and culinary traditions.
ItineraryPLAN YOUR TRIP
Tomorrow, you’ll get an overview of Glaswegian history with a tour of George’s Square, Glasgow Cathedral, Buchanan Street, and Princes Square, plus a visit to the eclectic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Afterward, you’ll board your ship to begin your seven-night, small-ship cruise, heading first to the Isle of Mull.
Day 3:Isle of Mull
Day 4:Isle of Skye
Onshore, you’ll have your choice of excursions, including a visit to the commanding Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the MacLeod clan. Alternatively, you can visit a croft (a traditional type of smaller-scale farming unique to Scotland) or enjoy a wildlife safari through Portree Bay and the Sound of Raasay for a close-up view of local creatures, such as seals, otters, sea eagles, and dolphins, an unexpected sight in these coastal waters.
Day 5:Isle of Lewis
Looking out to the cobalt blue waters of the Minch, a sea channel separating it from the mainland and the Inner Hebrides, you’ll get a genuine taste of everyday life in these down-to-earth island communities. Breathe in the salty air and take in views from a panoramic bus ride to the Standing Stones of Callanish, Dun Carloway Broch, and Gearrannan Blackhouse Village.
Day 6:Orkney Islands
To cap off the day, you’ll head to the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 10 miles outside the city. Considered among the most significant Neolithic sites in Western Europe, its four monuments include a large, chambered tomb, ceremonial stone circles, and a 5,000-year-old settlement called Skara Brae.
Day 7-8:Shetland Islands
Next, you’ll traverse the east coast for a look at St. Ninian’s Island. In the countryside amid Shetland ponies and sheep, guests will also meet David Murray, a Shetland-born sheepdog trainer, and his champion sheepdog, Sweep. A member of the Scottish National Sheep Dog Trials team, Murray will run a demonstration of sheepdog trials.
Day 9-11A Royal Farewell in Edinburgh
Among the city highlights are Edinburgh Castle perched atop a volcanic rock and the Royal Mile running from there to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Treat your senses to urban greenery with a tour of the palatial gardens and a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden, a center for studying plant diversity and conservation.
Finally, enjoy a private farewell reception and dinner aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia. At your red-carpet arrival, you’ll be welcomed aboard via the Royal Brow, an entrance previously reserved for Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family. Adding to the VIP treatment, you’ll enjoy an exclusive experience with access to areas that are normally roped-off—and truly feel like it’s your yacht for the evening. You’ll also get to see the Royal Apartments and other areas typically inaccessible during regular tours.
The elegant evening, which has been curated specifically for Tauck, features dishes made in the ship’s original Royal Galleys. Using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients from the very best Scottish suppliers, including many who are Royal Warrant Holders that provide food to the Royal Family, the menu can include everything from artisan bread to petit fours—for a send-off in true style.