When the timing is right, exploring the very best of Scotland could prove to be the perfect 2021 travel adventure.
Looking at the year ahead, we preview 21 Scottish holidays scheduled to depart throughout 2021.
1. Arran, ‘Scotland in Miniature’
The spectacular Isle of Arran found in the Firth of Clyde is the best of Scotland distilled down into miniature.
Discovering the island, this tour, available from April to September, shows off the very best of the famous island.
A circular tour of Arran travelling through some beautiful scenery, a visit to the Isle of Arran Distillery and stately Brodick Castle are some of this wonderful tour’s key included experiences.
2. Mull Wildlife Experience
A natural wildlife paradise, Mull’s varied landscapes are home to a wide selection of birds and sealife.
One of the best places in Scotland to admire huge birds of prey including the Golden Eagle, readers will also have the chance to take a boat trip around the beautiful Treshnish Isles.
A popular haunt for Atlantic Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills amongst other eye-catching birdlife can be found nesting on the rugged coastline.
During this insightful tour, you will be given a presentation from the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust before two included sightseeing cruises and an expertly guided wildlife walk offer the chance for a spot of wildlife observation.
3. Scenic Scottish Railways
Enjoying the scenic beauty of Scotland by rail is one of the great quintessentially Scottish experiences.
A vast network of tracks, viaducts and bridges sprung up throughout the country during the Victorian era.
During this featured tour, holidaymakers will be able to enjoy a journey on the Strathspey Railway travelling through the Cairngorms and a journey on the famous Jacobite train crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Overlooking Loch Shiel where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745 at the beginning of the famous Jacobite Rebellion, this is one of the world’s most iconic rail journeys.
Alternative notable high points include the iconic Eilean Donan Castle and the lovely banks of the Beauly Firth.
4. Highlights of Orkney & Shetland
Following in the footsteps of the Vikings this tour takes in the beauty of both Orkney and Shetland.
After joining the coach at your chosen regional pick-up, the tour truly begins with a ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Shetland.
Touring the Isles, former capital Scalloway is the first stop. Here, you will be able to admire the ruins of a 16th-century castle.
Moving on, the tour takes in the striking cliffs of Eshaness, the prehistoric Norse settlement of Jarlshof and the RSPB Reserve at Sumburgh Head.
Bidding farewell to the Shetland Isles, readers then cross over to Orkney.
Enjoying accommodation in the capital Kirkwall, touring highlights include the mythical Ring of Brodgar and Stones of Stenness, the Churchill Barriers and the island’s landmark Italian Chapel.
5. Highland Wildlife Safari
A magnificent Highland Safari available next summer, this tour celebrates the renowned beauty of Scotland’s natural environments and wildlife.
Starting at the Loch of Lowes Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve, close to Dunkeld, best known for its pair of Ospreys, visitors to the park can get a flavour of these birds of prey’s way of life.
Excursions to look forward to include the Highland Wildlife Park, House of Aigas Field Centre, Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve (the oldest of its kind in Britain) and Abernethy National Nature Reserve.
Admire bottlenose dolphins during the closing chapters of this safari during a cruise along Moray Firth.
6. A Classic Scottish Steam Break
Join an exploration of Scotland’s fascinating legacy of steam taking a look at some of the country’s most iconic locations.
The irresistible scenery of Scotland can be admired throughout with highlights including the iconic Jacobite train and a boat journey on the Falkirk Wheel.
7. Coll & Tiree
Romantic Coll & Tiree out in the Hebridean Sea are must-visits for readers looking tick off the very best of the country’s beautiful islands.
Sailing out of Oban Bay, this featured itinerary gives readers plenty of opportunities to enjoy unspoilt beaches hidden away on Coll, visit the island’s RSPB Nature Reserve and explore one of the sunniest places in the UK – Tiree.
8. Islay & Jura
Dominated by the ‘Paps of Jura’, Jura is beautiful and remote, once home to the famous author George Orwell.
Neighbouring Islay has long been an archaeological treasure trove, today best known for its memorable malt whiskies.
Exploring both of these small Scottish islands with included visits to both the Bowmore Distillery and Loch Gruinart RSPB Nature Reserve, many also opt to join an optional excursion to Colonsay completing the exploration of a trio of Inner Hebridean gems.
9. Grand Tour of Inner Hebrides
A grand tour of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides features a roll-call of incredible islands.
A packed island-hopping adventure, a wildlife cruise going out in search of dolphins, seals and sharks is complemented with visits to the remote Treshnish Isles, Colonsay, Mull, striking Staffa and scenic Iona.
10. Isle of Mull, Staffa & Iona
Based on the Isle of Mull, this wonderful itinerary celebrates the beauty and notable history of this fascinating part of Scotland.
Enjoying excursions by land and sea, intriguing highlights include a cruise going out to the Treshnish Isles and basalt column island of Staffa, a visit to Duart Castle dating back to the 13th century and the sacred Isle of Iona.
