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Ardkinglas - Sir Robert Lorimer’s Arts-&-Crafts masterpiece
Ardkinglas © Mary Miers

Art and Architecture of the West Highlands

From £2900 per adult

Departure days

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S

April — October

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Explore the sensational castles and country houses of Britian's wildest and most romantic region. The trip includes access to some of the artistic jewels of the West Highlands, many of which are still private homes.

Explore the sensational castles and country houses of Britian's wildest and most romantic region on this exclusive tour is led by leading writer and architectural historian Mary Miers. The trip includes access to some of the artistic jewels of the West Highlands, many of which are still private homes. 

Please contact us if you would like to take this tour on another date.

Arrival day - Friday 7th May 2021

Experience teaches us that people prefer to give themselves a full day to recover from the journey and explore a little on their own. We are therefore including two nights at a chic Bed and Breakfast close to Glasgow city centre before the full tour begins.

A taxi from Glasgow airport will cost about £25 (or £75 from Edinburgh airport).

Day 2 (Saturday 8th)

A relaxed morning exploring Glasgow. Perhaps the famous Burrell Museum, newly opened after a 4-year closure for restoration, Kelvingrove with its magnificent art gallery/museum, or a tour of the Merchant City. Then after lunch we meet our guide for an afternoon excursion down the Clyde, passing several country houses of note, including Lorimer’s Formakin, with its monkey-topped gate lodges; Finlaystone, home of the chief of Clan Macmillan set in famous gardens with sweeping views across the Clyde; and Renfrewshire’s finest Classical house, Ardgowan, built c.1800 by Robert Adam’s assistant Hugh Cairncross and still occupied by the Shaw Stewarts today. Back to the city for a relaxed evening, taking in some of the fascinating maritime heritage of Gourock and Greenock along the way.

Day 3 (Sunday 9th)

A 9.15 start for our drive north to the West Highlands. We visit Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s internationally acclaimed Art Nouveau Hill House at Helensburgh before driving along Loch Lomond and crossing the ‘Rest and be Thankful’ Pass into Argyll.

Stop for lunch at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar before a private tour of Ardkinglas, Arts-&-Crafts masterpiece of Sir Robert Lorimer (see photo below). We stay the night at a cozy loch-side inn nearby.

Day 4 (Monday 10th)

Morning coffee at 18th–century Strachur House, home of the famous war hero, author and inspiration for James Bond, Sir Fitzroy Maclean, before a visit to Inveraray Castle, seat of Clan Campbell and residence of the Duke or Argyll.

Then a short drive through the Argyll hills to extraordinary St Conan’s Kirk overlooking Loch Awe and the picturesque ruins of Kilchurn Castle, before driving on to Oban and the ferry to the Isle of Mull, where we stay for two nights. 

Day 5 (Tuesday 11th)

A day exploring the isle of Mull: David Bryce’s Scotch Baronial Torosay House with garden terraces by Lorimer superbly sited above the Firth of Lorne; Castle Duart, ancient stronghold of Clan Maclean and a fascinating example of early-20th-century castle restoration; and a visit to Iona, ancient centre of Celtic Christianity, which in 2021 celebrates the 1,500th anniversary of the birth of St. Columba, founder of the monastery with its famous Abbey. The island was also a favourite haunt of the Scottish Colourists and we will see some of the beautiful beaches and landscapes they painted.

Day 6 (Wednesday 12th)

We take the morning ferry from Mull to Lochaline on the remote Morvern peninsula. There, we visit Ardtornish, one of the best documented examples of a grand Victorian Highland house, which is also noted for its outstanding West Coast gardens, plus Kinlochaline Castle, a late medieval tower house restored as a private home. Lunch nearby (local freshly caught seafood is a tempting option). Then we travel through the wild landscape of the 'Rough Bounds' into Moidart to visit the impossibly romantic ruin of Castle Tioram, ancient stronghold of the Macdonalds of Clanranald, which stands on a little island accessible at low tide.

We stay at nearby Kinlochmoidart House, a perfectly preserved showcase of sophisticated Aesthetic Movement taste, which has remained in the same family since it was built in 1884.

Day 7 (Thursday 13th)

A day exploring Moidart, including a private tour of Kinlochmoidart House, with its complete ensemble of richly crafted decoration, furniture and fittings, and its environs, where the fugitive Bonnie Prince Charlie hid in 1746 after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden. Pub lunch at Glenuig, or, if the weather is fine, a picnic and a stroll down to the deserted crofting village at Smirisary by the sea, immortalised in Margaret Leigh’s book A Spade Among the Rushes. Late afternoon visit/refreshments at Roshven House, with its important artistic connections, notably the Victorian artist Jemima Blackburn, and collection of her paintings and of contemporary Scottish art.

Day 8 (Friday 14th)

A drive along the famous Road to the Isles, with its spectacular views out to the islands of Eigg, Rum and Muck, to Arisaig House, the first country house designed by Philip Webb, father of Arts-&-Crafts architecture. Perched above terraced gardens, the house looks out over Loch nan Uamh to the site where Bonnie Prince Charlie first set foot on the British mainland in 1745, and from where he finally departed after months on the run the following year. We continue on to the Himalayan glory of secret Larach Mor gardens, ablaze with colour in May. Lunch in the village of Arisaig, a little known chapter in the story of the Arts-and-Crafts Movement in Scotland and also home to some fine medieval carved stones and a church window by Pugin. We return via Glenfinnan, with its famous monument and beautifully sited church at the head of Loch Shiel, and the dramatic Pass of Glencoe, site of the famous massacre, before spending a last relaxed night in the city of Glasgow.

Please note that if visitors wish to continue their journey around the West Highlands, Skye and the Hebrides instead of returning to Glasgow, we can help arrange onward travel from the West Coast. Please contact us if you would like to discuss extending your tour in this way.

Day 9 (Saturday 15th)

Depart

COVID-19 information

In recognition that this business has confirmed that they have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring processes are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social/physical distancing.

Contact details

Scottish Clans and Castles
The Estate Office
Wedderburn Castle
Duns
Scottish Borders
United Kingdom
TD11 3LT
Starting
Glasgow
Length
9
Days
Transport
Small coach
Type
Bespoke Small Group (1-16)
Languages
English
Themes
Architecture Art Castles History Landscapes

Tour prices

From

  • £2900 Per Adult
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Prices are subject to change depending on season

Attractions

Tour company information

Scottish Clans and Castles

Scottish Clans and Castles focuses on bespoke tours of Scotland and its castles. We offer exclusive driver-guided and personalised holidays throughout Scotland, specialising in taking people to see their ancient clan lands. Based in Scotland since 2000, we work closely with a number of Clan Chiefs (many of whom guide for us) and castle owners. We have been running Outlander Tours since the books came out here in 2003. They are well received, and Diana Gabaldon even kindly mentions us on her website to tour with. We also have several tours including food, wildlife, art etc.

Opening times

9am - 5pm

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