Tours of Excellence
Tours of Excellence
Tours of Excellence

12 Day - Pilgrimage Tour of Scotland & Northumberland

Day One - Airport Transfer - Glasgow Cathedral - St Mungo Museum of Religious Life - Glasgow
Arrive into Glasgow Airport, where you will be met by your driver for the transfer into central Glasgow to check-in at your hotel. This will be followed by a visit to Glasgow Cathedral, the parish church for Glasgow and is a rare example of an almost complete original 13th century church, built over the supposed tomb of St Kentigern. On then for a visit to St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life, with its unique focus on things spiritual, it has 3 galleries dedicated to religious art, world religions and religion in Scottish history.

Day Two - Loch Lomond - Inveraray Castle - Isle of Mull
After breakfast depart for the journey to Loch Lomond which is renowned for its beauty and tranquillity for a stop at the Visitor Centre. Continue towards Oban, skirting Loch Long and Loch Fyne, with a stop at the pleasant town of Inveraray, an early example of town planning, as the original settlement was moved to accommodate the present Castle.

A visit will be included to the castle and this multi-turreted mock Gothic palace has been the home the Chief of the powerful Clan Campbell, the Dukes of Argyll, since 1701. Take the afternoon ferry to the Isle of Mull and this will be your base for the next 2 nights.

Day Three - Iona Abbey - Isle of Mull
Take the journey to Fionnphort, for the short ferry crossing to the Isle of Iona, a place of pilgrimage since St Columba came from Ireland in AD 563 to found a monastery and convert Scotland to Christianity. Many early Scottish Kings and Chiefs were buried here including Macbeth. A visit will be included to Iona Abbey before enjoying some free time for reflection and contemplation in this place of pilgrimage and retreat. Return to your hotel and enjoy a panoramic tour of the Isle of Mull on your return journey.

Day Four - Fort Williams - Urquhart Castle - Culloden - Inverness
Take the return ferry to Oban and continue to Inverness. Stops will be made in Fort William, nestled at the foot of Ben Nevis before continuing along Loch Ness, where St Columba of Iona reportedly saw Nessie, the famous Monster. Visit the ancient ruins of Urquhart Castle, before continuing on to Culloden, scene of Bonnie Prince Charlie's final defeat, which changed Highland life for ever. Check-in at your hotel in Inverness for overnight.

Day Five - Dunkeld Cathedral - St John Kirk - Scone Palace - Perth
Depart South through the Grampian Mountains with a stop in the pleasant village of Dunkeld to visit the Cathedral. Dunkeld emerged as a centre of Christianity during the 7th Century, when Columba came over from Iona, and much work was carried out by his successors.  In the 9th Century, Kenneth MacAlpin, the first King of Scots, made Dunkeld head of the Celtic Church and capital of the newly-formed nation created by the union of the Scots and the Picts.  The Church grew in power and wealth and the Cathedral, started in 1325, was extremely important in ecclesiastical terns until the Reformation in the 16th Century, when it was destroyed.  The Choir of the Cathedral was re- roofed in 1600 to serve as the parish church, and there was relative peace until 1689, when there was a short, but extremely violent Battle between the Jacobites and the Cameronians (a newly-raised regiment supporting William of Orange) and most of Dunkeld was burned to the ground. The re-building was slow, but once again Dunkeld became an important centre, this time as a market town and a place of much commercial bustle, since it was here that cattle-droving roads met. Continue to Perth, to visit St John's Kirk, where John Knox delivered a sermon on 11 May 1559 that served to launch the Reformation in Scotland. Finally enjoy a late afternoon visit to Scone Palace, positioned above the River Tay. Two thousand years ago, the Romans camped here, at the very limit of their empire. They never defeated the warlike Picts, who later came to rule Scone, but the followers of St Columba had more success. By the early 7th century, a group of early Christians, the Culdees or servants of God, had established themselves here. It has been the seat of parliaments and the crowning place of Kings. Check-in at your hotel in Perth for overnight.

