This tour celebrates the icons of Scottish fiction and prose.
From the hotel where Orwell penned 1984 and Rowling wrote The Deathly Hallows, to visit The Mound, which is widely credited as the inspiration behind Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde – And that’s only the first day.
You will be welcomed to Scotland by your Lang Atholl Experience representative who will be on hand to assist you with your luggage.
The Balmoral Hotel has, for over a century, found a home at Edinburgh’s most prestigious address, No. 1 Princes Street. A landmark in the centre of the city, the historic building’s grand clock dominates the skyline, while its enviable location, stunning views, warm hospitality and world-class facilities provide the perfect retreat. Enjoy dinner in the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant, unwind in the award-winning spa and enjoy views of Edinburgh Castle. It is not far from here at the Mound where it is believed that Robert Louis Stevenson first came up with the idea for The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It is believed that he disliked the new age architecture fitting so closely to the ancient old town and that this was the first spark that drove him to create the monstrous character of Mr Hyde. Within the Balmoral Hotel, there is the J.K Rowling Suite which was presented to the author for her to find solidarity to write Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.
In the evening, you will be lead to the wonderful Signet Library where you will have a private welcome dinner. The Signet Library is home to the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet – WS Society for short. The Society goes back to the 15th century as the officers authorised to produce royal manuscripts with the King of Scotland’s seal, ‘the Signet’.
This tour sees you guided through the historic city, following in the footsteps of some of the world’s most famous authors.
The Elephant House, where much of the early Harry Potter books where written. Victoria Street, the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Greyfrairs Kirk, where some famous Harry Potter characters got their names.
Robert Louis Stevenson
The home where Stevenson grew up.
Deacon Brodie’s Tavern, named for the well respected socialite who lived a double life as a serial killer, inspiring Dr Jekyll.
Sir Walter Scott
Scott’s Monument, situated on Edinburgh’s Princes Street, is the tallest monument to an author in Europe. Along with this we will visit the plaque of remembrance for Scott within Princes St Gardens.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Picardy Place, Doyle’s birthplace. Today, there stands a Sherlock Holmes statue which was erected in his honour. The Royal College of Surgeons, where there is a hand written letter by Doyle to his lecturer Dr Joseph Bell, citing the doctor as his inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.
Once you have taken this tour, your guide will lead you to the Edinburgh Writer’s Museum. Home to portraits, rare books and personal objects including Burns’ writing desk, the printing press on which Scott’s Waverley Novels were first produced, and the rocking horse he used as a child. On display are Robert Louis Stevenson’s riding boots and the ring given to him by a Samoan chief, engraved with the name ‘Tusitala’, meaning ‘teller of tales’. There is also a plaster cast of Robert Burns’ skull, one of only three ever made.
You will begin your day travelling south from Edinburgh, into the Scottish Borders. Here you will find Abbotsford House, Home of Sir Walter Scott – the 19th century novelist who popularised tartan, saved the Scottish banknote and rediscovered his country’s Crown Jewels. Discover a treasure trove of intriguing items which inspired his greatest poems and novels and get an exclusive insider view into the life that made the man.
From Abbotsford House, you will make the short journey to Traquair House, Scotland’s oldest inhabited house dating back to the 1100’s. The house here is home to the Stuart family, who went on to become Kings and Queens of Scotland. In Sir Walter Scott’s Novel, the Waverley, he mentions the Traquair House gates flanked by two stone Bears. It was also Sir Walter Scott who perpetuated the story that the gates would not be re-opened until a Stuart was returned to the throne.
From Traquair, you will travel north to the ancient town of Stirling. A wee city with a big history, Stirling punches well above its weight for historic attractions and spectacular scenery. You will weave past historic venues such as the Wallace Monument before making a stop at Stirling Castle. Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most historically important sites and was once a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations at the castle. You will be swept back to 16th century life on your tour meeting costumed characters in the roles of bodyguards, court officials, maids of honour and servants.
From Stirling Castle, you will travel north to the picturesque town of Pitlochry where you will spend the night in the beautiful Fonab Castle Hotel. The hotel is nestled in the heart of Highland Perthshire and is a truly unique five star hotel. Lovingly restored, it draws inspiration from its historic past and breath-taking surroundings whilst adding the odd contemporary twist.
You will depart Pitlochry and travel east to the town of Kirriemuir where you will find JM Barrie’s Birthplace. The creator of Peter Pan, he spent his childhood in this small cottage, and it’s here that you can see traces of the creative spirit he was set to become. The son of a weaver, Barrie lived with his seven brothers and sisters in two upstairs rooms, while his father’s weaving workshop was downstairs. The washhouse in the yard was Barrie’s first theatre – and may even have inspired the Wendy house in Peter Pan.
