2020 Scottish Castles Trail - a Self Drive Adventure

With over 300 castles, stately homes and ruins scattered across Aberdeenshire is unsurprisingly known as ‘Scotland’s Castle Country.’ There are more castles per acre here than anywhere else in the UK, and you can visit some of the most famous and dramatic castles in the area on the Scottish Castles Trail.

2020 Scottish Castles Trail - a Self Drive Adventure

With over 300 castles, stately homes and ruins scattered across Aberdeenshire is unsurprisingly known as ‘Scotland’s Castle Country.’ There are more castles per acre here than anywhere else in the UK, and you can visit some of the most famous and dramatic castles in the area on the Scottish Castles Trail.

Your Scottish Castles Trail Tour Includes

  • 7 Nights accommodations in 3-star properties, in rooms  with private facilities (including a pre/post night in Edinburgh).
  • Breakfast daily - Scottish or Continental - depending on the accommodation provider.
  • Service charge & VAT.
  • Rental car for 6 days.
  • Scottish Heritage Pass and Historic Scotland Environment Pass.
  • Admission into Blair Castle & Dunnottar Castle.


Day 01: Arrive in Scotland!

Arrive in Scotland today. A private transfer will take you to your pre-booked Edinburgh hotel. Your day is free to explore this fantastic city. Overnight in Edinburgh.

Day 02: Stirling Castle and Inverness

Collect your rental car today from the Edinburgh location. Leave Edinburgh, where you have a choice of driving options today;

  • Visit Stirling Castle (included in Heritage Pass (HP) and Environment Pass (EP)). Exchange your voucher for a Scottish Heritage Pass here. Stirling Castle is one of the most important castles in Scotland, and a tour of the castle is an excellent introduction to Scottish history.
  • Visit Scone Palace (not included) along the way, which was the crowning place for Robert the Bruce, the King of Scots.
  • Visit Blair Castle (included), a castle that Queen Victoria fell in love with and was even used as a filming location in the ITV series, ‘Victoria’.

Optionally, you can continue continue straight to Inverness and onto Loch Ness, to visit Urquhart Castle (included in HP and EP). Situated on the Loch, Urquhart Castle makes for a dramatic and beautiful Scottish castle visit. If you didn’t visit Stirling Castle, you can get your pass here at Urquart. Overnight in the Inverness area. (B)
Approximate mileage: 179 miles

Day 03: Along the Moray Firth

This morning you travel along the glittering Moray Firth coastline to your next overnight stop, Fraserburgh. Along the way, you have a choice of castles to visit;

  • Visit Brodie Castle (included in HP), which boasts The Playful Garden, a fun, family-friendly stop.
  • Continue to the former cathedral city of Elgin where you will find Spynie Palace (included in HP and EP); the largest surviving medieval bishop’s house in Scotland and residence of the bishops of Moray for nearly 500 years.
  • Make your way along the coast to one of Scotland’s architectural masterpieces, Duff House (included in HP and EP) in Banff. Once used as a prisoner of war camp, the country house gallery is adorned with magnificent paintings and collections from the National Galleries of Scotland.

End your day in the Fraserburgh area for overnight. (B)
Approximate mileage: 98 miles

Day 04: North Aberdeenshire Castles

Today you will make your way south through Scotland's castle country to the Royal Deeside area. We would suggest you begin your day with a visit to Kinnaird Head Castle (included in HP and EP), home to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. Take a tour to discover the fascinating transformation from castle, to lighthouse, to museum. Head to your second stop of the day, Fyvie Castle (included in HP). A magnificent fortress with an 800-year history rich in legends, folklore and even ghost stories. It’s also home to one of the largest private collections of Raeburn’s in the world so if you’re an art lover, this is the castle for you. Alternatively, you can visit Haddo House (included in HP), an elegant mansion house and home to the story-rich Gordon family, who lived here for more than 400 years. No visit is complete without a visit to its charming terrace gardens. Later travel through the Grampian countryside where you can choose to visit the impressive ruins of Tolquhon Castle (included in HP and EP); once described as one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland, before checking in to your accommodations. Overnight in the Aberdeenshire / Royal Deeside area. (B)
Approximate mileage: 63 miles