Day Six - St Andrews Cathedral & Castle - Stirling
Depart for the journey to St Andrews, which until the Reformation in the mid 16th century was the principal centre of Christian pilgrimage in Scotland. On arrival enjoy a visit to the ruins of the Cathedral which is still and impressive and inspiring site. On then to visit the ruins of the castle, closely linked with that of its neighbour, the Cathedral. In medieval Scotland, St Andrews became the headquarters of the Church, and the castle was the home of its bishops and archbishops. This will be followed by a traditional Scottish Afternoon Tea at the Old Course Hotel, with spectacular views over the world famous open championship golf course. Late afternoon continue to Stirling to check-in at your hotel for overnight.

Day Seven - Stirling Castle - Bannock burn - Wallace Monument - Edinburgh
Today we visit to Stirling Castle, the grandest of all Scottish castles, both in its architecture and its dominant situation on a crag high above the town. Continue to Bannockburn, undoubtedly of one of the most spectacular battles of the Scottish Wars of Independence. Although the struggle against the English was to continue for some 13 years more, the Scottish victory was of enormous importance as it secured the future of the throne for Robert Bruce, King of Scots. This will be followed by a stop at the Wallace Monument to include an audio visual tour before taking the journey to Edinburgh to check-in at your accommodation for the next 3 nights.

Day Eight - Edinburgh Castle - Palace of Holyroodhouse - Edinburgh
After breakfast enjoy a visit to Edinburgh Castle, dominating the capital's skyline and giving stunning views of the city and home to the Scottish Crown Jewels. It was last attacked during the 1745 rebellion when the city, but not the castle, fell to Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite Army. This will be followed by an afternoon visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty the Queen. Dinner is at leisure.

Day Nine - John Knox House - St Giles Cathedral - Edinburgh
After breakfast visit John Knox House, which has been largely unaltered since the 1550's when the Mosman family, Goldsmiths to Mary Queen of Scots, remodelled the house. John Knox, leader of the Scottish Reformation and founder of the Presbyterian Church, lived here for a short time before he died here in 1572. Now maintained by the Church of Scotland, the museum holds an exhibition about Knox's life and times. On then for a visit to St Giles Cathedral, where in 1559, Knox led the Lords of the Congregation into Edinburgh and was elected minister of Edinburgh. Knox played a principal role in establishing the styles of worship and administration that were to be accepted throughout the country. Knox served as Minister at St Giles' until 1572. Rest of the day is at leisure in Edinburgh.

Day Ten - Rosslyn Chapel - Holy Island - Lindisfarne Castle - Lindisfarne Priory - Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Depart Edinburgh for a morning visit to the exquisite Rosslyn Chapel (the reported hiding place of the Holy Grail and ancient home of the Knights of Templar) before continuing over the over the border into Northumbria for a visit to the Holy Island (Lindisfarne). A visit will be included to the castle, built in 1550 to protect the Holy Island harbour from attack. The castle was later restored and concerted into a private house in 1903. This will be followed by a visit to Lindisfarne Priory, one of the most important early centres of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England. St Cuthbert converted pagan Northumbria, and miracles occurring at his shrine established this 11th century priory as a major pilgrimage centre. Return to the mainland and check-in at your accommodation in Berwick-upon-Tweed for overnight.

Day Eleven - Jedburgh Abbey - Traquair House - Glasgow
Depart for the journey to Glasgow, stopping in the Scottish Borders to visit Melrose, the burial place of Robert the Bruce's heart and Jedburgh, home to two of the 4 great Cistercian abbeys, founded in the 12th century. A visit will also be made at Traquair House, the oldest inhabited house in Scotland. It is particularly rich in association with the Catholic Church in Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots and the Jacobite Risings. Continue to Glasgow to check-in at your hotel for overnight.

Day Twelve - Airport Transfer
To Glasgow Airport for your return flight home.

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