Scotland | Scottish Highlands | Family Vacation
Biking, hiking, and history in the Scottish Highlands
8 days / 7 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
The land of William Wallace, Nessie and Scotch awaits your adventurous clan. Pack the kids and your kilt for a nonstop-action, family-friendly adventure in the Scottish Highlands. This all-inclusive Scotland vacation package is chockablock full of rambling, roving and biking o’er the hills and dales of one of Britain’s greatest outdoor environments. Our expert guides can’t wait to share the experience of biking along forest paths and quiet country backroads. Discover Nessie by boat on Loch Ness, sample handmade chocolate and find refreshment in the verdant pastures and chilling waterfalls animating the dramatic Scottish landscape. All the while, enjoy the best in regional accommodations, tasty local fare and Austin’s signature touch of inspired, thoughtful service that invites you to kick back, spend time with the kids and fall in love with the misty mountains and sea breezes of enchanting Scotland on this family vacation of a lifetime.
Explore Scottish hills, frothy seas and intriguing folklore on this eight-day, exclusive journey through Britain’s prized natural wonder. This custom family vacation ensures smiles for the youngest and oldest adventurers in your clan as you cycle the quiet roads of the Cairngorms, cruise across Loch Ness by boat and cap off these action-packed days with a wee poke of traditional sweets at the Highland Folk Museum. Luscious lakes, green glens and mountain skylines offer the perfect backdrop for good, clean family fun in the Scottish Highlands.
- Lookout for the resident colony of Bottlenose Dolphins in the salty waters of Moray Firth
- Pedal through ancient forests and tundra-like wilderness in Cairngorms National Park
- Boast your strength, agility and coordination by trying your hand in the adrenaline-inducing Scottish sport of axe throwing
- Take a fast-paced Zodiac on Loch Ness and the Moray Firth – enjoy the ride!
- Visit the traditional sweets shop at the Highland Folk Museum to try ‘Soor Plums,’ ‘Licuorice Comfits’ or ‘Lucky Tatties’
- Stroll up a delightful wooded glen to the breathtaking Fairy Glen Waterfall
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Solve timeless mysteries: Find out for yourself whether Nessie is real or not...
The Cairngorm Mountains: Located in Cairngorm National Park, this stunning range contains some of the highest peaks in Great Britain, with five standing over 4,050-feet tall.
Aviemore: Take the steam train to the small Scottish town in the Scottish highlands.
Inverness, Scotland INV
Inverness, Scotland INV
Inverness / Aviemore
On arrival into Inverness Airport you will be met by your Driver/Guide and head straight off on your first adventure, exploring a magnificent turreted Castle and its impressive grounds. Here you will find wonderful history and art to admire. Explore the ‘Playful Garden’ full of quirky characters. Depending on your arrival time this is a great place to stop for lunch too, giving you all a chance to recharge and get excited about the adventures to come during the rest of the trip! After exploring the castle and garden you will head off to your accommodation for the next 3 nights in the heart of the beautiful Cairngorm National Park. Then you have a free evening to settle into your hotel and explore the varied local restaurant options.
About The Ravenscraig Guest House
This bed and breakfast accommodation is located in the heart of Aviemore. It is ideally situated on the main street just a short stroll from the town center with its numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Enjoy comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, and breakfast. At Ravenscraig Guest House in Aviemore, the owners make it their business to ensure that our guests are well looked after. A warm welcome, a good night’s sleep and a great breakfast are what you expect from a good Guest House and you can be sure that you will get all this and more here
This morning your guide will take you up into the mountains to meet the local Reindeer herd! You can choose to walk to their summer grazing grounds, where you are right in walking amongst the herd and can even hand feed them. After meeting the cheeky reindeer, head for lunch to energize yourself for an adrenaline-inducing afternoon of axe throwing. Spend an afternoon in a local woodland arena learning this ancient hunting warrior skill with an expert local. Get the insider tips and see if you can land your axe smack in the bulls-eye! Your guide will then take you back to your hotel to enjoy a free evening together.
Not far from your hotel, the famous Speyside Way Long Distance Trail runs right through the heart of whisky country. Your guide will meet you with mountain bikes this morning and you can bike this trail all the way to a delicious lunch stop. After lunch, hop on board a special steam train that will take you back into Aviemore. Sit back and enjoy the scenic views. Your guide will meet you at Aviemore Station and return you to your hotel to enjoy an evening exploring the local area.
