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15 Top Tour Operators for Your Trip to Scotland

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Although the temperatures may be dropping, there is still so much to discover around Scotland even during the cooler months. With a staycation on the cards, now is the prime opportunity to get out there and see what our beautiful wee country has to offer. Discover some of the best tour operators for your trip to Scotland. Wildlife tours, walking and whisky distillery tours; choose your adventure!

1. Mercat Tours, Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the most haunted cities in the world and with Halloween just around the corner, there is nothing better to get you in the spooky spirit than a haunted ghost tour. Put on a brave face and discover Edinburgh’s dark side with Mercat Tours. Join your Mercat storyteller as they take you on a bone-chilling journey through the past on the Ghostly Edinburgh Tour. With tales of murderous spirits, criminals, deadly punishments and much more, prepare for a history lesson like no other!

We know that ghost tours aren’t for everyone but that shouldn’t stop you from uncovering Edinburgh’s rich, historical past. Swap ghostly tales for a historic walk along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, enjoy a candle-lit whisky tasting session or if you’re a fan of Outlander, watch the drama unfold as you follow in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire’s experiences in the historic capital.

Find more things to do in Edinburgh.

2. The Hairy Coo, Edinburgh

Embark on the ultimate Scottish adventure with The Hairy Coo. Choose a selection of tours on offer, ranging from 1-5 days as you explore the length and breadth of the country. Whatever you decide to choose, you will no doubt be able to impress all your family and friends with what you have learned during your discoveries.

Of course, no trip would be complete without seeing a Highland coo on your travels, with many opportunities for you to grab a quick selfie with these fluffy and adorable creatures.

Tours include:

3. The Mountebank Tour of Edinburgh

Prepare to laugh your socks off as you learn about the incredible history of Edinburgh. Guided by a local stand-up comedian, The Mountebank Comedy Walk pokes a bit of fun on all things Scottish, from our dreich weather to our most famous historical figures. Get set for two hours of non-stop laughter. Please note that due to the nature of this tour, the Mountebank Comedy Walk is strictly for ages 16+.

Find more things to do in Edinburgh.

4. Eat Walk Glasgow

*Please note that as of Friday 9 October until Sunday 25 October. All bars and restaurants in Glasgow are closed and therefore tours will not operate during this time. When bars/restaurants are operational again, for the remainder of 2020 and into early 2021, Eat Walk Glasgow will run private food & drink walking tours.

If you’re on the hunt for delicious food and drink, make sure to book a tour with Eat Walk Glasgow. Work up an appetite as you take to the streets of Glasgow where your tour guide will lead the way around some of the city’s foodie hotspots. Alston and Mharsanta are just some of the top venues making a special appearance. Of course, no foodie experience would be complete without filling your camera roll with mouth-watering dishes. With great food, company and a bit of history added to the mix, what’s not to love?

Find more things to do in Glasgow.

5. Edinburgh Cab Tours

Travel in style with Edinburgh Cab Tours as you take a whistle-stop tour around some of the capital’s most historic sites. The Classic Edinburgh Full Day Tour is a great way to get your bearings around the city. Stop at various sites including the Grassmarket, the Palace of Holyrood House, Arthur’s Seat and much more. Fancy squeezing in an attraction not listed on the tour? No problem! Your friendly and knowledgeable cab driver will be able to tailor your tour itinerary, giving you all the scoop on interesting facts and stories.

Fancy exploring more of what Scotland has to offer? Edinburgh Cab Tours have a wide range of tours ranging from short half-day tours to full-day tours. Whether you are looking to visit the ‘Home of Golf’ on the Edinburgh & St Andrews Tour or wish to explore the natural wonders of the Highlands on the West Highlands Tour, there is an abundance of things to see and do. If you’re booking and travelling before 30 November 2020, make sure to get 20% off your chosen tour. To get your discount, simply quote COVID20 in the ‘Further Information’ section of the booking form.

6. In Your Element

The name says it all. Swap a quiet weekend indoors for a fast-paced outdoor adventure with the whole family by booking with In Your Element. With outdoor activity bases in Inverness and Loch Ness, Aviemore and the Cairngorms National Park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and Loch Tay, enjoy the magic of Scotland’s outdoors right at your fingertips. From abseiling and climbing to dipping your toe in the water with its range of watersport activities on offer such as canoeing, gorge walking and raft-building, adventure waits around every corner.

7. Glasgow Music Tours

Looking for things to do this weekend? Discover Glasgow’s vibrant music scene with Glasgow Music City Tours. With walking tours running every Saturday until the end of October, learn about how its musical landscape was revolutionised through legendary performances, iconic venues and most importantly, the people.

Although you won’t be able to gain access to the city’s music venues just yet, your guide will no doubt help bring the tour to life with tales of artists old and new, including our very own Paolo Nutini.

Find out more about the tours which are currently running:

8. Red Bus Bistro, Edinburgh & Glasgow

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A magical review on Tripadvisor for our 𝐇𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐲 𝐏𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐓𝐨𝐮𝐫 of #Edinburgh 🧙🏼‍♂️ “What a fantastic time we had on the Harry Potter Themed trip. The ladies working on board did a fantastic job of entertaining us and keeping us fed and watered. We booked the tour as an ‘end of summer holidays/lockdown’ treat for our 10 year old and ended up enjoying it as much as him! He’s the Harry Potter fan but we found the whole experience really interesting and enjoyable. The food was excellent too – the pizza was huge, hot and very tasty. We’ve already recommended the trip to others and will definitely be back.” 💫🤩

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*Please note that following the recent Government announcement, alcohol will not be served on board as of Friday 9 October until Saturday 25 October and Red Bus Bistro will instead be offering alternative non-alcoholic beverages to customers. If you’re booked on the tour during this time, the bookings team will be in touch with you prior to your tour to discuss these changes.

