Dates: May 27 - June 9, 2016
Journey in Scotland Tour with Rev. Jenny McDevitt
Islands, Highlands, Castles & Lochs to Edinburgh ~
Pilgrimages, History & Gorgeous Scottish Vistas!
A custom designed tour for Village Church and Friends by
Lisa Ball Travel Design, LLC
Tour Dates: May 27 – June 9, 2016
*Itinerary subject to change based on availability of vendors and venues*
May 27: Departure date from the U.S. to Glasgow, Scotland
May 28: Arrive in Scotland!
A private chartered motor coach will meet our group at the airport in Glasgow. Our first day in Scotland begins in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow renowned for its culture, style and architecture by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
After arriving at our hotel for tonight, Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, located in the heart of the city’s center, you will want to explore on your own. Visit the Glasgow Cathedral or the world famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Tonight: Welcome to Scotland Dinner at our hotel!
May 29: To the Western Isles!
Following breakfast at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, our private coach drives us past legendary Loch Lomond to Inverary Castle, the ancestral home to Clan Campbell. It is also the film location for the Christmas episode of season two of Downtown Abbey! Following a tour of the Castle, we will enjoy Lunch together in the Inverary Castle Tearoom.
Next we venture to Oban, considered the “Gateway to the Isles” where we will board a ferry to cross to the Isle of Mull. From there our coach crosses Mull to Fionnphort where we make another ferry crossing and arrive at: the Isle of Iona! Known as “the cradle of Christianity” in Scotland, Iona has a storied history going back to St. Columba who first came to the island in 563 and established a missionary here. We will spend three nights on Iona at the St. Columba Hotel, a comfortable and friendly 3-star lodgings offering half-board accommodations (breakfast and dinner).
Tonight: And all 3 nights on Iona, enjoy having Dinner together at the St. Columba Hotel!
May 30 & 31: On the Peaceful Isle of Iona
Activities for everyone while on Iona:
- Spiritual Pilgrimage to Iona Abbey with a program led by Rev. Jenny McDevitt (Lunch break at our hotel included)
Other activities to do on your own on Iona: Take long walks; rent a bike; discover the island’s nature; meet locals at the pub; or visit the quaint shops selling crafts. This peaceful place is the perfect place to meditate
Optional Tour while on Iona:
- Boat Tour to the Isle of Staffa to see the world famous Fingal’s Cave. You may also see the delightful puffins and other seabirds at close range. If you take this option, a packed lunch from our hotel will be provided
June 1: On to the Isle of Skye
We take the same ferry crossings and bus drive across Mull in reverse back to Oban where it will be time for a lunch break. Fish and chips on the pier, anyone? Our private motor coach then takes us north along a scenic route by Loch Linnhe. En-route we will take a slight detour to see the famous, picturesque Highland glen of Glencoe where much history took place. Our drive also includes views of Britain’s tallest mountain peak, Ben Nevis. We then continue along the thrilling “Road to the Isles” (which also parallels the “Hogwarts Express Train” route featured in the Harry Potter films!) to the town of Mallaig where we catch the ferry that takes us to the Isle of Skye.
From this point we reach the town of Broadford where our hotel for the next 2 nights is arranged at the Dunollie Hotel, set by the waterside of Broadford Bay at the foot of the mountains that lead to the famous Cuillin Hills. At the comfortable 3-star rated Dunollie Hotel we will have half-board accommodations with breakfast and dinner included. Here in Broadford, legend has it that Bonnie Prince Charlie gave the recipe for Drambuie to Clan MacKinnon to thank the clan for helping him escape to France. So as you relax in the hotel’s Torridon View Restaurant or the Redhills Lounge, it would be apt to have a wee dram of this historic liqueur. Tonight: Dinner at our hotel.
