We get asked this question a lot, and understand your concerns about missing your ship’s departure, but it is of course in our interests to ensure that our guests are back in time (our reputation is very important to us!) We always ensure that we drop our guests back at port at least one hour prior to departure. We have a 100% success rate and are usually a little early.
Our Invergordon tours are the ultimate way for cruise ship passengers arriving at the Port of Invergordon to explore the local area, visiting top sights including Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns and Inverness. By using smaller vehicles we are able to go off the beaten track to ensure that you see the very best of the Scottish Highlands
Guaranteed departures, we never cancel tours … ever!
Luxury mini- coach with A/C & WiFi
A 5 Star accredited company
Free cancellation up to 14 days prior to departure
We guarantee to get you back in time
Book direct – not available on any other site!
Our Invergordon Tour Itinerary:
Invergordon and Cromarty Firth
Upon arrival at the Port of Invergordon you will be greeted to a warm welcome from the WOW Scotland team (usually resplendent in their kilts!). After taking your seats in our executive 30-seater mini-coach you will feel immediately at home as your highly experienced guide takes the reins and your long-awaited day in the Scottish Highlands begins….oh what a day we have in store for you!!
As we journey along the shores of the Cromarty Firth keep your eye out for seals, oystercatchers and herons as your guide enthralls you with stories of the area’s fascinating naval history (you’ll even find out why the US Navy used a local distillery as their HQ during the First World War!).
Our first stop is the charming historic village of Beauly. At its centre lies the Beauly Priory, which was one of three priories built in Scotland back in 1230 for the monks of the Valliscaulian order. Today, extensive ruins of the Priory church remain, and the site is definitely worth a visit. It’s also worth perusing the surrounding funerary monuments, some of which date back as far as the 1470s, as there are a number of notable figures buried here.
If it’s history you are interested in then be sure to look out for the village’s 15th Century, “Mercat” (Market) cross; one of the oldest surviving standing market crosses in Scotland, and an important symbol of the town’s burgh status. Whilst you explore the town also take note of the large village square (it was laid out by Baron Lovat in the 1840s, and is one of the most spacious in Northern Scotland) and the war memorial for the Lovat Scouts, who were the British Army’s very first sniper unit.
For Outlander fans, this is a must-see location as it is in the heart of Clan Fraser territory. Additionally, it is at Beauly Priory that Claire meets Maisri, a prophet (or, “seer”, as they are referred to locally).
As if that wasn’t enought, Beauly also boasts plenty of opportunities for retail therapy, with a wide selection of shops, including; The Old School, which stocks a huge range of Scottish-inspired gifts and clothing; Campbell’s of Beauly, a family-run traditional tailor which stocks tweed, woolen and cashmere goods; and a number of Highland art galleries.
We would recommend picking up lunch, “to go”at local bakery Harry Gow’s (top tip; don’t leave here without sampling our traditional local cake, the much-loved, “Dream Ring”!)
We will spend 30 – 40 minutes in Beauly (30 minutes if you are on a 6-7 hour tour, 40 minutes if you are on an 8 hour tour).
Inverness may be the capital city of the Highlands, and one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, but, with a population of just 70,000, its compact city centre is easy to explore in an hour.
There are a plethora of historical sights in the centre and we would suggest making your way to the top of Inverness Castle hill to admire the surrounding views, as well as the statue of Highland heroine Flora MacDonald, who famously helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after the Battle of Culloden. From here, head into the city’s pedestrianised area to check out the Victorian gothic Town House, looking out for the Mercat Cross, which sits atop the legendary, “Clach Na Cuidden” stone, said to protect the city and its people. Before you head back tpop in to see St Andrew’s Cathedral, an imposing building situated in a picturesque location on the banks of the River Ness.
If the weather is kind to us and you fancy a river walk instead then Inverness can certainly deliver; approximately 10 minutes from the centre are the Ness Islands, wooded islands situated in the middle of the River Ness. A walk from one side of the river to the other via this series of interlinked islands provides a delightful and relaxing nature break, and gives you a real feel for why Inverness was recently voted one of the happiest places in the UK!
For those who would like to indulge in some retail therapy you will have plenty of opportunities in Inverness; shops range from the kitsch souvenir emporiums selling all manner of tartan and woolen goods, to the traditional stores of the 1876 Victorian Market and the brand name outlets in the Eastgate Centre.
We will have approximately one hour in Inverness.
