Thompson Family Explorations - Final Information

Sunday 30th June – Friday 12th July 2024

Number of Travellers: 5
Duration: 13 Days / 12 Nights

Highlights

  • Explore the bustling streets of London with a local as you delve in the history of the city
  • Visit one of the most important castles in Scotland
  • Discover some of the most stunning Scottish landscapes by foot and canoe

Day by Day

Day 1 - Sunday 30th June - Arrival in London

Arriving at your London airport, the bustling energy of the city greets you with open arms. After a seamless transfer, you find yourselves at the doorstep of your centrally located haven, The Marylebone Hotel. With its welcoming ambience and impeccable service, you quickly settle in and unwind before venturing out for a leisurely afternoon. Meandering through the charming streets, you discover hidden gems and iconic landmarks, setting the stage for an unforgettable journey. With anticipation for the days to come, retire to your accommodations, ready to embrace your first night in the enchanting city of London.

Overnight: London | The Marylebone
Room Type: x1 Deluxe King & x1 Deluxe Twin with Rollaway
Meals Included: None

Day 1 - Flight Details Read More +

Travel Date: June 29, 2024 | Airline: United Airlines | Flight Number: UA9300
Departure Airport: San Francisco | Departure Time: 7:45 pm
Arrival Airport: London Heathrow | Arrival Time: 2:10 pm

Day 1 - Transfer Details Read More +

Pick Up Location: T2 | Pick Up Time: 2:30 pm

Day 2 - Monday 1st July - Historic London

As the morning sun bathes London in its golden glow, meet your guide for an immersive journey through history. Beginning with a captivating tour of the Tower of London. Marvel at the ancient architecture and legendary tales as you explore the fortress’s secrets, unlocking centuries of intrigue. Next,  cross the iconic London Bridge, soaking in breathtaking views of the majestic Thames River. As the day progresses, venture back into central London, where the grandeur of Westminster Abbey awaits. Guided by your expert, delve into the abbey’s rich heritage, from coronations to royal weddings, each corner steeped in significance. As twilight descends, make your way to the theatre for a captivating performance of Mamma Mia! The evening unfolds with laughter, music, and mesmerising storytelling, leaving you enchanted and eager for more adventures in this vibrant metropolis.

Overnight: London | The Marylebone
Room Type: x1 Deluxe King & x1 Deluxe Twin with Rollaway
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 2 - Guide Details - Martin Brown Read More +

Name: Martin Brown
Contact Number: +44 (0)7811 116232
Meeting Place: The Marylebone | Meeting Time: 9:00 am

Meet your local Blue Badge guide Martin, in the hotel lobby, for a day of adventures to see the Changing of the Guard followed by a guided tour of Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge

Martin will have all your tickets required for the day

Day 2 - Mamma Mia Read More +

Activity: Mamma Mia
Start Location: Novello Theatre | Start Time: 19:30
Booking Reference: https://www.novellotheatrelondon.info/
Phone: +44 (0)344 482 5151 | Website: https://www.novellotheatrelondon.info/

Please find your e-tickets attached

Show running time: 2 hour 35 minutes including an interval

Please note: Latecomers may not be admitted until a suitable break but we cannot guarantee admittance into the performance

Day 3 - Tuesday 2nd July - Exploring London

After a delicious breakfast, begin your independent exploration in London. Armed with a map and a spirit of adventure, traverse the bustling streets, each corner revealing a new facet of the city’s charm. From quaint cafes to vibrant markets, you can sample local delights and immerse yourself in the eclectic culture. Strolling through Hyde Park, find solace amidst the lush greenery, while the vibrant energy of Covent Garden captivates your senses. As the day unfolds, stumble upon hidden gems and iconic landmarks, each offering its own story to tell. With no set itinerary, embrace the spontaneity, allowing the rhythm of the city to guide your footsteps. As evening falls, you find yourselves swept away by the enthralling performance of Les Misérables, a timeless masterpiece that stirs the soul. With hearts full of wonder and excitement, you return to the comfort of The Marylebone Hotel, for a restful night’s sleep before your flight to Scotland in the morning.

