Edinburgh
Castle & Palace Tours

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Our most recommended Edinburgh Castle & Palace Tours

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

1. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

Head for the Highlands, whether in search of the Loch Ness Monster or just a scenic day trip from Edinburgh. After pickup, relax on your group’s bus and listen to the guide’s entertaining commentary. Visit Kilmahog for an introduction to the famous Highland Cows and a cup of coffee. Discover what a ‘hairy coo’ really is. Next, travel up the road to Glencoe and enjoy a 10-minute photo stop in front of the unforgettable Highland views. Have lunch in Fort William, where your guide can advise you on where to eat. If you're interested in the mysteries of the kilt, you can even get a ‘wee’ kilt introduction here. Then be whisked to Loch Ness itself. Customize your experience at Loch Ness with personal touches. Visit the majestic Urquhart Castle, and hop on a boat in search of ‘Nessie’, as the locals call it. Or simply hang out on the pier and grab a coffee with gorgeous views. On the way home, make a short snack stop in Pitlochry, a beautiful village in the heart of the country, before returning to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour in English

2. Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour in English

The tour begins by the statue of Adam Smith on the Royal Mile. Walk towards Edinburgh Castle as your guide sets the scene, explaining the significance of the Castle and mentioning some of the key characters who have helped shape it. As you reach the Castle complex your guide will share skip-the-line passes, giving you direct access to Scotland's most visited paid attraction.  Once inside your guide will walk you through the Castle complex sharing their in-depth knowledge of all the Castle's main buildings and attractions, including, but not limited to, the Argyle Battery and One O'clock Gun, the Hospital Square and Western Panorama, the Castle dungeons and military prison, the Black Banquet and Thomas Randolph's daring castle raid, St Margret's Chapel, Mons Meg, the Crown Square and The Honors of Scotland. Please note that whilst the tour guide will walk you around the castle grounds and take you through the 3,000 yeas worth of castle history, they cannot take you into any of the castle museums. When the tour ends, you will be left to explore the various castle buildings and museums at your own leisure - hopefully with more knowledge than if you had simply arrived on your own!

The Outlander 1 Day Experience from Edinburgh

3. The Outlander 1 Day Experience from Edinburgh

Choose your most convenient departure point in central Edinburgh from a list of locations, then hop aboard an air-conditioned coach and head to your first location of the day, Midhope Castle, a must for Outlander fans. The Midhope Castle is the external location of the Fraser family home known as Lallybroch. Spend time at the castle for photos and live out your Outlander fantasy before heading to the next stop, Blackness Castle. Explore the rich history within the castle walls and learn of its multi-functional history as a lordly residence, garrison fortress, and state prison. Fans of Outlander may also recognize that the exterior posed as Fort William, the foreboding headquarters of Black Jack Randall. The tour continues to the town of Linlithgow, famous for its palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Here, outlander fans have the opportunity to see Linlithgow Palace, used as the set for the infamous Wentworth Prison in Outlander. Linlithgow Palace is where Outlander's Jamie was held prisoner and tortured by Black Jack Randall, one of the most intense scenes filmed during the TV series. Enjoy some time for refreshments and exploring before the next stop. Visit Culross next. Several parts of Culross are used to depict the village of Cranesmuir, predominantly for season 1 of Outlander. During your time here, you'll notice many of the scenes come to life as you step into the actual shooting location of the show. Following in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire, stop at the beautiful village of Falkland, nestled between the two Lomond Hills in the Howe of Fife. Fans of Outlander will recognize Falkland as the stand-in for Inverness, where Claire and Frank honeymoon. The last stop of the day is at the viewpoint of South Queensferry. Admire the Firth of Forth and the three magnificent bridges that link Edinburgh to Fife. Stretch your legs and take some final photos. On returning to Edinburgh, choose to be dropped off at Bakehouse Close, a location featured in the third series of Outlander as Jamie's print house.

Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Walking Tour

4. Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Walking Tour

Discover the home of Mary Queen of Scots on this guided walking tour of Edinburgh Castle. Admire the 16th-century Great Hall where parties and feast took place. Learn about the bloody history of the kings and queens who lived in this castle.  Meet your guide and walk to Edinburgh Castle which dominates the city skyline from its seat on the extinct volcano of Castle Rock. Stroll on the castle's promenade and hear about the the origins and sieges of the castle. View where the Royal Military Tattoo is performed. Enter the castle and make your way to the three museums and two prisons. Go to the National Monument to the fallen of Scotland and a canine cemetery. See the oldest building in the city at the Chapel of Saint Margaret. Be captivated by the grandeur of the Great Hall and a Royal Palace. After the tour you will have time to explore all of the buildings inside the castle until its closure.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

5. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

Depart Edinburgh on an air-conditioned luxury coach (max 34 seats). Pass Stirling Castle and hear your tour guide tell tales of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and the bloody battles fought out on these lands. First, arrive at Callander town, nestled at the foot of the Trossachs. Next, drive through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Your Scottish guide will tell you about Rob Roy MacGregor, the infamous Highlander. Follow in the footsteps of James Bond ("Skyfall") and Harry Potter ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban") as you travel to the stunning Highland valley of Glencoe. Hear the eerie story of the Clan MacDonald massacre of 1692. Travel through Fort William, home to Ben Nevis, which at 4,409 feet is the highest mountain of the British Isles. Arrive on the south bank of Loch Ness in the charming village of Fort Augustus, where lots of cafes, shops, and restaurants offer a relaxing lunch. Stroll along the banks of the Caledonian Canal, then experience Loch Ness on an optional 1-hour boat cruise. Try to catch a glimpse of "Nessie," the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Admire the impressive Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge with views of the Nevis Range. Enter the Cairngorms National Park and discover "Monarch of the Glen" country. Drive along Loch Laggan before the roads climb above the Grampian Mountains. Travel over the Pass of Drumochter, linking the northern and southern Central Highlands. Experience the majesty of a mountain pass created by glacial activity during successive Ice Ages. Finally, stop briefly in the beautiful Victorian town of Pitlochry before heading back to Edinburgh city center, arriving at approximately 8:30 PM.

From Edinburgh: Isle of Skye 3-Day Tour with Accommodation

6. From Edinburgh: Isle of Skye 3-Day Tour with Accommodation

Enjoy a full 3 days exploring the dramatic scenery of the Scottish Highlands and the romance of the island of Skye in a small group that offers maximum personal service. You can choose your accommodation to suit your own budget and you will get a Rabbies Discount Card to receive discounts at local restaurants and shops. Day 1: Depart Edinburgh by luxury Mercedes minibus at 08.30 and travel west, passing Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Continue towards Stirling with its imposing castle and views of the Wallace Monument. You will pass Doune Castle, movie location for scenes from Monty Python's infamous "Holy Grail," before stopping at the edge of the Highlands for refreshments. As you drive into the Highlands you will pass Loch Luibnaig, Loch Earn, Crianlarich and Tyndrum, stopping for lunch along the way. Drive north through Glencoe, scene of the great massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. Continue to Fort William and up to the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, offering magnificent views over Ben Nevis. Next you will take the "Road to the Isles," through the splendor of the 5 Sisters of Kintail, the mountains that guard the pass to the Isle of Skye. Stop to visit the famous Eilean Donan Castle, used in the film "Highlander" and located at the junction of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. Crossing over the bridge to Skye, you head north to Portree where you will be dropped off at your accommodation. Enjoy an evening and dinner at leisure, exploring the town’s Gaelic attractions and harborside. Day 2: You will spend the day on the Isle of Skye with flexible arrangements. There are many possibilities, depending on the weather, and the dynamics of your group. Your driver/ guide's local knowledge will come to the fore to arrange the best day for everyone. You could travel north to explore the Trotternish Peninsula with its stunning Quiraing mountain pass and some of Skye's extraordinary geological scenery. Or head to Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns that are reminiscent of the pleats in a kilt. Enjoy the magic of the waterfall, cascading over cliffs and down into the sea below. Take a short break for lunch, before continuing to explore this most dramatic of islands. Head in a westerly direction to Dunvegan castle, the ancestral home of Clan Macleod, or enjoy spectacular views at Neist Point, the most westerly point of Skye. Return you to your accommodation in Portree in the early evening to enjoy dinner and the rest of the evening at leisure. Day 3: Your driver will collect you from your accommodation and head south through the Cuillin Hills, back over to the mainland for stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters of Kintail. Move on to Loch Ness for lunch. Look out for "Nessie," the mysterious monster that has haunted and confounded visitors since the 1950s. Head south through the Grampian Mountains along Loch Laggan, famous as the location for the TV miniseries "Monarch of the Glen," before passing Dalwhinnie, home to Scotland's highest whisky Distillery. You will pause for refreshments at Blair Castle, before heading back to Edinburgh via Perth and over the extraordinary Forth Road Bridge.