Our next stop is in the village of Dores on the lesser-visited south side of Loch Ness; not generally frequented by tours, and recently voted one of the top 10 views in the UK, we are confident that this spot gives you the best experience of this legendary loch. It’s a beautiful spot to take photos, wander the beach in search of the elusive Nessie or, if you’d prefer, relax with a beer, whisky or coffee in the traditional loch-side pub. Here there is also the opportunity to buy a cute monster ornament from legendary Nessie Hunter Steve Feltham (that’s if he’s not out hunting Nessie at the time!)
We will spend 20 – 30 minutes at Dores Beach (20 minutes if you are on a 6 hour tour, 30 minutes if you are on an 7-8 hour tour).
Beautiful Highland Scenery
The wild landscapes of the Scottish Highlands are one of the region’s biggest draws, yet they are often missed on day tour itineraries which focus only on key historical sights. The next part of our tour aims to give you a real taste of the Highlands on the 30 minute drive to Clava Cairns. As we head for the hills, and the altitude increases, the landscape changes from rolling farmland, to forests, to rugged mountain moorland. As we navigate the winding country lanes your guide will tell you all about the wonderful countryside, and the flora and fauna that thrive here. The chances of seeing other people from your ship on this route are slim to none!
Clava Cairns is an exceptionally well-preserved group of prehistoric burial cairns which were built around 4000 years ago. This Bronze Age cemetery has a whole range of interesting historical structures to explore such as passage graves, ring cairns, a kerb cairn and standing stones.
For Outlander fans, it has been suggested that Clava Cairns provided the inspiration for the fictitious Craigh na Dun, so just beware of the split stone buzzing!
We will spend approximately 30 minutes here.
The Battle of Culloden took place on 16th April 1746 and was the final chapter of the Jacobite Uprising, as well as the last pitched battle to be fought on British soil. Your guide will bring the poignant landscape to life as he enthralls you with a historical account of the bloody battle, the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the subsequent demise of the Gaelic language and clan culture in the Highlands.
We will spend at least one hour at Culloden Battlefield and your guide will provide a 45 minute walking tour of the site. For anyone who does not speak English we can provide complimentary entrance and an audio guide to the interactive exhibition instead.
Return to Invergordon & Highland Cow Bonus Stop
After a wonderful day exploring the historical, cultural and natural highlights of the Scottish Highlands we will return to Invergordon, via the Black Isle peninsula and the traditional villages of Evanton and Alness, which is well-known for its impressive floral displays. We will arrive back at the port in plenty of time for your ship’s departure.
And why the photo of a Highland cow you may ask?! We know that you may well be keen to snap a shot of these famous furry beasties whilst you are in the area so, if we do see some along the way, we will do our best to stop and let you say hello! We can’t guarantee to see them, but we will certainly do our best!
30th April – 0900 – 1630
3rd July – 0900 – 1800
4th August – 0900 – 1700
Crown Princess Details
Our tour from the Crown Princess departs at 8.30am and returns to port at 4.30pm
22nd May MSC Orchestra 09.45 – 16.45
28th May MSC Preziosa 07.45 – 15.45
13th June MSC Orchestra 09.45 – 16.45
27th July MSC Orchestra 09.45 – 16.45
2nd August MSC Preziosa 10.45 – 18.45
12th August MSC Orchestra 09.00 – 16.30
Cruise & Maritime (Columbus/Marco Polo/Magellan) Details
26th April – 1430 – 2030
Holland America Details
20th May – MS Zuiderdam 0845 – 1545
6th June – MS Prinsendam 0845 – 1645
2nd August – MS Rotterdam 1045 – 1845
15th August – MS Rotterdam 0845 – 1545
14th May – Norwegian Pearl – 0745 – 1445
When you book onto one of our Invergordon Tours you are booking the following:
Comfortable touring coach featuring AC and WiFi
Pick-up directly across from the port gates
Money back guarantee if your ship is unable to reach port
Passionate and experienced tour guide, with many 5 star TripAdvisor reviews
The only Visit Scotland 5 star rated tour operator in Invergordon
Number 1 Inverness tour company, with a 5 star-rating, on TripAdvisor
A company you can trust; member of Visit Scotland, Invergordon Tourism Alliance, Visit Inverness Loch Ness and The Inverness Chamber of Commerce
A company which has taken over 7000 guests on our Invergordon tours over the last seven years, returning each and every one to the port on time
Thank you Gordon!! We had a great tour and you made the whole experience a breeze. We were able to see twice as many sights for half the price of the cruise ship excursions. Great Day!!