Overnight: London | The Marylebone
Room Type: x1 Deluxe King & x1 Deluxe Twin with Rollaway
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Les Miserables Read More +

Activity: Les Miserables
Start Location: Sondheim Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6BA | Start Time: 19:30
Booking Reference: 16409185
Phone: +44(0)344 482 5151 | Website: https://www.sondheimtheatre.co.uk/

Please find your e-tickets attached

Running time: 2 hours 50 minutes including an interval

Please note: Latecomers may not be admitted until a suitable break but we cannot guarantee admittance into the performance

Day 4 - Wednesday 3rd July - Onward to Scotland

Meet your private driver in the morning for a seamless transfer to the airport as you bid farewell to London to catch your morning flight to Edinburgh. Arrive in Edinburgh to meet your private driver to transfer you to your luxurious city centre hotel. Have time to relax and settle in before joining a tour that will take you on a trip back in time. Wander the streets of Edinburgh to visit the dark eerie dwellings of the Real Mary King’s close. Experience a tour and learn how the locals used to live and work in these underground alleyways, before returning to your hotel for the evening.

Overnight: Edinburgh | The Bonham
Room Type: x1 Superior King & x1 Superior Twin with Rollaway

Day 4 - Transfer Details Read More +

Pick Up Location: Marleybone Hotel | Pick Up Time: 10:00 am

Your private transfer will take you to T5, Heathrow Airport for your onwards travel to Edinburgh

Day 4 - Flight Details Read More +

Travel Date: July 3, 2024 | Airline: BA | Flight Number: 1446
Departure Airport: London Heathrow | Departure Time: 1:15 pm
Arrival Airport: Edinburgh | Arrival Time: 2:40 pm

London to Edinburgh Flight.

Day 4 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Edinburgh Chauffeur Services
Pick Up Location: Edinburgh Airport (EDI) | Pick Up Time: 3:30 pm | Approx Duration: 0.5 hrs
Phone: +44 (0)131 654 2200

Your private transfer driver will meet you at Arrivals and have a sign showing your name.

Day 4 - Mary King's Close Tour Read More +

Activity: Mary King's Close Tour
The Real Mary King's Close:
Start Location: The Real Mary King's Close, 2 Warriston's Close, High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PG | Start Time: 17:00
Booking Reference: 41767217
Phone: +44 (0)131 225 0672

Situated on the Royal Mile, across from the magnificent St. Giles’ Cathedral and the Mercat Cross.

Look for the flags and arches of Edinburgh City Chambers, and Mary King’s Close entrance is right next door.

Your tickets are attached to the important documents section of your final information, please bring these with you on the day.  Please arrive 15 minutes before your tour start time.

Day 4 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Kyloe Restaurant & Grill | Location: 1-3 Rutland St, Edinburgh EH1 2AE
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm
Phone: +44 (0)131 229 3402

Booked directly.

Day 5 - Thursday 4th July - Exploring Edinburgh

This morning immerse yourselves in the winding cobbled streets of historic Old Town Edinburgh as you enjoy a private walking tour with an expert local guide. Discover the highlights of this unique capital city from the Palace of Holyroodhouse all the way up the ‘Royal Mile’ to the mighty ancient fortress which is Edinburgh Castle itself. Walk the ramparts atop castle rock and hear the tales of the One O’Clock gun and the stories of locals of times past. Your guide will leave you here so that you can spend time as you wish. You then have a free afternoon to continue explorations at your own pace, pick up souvenirs or relax as you prefer.

Overnight: Edinburgh | The Bonham
Room Type: x1 Superior King & x1 Superior Twin with Rollaway

Day 5 - Half Day Guided Explorations Read More +

Activity: Half Day Guided Explorations
Expert Local Guide: Hannah Tait
Start Location: The Bonham | Start Time: 09:30 | Approx Duration: 3.5 hrs

Phone: +44 (0)7920 408 507

Your local expert guide will meet you at the reception of your hotel and will have all tickets and information required for your morning.

This includes tickets for entry to Edinburgh Castle.