Enjoy a spot of afternoon tea on wheels with Red Bus Bistro. Hit the road as you pass through Edinburgh’s most iconic sights and attractions while tucking into some scrumptious goodies. Highlights along the way include the Scott Monument, Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish Parliament. Looking to plan ahead for Christmas? Get yourself organised for a festive day out with friends or family by booking the Edinburgh Christmas Tour as you tuck into a delicious three-course meal.

Red Bus Bistro also operate the following tours in Glasgow:

9. Dolphin Spirit, Inverness

The waters around Scotland are among some of the finest with an abundance of marine life to be seen all year-round. Running tours from April – October, Dolphin Spirit offer two wildlife watching boat tours to see the world’s most northerly population of bottlenose dolphins along the Moray Firth. Choose between the Dolphin Spirit Wildlife Cruise or the Dolphin Mischief RIB Experience if you’re looking for more of a thrill.

It’s not just dolphins that you will be on the lookout for, keep your eyes peeled for other wildlife creatures during your journey with seals, otters and other sea creatures bound to make an appearance.

Find more things to do in Inverness.

10. Solway Tours, Dumfries

Can’t get enough of Scotland’s rich, historic past? Running bespoke historic and ancestral tours since 2015, Solway Tours allows you to immerse yourself in Scotland’s history, landscape and culture by visiting a range of stunning locations and attractions. If you’re looking to plan a short staycation, choose from its two multi-day tours or follow in the footsteps of your ancestors with the ancestral tour, specifically tailored to your family name or any Scottish Clan connections that you may have.

Strapped for time? There are many one-day tours available to book including the Rosslyn Chapel and the Borders Tour or get to know our National Bard better with the Robert Burns Tour.

Find more things to do in Dumfries & Galloway.

11. Land Rover Experience Scotland, Perthshire

Fancy getting behind the wheel for your next tour? Located on the shores of Butterstone Loch near Dunkeld in Perthshire, push yourself to the limit while navigating your way through white-knuckling obstacles and terrains. Don’t worry if it’s your first-time driving a Land Rover, a qualified instructor will make you feel at ease while allowing you to develop your off-road skills.

Tours available include:

12. The Orkney Distillery, Kirkwall

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And we're off! Click and Collect is now available for Orkney Residents! As of today we will be taking orders on the online store for collection at The Orkney Distillery Bar in Kirkwall. Collection times will provisionally be between 2pm and 3pm, Monday to Friday only. Order before noon and select 'Pickup' at the checkout for same day collection! We will also be offering takeaway tea and coffee for those popping in to collect their orders. We kindly ask that anyone using this service observe the social distancing measures that we have put in place to keep yourselves and our staff safe. Click the link below to check out our website and all of the items now available for collection:

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For all you gin enthusiasts out there, this one is for you! Home to Kirkjuvagr Gin, take the Orkney Distillery Tour where you will learn about the distilling process and history behind its gin and beautiful islands. Want to upgrade your experience a notch? Get busy experimenting by making your very own gin. If you’ve been picked to be the designated driver for your trip to the distillery, make sure to stock up on a few bottles to take home with you. With a range of different flavours to choose from, your G&T nights are about to get a whole lot better!

13. Perthshire Treks, Pitlochry

With summer drawing to a close, make the most of the outdoors by going on a walking holiday. Perthshire Treks offer a range of guided walking adventures to help you soak up the fresh air and admire Scotland’s natural beauty. Whether you are looking to explore the outdoor region of Perthshire or take a staycation elsewhere, there are many walks and mountain trails to be found across the country. Stretch your legs by taking a hike up the Cairngorms, walk up ancient hill forts or take a leisurely stroll along old drove roads.

Start your walking adventure around Scotland with these tours:

14. West Coast Tours, Oban

Our towns and cities may be a hub of activity for things to see and do but our islands have just as much to offer. Turn your dreams of travelling to our beautiful islands into reality with West Coast Tours. Enjoy a whistle-stop tour around the Inner Hebrides on the Three Isles Tour where you will discover the gems of Mull and Iona as well as taking a boat trip to Staffa to see the magnificent Fingal’s Cave.

15. Inveraray Castle, Argyll

© Brick Live Group Limited

With the October holidays fast approaching, keep the kids entertained by planning a visit to Inveraray Castle. From the 8 – 26 October 2020, the Castle will take centre-stage with its brand-new exhibition, BRICKLIVE’S Fantasy Kingdom. Explore the castle grounds while you come across a bright and colourful selection of brick models with Sir Studley the Knight, Torre the Huntswoman, falcons and much more set to take residence here. Of course, no trip would be complete without having a browse through the gift shop; with new miniature brick models available to buy, a perfect excuse to take home a wee souvenir.

Make sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment!

We hope that these tour operators have helped to give you a flavour of what Scotland has to offer. Still looking for more inspiration? Check out what other tours are available; from day trips in and around Inverness to scenic weekend road trips, there is so much to discover during your next trip.

Dreaming of future travel? Check out our 11 places in Scotland you must visit in 2021.