Loch Ness / Fort Augustus
After a hearty breakfast, experience Scottish history at the Highland Folk Museum. This fascinating site has loads to explore with over 30 dwellings “frozen in time”. Head west to the banks of the famous Loch Ness and it is time to search for Nessie as you take to the water on a thrilling Zodiac Boat ride. Keep your eyes peeled for the Monster and other wildlife on the way up the loch to see the imposing ruins of Urquhart Castle before returning safely to shore.
About the Inch Hotel
Loch Ness / Fort Augustus
This morning, head back onto the water but this time in open canoes with an expert guide, maybe you can sneak up quietly on Nessie? Check all the exciting bays and rivers nearby, you may even find an island with a secret and a hidden waterfall. Back on shore enjoy a yummy lunch and then you have a whole free afternoon to enjoy the area.
Caledonian Pine Forest / Contin
Today, set out to the ancient Royal hunting grounds with a forest expert to see what exciting things you can discover. Explore a unique ecosystem with thousands of plants and animals, including many rare and protected species. After lunch explore a maze! This touchstone maze was created to reflect the geology of Scotland using 81 stones from quarries all over the Highlands and Islands. See if you can figure out which sparkly mica stone came from near your first hotel. Afterwards you head to your hotel to settle in and enjoy a free evening.
About the Coul House
At the Coul House, you’ll enjoy the unique 18th Century architecture, the comfortable bedrooms and the delicious dining. Relax in the lounge, have a drink in the bar, or take a walk in the beautiful gardens where guests of all ages enjoy the fairy trail, the mature woods and the pitch and putt. Eat, drink and be merry with food from local chef Garry Kenley.
Fairy Glen Waterfalls / Contin
This morning, head out onto the salty waters of the Moray Firth. Be on the lookout for the resident colony of Bottlenose Dolphins, porpoises or even a whale! Back on dry land you will head to the beautiful sandy Rosemarkie Beach and take an easy walk up a delightful wooded glen. This ‘Fairy Glen’ is named after a time when local children used to ceremoniously decorate the spring here with flowers to ensure the fairies kept the water supply clean for the village. Your guide will then take you back to your hotel to enjoy your last night in Scotland relaxing together.
Contin / Inverness
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast before shuffling to the Inverness Airport to travel home • No overnight (B)
*Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.
Arrival & Departure
Please plan on arriving early on the day of your trip departure (or, to be safe, at least one day prior to your trip departure). Day one of your itinerary starts at Inverness Airport, depending on your arrival time, or from your hotel. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Inverness Airport or your hotel.
Hiking: Easy to moderate treks, up to 2 miles and 300 feet of elevation gain. Hikes are on well-kept trails but some have muddy or rocky sections. They are suitable for families with a reasonable fitness.
Biking: Gravel trails and quiet country roads, 6 miles with extensions possible. Flat to rolling terrain, moderate in difficulty.
Boating: Fast-paced Zodiac on Loch Ness and the Moray Firth – enjoy the ride!
Canoeing: 2-hour canoe trip with professional guide on Loch Ness. No experience necessary.
Wilderness Scotland guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
Scotland, a country of stunning landscapes, wildlife and wonderful local produce, combined with a thriving arts and culture scene, and topped off with a colorful history of epic battles and historic castles, is just begging to be explored. Scotland boasts over 600 square miles of freshwater lakes, known as lochs, of which the most famous one is Loch Ness, best known for its sightings of the crypto zoological Loch Ness Monster, known affectionately as “Nessie”. Did you know that Scots have their own terms for lakes, hills, forests, and other natural formations? A small stream is called a “burn”; an estuary in the sea is called a “firth”; a valley is called a “glen”; a meadow or island is called an “inch”; a lake is called a “loch”; a large tract of open land is called a “moor”; heaps of stones at the bottom of a hill are called “scree”; and a large, flat river valley is a “strath”. Visit Cairngorms National Park, displaying the most extensive tracts of Caledonian forest in Britain and calling itself home to 25 percent of the UK’s threatened bird, animal and plant species. Come discover the exciting country of Scotland with the leaders in adventure travel!
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. Meals are included as indicated in the daily itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- Meals as listed in detailed itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch).
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt and luggage tags.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- All gratuities.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.