Day 5 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Palmerston | Location: 1 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh EH12 5AF
Reservation Time: 7:45 pm
Phone: +44 (0)131 220 1794

Booked directly

Day 6 - Friday 5th July - Journey to the Valley of Glencoe

Meet your main driver guide at your hotel this morning and set off for the west coast. Travel to experience the adrenaline rush of magnificent creatures flying overhead and swooping low to land like a feather on your outstretched arm, a truly unique experience. Have time here to be mesmerised by the grace and poise of the birds of prey. Afterwards, it is time to continue on to the nearby city of Stirling. Here, discover the history and significance this location has played in Scotland’s past. Wander inside the impressive Stirling Castle, perched high on the cliff side, dominating the landscape. Later, continue through the beautiful scenery to the valley of Glencoe and on to your Castle accommodation in the highland town of Fort William.

Drive time from The Bonham to Inverlochy Castle is around 3hrs 30 mins depending on traffic and without stops.

Overnight: Near Fort William | Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Room Type: x1 Junior Suite with Rollaway & x1 Suite

Day 6 - Guide Details - Ian Jones Read More +

Name: Ian Jones
Contact Number: +44 (0)7910 717 044
Meeting Place: The Bonham | Meeting Time: 9:00 am

Your main guide/driver will meet you at the reception of your hotel.

Day 6 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Inverlochy Castle | Location: Fort William
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm
Phone: +44 (0)1397 702 177

Booked directly.

Day 7 - Saturday 6th July - Canoeing Loch Adventure

Today, take to the waters by canoe to explore your wonderful surroundings. Your expert guide will teach you the basics for a fun and enchanting loch journey. Paddle the shoreline and stop off to enjoy a picnic lunch at the waters edge. Returning to dry land your guide will be awaiting your arrival. Have the choice of a afternoon hike or perhaps you would like to simply have a cosy cafe stop before returning to your castle retreat.

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

Overnight: Near Fort William | Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Room Type: x1 Junior Suite with Rollaway & x1 Suite

Day 7 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Lime Tree Restaurant | Location: Fort William
Reservation Time: 8:00 pm
Phone: +44 (0)1397-701806 | Website: https://www.limetreefortwilliam.co.uk/

Booked directly.

Day 8 - Sunday 7th July - Over the Sea to Skye

After a leisurely breakfast, head west to the Isle of Skye. A short drive west along the beautiful “Road To The Isles” takes us past the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, all the way to Arisaig Bay near Mallaig. Rain or shine this coastline provides something special, from the glistening waters reflecting the rays of the sun, to the atmospheric crash of the waves on the rugged rock formations. From Mallaig, board the ferry over the sea to Skye and transfer with your guide to your hotel for the next few nights.

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

Drive time from Inverlochy Castle to Sligachan is around 2hrs 30 mins depending on traffic and without stops.

Overnight: Isle of Skye | Sligachan Hotel
Room Type: x2 Family Rooms

Day 8 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Sligachan Hotel | Location: Isle of Skye
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm
Phone: +44(0)1478 650 204 | Website: https://www.sligachan.co.uk/harta-restaurant

Booked directly.

Day 9 - Monday 8th July - Guided Explorations on the Isle of Skye

Today you have a full day to explore some of the special corners of this magical island with your guide. You will be spoilt for choice with fascinating history and dramatic landscape on offer, with unique hiking routes through stark and unusual rock formations and sweeping coast and mountain views to enjoy in almost every direction. This ‘misty isle’ is also home to so many curious stories and legends of fairies and islander culture, your guide will share some of the best hidden gems and personalise the day to your interests.

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

Overnight: Isle of Skye | Sligachan Hotel
Room Type: x2 Family Rooms

Day 9 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: The Rosedale Hotel | Location: Portree
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm
Phone: 01478 613131 | Website: https://www.rosedalehotelskye.co.uk/restaurant

Booked directly.

Day 10 - Tuesday 9th July - Skye Hiking

Your guide will discuss options for today with you and you will meet up with them this morning to explore another beautiful corner of this ‘misty isle’ on foot. Today is flexible depending on your preferences, soak in the beautiful views and fresh air before heading back to your hotel for a relaxing evening.