From Edinburgh: Full-Day "Outlander" Explorer Tour

7. From Edinburgh: Full-Day "Outlander" Explorer Tour

Departing Edinburgh at 08:45 AM, you will be taken on a journey to some of the most famous locations from the hit series such as Doune Castle, the seat of Clan MacKenzie and the historic Linlithgow Palace. Your guide will give you an insight into the history and stories of each location, making this the perfect trip for those looking for a quick Outlander fix. Leave the capital behind and drive west, view Linlithgow Palace before stopping at Doune Castle, also known as Castle Leoch. You’ll have time to explore the grounds of this historic castle (please note Doune Castle is currently closed due to structural inspections), which was also featured as Winterfell in Game of Thrones and in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Next, your journey will take you to the Kingdom of Fife, an area of great historical importance. Make a stop in Culross, where Claire was accused of witchcraft in the village of Cranesmuir. This is the most complete example of a 17th and 18th-century burgh in Scotland today. Your lunch stop will be in the village of Falkland, which was used for filming 1940’s Inverness. With over 28 listed buildings, it gives a good representation of this period. Your final stop is at Midhope Castle, the real-life Lallybroch. Arrive back in Edinburgh at 5:30 PM.

Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & Kelpies Tour from Edinburgh

8. Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & Kelpies Tour from Edinburgh

Spend a day experiencing the natural beauty of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park from Edinburgh. Enjoy a memorable visit to Stirling Castle, explore the pretty villages of Aberfoyle and Loch Lomond Shores, and set off on a spectacular cruise across Loch Lomond. Departing Edinburgh, head to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, one of the prettiest and largest lochs in the whole of Scotland. Here you can enjoy an hour-long cruise taking in spectacular views of the loch’s many islands and the surrounding mountains. Alternatively, take a stroll through the picturesque loch-side conservation village of Loch Lomond Shores, with its quaint houses, cafes, and stunning views across the loch’s western shoreline.  Enter The Trossachs National Park and experience its abundance of lochs, mountains, and forests. Continue on, past medieval Doune Castle, to the pretty town of Aberfoyle, situated on the banks of the River Teith in Stirlingshire, where you stop to enjoy some lunch.  Travel north-west for your last stop of the day at magnificent Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s most historically significant castles, sitting high on volcanic rock and offering wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. Visit the castle and learn of the exploits of key historical figures including William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and Mary Queen of Scots. Travel back to Edinburgh at the end of your tour.

