DAY 1 - After joining your holiday coach, you head north with suitable stops en-route for lunch and refreshments. Continue to Newcastle for your overnight at the Caledonian Hotel. Dinner, bed & breakfast.
DAY 2 - Departing after breakfast, you head through the lovely scenery of the Northumbria National Park to Tweedmouth in the Scottish Borders. Here you will board a train to travel on Scotland's newest route, the Borders Line, the longest stretch of new passenger rail track to be built in the UK in over 100 years. Rolling hills, open moorland and gentle valleys signal that you've reached Sir Walter Scott country. There will be some free time in Edinburgh on arrival before travelling on towards the Highlands and your 2 night stay in Arrochar at the Loch Long Hotel. Dinner, bed and breakfast.
DAY 3 - Drive north along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond to Crianlarich where you will board the train for a glorious ride through the Highlands to Fort William, enjoying fabulous views for the entire journey. Time at leisure in Fort William with its magnificent setting on the shores of Loch Linnhe amid wonderful mountain scenery of Ben Nevis. Return to the hotel in Arrochar via spectacular Glen Coe by coach this afternoon. Dinner, bed & breakfast.
NB For the July departure, this day may operate in reverse, with the coach taking you first to Fort William and returning early evening by train to Crianlarich and then on by coach to the hotel for a slightly later than usual dinner.
DAY 4 - The scenery continues today as you travel down Loch Lomond via the 'Take the High Road' village of Luss, the location used for the fictional village of Glendarroch in the popular Scottish TV soap. The pretty conservation village of Luss has a narrow sandy lochside beach and picture-prefect slate cottages garlanded with rambling roses. Continue south through Ayrshire to Dumfries & Galloway and onto Stranraer for 3 night stay at the well located North West Castle Hotel. Dinner, bed & breakfast.
DAY 5 - At leisure in Stranraer today. Gateway to the Rhinns of Galloway, Stranraer is a bustling port town with plenty of shops and eateries as well as its main attraction, the Castle of St. John, a ruined tower which sits on a green in the main street.
About 5 miles from Stranraer you will find Castle Kennedy Gardens, described as 'one of the showpieces of Galloway' and is one of Scotland's most important historical landscaped gardens. There is a public bus service which operates from Stranraer to the village of Castle Kennedy (gardens approx. ½ mile walk from here). Alternatively local taxis are available.
DAY 6 - Enjoy your final train journey today through the attractive scenery of the Ayrshire Coast with lovely sea views to the famous golfing resort and seaside town of Troon. Overlooking the Isle of Arran and Ailsa Craig, Troon boasts stunning sandy beaches, a lovely esplanade, a wealth of charming, independent cafes and unique shops and boutiques. Rejoin the coach here for a visit to Culzean Castle & Country Park (entrance included). Surrounded by surging seas, lush forest and secret gardens, Culzean Castle stands on a dramatic cliff top overlooking the Firth of Clyde in nearly 600 acres of stunning countryside with miles of marked paths. Return to Stranraer in the afternoon.
DAY 7 - It's farewell to Scotland today as your homeward journey takes through Dumfries & Galloway and the beautiful lowlands. Make a stop at the historic market town of Dumfries, 'The Queen of the South' which straddles the River Nith. It has been home to a number of famous individuals over the years including JM Barrie and David Coulthard but its most famous former resident is Robert Burns who spent his final years here. Final overnight in Northern England at St George Hotel at Teeside Airport. Dinner, bed & breakfast.
DAY 8 - Back south today as you head to interchange, arriving home during the evening.