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

Overnight: Isle of Skye | Sligachan Hotel
Room Type: x2 Family Rooms

Day 10 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Cuillin Hills Hotel | Location: Portree
Reservation Time: 8:00 pm
Phone: +44(0)1478 612003 | Website: https://www.cuillinhills-hotel-skye.co.uk/

Booked directly.

Day 11 - Wednesday 10th July - To the Highlands

Leave Skye today by crossing the iconic bridge, stopping at the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle that occupies an island at the confluence of three sea lochs and stands in defiance of the towering peaks surrounding it. Continue on to the dark waters of the infamous to Loch Ness, looking out for the monster that lurks beneath as you travel the lochside road. It is then time to visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle, once the stronghold of local Clans, this large castle has a rich and bloody past that dates back centuries. Afterwards, perhaps stop for lunch in the village of Drumnadrochit before continuing on to the Highland capital of Inverness.

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

Drive time from Sligachan to Boath house is around 3hrs depending on traffic and without stops.

Overnight: Auldearn | Boath House
Room Type: x1 Grand Twin with Rollaway & x1 Grand King

Day 11 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Boath House | Location: Nairn
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm
Phone: ++44 (0)1667 454 896 | Website: https://www.boath-house.com/

Booked directly.

Day 12 - Thursday 11th July - Cairngorms

After breakfast, visit the atmospheric Culloden Battlefield. With your guide discover what it was really like for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s men on that fateful April morning in 1745, when a Battle that changed Scotland’s history took place. See the gravestones erected to the clans that lost their lives for their cause. After an emotive morning head south for a lovely hill walk to meet the Cairngorm Reindeer. See this impressive mammal in their natural environment and take part in a hand feeding session while hearing about how they are cared for and why they thrive in the sub arctic environment of this particular mountain range. Depending on energy levels have the option to discover the trails of the local Caledonian pine forests before returning to your hotel for your final evening in Scotland.

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

Overnight: Auldearn | Boath House
Room Type: x1 Grand Twin with Rollaway & x1 Grand King

Day 12 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Boath House | Location: Nairn
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm
Phone: +44 (0)1667 454 896 | Website: https://www.boath-house.com/

Booked directly.

Day 13 - Friday 12th July - Depart

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation today and take you to the airport to make your onward connections. Waving farewell for now but taking with you special memories and wonderful stories of your explorations.

Day 13 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Edinburgh Chauffeur Services
Pick Up Location: Boath House, Nairn | Pick Up Time: 6:30 am
Phone: +44 (0)131 654 2200

Your private transfer driver will meet you at the reception of your hotel and transfer you to Edinburgh Airport in time for your flight.

Day 13 - Flight Details Read More +

Travel Date: July 12, 2024 | Airline: UA | Flight Number: 119
Departure Airport: Edinburgh Airport (EDI) | Departure Time: 11:30 am

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • 12 nights accommodation, as stated in the itinerary above
  • Meals stated in the itinerary above
  • The services of a qualified and experienced guide on Day 2  and Day 6 to Day 12.
  • All  airport transfers in a private vehicle
  • Entrance fees and activities mentioned in the itinerary, specifically:
    • Entry to the Tower of London
    • Entry to Westminster Abbey
    • Transfers in a Traditional Black Cab
    • Stall Tickets to Mamma Mia
    • Stall Tickets to Les Mis
    • Mary Kings Close Tour
    • Private Edinburgh City Tour
    • Admission – Stirling Castle
    • 3 hour Private Falconry Experience
    • Private Canoe Session
    • Ferry from Mallaig to Skye
    •  Meet a local Piper
    • Admission – Urquhart Castle
    • Admission – Culloden
    • Reindeer Herd Visit
  • Personalised trip design and delivery
  • 24/7 In-Country Support from the Wilderness Team
Exclusions Read More
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for the main driver guide
Notes Read More
  • Activities are only private if specifically stated

 

Notes On Weather & Flexibility

Weather – July in the UK can be a very wide range of weather, and very changeable. Suitable clothing and footwear is essential, as well as a flexible attitude. Plans may have to be changed to accommodate Mother Nature, and your guide will have back-up plans that they will discuss with you if required.

