Scotland: Highlands & Islands

Discover Scotland’s enduring appeal, traveling from city to country and loch to glen, all while encountering stunning natural beauty and historic treasures. Take an architectural tour of Glasgow's unique architecture and enjoy a private tour of Pollok House, the ancestral home of the Maxwell clan. Experience the Scottish Highlands, stopping by the banks of Loch Lomond, Great Britain’s largest lake. Visit beautiful Glencoe and take a full-day excursion to the Isle of Skye, known for its strong Gaelic influence. At Loch Ness, enjoy a boat ride, then explore Urquhart Castle’s evocative ruins. Discover Edinburgh's 18th-century Georgian “New Town,” the medieval “Old Town” and the Royal Mile. Tour Holyrood and enjoy ample free time for exploring independently.

Dates
Jun 3 - Jun 14, 2023  (12 Days)
Cost

$6,596 per person, double occupancy, including air from SFO

For more Information
travel@commonwealthclub.org

(415) 597-6720

    Saturday, June 3
    U.S. / Edinburgh, Scotland

    Depart U.S. for Edinburgh, Scotland.

    Sunday, June 4
    Edinburgh / Glasgow

    We arrive today in Edinburgh and transfer by coach to Glasgow, where we check in at our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities planned during the day. Late this afternoon we gather with our tour director for a briefing on the journey ahead. Then we enjoy a welcome dinner at either the acclaimed National Piping Centre or the well-appointed Corinthian Club. Grand Central Hotel (D)

    Monday, June 5
    Glasgow

    This morning’s tour highlights “Glasgow Style,” the city’s distinct architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though Glasgow has a rich medieval history, very few structures from that time survive; it is the Victorian-era buildings of red or blond sandstone with long lines that define the city’s historic built environment. Among the stand-out buildings we see: Glasgow Central Station, the Royal Exchange, and Glasgow City Chambers. We also visit Sir John W. Simpson’s immensely popular Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, housing an excellent collection of arms and armaments, and European artwork, including Salvador Dali’s “Christ of St. John on the Cross.” Following our city tour we visit Pollok Houste, the ancestral home of the Maxwell clan and now a museum with the United Kingdom’s greatest collection of Spanish art. We take a privately guided tour of the Edwardian country house after we enjoy lunch here. We return to our hotel by mid-afternoon; the remainder of the day is at leisure.  Grand Central Hotel (B,L)

    Tuesday, June 6
    Glasgow / Loch Lomond/Glencoe/ Fort William

    We leave Glasgow this morning by motorcoach, bound for the scenic Highlands, Scotland’s sparsely populated historic northern region. We stop by the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, Great Britain’s largest lake and part of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. We tour the island-dotted loch by coach before continuing on to Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most beautiful spots with deep valleys flanked by steep-sided mountains, rushing rivers, and dramatic waterfalls. Then we travel on to Fort William, the Highlands’ second largest settlement, arriving late afternoon. Nevis Bank Hotel (B,D)

    Wednesday, June 7
    Fort William/Isle of Skye

    We embark on a full-day excursion to the Isle of Skye, the largest of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides known for its vivid history, strong Gaelic influence, and stunning scenery. En route, we make a photo stop at Glenfinnan Monument honoring “Bonnie Prince Charlie” for his leadership in the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Then we board a ferry for Armadale on the southern tip of the Isle of Sky, where our touring begins with a visit to Armadale Castle and Gardens, where we have lunch. Next we set out on a scenic drive through the imposing Cuillin Hills (or “Black Cuillin”). Returning to the mainland via the Skye Bridge, we stop to visit iconic Eilean Donan Castle then dine tonight at our hotel.
    Nevis Bank Hotel (B,L,D)

    Thursday, June 8
    Fort William/Loch Ness/Aviemore

    We depart today for the Northern Highlands, stopping en route at fabled Loch Ness. We enjoy a boat ride on the 23-mile-long lake best known for the unearthly creature alleged to live in its deep waters. We also visit the ruins of lakeside Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland’s most popular attractions. Dating to at least the 13th century, the castle sits surrounded by water on three sides, giving it a once-formidable advantage in battle. Then we travel on to the historic Culloden Moor battle site. After time on our own to tour the museum here, we tour the hallowed grounds, site of the last battle of the Jacobite Rising in 1746. Early this evening we arrive in Aviemore, a quaint Highlands village and our home for the next two nights. Macdonald Drumossie Hotel Inverness

    (B,D)

    Friday, June 9
    Aviemore/Highlands

    Our exploration of the Highlands continues on today’s excursion along the Pictish Trail, sites connected with the late We’ll visit the Glenfinnan Monument honoring “Bonnie Prince Charlie” on June 7. Iron Age/early Medieval Celtic people who once lived here. We visit striking Dunrobin Castle & Gardens, where we see a falconry demonstration, then embark on a tour and tasting at a small local distillery that has been producing hand-crafted single malt whisky for generations. We continue our drive along the scenic coastal road flanked by small farms with sheep, cows, and Shetland ponies before returning to our hotel, where we enjoy dinner together tonight. Macdonald Drumossie Hotel Inverness (B,D)