After 19 Cruises and numerous tour bus shore excursions, this particular tour was one of the best. Their experience in avoiding the large crowds added to a sense of having a private tour. These guys know their way around the Highlands and know how to provide a great tour. One would be hard pressed to find a better shore excursion. I highly and I mean Highly, recommend this tour.
We were on a cruise and docked at Invergordon and decided on a local tour company for an excursion instead of the Cruise excursion option. Wow Scotland fitted the bill perfectly. They meet you right outside the dock gates so no problem in finding the meeting point. Our tour guide Gordon was excellent and was very knowledgeable. Overall a good option with typical Scottish hospitality and a good alternative option to do excursions.
Fabulous tour and highly recommended for cruise passengers. Gordon was our guide and we were very impressed with his style and knowledge on the tour. The whisky sampling was one of the highlights of the trip and was a great way to finish the tour. The online booking service was a breeze to book with and their communication was excellent. I would highly recommend WOW Scotland again.
FAQs for our Invergordon Tours:
If you’ve any questions about our Invergordon tours you should find the answer by clicking on the relevant section. Should your question not be answered please contact us and we’ll be very happy to help.
In 2019 we will be operating two main vehicles on this route; a 28-seater and a 30-seater. Both vehicles are very well-appointed, with panoramic windows, comfortable reclining seats and on-board WiFi. You can rest assured that you will be able to relax and enjoy the majestic scenery in complete comfort and, with our smaller group size, you are guaranteed a more personal experience.
Due to customer demand, we have a booking system for the four seats at the front of the coach. These seats are available to pre-book for a £20 per seat surcharge (if you are not given this option when booking then this will be because the seats have already been taken). Please note that it does not make any difference which side of the coach you sit on, so we don’t take requests for specific front seats.
We also give you the opportunity to book the extra leg room seats near the back of the coach – as with all seats in the coach these seats recline so you can really travel in comfort. The surcharge for extra legroom seats is £15 per seat.
The rest of our seating works on a first-come-first-served basis, as we feel that this is the fairest system of allocating seats. It is not possible to reserve window seats, or seats together if you are travelling as part of a group but, if you do wish to choose your seat, we would recommend arriving early at the bus stop (i.e. a few minutes before check-in closes). If you are unhappy with your seat please let your tour guide know and he will do his best to accommodate your requests, although obviously many guests would prefer a window seat so it is not always possible to keep everyone happy!
Note that any fees paid for front row or extra legroom seat upgrades are non-refundable if you cancel your tour.
Yes – children are welcome on our shore tours. Please note that you must purchase a ticket for every child as, even if they sit on a parent’s lap, they officially take up one space on the coach.
For all private and scheduled tours your guide or another member of the WOW team will be waiting at the entrance to the port. For most scheduled coach tours we also have a Port Manager on hand until the tour departure time, and this person will ensure that you get safely on to your tour.
The WOW team are easily identifiable in our branded WOW Scotland uniforms, and generally standing with WOW Scotland flip signs.
Due to parking restrictions at the Port of Invergordon you will have to walk around 150 feet to the bus, which will be parked close-by.
From 2019 we are planning to visit a local bakery en-route to pick up lunch (own expense).
For less than £4 you can get a freshly made sandwich, delicious cake and soft drink. On Sundays we will have an alternative plan as the bakery is not open.
You can either eat this on the bus, or (weather permitting!) enjoy it at a scenic location en-route.
Every tour has the opportunity to buy souvenirs (for those that like that sort of thing!). At Beauly there are number of quaint shops plus there are lots of places in Inverness too. There is also a gift shop at Culloden Battlefield, and there will usually be a chance to buy unique handmade ‘Nessie’ souvenirs at Loch Ness.
Yes! We know that you have a choice of tours, and we are always reviewing our offering to ensure that we are providing the best tour, combined with the best value for money and best customer care, from the minute you land on our website. We are confident that we do this, and are proud to have been awarded a 5 star rating from VisitScotland in 2016, 2017 and 2018 for providing “exceptional” tours.
Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor (as of September 2018 we had 1265 5 star reviews) and are proud to be ranked as the number 1 activity in Inverness.