June 2: Tour of the Isle of Skye
On this day, we will drive and cruise around the Isle of Skye known for its dramatic mountain scenery. Some of the sights we will see:
- The Cuillins, the best known mountain range in Scotland
- Dunvegan Castle, home to the Chief of Clan Macleod; some parts of the castle date from the 9th century; items on display include the famous Fairy Flag, believed to date from the 7th century; and the gardens are spectacular (lunch on your own at Dunvegan Castle)
- In the afternoon we go to the harbor village of Elgol and begin a cruise with Misty Isle Boat Trips to see the amazing view of Loch Scavaig and time ashore to view Loch Coruisk. The boat excursion was featured on the ITV program, Britain’s Favorite View. Skipper Seumas Mackinnon has a wealth of knowledge about the local area
Tonight: Back to the Dunollie Hotel for Dinner
June 3: An Iconic Scottish Castle & Cruise on Loch Ness!
After departing Broadford we see one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan Castle. Situated on an island where three sea lochs meet and surrounded by majestic scenery, Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish Highlands.
Following our castle visit, we drive to Fort Augustus to have lunch at one of the cafes near the locks of the Caledonian Canal. Next, we take a one-hour cruise of the most well known loch of all, Loch Ness! Our cruise from Jacobite Cruises sails you above the deepest depths of the loch and affords superb views of the ruins of Urquhart Castle.
By late afternoon, we arrive at our next lodgings base: The Kingsmills Hotel, a luxury 4-star hotel near Inverness offering great amenities such as a spa, swimming pool and gym facilities and a location near some of the best golf courses in Scotland. During our 3-night stay at Kingsmills Hotel, we will have half-board accommodations with breakfast and dinner included. Tonight: Dinner at our hotel
June 4: Memories Made in the Highlands
Following breakfast at our hotel, we begin our day of history and spirits by visiting Culloden Battlefield and its Visitor Center. History buffs will find this experience amazing to see the actual battlefield which has been restored to a condition close as possible to what the Jacobites would have experienced on that fateful day in1746.
Following this visit, our excursion continues to the historic city of Elgin known dually for its connections to King Duncan and Macbeth as well as its outstanding neo-classical architecture. Our lunch break will be in Elgin and during this time you could explore the ruins of Elgin Cathedral and the Bishop’s House.
Ready for a wee dram? We cannot visit this part of the Highlands and not stop at a whisky distillery! Just south of the region of Moray is the famed Malt Whisky Trail. We will take a tour and tasting at the attractive Glenfiddich Distillery located north of Dufftown in the area of Speyside where the manufacture of the golden liquid has happened since 1887. Glenfiddich has a number of claims to fame though perhaps most importantly it was the introduction in 1963 of a single malt whisky to the world. The tour will delve into the distillery’s tradition and take us through the production facilities and then time for tasting Glenfiddich’s 12-year, 15-year and 18-year versions.
Tonight: Back to our Kingsmills Hotel for Dinner
June 5: Another Memorable Day in the Highlands
Today a handful of Optional Tours will be offered to enhance your time in this region. A sampling of the Optional Tours could include:
- Visit Inverness – As the largest metropolis in the Highlands, Inverness boasts an array of historical buildings to tour including a castle and offers great shopping opportunities along the city’s quaint High Street. Transportation is included; lunch on your own for this half-day excursion
- Tee time at Castle Stuart and enjoy a round of golf at one of the top championship links in Scotland with stunning views over the Moray Firth. Golf fees, transportation and lunch included; half day excursion
- See the charming town of Beauly situated alongside one of Scotland’s best salmon fishing streams, the River Beauly. Your time in Beauly awards with boutique shops, pretty cafes and a chance to see the evocative ruins of Beauly Priory. Half-day excursion; lunch on your own
Other activities to do on your own: Of course you could opt to stay at our lovely Kingsmills Hotel and have a pampering spa experience, reserve a delicious afternoon tea at the hotel’s Conservatory Restaurant or schedule a private whisky tasting session at the hotel’s stylish Whisky Bar. Tonight: Dinner at the hotel’s restaurant.
June 6: Driving through the Grampian Mountains to Edinburgh
Directly after breakfast and check-out at the Kingsmills Hotel, our private motor coach will take us on a beautiful southerly route through the Grampian Mountains. We will stop to tour and have lunch at the illustrious Blair Castle, the ancestral home of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl. Well known historic figures have stayed at Blair Castle including Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie. Here we will tour the 30 baronial rooms and have Lunch at the castle’s Tullibardine Restaurant.
