May 1, 2021
A journey inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s series Outlander. Join Our State as we bask in some of Scotland’s most sweeping scenic landscapes and iconic historical sites, many of which served as filming locations for Outlander.
May 1-9, 2021
Saturday, May 1
Depart RDU for Edinburgh
Sunday, May 2
Welcome to Scotland! Meet your Driver and Tour Director at the Edinburgh Airport to begin our sightseeing. Our first destination is Hopetoun House and Estate, a place of outstanding natural beauty, which has one of Scotland’s finest stately homes at its heart. We will tour this magnificent location as numerous parts of the house and grounds have played large roles in Outlander, including: The Duke of Sandringham’s stately home, the spare room in Jamie and Claire’s Paris apartment, the Hawkins Estate, the backdrop for Parisian streets, the stables at Helwater, and the exterior of Ellesnere. Another key filming location on the Hopetoun Estate is Midhope Castle, which Outlander fans will recognize as Jamie’s beloved Lallybroch. While no filming took place inside the castle, the exterior is instantly recognizable. Next, we visit Blackness Castle, dating from the 15th century and nicknamed “the ship that never sailed”. In Outlander, the castle is featured as Black Jack Randall’s headquarters in Fort William. Its internal courtyard is shown in the heart-wrenching scenes from Jamie’s incarceration.
Hotel: Hotel Colessio – Our home for the next three nights is located in the heart of historic Stirling and is one of the most exclusive small hotels in Scotland. This luxury boutique hotel brings modern 21st century style and comfort to a grand building that dates back to 1825. Here we will host a Welcome Dinner for Our State guests. | Dinner included
Monday, May 3
Today we visit Stirling Castle – a symbol of Scottish independence and a source of national pride. Knights, nobles and foreign ambassadors once flocked to the Royal Court at Stirling to revel in the castle’s grandeur. Then, we travel to marvel at the splendor of Doune Castle, built as the home of Regent Albany, “Scotland’s uncrowned King.” Outlander fans will recognize Doune Castle as Castle Leoch, home of the MacKenzie’s and where Jamie first brought Claire. We will also explore the magnificent ruins of the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots,Linlithgow Palace. In Outlander, the majestic entrance and corridors feature as Wentworth Prison where Jamie was imprisoned.
Hotel: Hotel Colessio – Stirling | Full breakfast is included at your hotel
Tuesday, May 4
Today, we visit one of the most picturesque villages in Scotland, Culross. We’ll see brightly colored houses that line the cobbled streets and the ochre colored palace. In Outlander the Mercat Cross area in the center of the town becomes the fictional village of Cranesmuir, where Geillis lives, while the garden behind Culross Palace stands in for Claire’s herb garden at Castle Leoch. Tonight we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Culross.
Hotel: Hotel Colessio – Stirling | Full breakfast is included in your hotel, Dinner included
Wednesday, May 5 | Full Breakfast is included at your hotel. Then, we travel through Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most famous and most scenic Highland glens. We will visit Fort William, located at the foot of the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis, and explore the impressive mountains and glens, forests, and sea lochs that surround the town. We will enjoy lunch in town today in Fort William.
Hotel: Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel and Spa – Inverness | B, L, D
Thursday, May 6
Today we visit the Battlefields of Culloden, where in 1746 the Jacobite cause, with Bonnie Price Charlie’s leadership, came to a tragic end. We’ll visit the exciting visitor center and interactive exhibition. You will see the moor where Jamie fights in the 1746 Battle of Culloden. Located just a short distance from Inverness, we will visit the Clava Cairns. It is a well preserved Bronze Age cemetery consisting of ring cairns, kerb cairns, passage graves, and standing stones. This site is hugely insightful into a way of life dating back as far as 4,000 years. The Clava Cairns are said to have provided the inspiration for Outlander’s mysterious Craigh n Dun – the standing standing stones which sweep Clair back in time. Enjoy a short cruise Loch Ness taking in the spectacular Scottish scenery.You may even be lucky enough to spot the infamous Loch Ness Monster, Nessie! Dinner will be on your own this evening.
Hotel: Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel and Spa – Inverness | Breadkfast is included in your hotel, Dinner on your own
Friday, May 7
We will visit the Highland Folk Museum showing how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s up until the 1960s. There is a display of more than 30 historical buildings. In Outlander, the museum’s replica 18th century Highland crofts are shown when Claire joins Dougal and his followers on their task to collect rent from the clan’s tenants. The onto Kinloch Rannoch, a small village in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, at the eastern end of Loch Rannoch. It serves as the gateway to the Highlands. Next, is Pitlochry, a town situated in the heart of the stunning scenery of Highland Perthsire. It has been a tourist destination since the railway arrived here 150 years ago. We will have a lunch break in this quaint city – Lunch is included for Our State guests. Dinner will be on your own this evening.
Hotel: Hilton Edinburgh Carlton | Full breakfast is included at your hotel, Lunch included
Saturday, May 8
On our final day of touring, first up is Edinburgh Castle, a fortress which dominates the skyline of the City of Edinburgh. The castle houses the Honors of Scotland, the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland.
You’ll see the Canongate Tolbooth – a highly distinctive building, and its clock is often photographed by passing tourists. As well as being an interesting and important building, the Tolbooth is a reminder that at one time the Canongate was separate from the Royal Burgh of Edinburgh.
As your complimentary AAA Member Benefit, tonight is a chance to put on that tartan and join an evening of traditional singing, dancing and cuisine at The Spirit of Scotland’s Dinner and Show. It will be a grand night and a wonderful way to celebrate your last evening in Edinburgh.
Hotel: Hilton Edinburgh Carlton | Full breakfast is included at your hotel, Dinner included
Sunday, May 9
Bid farewell to Scotland (flight time permitting) as we begin our journey home.
Full breakfast is included at your hotel