Highland and Speyside Explorer

Brodie Castle with daffodils

This is the ultimate sightseeing tour, giving you a fascinating insight into the history, heritage and landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.

From prehistoric burial cairns and Culloden Battlefield to a clan castle, scenic walk and woollen mill, there is something for everyone on this fantastic day out!

This tour runs on the same coach as our Whisky Bus so, if your travel companions are more interested in sampling than sightseeing, this could be a great combination!

Key Information:

8.45am – 6.45pm

Departure Point: Inverness Bus Station

£69 / $95 / €78

Every Friday, 6th April – 30th September

Guaranteed departures, we never cancel tours … ever!

High spec coach with A/C, onboard bathroom and comfortable reclining seats

A separate tour guide and driver on every tour

Locally owned and operated

Free cancellation up to 72 hours prior to departure

Easy and convenient online booking

Your Itinerary:

Culloden Battlefield (1)

The tour departs from Inverness Bus Station at 8.45am, when we board a well-appointed coach and take a short drive out to our first sight of the day; Culloden Battlefield. 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.

Clava Cairns (1)

Our next stop is the lesser-known but equally fascinating Clava Cairns, an exceptionally well-preserved group of prehistoric burial cairns which were built around 4000 years ago. This Bronze Age cemetery features a plethora of historical structures including passage graves, ring cairns, a kerb cairn and standing stones. For Outlander fans..beware of the split stone buzzing!

Snow roads (2)

After a scenic drive down to the village of Tomatin, where we will catch a glimpse of the impressively imposing railway viaduct, our journey then takes us through stunning Highland scenery and up to “The Snow Roads” in the Cairngorms National Park, where wild and beautiful mountain views await.

Glenlivet Distillery (3)

Our first stop in Speyside is The Glenlivet Distillery, where you will have 45 minutes  to look around the free exhibition, which outlines the fascinating history of the “the world’s number one single malt Scotch whisky brand”. Alternatively, you may wish to partake in a Whisky sampling session (£8 for three tastes, not included in tour price). This is usually a great place to photography Highland cows too!

Knockando Woolmill (4)

Nestled in the heart of the Spey Valley, this mill has been producing woven fabric on its historic looms for over 200 years. Your guide will show you round the cluster of sympathetically restored buildings which house the spinning and weaving machines and, hopefully, you should be able to see the modern day weavers at work. We would recommend souvenir shopping here, as it is the only place in Scotland where you can buy the goods produced at the mill, and all profits go directly back into the Knockando Woolmill Trust, which works to ensure its successful future.

Ballindalloch Castle (4)

Ballindalloch Castle is a favourite on this tour, as we are always ensured a warm welcome here at the “Pearl of the North”. First and foremost a family home, which has been lived in continuously by the Macpherson-Grants since 1546, this magnificent building is resplendent with family memorabilia, fine furniture and paintings. You will have around 1 ½ hours here to independently explore the castle and its lush gardens. You may also wish to sample the excellent homebaking in the cafe, and pick up some souvenirs in their shop.

Carrbridge (5)

On our journey back to Inverness we stop for a photo of the beautiful packhorse bridge in the quaint village of Carrbridge. You can admire the black, peaty waters of the River Dulnain and marvel at the engineering ingenuity which has seen this 18th Century bridge stand up to ferocious floods on many occasions.

Tour Gallery

New photos will be hear soon!

When you book the Highland & Speyside Explorer Tour you are booking the following:

An amazing WOW Scotland tour guide to entertain and look after you on your journey
A professional coach driver for maximum safety (no driver guiding here!)
Luxury coach featuring reclining seats, AC and PA system
Onboard WC/restroom
5 Star VisitScotland rated tour company
Number 1 Inverness tour company, with a 5 star-rating, on TripAdvisor
A company you can trust; member of both Visit Scotland and Visit Loch Ness

I went on the Speyside Explorer tour which was excellent. Our guide was Sandy, who was very knowledgeable about all the stops visited. I’d definitely do a tour with this company again!

Colleen

Frequently Asked Questions:

What forms of payment do you accept?

All payments are taken through our secure online booking system which utilises Stripe. We accept most debit and credit cards, including American Express. We can also accept bank transfers where you accept the charges.

 

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 5 star rating from VisitScotland in 2016 and 2017  for providing “exceptional” tours.

Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor (as of  October  2017 we had 1020 5 Start 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 ChronicleThe Boston GlobeThe 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).

Do you offer group discounts?

For groups of 10+ please contact us for preferential pricing.

Can I cancel my tour if I change my mind, or if I am unable to get to Inverness for any reason?

Yes, and our cancellation terms for scheduled tours from Inverness (i.e. Isle of Skye Tour, Whisky Bus and Highland & Speyside Explorer) are as follows;

  • If you cancel your tour at least 72 hours in advance of the scheduled departure then we will refund you in full
  • If you cancel within 72 hours of the scheduled departure you will not be entitled to a refund. However, if we are able to re-sell your place then we will be able to issue 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.

Please note that booking direct with WOW Scotland gives you the best cancellation policy!

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!

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.

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, on coach tours, that the tour guide and the coach driver always pool their tips, sharing them 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 the FAQ is 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 tour unless you pay in advance. For our coach tours we take full payment in advance. That said, if there are places available on the day you are welcome to join and pay on board.

What forms of payment do you accept?

All payments are taken through our secure online booking system which utilises Stripe. We accept most debit and credit cards, including American Express. We can also accept bank transfers where you accept the charges.

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 5 star rating from VisitScotland in 2016 and 2017  for providing “exceptional” tours.

Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor  (as of  October  2017 we had 1020 5 Start 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 ChronicleThe Boston GlobeThe 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).

What type of transport do you use?