Later in the afternoon we enter Scotland’s vibrant historic capital city, Edinburgh! Our accommodations for the final 3 nights of the tour is the 4-star rated Radisson Blu Royal Mile Hotel. Comfortable luxury describes the Radisson Blu Royal Mile Hotel offering such amenities as complimentary high-speed internet, an abundant breakfast buffet and a splendid location on the famous Royal Mile.
Tonight: Enjoy strolling in Edinburgh’s Old Town or finding a pub with live music! Dinner on your own
June 7: Exploring Our Presbyterian Heritage
Following breakfast at the hotel, in the company of a guide steeped in Presbyterian history, we will tour sites in Old Town such as St Giles Cathedral – the Mother Church of Presbyterians, John Knox’s House and Grey Friars Kirk. This is a great opportunity to learn about the roots of Presbyterianism in Scotland. Our guide will also sprinkle in historic commentary about Edinburgh from the earliest settlements found near Edinburgh Castle to the newer Scottish Parliament Building.
In the afternoon and evening, you can discover more of Edinburgh on your own or participate in an offered Optional Tour. Dinner on your own tonight
Edinburgh based Optional Tours could include:
- Guided tour of Edinburgh’s most recognizable landmark, Edinburgh Castle and a chance to see Scotland’s royal jewels
- Guided tour of the HRH Queen Elizabeth’s official residence in Scotland, Holyrood Palace with past associations to Mary, Queen of Scots
- Edinburgh Ghost and Underground Tour hosted by The Real Mary King’s Close – A fun and hair-raising evening tour taking you through the underground myths and mysteries of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
- Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour – A private tour of Edinburgh’s literary haunts and pubs led by entertaining actors
- Excursion north of Edinburgh to St. Andrew’s where the game of golf was invented and much Presbyterian history took place
- Tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia with tea and cake at the Royal Deck Tea Room
- Visit outside of Edinburgh to the evocative Roslyn Chapel which featured prominently in Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code
June 8: Edinburgh Continued
More time in this fine city awaits you. If you have explored the Old Town thoroughly then venture to New Town with its stately Georgian architecture and more shopping opportunities. Take advantage of another offered Optional Tour this day.
Optional excursion to St Andrews is available for the our golfers! This is a golf outing where those who wish can have an advance reserve tee time at one of the main courses. Please note the Old Course is not available, however, you’ll have your choice of the three other spectacular courses offered.
The Mystery of Rosslyn Chapel and Melrose Abbey is another optional day excursion available. With the assistance of a knowledgeable local guide, we will visit Rosslyn Chapel long regarded as one of the most mysterious churches in Scotland with ties to the Knights Templar. We will also visit the legendary ruins of Melrose Abbey, where the first monastery was founded around 650 AD.
Tonight: Farewell Dinner at our hotel set in the “Great Scots” Room begins with a drinks reception and entertainment from a bagpiper dressed in all his Scottish regalia who will lead us into a fabulous dinner!