    Saturday, June 10
    Aviemore / Kincraig / Pitlochry/ St. Andrews

    Today’s first stop is Kincraig, where we watch a sheepdog demonstration with working border collies, known for their herding abilities. We travel on to the holiday town of Pitlochry in the heart of Scotland, where we enjoy some free time before continuing on to legendary St. Andrews late this afternoon; dinner tonight is on our own in this charming town. Old Course Hotel (B)

    Sunday, June 11
    St. Andrews/Edinburgh

    Home of Scotland’s oldest university (St. Andrews) and renowned as the home of golf, where the game has been played for some 600 years, delightful – and compact – St. Andrews measures just one mile across. This morning we embark on a walking tour of the medieval seaside town, followed by lunch together then free time to explore on our own. Later this afternoon we continue on our way to Edinburgh. Dinner tonight is on our own in the Scottish capital, which boasts a robust culinary scene. Tiger Lily Edinburgh Hotel (B,L)

    Monday, June 12
    Edinburgh

    Our morning tour of this stately city built on seven hills features both the 18th-century Georgian “New Town” and the medieval “Old Town” – together, the districts form a UNESCO site. In the Old Town, we pay an inside visit to Edinburgh Castle, symbolic heart of the country. We also travel the Royal Mile, the warren of medieval streets that form the thoroughfare stretching from the castle to Holyrood Palace, official residence of the Queen when in Scotland. This afternoon is at leisure to discover Edinburgh as we wish; museums, galleries, and shops abound. Tiger Lily Edinburgh Hotel (B)

    Tuesday, June 13
    Edinburgh

    This morning we again encounter the Royal Mile, with its mix of attractions, shops, and restaurants. We tour Holyrood, as it is called, and see where British royalty schemed and slept as we tour the State Apartments. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. Tonight we celebrate our Scotland sojourn over a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Tiger Lily Edinburgh Hotel (B,D)

    Wednesday, June 14
    Edinburgh / Depart for U.S.

     We transfer this morning to the Edinburgh airport for our return flights to the U.S. (B)

    Map
    Map of Scotland

    Main Program
    Departing from: 
    San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle: $6,596
    New York: $6,196
    Chicago, Washington D.C. $6,396

    Please call if your city is not listed. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $701*, which are subject to change until final payment is made. All tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed. (*Airline taxes have increased $100 since the printed brochure was published, so if you have a printed brochure this is the difference in price. Land Only rates are not impacted.)

    Land Only: $5,195 (transfers not included)

    Single Room Supplement: $1,295 

    Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
    Business Class - $3,995 per person; (upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change). Upgrade prices are in addition to the costs above. 

    Included:
    Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; 10 nights’ accommodations: 19 meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 6 dinners, and bottled water; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees;  Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Educational lectures; Commonwealth Club representative with a minimum of 15 guests; Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; Luggage handling for one bag per person; Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers.

    Not Included:
    Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package; Costs of passports and visas; Personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, communication charges, and meals not specified; Airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; Gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day); Optional sightseeing; Travel protection insurance; Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline prior to departure.

    What to Expect

    This is a full and active tour and participants must be able to keep up with an active group of travelers. One doesn't have to take part in all activities of course. For the safety and enjoyment of each participant and the group, participants must be able to:

    • Walk on average 2-3 miles at a steady pace. On this tour, guests will be walking in cities and towns and should be able to walk at a steady pace for approximately 2-4 hours of touring.
    • Be able to walk on cobblestone, gravel, pavement and some steep hills.  Some walking excursions require good balance as you walk over cobblestone sidewalks/roads and uneven pavement. 
    • Stand for up to approximately 2 hours at a time each day.
    • Walk up and down steep stairs without handrails, without the assistance of another person.
    • Get off and on tour vehicles without assistance. 

    Enjoy expertly guided tours and lectures from local guest speakers.

    Trip Educators

    Cancellations, Refunds and Changes
    If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges:

    Cancel 95 days or more before departure: full refund
    Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 50% of tour price
    Cancel 64-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price
    Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund.

    If a guest makes any changes to their reservation within 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation, you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

    Eligibility
    We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415) 597-6720.

    Insurance
    We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website

    Responsibility
    The liability of the Commonwealth Club, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The Commonwealth Club and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.

    Health and Medical Issues 
    We request that you be in good health to participate in this tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches and all boats on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. Please note that our itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the Commonwealth Club assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.

    Air Transportation – Important Information
    Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities as shown and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct con­nection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own flight arrangements and not use those provided by the tour company, we recommend that you do not do so until making your final payment to the tour company confirming details of your trip’s scheduled departure. However, if you choose to make your own flight arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes in this tour.

    COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols: The well-being of our guests and staff members on tour will continue to be our highest priority. To maintain a healthy environment for travel, we will be establishing and adhering to a detailed set of health and safety protocols for all facets of your tour. We are committed to following the guidelines of the State Department, CDC, WHO, and authorities of respective countries regarding travel to a particular destination. Detailed protocols for this tour, based on conditions at the time, will be provided approximately 115 days prior to departure.

    Registration
    Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40
    Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. CST #2077973-40