From windswept highlands to serene islands, home to revered castles and iconic towns, Scotland is a vibrant country overflowing with rich history, inspiring landscapes, and proud and welcoming locals. Celebrate all this small but impactful nation has to offer through cultural and historical experiences curated to engage your senses.
Exclusive Departure: this departure is considered exclusive and the participants are U-M travelers, who consist of alums, family and friends.
En route from U.S.
Arrive in Glasgow, Scotland (D)
Discover Glasgow’s landmarks and attractions during a self-guided, hop-on/hop-off bus tour, featuring stops at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow Cathedral, St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art, Merchant Square, Barras Market, the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, and the Glasgow Science Centre, to name a few.
Highlight: Proper Scottish welcome dinner and private after-hours tour at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Glasgow / Isle of Arran / Glasgow (B,L,D)
After breakfast, take a scenic drive to the seaside town of Ardrossan where a ferry is ready to whisk you away to the Isle of Arran. On board, draw in the fresh Scottish air while admiring the passing views-the rocky coastline and green rolling hills converging into mountainous terrain.
Later, visit a local distillery for a guided tour and tasting.
Return to the mainland by ferry, arriving at the hotel this evening for a dinner at leisure-either at the hotel or at one of the nearby restaurants.
Glasgow / Stirling / Fort William (B,D)
Following breakfast, continue the journey north to Stirling, where the Lowlands meet the Highlands, for a guided tour of stately Stirling Castle and its lovely gardens. Known as one of Scotland’s grandest castles, it looms over many of the most important battlefields in Scottish history. Reflect atop Stirling Bridge-the site of William Wallace’s victory over the English in 1297, and see Bannockburn-the spot of Robert and Bruce’s defeat of the same adversary in 1314.
Often regarded as a symbol of Scottish independence and national pride, Stirling Castle has seen the life and death of almost every Scottish monarch up to the Union of the Crowns in 1603.
After lunch on your own, meet a local guide for a stroll through the quaint village of Luss, situated on the shores of Loch Lomond. Bask in this Scottish landscape and explore hidden gems the area has to offer.
Later, travel up the west coast in Scotland to Fort William where the remainder of the evening is at leisure.
Fort William / Isle of Skye / Fort William (B,L,D)
This morning, venture to the most photographed castle in Scotland-the Eilean Donan-and capture an image of your own of its exterior. Easily one of the most recognizable structures, this Scottish icon is steeped in rich history. Originally built as a monastic cell in 634 AD by Bishop Donan, it was made into a castle by the 13th century. The structure sustained numerous modifications over the years until it was destroyed by the British Government in 1719. The castle laid in ruins for more than 200 years until being reconstructed as a family home by Lt. Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap in 1912.
Later, a special two-course lunch awaits, featuring fresh, local ingredients.
Take a short drive to the town of Mallaig to board a ferry bound for the Isle of Skye-an area renown for its natural beauty. Revel in a tour of the southern part of the island, overflowing with majestic mountains, enduring coastlines, and lush fields.
Today concludes with lovely dinner at the property followed by a restful evening.
Fort William / Loch Ness / Inverness (B,D)
After breakfast, continue farther north to the famous Loch Ness to visit Urquhart Castle nestled on shore. Unquhart Castle was once regarded as one of the greatest in all of the Highlands, having borne witness to some of Scotland’s most dramatic historical moments. Control over the medieval fortress passed back and forth between the Scots and the English during the Wars of Independence. As those forces departed, the last government troops who occupied the castle destroyed it during the Jacobite Risings, leaving behind the ruins that stand today. Peer into medieval life-learning of the area’s history from nearly 1,000 years ago-while observing a full-size trebuchet and a prison cell that is through to have held the Gaelic bard, Dòmhall Donn.
Embark upon a serene, narrated cruise exploring the deep, mysterious waters of Loch Ness, which holds more fresh water than all of the lakes in English and Wales combined.
Later, arrive to the idyllic city of Inverness on Scotland’s northeast coast for brief leisure time in town. Many know Inverness as the capital of the Highlands, though it doesn’t officially hold this title. Inverness has only been considered a city since 2000. The name comes form the Gaelic “Inbhir Nis,” which means “Mouth of the River Ness.” Inverness Castle is the site where Macbeth murdered King Duncan in Shakespeare’s play.
After an enriching day of explorations, enjoy a relaxing dinner and a peaceful slumber at Kingsmills Hotel.
Inverness / Aberdeen (B,L,D)
This morning, experience private early access to Culloden Battlefield-the site of the final Jacobite Rising. One of the most harrowing battles in Scottish history, the Battle of Culloden only lasted an hour but would change Scotland and Highland culture forever. Inside the Culloden Visitor Centre, learn more about the conflict from both sides through interactive displays and artifacts before walking the actual battlefield. Reflect on this rebellious event while viewing the headstones of clansmen who gave their lives for the Jacobite cause.