An exhibition tells the story of his life and work, and includes the writing desk from Barrie’s London flat where he penned Peter Pan.
From Kirriemuir, you will travel to the beautiful Glamis Castle, a living, breathing monument to Scottish heritage, hospitality and enjoyment for all. The family home of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Glamis Castle is the legendary setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and the birthplace of Princess Margaret.
You will travel from Pitlochry along the banks of Loch Lochy and on to the town of Dornie where you will find Eilean Donan Castle. Eilean Donan Castle is regarded as one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland. Located on the Eilean (island) of Donan, overlooking the Isle of Skye, at the point of confluence of three great sea-lochs and surrounded by the majestic splendour of the forested mountains of Kintail. This 12th century castle holds a deep, rich history along with a setting that is truly breath-taking.
From the town of Dornie, you will make the short journey onto the Isle of Skye via the Skye Bridge. You will travel to your accommodation for the evening, Duisdale House where will you enjoy a unique highland getaway. Situated on the Sleat peninsula at the South tip of Skye, you will be surrounded by breathtaking views and peaceful, picturesque gardens at this luxurious, contemporary retreat.
Built in 1865 as a Hunting Lodge, Duisdale House was given a new lease of life when it was taken over by Anne Gunn, who have delivered an immaculate, stylish boutique hotel, where guests are offered the absolute highest level of service.
You will travel from Duisdale House to the “capital” of the island, Portree, which comes from the Gaelic ‘Port Righ’ meaning royal port after a visit by King James V of Scotland in 1540.
From Portree you will depart Skye, travelling east through the northern reaches of the Scottish Highlands where you will witness some spectacular scenery as you travel to Inverness.
Upon reaching Inverness, The Capital of the Highlands, you will take a brief drive through the town learning of its history. You will then reach the nearby eerie Culloden Battlefield. Here, on the 16th of April 1746, the Jacobite Uprising met its gory end with the British Forces surrounding the Jacobites within the marshland of Culloden Moor.
On this site, an estimated 1,100 men were slaughtered where they stood and not only was this the end to the Stuart’s Claim to the British Throne, it began the downfall of the highlander’s way of life. There are many stories written of this famous, yet tragic, time in Scottish history. Of note, we have Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series.
From your tour of Culloden, you will make your journey into the Cairngorms National Park and the heart of “Whisky Country,” into the town of Aberlour. Here you will find Dowan’s Hotel, situated in the town of Aberlour, the hotel is the ideal base from where you can explore Speyside and everything it has to offer.
On your final full day in Scotland, you will venture east to the Aberdeenshire Coastline and the town of Cruden Bay where you will find New Slains Castle which was frequently visited by Bram Stocker between 1893 and 1910. The castle is mentioned in his locally-set novels, The Watter’s Mou’ and The Mystery of the Sea. It also provided the inspiration for Kyllion Castle in The Jewel of Seven Star as well as being commonly linked with Dracula. It is likely that the castle provided a visual palette for Bram Stoker when he started writing the book in The Kilmarnock Arms, Cruden Bay. A distinctive room in Slains Castle, the Octagonalhall, may be the source for the Octagonal room in Dracula. You will make the short journey into the town of Cruden Bay where you will find the Kilmarnock Arms, where Bram Stoker wrote many of his novels during his trips to the region. From Cruden Bay, you will make your way south via the Aberdeenshire Coastline.
From Cruden Bay, you will venture south into the city of Dundee where you will have the opportunity to visit the V&A Museum. Designed by Kenga Kuma, the V&A Museum is part of a massive city wide regeneration project to encourage tourism within the area. This is the only V&A Museum out with London and focuses on Scottish Innovation and Design. From Dundee, you will make the short journey to the famous town of St Andrews. Your accommodation for the evening will be the Old Course Hotel. The picturesque “home of golf” has great beaches, many bars and restaurants and is the ultimate place to relax and enjoy a final evening in Scotland. Your prestigious hotel features within the novel, “A Stroll on the Old Lady” by Taba Dale.
Your Lang Atholl representative will meet you for the final time in the lobby of your hotel and transport you to Edinburgh Airport with time for a leisurely departure.
This, sadly, is where we must say our goodbyes and we send you on your onward journeys with memories of a Scottish Literacy Experience that will last a lifetime.