Day 05: Aberdeenshire Castle Trail

Today continue your exploration of the Scottish Castles Trail by traveling north of Aberdeen. Visit Castle Fraser (included in HP). This castle dates back to the 15th century. This baronial castle has some very quirky features for you to discover including secret staircases and hidden trapdoors. It also boasts spectacular panoramic views from the top of the round tower. Continue to Leith Hall (included in HP), a typical Scottish laird’s residence brimming with family treasures amassed throughout the lifetimes of 10 generations of the Leith-Hay family. Nearby is Kildrummy Castle (included in HP and EP), the imposing 13th century stronghold of the Earls of Mar. Situated in the landscape around Strathdon and, although ruined, it has retained many of its features including its hall and chapel. One of the highlights is witnessing the daylight shine onto the high altar through the chapel’s three elegant lancet windows. Overnight: Aberdeenshire / Royal Deeside area. (B)
Mileage: appr. 85 miles / 138 km 

Day 06: Royal Deeside Castles

We would suggest you spend your last day in Aberdeenshire exploring the Royal Deeside area, made famous by Queen Victoria and still a favourite holiday destination for the British Royal Family. Start the day at Drum Castle (included in HP), one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses, before visiting the fairy-tale like Crathes Castle (included in HP). Traveling through the heart of Royal Deeside, stop to visit charming Braemar, the village that hosts the Royal Highland Games each September, attended by the Royal Family. While there, you may choose to visit Braemar Castle (not included). Best known for its unusual star-shaped outer wall, the 17th century stronghold is furnished with many interesting ornaments. Alternatively, you can visit Balmoral Castle (not included and open April to July only), a firm favorite with the Royal Family. On your way back to your overnight accommodation, stop at Craigievar Castle (included in HP), one of Scotland’s most iconic and best-loved castles. It is said to be the inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle, decorated with turrets and gargoyles, this spellbinding Castle is sure to charm children and adults alike. Overnight: Aberdeenshire / Royal Deeside area. (B)
Approximate mileage: 126 miles (with Braemar) or 65 miles (without Braemar) 

Day 07: Kingdome of Fife

This morning, start your journey south. You may choose to drive to Stonehaven to the well-preserved ruins of Dunnottar Castle (admission included) perched on a dramatic cliff some 160 ft above the North Sea. Continue south via Dundee and the Tay Bridge through the countryside of central Fife to Falkland. Falkland Palace (included in HP) dominates this old village and was one of the main residences of the old Royal Family of Scotland, the Stewarts (Stuarts). Aside from the palace, the village is simply one of the most beautiful in Scotland with an array of old cottages and narrow winding streets. Arrive back into Edinburgh, where you will drop off your car rental and make your way to your pre-booked hotel. If time permits, visit Edinburgh Castle (included in HP and EP) to end your castle exploration on a high! (B)
Approximate mileage: 130 miles

Day 08: Edinburgh - US

A transfer will take you to the Edinburgh Airport for your return flight home. (B)

Rates & Hotels

2020 Dates & Prices (Click Date to Book)
Dates Land Only
2020 Dates & Prices (Click Date to Book)
Dates Land Only

Hotels/Plans Available for Departure Dates

Scottish Castles Trail - with Comfort accommodations
Scottish Castles Trail - with Premium accommodations

Tour Details

Your land package begins: / Your land package ends:

(As most International flights are overnight flights - please book air accordingly)

Flight Details

Accommodation Details


UK Hotel


Pre and post nights booked at a mid-level hotel [more]

Accommodations booked by Rabbies UK


Depending on package booked, accommodations can be BB/Guesthomes, 3* Hotels/Inns (and some packages may include 4* Hotels) [more]


Prices are based on two (2) passengers sharing a twin/double room. If a single room is booked, single supplement applies.

This tour does not include:

  • Items not noted on itinerary
  • Lunches
  • Dinners
  • Transfers
  • Visitor attractions


Unfortunately, due to the 2020 pandemic, Celtic Tours will only be offering airfare for groups sizes of 15 or more. Individuals should book directly with airlines. Please make sure you book your flight to arrive and depart on accurate dates. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Departures & Transfers

Departure date is the date the starts in Edinburgh. Please book air one day before to accommodate overnight flights.