An optional heritage excursion will be available for those wishing to delve into their Scottish ancestry and possible connections with the battle.
Following lunch, journey to Dufftown to taste the world’s favorite single malt Scotch whisky at Glenfiddich Distillery, the last independently owned distillery in all of Scotland. Built by hand by William Grant and his children in 1886, this Scottish whisky monument has barely changed over the years-the same warehouse and mash rooms exist today. Earthen floors, stone walls, and an age-old ambience conjure an intimate atmosphere in which to sip the fruits of Glenfiddich’s labor. One taste of their iconic single malt whisky reminds you that all good things really do take time.
Retreat to Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel for dinner and this evening’s stay.
Aberdeen / St. Andrews / Edinburgh (B,D)
After breakfast, travel south down Scotland’s tranquil eastern coast, catching glimpses of the North Sea. En route to Edinburgh, visit Glamis Castle-a living, breathing monument to Scottish heritage. Here at the family home of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, a special welcome and exclusive behind-the-scenes tour awaits.
Glamis Castle was gifted by Robert the Bruce to the Bowes-Lyon family in 1372 and was originally a royal hunting lodge. Visitors are impressed with the estate, comprising more than 13,500 acres, and are intrigued by the mysterious, strange, and ghostly tales attached to it. Secret chambers have always been associated with Glamis. It’s said if one counts the windows on the outside and compared that number with the windows counted on the inside, there are two windows missing, indicating at least one secret room.
Later, at charming St. Andrews, explore the local cafes and boutique shops during leisure time.
Arrive in Edinburgh this evening for a wonderful dinner and unforgettable performance of one of the most iconic events on this city’s calendar-the Edinburgh Military Tattoo-as the sun sets against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s grand castle. This event celebrates the skills of military bands and display teams from the British Armed Forces, the Commonwealth, and military teams through the world. Cheer and clap along with the crowd for this first-class synchronized and entertaining show. Be sure to dress in layers for the outdoors as the seating in the esplanade is uncovered.
Today’s highlight includes a guided panoramic city tour of Edinburgh-Scotland’s beloved capital since the 15th century-through its Old and New Towns. This World Heritage Site teems with remarkable architecture, medieval fixtures, and Georgian-inspired buildings, all converging at Princes Street with a unique view of Edinburgh Castle.
Visit the National Monument of Scotland on Calton Hill. Its design was inspired by the Pantheon, giving Edinburgh the nickname, “Athens of the North.”
Continue onto the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the previous residence of Mary, Queen of Scots. Tour the 14 historic state apartments and imagine life of yesteryear while marveling at the intricate drapery, old wood paneling, and ornately designed ceilings. Behold the natural beauty of the palace gardens’ rolling lush green pastures, vibrant flowers, and Wentworth Elm trees, which were previously thought to be have been extinct.
The late afternoon is at leisure to explore Edinburgh’s lively neighborhoods-pop into the colorful local shops or grab a pint with the warm and welcoming locals at the nearby pub to get to know the real people of this nation.
This grand adventure concludes with a special farewell dinner at the Cannonball Restaurant & Bar to reminisce over the past week’s travels and bid soraidh (“farewell” in Gaelic) to Scotland. Enjoy fabulous views of the city, Edinburgh Castle, and beyond. The restaurant’s owners (a husband and wife duo) continue their family’s century-old tradition of creating Scottish dishes with an Italian twist, paying homage to their heritage.
Edinburgh / Depart for U.S. (B)
After breakfast, guests departing during the suggested times take the complimentary transfer to Edinburgh Airport for flights home. Guests continuing on the post-tour will transfer to Pitlochry.
Meet Your Trip Host
Sally J. Churchill is Vice President & Secretary of the University. As such, she is part of President Schissel’s executive leadership team and responsible to the board of regents. She chairs the residency appeals committee, serves on the honorary degree committee, and is an ex officio member of the athletics advisory board. For 17 years Sally served as an adjunct professor in LS&A’s Program in the Environment where she taught Environmental Law to undergraduates and graduate students.
Sally started working at the university in 1996 as an assistant general and became the Vice President & Secretary in 2005. She received her JD from the UM law school (’87) and her BGS (’77). She earned an MA in land use and environmental policy from Tufts University (’80).
She has hosted three alumni trips, to the Baltic (’13), Scotland (’14) and the Adriatic Sea (’17). Scotland is her one of her favorite places she has visited — and that was before watching Outlander twice through! She proudly wears a family tartan, the Muir tartan, when the oppoertunity presents itself.
Sally is a 3rd generation Wolverine and her son is 4th generation. (Grandmother ’14 and father ’47 and ‘50). Her daughter is a junior at McGill University in Montreal.
When she is not working Sally enjoys music, movies, travel, current events, reading, knitting, Michigan sports and northern Michigan.
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