From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye, Highlands & Loch Ness

9. From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye, Highlands & Loch Ness

Embark on a 3-day guided trip to the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh. See the Glencoe Valley and the Eilean Donan Castle. Admire the rolling pastures of the Isle of Skye and visit lake Loch Ness. Day 1 From Edinburgh, you will head west where your first stop will be at the picturesque conservation village of Luss, on the ‘Bonny, Bonny’ banks of Loch Lomond. Traveling north via Tyndrum you will pass over the atmospheric Rannoch Moor before enjoying time to walk and admire the dramatic Glencoe valley, site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald Clan. After lunch in the Fort William area, your tour will pause for photos at Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, then stop to admire Glen Garry and the stunning Five Sisters of Kintail mountain range. Your first day ends in the charming village of Portree, on the Isle of Skye. Day 2 After breakfast, your will depart Portree for a full day’s touring - options include Dunvegan Castle, a trip to Uig, and a visit to Flora MacDonald’s grave and the unique Black Houses, ancient dwellings of the Scottish Highlanders. Other options include viewing Duntulum Castle, enjoying breathtaking views of Kilt Rock, or perhaps a bracing walk at the Lealt Falls. The day will end with the opportunity to admire the Old Man of Storr, before returning to Portree. Day 3 You will commence your final day of the tour via the much-admired Eilean Donan Castle, the backdrop for the movie, ‘Highlander’; (interior closed in winter) then move on to the pretty lochside village of Fort Augustus for lunch and views of Loch Ness. The tour continues south over Laggan and the Grampian mountains with the last stop, for refreshments, in the Victorian resort town of Pitlochry, before returning to Edinburgh, where the tour will end.

From Edinburgh: Outlander Adventure Day Tour

10. From Edinburgh: Outlander Adventure Day Tour

After leaving Edinburgh at 9:15 AM you will travel back in time as your driver guides you over the Queensferry Crossing to Culross. This virtually-unchanged 16th century village overlooks the sea and poses as the fictional town of Cranesmuir. You have time to visit Claire’s herb garden, explore the palace, or wander the ancient streets while you imagine what life must have been like 400 years ago. You will journey past Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument to Doune Castle, or as it’s called in Outlander, Castle Leoch. This formidable building gives you an insight into the living conditions of a Scottish earl in the 14th century. You can also listen to an excellent audio guide about how this castle was used as a filming location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Your next stop is Linlithgow Palace. Here you have time to enjoy beautiful views to the Forth bridges, have a picnic by the loch, and explore the ruins of Mary Queen of Scots’ birthplace. If you’re feeling brave, you can visit the spot where that gruesome Outlander scene took place. You then travel the short distance to Blackness Castle. It’s an impressive castle that’s known as the ‘ship that never sailed’ because it resembles a giant stone boat. You have time to walk along the ramparts and explore the fictional headquarters of Jack Randall. Midhope Castle is your next highlight. Unfortunately, visitors are unable to go inside the castle, but Jamie’s lovely Lallybroch home is still an essential photo opportunity for any fan of the show. Before heading back to Edinburgh, you will have a final stop in the colorful harbor area of South Queensferry, and will return to Edinburgh by approximately 5:45 PM.

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 4,655 reviews

Small bus was great and driver was very skilled and knowledgeable about places and history. The accommodation was very comfortable and the small touches with eating guides and additional toiletries and snacks was a great bonus. Due to current staff shortages in hospitality it was a struggle getting a place to eat for evening meals. Especially in small towns such as Ullapool and Stornoway. Perhaps coach driver could have had some dining options with advance reservations to support this.

Our tour of Edinburgh castle with Luca was a highlight of our trip! He provided an interesting and informative tour that was a lot of fun. My daughter and I agree that seeing the castle would not have been the same without our guide, so we are glad we decided to book this tour.

First ever small group trip and thoroughly enjoyed. Guide Stefan was knowledgeable, experienced and a delight to travel with. Also fabulous bake for money. Have no hesitation in recommending these trips. I am already looking at my next one.

Really nice experience! Even though one day was quick for all the amazing things we have to see in this area, the tour was fun. A special shout-out to the tour guide Paul, amazing energy, a with a lot of history and fun facts! :)

Ula was a superb guide. So welcoming, knowledgeable and enthusiastic! Thoroughly enjoyed our tour. Would highly recommend!