Scotland – West Highland Heritage Trail


The region of Argyll in the South West of Scotland is a true treasure trove of historic gems, the likes of which are not to be found in any other part of the country. 

With your knowledgeable driver guide you’ll visit an array of key sites across the West Coast region of Argyll, Isle of Arran, The Holy Isle and the Slate Islands. 

One of the quieter areas of the country, South Argyll is tucked away from the main tourist routes so you’ll really have the chance to get up close to some of Scotland’s most important sites and often feel like you are the only ones there. 

From villages affected by the tragic Highland Clearances to castle ruins, from neolithic structures to remnants of the industrial revolution  – on this private tour of Scotland you’ll uncover a tapestry of intense human history spanning many centuries.

Activity Level

Speak to your travel designer about how active you like to be on vacation.
This trip can be adapted to include easy, moderate or more challenging hikes, or you can choose to do a less active version.

We will pair you up with a guide who is most suited to your activity level. 


Day One – Private audience with a scottish historian

Arrive at Glasgow Airport where you’ll be met by your driver guide and transferred to your accommodation in Glasgow.

In the afternoon you’ll meet one of Scotland’s most eminent historians for a private audience. You’ll learn about the reasons so many Scots emigrated during the 18th and 19th centuries and have the chance to ask questions about Scottish history, culture and politics. 

Overnight: Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow
Included meals: Lunch

Day Two – The Isle of Arran – Scotland in Miniature 

Your guide will collect you from your hotel this morning and following a welcome coffee and briefing you’ll head off to catch the ferry to the Isle of Arran. Known fondly as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, this small island has a lot to offer with its beautiful coastline, mountain peaks and rich history. 

On arrival on the island your guide will lead you on a hike to Glenashdale Falls, a trail that offers a great viewpoint over Lamlash Bay and the Holy Isle, 2 impressive ancient burial chambers can also be found along the trail. 

Overnight: Lamlash Bay Hotel, Isle of Arran
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Mountains and river in a glen on the Isle of Arran, Scotland

Day Three – The Holy Isle

Taking a short ferry crossing, you’ll step foot on one of the most iconic holy sites in the UK.  The Holy Isle’s sacred history spans back to the 6th century when it is believed that the monk St Molaise lived here in a cave. The island is now home to a Tibetan Buddhist retreat centre and a community of nuns who spend 3 year stints living in the remote community. 

You’ll have the option to hike a 4 mile loop around the island, visiting the lighthouse on the east shores and looking out for the local wildlife. 

Alternatively you may wish to stay on mainland Arran and visit the ruins of Kilbride Chapel and churchyard. 

Overnight: Lamlash Bay Hotel, Isle of Arran
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day Four – Brodick Castle, Glenrosa or Goat Fell

There are a few options for today, depending on how active you like to be. 

For a relaxing day you’ll visit the baronial grandeur of Brodick Castle and gardens followed by an insight into island life at Arran Heritage Museum and perhaps a stop at the local brewery for a sample of craft ale. 

If you’d like a more active day your guide will accompany you on a hike to the Glenrosa waterfalls, or for a full day hike you can summit the island’s highest peak, Goatfell. 

Overnight: Lamlash Bay Hotel, Isle of Arran
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day Five – Dunadd Fort and The Highland Clearances

Crossing to the western Scottish mainland, you’ll reach South Argyll today, a region that boasts a vast array of sites representing thousands of years of history. 

The first site today is Dunadd Fort,  once the power centre for the old Kingdom of Dàl Riata between 500 and 800 BC.  Not much remains of the fort, but a short, steep climb will give you a real sense why this small hill made such a good fortress, as the views span over the Moine Mhor “the big moss”, an expanse of flat bog land. 

Later, visit a site that brings Scotland’s story of land clearance and emigration to the forefront. In the 1840s the residents of Arichonan were forcibly evicted by the landowner’s agents to make way for more profitable, sheep farming. A 20 minute walk up a grassy trail provides beautiful views over a nearby sea loch, before continuing to the ruins of the village.  Walking between the houses, barns and livestock quarters you’ll find old bed frames and a large cauldron giving you a real sense of a community that once was. The folk of Arichonan did not take their eviction lightly, as you will find out. 

Your accommodation tonight lies on the banks of Crinan Canal, the construction of which was partly funded by the landowner who evicted the villagers of Arichonan.

Overnight: The Crinan Hotel, Crinan
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

The ruins of a house in the Scottish Highlands

Day Six – Kilmartin Glen

Kilmartin Glen is one of the key ancient historic sites in the British Isles.  The valley is home to one of the highest concentrations of Neolithic artefacts in the whole of Europe.  There are several sites to explore and you’ll discover a wealth of burial chambers, standing stones and ancient ‘cup and ring’ rock art. 

A visit to Kilamrtin museum is also a must, and the neighbouring church and graveyard that houses some impressive carved Pictish stones.

The final stop today is Carnasserie Castle, a 16th century tower house that is now ruined, but still provides access through its great halls and narrow spiral stone staircases. It’s worth the climb up to the battlements for views over the glen. 

Overnight: Loch Melfort Hotel, near Oban
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

A neolithic burial cairn in Kilmartin Glen in Scotland

Day Seven – The Slate Islands

Today you’ll join a local skipper on a private Zodiac trip to discover a unique group of islands off the west coast of Argyll. 

The deep scars of the Slate Islands tell the story of their not too distant industrial past. As the name suggests, the islands were heavily quarried for slate and became known as the ‘islands that roofed the world’, a hint as to how productive the quarries once were. 

Is it thought that mining began as early as the 12th century, and continued right up until the mid 1900s.  The slate is no longer mined here but the deep, flooded quarries remain as a constant reminder. 

You’ll have the chance to go ashore on one or two of the islands to get up close to some of the old quarries to a feel for what it would have been like to live and work here during the industrial era. 

Back on the boat, if the tides are right, you may get the chance to experience the fierce Corryvreckan, a tidal whirlpool that runs between the islands. 

Overnight: Loch Melfort Hotel, near Oban
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day Eight – Kirk and Castle

On the transfer this morning you’ll pass through the busy harbour town of Oban, a key port for the ferries that service many of the Hebridean Islands.
We continue further inland to the shores of Loch Awe where you’ll visit the Gothic grandeur of St Conan’s Kirk (church) and the ruins of Kilchurn Castle. 

The day ends on the banks of Loch Lomond in the quaint village of Luss.

Overnight: The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel, Luss
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Kilchurn Castle on the banks of Loch Awe, Scotland

Day Nine – Transfer to Glasgow and Depart

Your driver guide will transfer you back to Glasgow where your West of Scotland adventure ends. 

What’s included

  • 8 nights accommodation based on 2 people sharing a room
  • Private driver guide from Day 2 to Day 9 inclusive
  • Private airport transfer on Day 1
  • Meals as listed in the above itinerary (lunches are a mixture of bagged and cafe)
  • All entry fees, activities and hikes mentioned in the itinerary
  • All ferry travel throughout this itinerary
  • Gratuities for local services and experiences

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance 
  • Flights 
  • Any accommodation, meals, entrance, fees and activities not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for your main driver guide


Speak to your travel designer to find out what accommodation and vehicle upgrades are available for this tour. 

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