In honor of the final dinner, gentlemen can rent a Kilt and ladies a Tartan Sash. When in Scotland, dress like the Scots! (Attire will be delivered to our hotel)
June 9: Depart from Edinburgh’s Airport; arrive back in Kansas City by evening
Journey to Scotland Tour inclusions for everyone:
- Services of full time Tour Director: Lisa Ball
- Round-trip airfare to/from Kansas City to Glasgow, Scotland and from Edinburgh, Scotland. Please note: with advance notice, the tour director can arrange flights from other cities to the U.S. gateway city and/or a return to another U.S. city (note: additional charges may apply)
- Comfortable and competent ground transportation aboard private chartered motor-coaches (includes airport transfers and ferry crossings to/from Isle of Iona and the ferry to Isle of Skye)
- Hand-selected hotels in Glasgow (Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow 1 night); on Isle of Iona (St. Columba Hotel 3 nights); on the Isle of Skye (Dunollie Hotel 2 nights); in the Highlands (The Kingsmills Hotel 3 nights); and in Edinburgh (Radisson Blu Royal Mile Hotel 3 nights)
- All Taxes and Gratuities applicable to airfare, hotels, ground transportation and group meals; all gratuities for hired guides and bus drivers; and all daily City Taxes collected by the hotels/lodgings
- Porterage will be included at the hotels offering porterage service: Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow, at The Kingsmills Hotel in the Highlands and at Radisson Blu Hotel in Edinburgh
- Sight-seeing venues and excursions included in the base tour (based on availability):
Before and While on Isle of Iona: Visit and Admission to Inverary Castle; Meditation led by Rev. Jenny McDevitt and Visit and Admission to Iona Abbey
Before and While on Isle of Skye: Scenic drive with stops at Glencoe and to see views of Ben Nevis; Visit and Admission to Dunvegan Castle and Boat Excursion with Misty Isles Boat Trips
While in the Highlands: Visit and Admission to Eilean Donan Castle and Cruise on Loch Ness; Excursion to Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Center, city of Elgin and tour and tasting at whisky distillery such as Glenfiddich Distillery
Before and While in Edinburgh: Visit and Admission to Blair Castle; Guided City Tour of Edinburgh with a Presbyterian History Theme
- Optional Tours: Various Optional Tours will be offered throughout the Tour to enhance your experience. The full menu of choices will be available later in 2015
- Meals: All meals included as part of the international flights: Dinner & Breakfast on the going and Lunch on the return (3); All Breakfasts at each of the hotels (12); Lunch at Inverary Castle (1); Lunch 1 day at St. Columba Hotel on Iona (1); and Dinners included (10): Welcome to Scotland Dinner at Glasgow Hotel; Dinners at St. Columba Hotel Iona 3 nights; Dinner at Dunollie Hotel on Isle of Skye 2 nights; Dinner at The Kingsmills Hotel near Inverness 3 nights; and Farewell Dinner at Radisson Blu Royal Mile Hotel – 27 total meals
- Whisper System: Throughout the tour, each traveler will have the use of an audio headset device which will allow you to hear any of our tour guides anywhere!
Projected Base Tour Cost: $4,950 – $5,350 per person based on double occupancy. Land only pricing and the single supplement cost will be communicated to those interested.
Deposits and Payments: A deposit of $500 per person will secure your spot on this tour due immediately at sign-up. A payment plan will be communicated to all travelers. Your final payment will also include the cost of any purchased Optional Tours. *Please note: we have limited space available on this tour. If you are interested in signing up, it is imperative you pay your deposit immediately.
Please note: Tour costs do not include travel insurance as this cost is based on the traveler’s age. If you have a pre-existing health condition and you wish to obtain travel insurance, you must do so within two weeks of paying your deposit to Lisa Ball Travel Design.
Cancellation Policy: If you must cancel your participation with this tour, the tour director will strive to reimburse as much of the trip costs you have paid as possible. The amount of reimbursement depends though on the timing of a cancelation. If you cancel after the final airfare ticketing process, (this date will be communicated to travelers) your deposit will be automatically retained and the remaining amount you receive back in reimbursement will be determined based on the timing of your cancellation and what has been outlaid on your behalf. If you purchase trip cancellation/interruption insurance the tour director will work with your insurance company to provide the necessary paperwork so you can receive a reimbursement from the insurance company. Please note: some tour costs affect the cost of others going on the trip and those items cannot be refundable. These items include the ground transportation, hiring of guides, group meals, and sight-seeing venues where fixed, timed tickets have been purchased. On Optional Tours, due to their specialty nature, no refunds can be given to them.
Needed Documents: A valid U.S. Passport – please check your passport’s expiration date. Your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your stay in the United Kingdom (Scotland).
Movie Nights & Tour Meetings: A series of fun movies nights and informative tour meetings will be offered beginning later in 2015. These gatherings are optional though provide a great way to meet your fellow travelers!