For those who are unsure about booking with a small company, please click on any of the following links for assurance that we are a member of the national tourism body; Visit Scotland and also of the local tourism body; Visit Loch Ness. WOW Scotland has also featured in a number of local and national publications including Wanderlust, Coast Magazine, The Houston Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Vancouver Sun, Scotland Outdoors Magazine, Scottish Life magazine (Autumn 2013 p 49), German TV programme Euromaxx and the Inverness Courier (our logo has even featured in the Hollywood blockbuster Johnny English Reborn..and we are looking out for logo in a new Hollywood film soon – watch this space!).
All payments are taken through our secure online booking system, which utilises Stripe. We accept almost any debit and credit card, including American Express (we cannot accept Diner’s Card or Discover).
If your ship is unable to reach port we will refund the full cost of your tour. We know that this is highly unusual, but want to offer our customers the best experience and ensure that you have the confidence to book in advance.
- If you cancel your shore tour up to 14 days prior to the tour you will be refunded 100% of your tour price (note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable)
- If you cancel your shore tour between 7-14 days prior to departures you will be given a 50% refund (note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable)
- If you cancel within 7 days days no refund will be given. However, if we are able to re-sell your place then we may be able to issue up to a 50% refund, so please let us know if you need to cancel, no matter how last minute it is.
Unfortunately we cannot make exceptions to these rules, as it would be unfair to treat customers differently.
In order that you do not lose out, if you have to cancel your tour due to unforeseen circumstances, we do strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance with integral cancellation insurance.
If the tour meets or exceeds your expectations then please feel free to tip as it is always very much appreciated. However, please rest assured that tips are not expected in Scotland, so no offence will be taken if you don’t tip. It is worth noting that, if there is a separate driver and tour guide on your tour, they always split any tips equally, so it is fine to give money to either one of them.
Our terms and conditions can be found here. You’ll find a general overview of our cancellation terms in this FAQ section if you don’t want to read though all the T&Cs!
Due to high demand for our tours, we are unable to secure your booking unless you pay the full amount in advance. That being said, you are welcome to come to the bus stop in the morning and, if there are places available, you can join the tour and book/pay online on our website.
Yes, if you book onto one of our tours then we will run this tour, regardless if anyone else has booked on or not!
We have never had to cancel a tour yet but, if the weather forecast was so bad that we considered it dangerous to travel, then we may have to cancel a tour. However, this is extremely unlikely, and we would do our utmost to accommodate you on an alternative date.
In 2019 we are offering scheduled tours from most ships from Invergordon, including: Crown Princess; Pacific Princess; Celebrity Reflection; Norwegian Spirit, Pearl & Getaway; Brilliance of the Seas; Costa Mediterranea; Marco Polo; Magellan; Columbus; MS Zuiderdam, Prinsendam, Rotterdam & Koningsdam; MSC Orchestra & Preziosa. If your ship isn’t available to book please get in touch as we may still be able to offer you something.
We can also offer private coach tours from every cruise ship that docks at Invergordon.
From Greenock and South Queensferry we are only offering tours from selected ships in 2019, but may be available for private coach tours from other ships.
We know that you have a choice of tours, and we are always reviewing our offering to ensure that we are providing the best tour, combined with the best value for money and best customer care, from the minute you land on our website. We are confident that we do this, and are proud to have been awarded a 5 star rating from VisitScotland in 2016, 2017 and 2018 for providing “exceptional” tours.
Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor as of October 2018 1266 out of 1405 reviews rate us as excellent) and are proud to be ranked as the number 1 activity in Inverness.
For those who are unsure about booking with a small company, please click on any of the following links for assurance that we are a member of the national tourism body; Visit Scotland and also of the local tourism body; Visit Loch Ness.
It is advisable to bring some cash (GBP £) on all tours. Credit/debit cards are widely accepted but, in some small shops (or for smaller purchases), cash is the only option.
Please note that American Express is not commonly accepted in Scotland, but Visa and Mastercard should be fine. Unfortunately very few places will accept other currencies such as Euros or US dollars.
We work closely with a number of agents all over the world and welcome enquiries from all travel agents. Whilst we are unable to offer travel agent discounts on private tours, we can offer commission on our scheduled coach tours, for those agents who are sending us their clients on a regular basis.
At the moment we only offer tours in English, and we are unable to offer any translation services. This is something which we are working to improve in the future but, for now, hopefully the fantastic Highland scenery can speak for itself!
Yes, lots! Check out our TripAdvisor ratings to see what our customers say about us (we are currently number 1 in Inverness, have 5 stars and have been awarded a Certificate of Excellence – which means we rate amongst the top 10% of TripAdvisor businesses worldwide – every year since we started the business in 2010!)