The Skye tour vehicle is always a very well-appointed 34-seater coach, which is equipped with a PA system, air conditioning, reclining seats and an on-board WC. The coach is white with D & E branding and there will be a WOW sign in the dashboard so you know you are at the right place.

For our Whisky Bus and Highland and Speyside Explorer Tour we typically use the same 34-seater coach, although sometimes we use a well appointed 48-seater instead.

Is the itinerary fixed/guaranteed?

The itinerary has been carefully planned to ensure that you get the most out of your day. However, there are factors outside of our control, such as traffic flow, road closures and adverse weather, that mean on rare occasions we may not be to achieve everything listed in the tour itinerary. Consequently, we reserve the right to alter the itinerary if necessary, although this will be a last resort.

Can I bring dogs and other pets on the tour?

Unfortunately dogs and other pets are not able to travel on our tours. If you are partially sighted or blind and use a guide dog to get around please do get in touch to discuss ways in which we can accommodate you and your dog.

Who will our tour guide be?

One of our highly competent local guides will lead your tour – you can read all about the team on our About page, or have a look at their reviews on TripAdvisor.

Can I bring luggage?

Yes, we do have space for a limited amount of luggage. If you wish to bring luggage please contact us before booking. There are also left luggage facilities at Inverness train station for those travelling back to Inverness (please check opening times of this facility prior to use).

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 for providing “exceptional” tours.

Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor  as of January 2017 762 out of our 791 reviews rate us as excellent, with the remaining 19 rating us as very good or average) 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 ChronicleThe Boston GlobeThe 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).

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.

Does the tour only run on the dates listed on your website?

Yes, you’ll find the most up-to-date tour dates on our calendar.  Scheduled tours will only run on the listed dates.

Do you offer any other group tours?

Our groups tours from Inverness are listed here

Isle of Skye tour
Whisky Bus
Highland & Speyside Explorer Tour

I’m a travel agent, can we work together?

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.

Do you offer foreign language tours?

For scheduled/coach tours unfortunately not (although this is something we hope to offer in the future). For private tours it is worth asking when booking as we do have guides with knowledge of French and German.

Do you have any reviews?

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!)

You can also see reviews for WOW Scotland on YelpFacebook and Google

I am planning to stay in Dingwall/Conon Bridge/Muir of Ord/Beauly – can I join the tour?

Absolutely! There is a train regular train service running between Dingwall, Conon Bridge, Muir of Ord, Beauly and Inverness, which allows you to get to Inverness in time for the 0830 departure time, then get back again in the evening. For more details, click here.

I am planning to stay in Aberdeen/Inverurie/Huntly – can I join the tour?

If you have a car then you can certainly drive to Inverness, park for the day and join the tour.

If you wish to travel by train, unfortunately it it not possible to take the first train in the morning from Aberdeen to Inverness, as it arrives at 0836, which is after our departure time.  However, if you can stay in Inverness the night before the tour then there is a train back late evening at 2133 (except on Sundays, when the last train is at 2103 – we would strongly advise against taking this train if you are on the Isle of Skye Tour as we sometimes arrive back later than planned).

Consequently, we would suggest that you stay in Inverness the night before the tour, then return to Aberdeen on the last train back after the tour.

Where is the pick-up point in Inverness?

We pick-up from Stance 7 at Inverness Bus Station, Margaret Street, Inverness, IV1 1LT. Look out for the purple “WOW Scotland Bus Stop ” sign, kilted WOW guide and white D&E coach (with WOW sign in the dashboard) and you won’t miss us!

I am planning to drive to the tour pick-up point then leave my car – is this possible?

Absolutely. There is a car park very near to the tour pick-up point and you can find further information on this here.

I am planning to stay in Edinburgh/Glasgow – can I join the tour?

Unfortunately there is no public transport from Edinburgh or Glasgow which will allow you to arrive in Inverness by 0830, and no public transport departing from Inverness for these cities after 2045. Consequently, if you wish to travel from one of these cities, and take the tour, all in one day then you will require your own transport (the drive takes approx 3 1/4 hours to either city).

How do I get to Inverness?

To find out how to get to Inverness click here. 

Where can I stay in Inverness?

Once you have booked your tour we are happy to send you our list of recommended accommodation providers in Inverness and Skye. As a start, click here for a short list of where to stay in Inverness and Loch Ness.

Where will we be stopping for lunch?

We will take orders on the coach for a sandwich lunch from The Glenlivet Distillery. The lunch is priced at £6 (2017 price – 2018 TBC) for your choice of sandwich, choice of soft drink, crisps and a chocolate bar. This can be ordered and paid for in advance on the bus (cash only).

We can also offer a gluten free lunch.

You may be interested to know that The Glenlivet uses locally sourced Scottish produce as much as possible, with suppliers including the Connage Dairy, Cobbs Bakery, Maclean Highland Bakery, Williamson Fruit and Veg, Struan Apiaries, GC Mackintosh Butchers, Graham’s Dairies and Barrs.

What time does the tour start and finish?

This tour departs promptly at 8.30am (0830). Please ensure that you are ready to board the bus at 8.20am (0820) as we will leave promptly at 8.30am (0830), and are unable to wait for any latecomers! The tour will return to Inverness city centre at approximately 6.45pm (1845) – it is possible that we may return a bit later than this although we always try to keep to our schedule as much as possible.

Can we be picked up and/or dropped off somewhere else?

Please contact us if you are interested in an alternative pick-up or drop-off for your tour and we can advise on whether it is possible or not.

For our Whisky Bus and our Highland & Speyside Explorer Tour we can offer pick-up from Carrbridge Train Station, for those travelling by train from Edinburgh or Glasgow. The pick-up is at around 1050 (to meet the train arriving at 0957). You must inform us if you want to do take this option, as we will not stop in Carrbridge otherwise.

Book your tour: