Classic Highland Tour from Invergordon

Fall in love with the place we call home on our award winning tour.

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Rated 5* on TripAdvisor TripAdvisor by more than 2200 happy customers #1 for tours from Inverness and Invergordon

Tour Highlights

  • Get off the beaten track on our unique shore tour
  • See Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, Cawdor Castle, Clava Cairns and Inverness
  • A world-class day out with the only VisitScotland 5 star-rated operator in Invergordon
  • See the Highlands with the people who know it best; the highly experienced WOW team
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PricesFrom £125 per person
Plus castle admission
Free CancellationStandard; Up to 7 days before tour
Flex: Up to 24 hours before tour
Full refund if ship fails to dock
UpgradesFront & second row
Extra legroom seats
(Optional seat upgrades non-refundable)
Back-to-ship guaranteeWe get our guests back on time, every time!

Itinerary and Map+

Itinerary & Map

1

Invergordon and Cromarty Firth

Invergordon and Cromarty Firth
Our enthusiastic and experienced WOW team will welcome you to the port of Invergordon. You'll find the the tour departure time and tour duration for your ship on our FAQ section.

Upon arrival at the Port of Invergordon you will be warmly welcome by your kilt-clad WOW Scotland guide.  After taking your seats in our executive 30-seater mini-coach you will feel immediately at home as your highly experienced guide takes the reins and your long-awaited day in the Scottish Highlands begins. As we journey along the shores of the Cromarty Firth keep your eye out for seals, oystercatchers and herons as your guide enthrals you with stories of the area’s fascinating history including: Why the US Navy used a local distillery as their HQ during the WWI; and the mutiny which brought the British economy to its knees.

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Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Castle
A visit to one of Scotland's finest castles

Early records show that the castle dates back to at least 1454.  Although there have been many fortifications and additions over the last 640 years, the building has been remarkably well-preserved, and gives a wonderful impression of how the landed gentry would have lived back in the 15th Century.  To this day the castle remains in the Campbell family, with the Dowager Countess Cawdor, stepmother of the 7th Earl of Cawdor, residing there over the winter months.

You will be presented with an audio guide (available in 10 languages) which provides an interesting and entertaining overview of each room of the castle.  From the 16th Century Drawing Room with its splendid fireplace and portrait gallery, to the bedroom showcasing Flemish tapestries from the 17th Century, all of the magnificent rooms feature fine art and antique furniture, and every object has a story behind it.  This is no more so than in, “The Thorn Tree Room”, where you hear the story of the legendary tree which the castle was built around back in 1372 and which, remarkably, still exists there today!

After you have completed the audio tour we would recommend heading outside to the immaculate gardens: The Flower Garden is a formal garden designed in the 18th Century and featuring lavender borders and yew tree hedges;  The Walled Garden features exotic plants, a maze, a Knot Garden and a hidden Paradise Garden; The Wild Garden is a hidden delight which leads into 750 acres of woods and trails.  There is also a coffee shop, featuring home-baked scones and cakes, and three gift shops, one of which sells a wonderful selection of classic Scottish souvenirs unique to the castle.

Admission to the castle is £12 (£7.50 for children) if booked and paid with us in advance.

This will be your opportunity to pick up a packed lunch, with the castle offering a lunch deal exclusively for WOW guests.  Further information, include a menu and prices, can be found under the FAQs tab above.

We spend around 90 minutes at Cawdor Castle.

 

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Inverness

Inverness
With its fascinating history, riverside location, plethora of characterful pubs and interesting shops, there is something for everyone here.

Inverness is the capital city of the Highlands, and one of Europe’s fastest growing cities. However, with a population of just 70,000, its compact city centre is easy to explore in an hour.

There are many notable historical sights in the centre and we would suggest making your way to the top of Inverness Castle hill to admire the surrounding views, as well as the statue of Highland heroine Flora MacDonald, who famously helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after the Battle of Culloden.  From here, head into the city’s pedestrianised area to check out the Victorian gothic Town House, looking out for the Mercat Cross, which sits atop the legendary, “Clach Na Cuidden” stone, said to protect the city and its people. Before you head back pop in to St Andrew’s Cathedral, an imposing building situated in a picturesque location on the banks of the River Ness.

If the weather is kind to us and you fancy a river walk instead then Inverness can certainly deliver; approximately 10 minutes from the centre are the Ness Islands, wooded islands situated in the middle of the River Ness.  A walk from one side of the river to the other via this series of interlinked islands provides a delightful and relaxing nature break, and gives you a real feel for why Inverness was recently voted one of the happiest places in the UK!

For those who would like to indulge in some retail therapy you will have plenty of opportunities in Inverness; shops range from the kitsch souvenir emporiums selling all manner of tartan and woollen goods, to the traditional stores of the 1876 Victorian Market and the brand name outlets in the Eastgate Centre.

We will have approximately one hour in Inverness. (Note that, if your tour duration is 7 hours or less, Inverness will be a shorter stop of around 20 minutes only)

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4

Loch Ness

Loch Ness
And of course, a trip to the Highlands would not be complete without a visit to the legendary Loch Ness!