11. Gardens of Dumfries & Galloway
This artistic garden tour whisks travellers off to some of the grandest buildings in the UK.
Visiting Dumfries House and Drumlanrig Castle, home to beautifully kept gardens and each with their own fine art and furniture collections to admire, further holiday moments include the Asian-inspired garden at Broughton House and the pond at Glenwhan Gardens.
12. Shetland & its Outer Isles
Seeing four of the famed Shetland islands, readers will be able to go out in search of wildlife, travel back in time with a visit to 3000-year old Jarlshof, explore the remote island of Mousa and gain an insight into 19th century Shetland croft life before touring the northernmost islands of Yell and Unst.
Venturing out to remote Unst provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to stop Bobby’s Bus Shelter at Baltasound – one of the most famous bus shelters in the UK!
13. Grand Tour of the Outer Hebrides
Heading to the North East of Scotland, this tremendous island hopping tour follows an incredible itinerary with time spent on North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula, Barra, Vatersay, Harris, Lewis and Stornoway.
Exploring the famous Western Isles, this scenic tour takes care of the details leaving readers to enjoy the breath-taking scenery and learn about some of Scotland’s intriguing islands.
14. Autumn Tints of Arran
Travel to Arran later this year and enjoy the island and its attractions at their autumn finest.
Encountering impressive castles, huge mountains and scenic stretches of coast and woodland, there is much to see throughout Arran.
Following a classic itinerary, enjoy a circular tour and a visit to Brodick Castle, surrounded by gardens dressed in a hue of autumnal colour as you gain insight into this spectacular part of the world.
15. Speyside’s Whisky Trail
Discover a region home to some of the most famous single malts in the world during a tour ideal for connoisseurs and readers looking to learn about Scotland’s best-known export.
Visiting local distilleries, getting a glimpse into the production process and enjoying a nostalgic train ride on the Dufftown to Keith heritage railway, this is must consider for 2021.
16. Spring & Autumn in the West Highlands
Discover the West Highlands this year, ticking off a number of Scottish highlights including Ardkinglas Woodland Garden, Kilmartin Glen, Glenarn Gardens and the Isle of Mull.
A tour timed to enjoy two seasons at very different, yet equally colourful times of the year, admire stunning natural landscapes throughout this scenery-laden adventure.
17. Highland Explorer: Skye and the Far North
Showcasing some of Scotland’s greatest sights, this 6-day itinerary first travels into the beautiful Cairngorms then the wilderness of Assynt and on to the ‘bonnie’ beach at Achmelvich.
Spending time on the Isle of Skye with a stop at Portree, the tour then moves on to Fort William.
Readers then go on to enjoy Mallaig and the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct of Harry Potter fame
A return journey passing Glencoe and Loch Earn provides a fitting scenery-laden finale to this essential tour.
18. Caledonian Days
New for 2021, ‘Caledonian Days’ sets out to capture the rather grand feeling of going on classic excursions.
Enjoy journeys that were once the bedrock of magical short trips throughout Scottish society.
Beginning at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, this trip down memory lane takes in the Riverside Museum of Transport before including train journeys to Wemyss Bay and on the West Highland Line to Oban.
Two steamer visits, first on the Clyde then Lomond, present further opportunities to capture the feeling of glorious day trips of old.
19. Scottish Highlands & Skye
An excellent make-your-own-way option, venture to the Scottish Highlands and Skye in 2021.
Joining an expertly crafted tour at your hotel, the adventure begins close to the banks of the River Ness.
Close to Inverness city, the touring begins with your group travelling into Cairngorms National Park.
Different itinerary highlights featured range from a journey on the Strathspey heritage railway to enjoying a cruise along Loch Ness in search of the iconic monster.
On Day 4, follow on the trail of Harry Potter with a scenic journey along the Fort William to Mallaig line, crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct before the final day of exploration tackles the scenic Isle of Skye.
Enjoy a tour of the island before exploring Dunvegan Castle and its beautiful gardens.
20. Historic Houses of the Scottish Borders
Travelling down to the Scottish Borders, readers will be served a fantastic slice of Scottish history throughout this cultural break away.
See Georgian stately homes including Manderston House, Sir Walter Scott’s personal collections at Abbotsford and Floors Castle as you enjoy the understated beauty of the Scottish borders.
21. Best of Ayshire Gardens
A must-consider for the green-fingered garden enthusiasts amongst you, discover the lovely gardens of Ayrshire.
Tour visits include Dumfries House, Culzean Castle, the private gardens Burnside, Carnell, Barnweil, Blair House, Auchlochan Walled Garden and Holmes Farm Nursery.
Readers keen to include as much as possible will have the chance to join optional tours to Arran, visiting both Brodick Castle and the private garden of Dougarie.
Bonus for 2022: Up Helly Aa Fire Festival
A memorable way to celebrate the lengthening of the days, 2022 packages for Up Helly Aa are now available. Click here for more information.