 

Essential Packing List

  • Waterproof jacket with hood
  • Waterproof over-pants
  • Sturdy hiking boots/shoes (sneakers or tennis shoes are not suitable for any hiking in Scotland)
  • Day pack 20-30 litre for carrying water and extra layers
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Warm layers
  • Warm hat, gloves and a neck gaiter
  • Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Smart casual attire for dinners

Note: If you would like us to provide trekking poles for your use then please just let us know and we will ensure these are available for you.

 

Useful Contacts

24 hour in-country support (Wilderness Scotland):  +44 (0)1479 420 020, or out with regular office hours +44 (0)7766 794 640 (urgent calls only)

24 hour in-country support (Wilderness England): +44 (0)1768 721 210, or out with regular office hours +44 (0)748 217 0401 (urgent calls only)

Emergency services:  999 or 112

NHS 24 (24 hour free medical advice):  111

 

Tipping Guidelines

For tipping our guides – We don’t generally recommend a set amount as tipping is not expected in the same way that it is in North America. However, similar North American travel companies generally suggest something along the lines of £10-30 per person per day for your guide, which is a wide range to choose from. Generally, we would encourage you to ask yourself what you were expecting from your guide, and then think about how they have exceeded those expectations and choose an amount you are comfortable with.

For local services such as restaurants again tipping is not expected but if you receive great service then 10-15% of the bill is normal.

Luggage Notes

Please note that we expect travellers to bring an average of One Large Holdall or Suitcase and up to Two smaller day-bags or hand-luggage sized pieces. If you expect to bring more than this then please let us know well in advance of arrival so that we can ensure there is capacity for this (additional charges will apply if separate luggage transfers are required).

Important Additional Information Read More
  • England General Info - PDF: View Now
  • Scotland General Info - PDF: View Now
  • Eat | See | Stay - Edinburgh - PDF: View Now
  • Eat | See | Stay - Fort William - PDF: View Now
  • Eat | See | Stay - Isle of Skye - PDF: View Now
  • Eat | See | Stay - Inverness - PDF: View Now
  • Mamma Mia - Tickets - PDF: View Now
  • Les Miserables - Tickets - PDF: View Now
  • Mary King's Close - tickets - PDF: View Now
Terms & Conditions Read More

Please see our booking terms here.


Accommodation

The Marylebone

47 Welbeck Street | London |
W1G 8DN | England
Phone: +44 20 7486 6600
Web: doylecollection.com/hotels

The Bonham

35 Drumsheugh Gardens | Edinburgh | Midlothian |
EH3 7RN | Scotland
Phone: 0131 226 6050
Web: thebonham.com

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Torlundy | Near Fort William |
PH33 6SN | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)1397 702 177
Web: inverlochycastlehotel.com

Sligachan Hotel

Sligachan, Isle of Skye | Isle of Skye |
IV47 8SW | Scotland
Phone: (+44) 1478 650 204
Web: sligachan.co.uk

Boath House

Boath House | Auldearn | Nairn |
IV12 5TE | Phone: +44 (0)1667 454 896
Web: boath-house.com


Meet Your Guide

Ian Jones

Contact Number: +44 (0)7910 717 044

Born and educated in Edinburgh, I began my teaching career. Throughout over 40 years in education in Scotland and abroad, I have used the outdoors both as a classroom and for leisure. Some of my fondest memories are of introducing young people to the varied Scottish landscapes and encouraging them to develop their skills in a range of activities including skiing, hill walking, climbing, sailing, canoeing, and cycling. I now look forward to sharing my knowledge of Scotland with a different audience.

Places to Play

I have had the opportunity to work and travel across the world. However, from scaling mountains to strolling through its glens and along its shores Scotland is unique. Now living in Strathspey, I have the Cairngorm National Park on my doorstep and easy access to the spectacular west coast.

Not a lot of people know this

I lived and worked in Dubai for 6 years and took the opportunity to do a skydive over The Palm.