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.
1. Invergordon and Cromarty Firth
Our enthusiastic and experienced WOW team will welcome you to the port of Invergordon.
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!).
2. Cawdor Castle
NEW for 2020 – this tour will visit Cawdor Castle!
Early records show that the castle dates back to at least 1454. Although there have been many fortifications and additions over the last 640 years, the building has been remarkably well-preserved, and gives a wonderful impression of how the landed gentry would have lived back in the 15th Century. To this day the castle remains in the Campbell family, with the Dowager Countess Cawdor, stepmother of the 7th Earl of Cawdor, residing there over the winter months.
You will be presented with an audio guide, which provides an interesting and entertaining overview of each room of the castle. From the 16th Century Drawing Room with its splendid fireplace and portrait gallery, to the bedroom showcasing Flemish tapestries from the 17th Century, all of the splendid rooms feature fine art and antique furniture, and every object has a story behind it. This is no more so than in, “The Thorn Tree Room”, where you hear the story of the legendary tree which the castle was built around back in 1372 and which, remarkably, still exists there today!
After you have completed the audio tour we would recommend heading outside to the immaculate gardens: The Flower Garden is a formal garden designed in the 18th Century and featuring lavender borders and yew tree hedges; The Walled Garden features exotic plants, a maze, a Knot Garden and a hidden Paradise Garden; The Wild Garden is a hidden delight which leads into 750 acres of woods and trails.
There is also a coffee shop featuring home baked scones and cakes, and three gift shops, one of which sells a wonderful selection of classic Scottish souvenirs unique to the castle.
On most tours this will be our first stop of the day and, for all tours starting before 0900 we will arrive at the castle before it opens to the public, ensuring that we can beat the crowds, and have the best possible experience! We will spend two hours at the castle and in its grounds.
Admission to the castle is £11.50 if paid in advance (more expensive on the day)
With its fascinating history, riverside location, plethora of pubs and shops, there is something for everyone here Read more...
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 pop 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.
4. Loch Ness
And of course, a trip to the Highlands would not be complete without a visit to the legendary Loch Ness!
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).
5. Highland Scenery
Sit back, relax and enjoy the dramatic, unspoilt landscapes that the Scottish Highlands are justifiably famed for.
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!
6. Clava Cairns
We then explore the pre-historic standing stones and burial chambers of Clava Cairns, a must for Outlander fans!Read more...
7. Culloden Battlefield
Our final visit of the day is to Culloden, one of the most important battlefields in the British Isles.
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.
8. Highland Cows
We’ll do our best to stop and say Hi to a hairy Highland Coo at some point during the tour – always a highlight!
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 traditional villages which are well-known for their impressive floral displays. We will arrive back at the port in plenty of time for your ship’s departure.
£78 + £11.50 Castle entrance (if booked in advanced)
Each tour is designed to coincide with your arrival and departure times. If times change (i.e later arrival), we will adjust our timings accordingly.
We offer the opportunity to purchase front row seat upgrades for £20 pp and extra legroom upgrades for £15 pp.
Free cancellation up to 14 days prior to departure. 50% refund up to 7 days in advance.
When you book onto one of our Invergordon Tours you are booking the following:
30 seater mini-coach featuring AC and WiFi (most have USB ports too)
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
What size of vehicle do you use?
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.
Can children come on this 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.
Where do we meet you in Invergordon?
For all private and scheduled tours your guide or another member of the WOW team will be waiting at the entrance to the port.
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 0.2 – 0.3 miles (i.e. approx. 5 minutes) to the coach, which will be parked close-by.
Is the tour suitable for disabled passengers?
If you have mobility issues please contact us to discuss your requirements and we will do our utmost to assist you.
Please note that we cannot transport mobility scooters on any of our coaches, due to limited boot/trunk space.
What are the arrangements for lunch?
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.
Will we have time to shop for souvenirs?
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.
Can I reserve seats on the tour?
Yes. Due to customer demand, we have a booking system for the following seats;
- 4 front row seats – these give you unparalleled views out of the front windows, and the opportunity to disembark first at every stop. Our most popular seats.
- 4 second row seats – many guests prefer to sit near the front of the coach, or be reassured that you will be seated together if they are a couple/group, both of which you get with this option. These seats also have a little more legroom than these front row seats. These are available on some tours only.
- 2 extra legroom seats – these are situated near the back of the coach and have approximately 50% more legroom than regular seats. They are particularly suited to those who are tall, or like to stretch out.
- 4 back row seats – these are ideal for groups who wish to sit together. Unlike on most other coaches we have removed the fifth/middle seat so the seats are spaced further apart, giving you more elbow room.
The price of the upgrades vary depending on which tour you are on, with prices between £2.50 and £22.50 per person. If they are available, upgrades will be given as an option when booking.
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 sides.
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 possible for everyone to have these!
Note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable if you cancel your tour.
Who will our tour guide be?
Which ships do you offer tours from?
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 would like to be back at the ship a while before it leaves. Is this possible?
Why should we choose WOW Scotland?
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, 2018 and 2019 for providing “exceptional” tours.
Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor as of November 2019 1680 out of 1760 reviews i.e. 95% rate us as excellent) and are proud to be ranked as the number 1 tour operator in Inverness (out of a staggering 94!).
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 Federation of Small Businesses and local tourism body; Visit Inverness Loch Ness
Do I need to bring cash with me on the tour? If so, are Euros/US dollars accepted in Scotland?
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.
Do you offer foreign language tours?
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!
What forms of payment do you accept?
Payments are taken through our secure online booking system, which utilises both PayPal and Stripe. These accept almost any debit and credit card, including American Express (we cannot accept Diner’s Card or Discover).
Can I book with confidence?
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 coveted 5 star rating from VisitScotland in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 for providing “exceptional” tours.
Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor (as of October 2019 we had 1690 5 star reviews) and are proud to be ranked as the number 1 tour company in Inverness (out of a staggering 94!).
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 Federation of Small Businesses and local tourism body; Visit Inverness Loch Ness.
What is your policy if our ship is unable to dock (e.g. due to adverse weather conditions)?
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.
Can I cancel my tour if I change my mind?
- 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.
Do you offer guaranteed departures?
Yes, if you book onto one of our tours then we will run this tour, regardless if anyone else has booked on or not!
The only reason we would require to cancel a tour would be if the weather forecast was so bad that we or one of our suppliers (e.g. the ferry operators for our Orkney Tour) considered it dangerous to travel. However, this is extremely unlikely, and we would do our utmost to accommodate you either on on an alternative tour that day, or on an alternative date.
Should I tip my guide?
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.
What are your terms and conditions of booking?
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!
Is it possible to pay on arrival?
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.