Our next stop is in the village of Dores on the lesser-visited south side of Loch Ness.  This beach was recently voted one of the top 10 views in the UK, so we are confident that this spot gives you the best experience of this legendary loch.  It’s a beautiful place to take photos, wander the beach in search of the elusive Nessie or, if you’d prefer, relax with a beer, whisky or coffee in the traditional loch-side pub (subject to opening times, closed Mon – Wed).  Here there is also the opportunity to buy a cute monster ornament from legendary Nessie Hunter Steve Feltham (that’s if he’s not out hunting Nessie at the time!)

We will spend around 30 minutes at Dores Beach.

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5

Highland Scenery

Highland Scenery
Sit back, relax and enjoy the dramatic, unspoilt landscapes that the Scottish Highlands are justifiably famed for.

The wild landscapes of the Scottish Highlands are one of the region’s biggest draws, yet they are often missed on day tour itineraries, which focus only on key historical sights. The next part of our tour aims to give you a real taste of the Highlands on the 30 minute drive to Clava Cairns. As we head for the hills, and the altitude increases, the landscape changes from rolling farmland, to forests, to rugged mountain moorland. As we navigate the winding country lanes your guide will tell you all about the wonderful countryside, and the flora and fauna that thrive here. The chances of seeing other people from your ship on this route are slim to none!

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6

Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns
We then explore the pre-historic standing stones and burial chambers of Clava Cairns, a must for Outlander fans!

Clava Cairns is an exceptionally well-preserved group of prehistoric burial cairns which were built around 4000 years ago. This Bronze Age cemetery has a whole range of interesting historical structures to explore such as passage graves, ring cairns, a kerb cairn and standing stones.For Outlander fans, this is must-see stop. When Diana Gabaldon visited here after writing the first book she couldn’t believe there was a split standing stone so close to Culloden Battlefield.  Consequently, this is now viewed by many as the spiritual home of the fictional, ‘Craig na Dun’.

We will spend approximately 25 minutes here and there will be a guided tour.

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7

Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield
Our final visit of the day is to Culloden, one of the most important battlefields in the British Isles.

The Battle of Culloden took place on 16th April 1746 and was the final chapter of the Jacobite Uprising, as well as the last pitched battle to be fought on British soil. Your guide will bring the poignant landscape to life as he enthrals you with a historical account of the bloody battle, the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the subsequent demise of the Gaelic language and clan culture in the Highlands.

At Culloden Battlefield your guide will provide a 30 minute walking tour of the site.  On most tours there will also be an opportunity to explore by yourself, buy a coffee to-go and/or visit the gift shop, as we will spend one hour here.

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8

Highland Cows

Highland Cows
We’ll do our best to stop and say Hi to a hairy Highland Coo at some point during the tour – always a highlight!

If we see any Highland Cows along the way, we will do our best to stop and let you say hello.  We can’t guarantee to see them, but we will certainly do our best!

After a wonderful day exploring the historical, cultural and natural highlights of the Scottish Highlands we will return to Invergordon via the Black Isle peninsula and its traditional villages.  We will arrive back at the port in plenty of time for your ship’s departure.

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Tour Map

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FAQs+

Tour FAQs

What dates/ships will this tour run from?+

2024 Dates

29th April – Regal Princess  – 8.15am – 4.15pm

11th May – Regal Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

14th May – MS Rotterdam – 8.45am – 3.45pm

18th May – Jewel of the Seas – 9am – 4.30pm

21st May – Norwegian Star – 7.30am – 2pm

13th June – MS Nieuw Statendam – 8.45am – 3.45pm

14th June – Jewel of the Seas – 9am – 4.30pm

16th June – Regal Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

19th June – MS Rotterdam – 8.45am – 4.45pm

28th June – Regal Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

29th June – Norwegian Dawn – 10.45am – 5.45pm

2nd July – Jewel of the Seas – 8am – 3.45pm

10th July – Regal Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

17th July – Carnival Legend 9am – 3.45pm

21st July – Jewel of the Seas 9am – 4.30pm

22nd July – Regal Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

25th July – Caribbean Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

2nd Aug – Regal Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

6th Aug – MS Rotterdam – 9am – 3.45pm

12th Aug – Norwegian Dawn – 9am – 5pm

27th Aug – Regal Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

4th Sept – MS Nieuw Statendam – 9am – 3.45pm

7th Sept – Caribbean Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

8th Sept – Regal Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

20th Sept – Regal Princess – 8.15am – 4.15pm

2nd Oct – Norwegian Star – 8.15am – 4.15pm

If you do not see your ship listed above, please contact us and we will do our best to schedule a tour for you. 

What size of vehicle do you use?+

We have two well-appointed 33-seater mini-coaches with panoramic windows, comfortable reclining seats, USB charging points and AC.  We will use these two vehicles for most of our shore tours, though on occasion may use our executive 16-seater.  You can rest assured that you will be able to relax and enjoy the majestic scenery in complete comfort and, with our smaller group size, you are guaranteed a more personal experience.

Can I reserve seats on the tour? +

Yes. Due to customer demand, we have a booking system for the following seats;

  • 4 front row seats – these give you unparalleled views out of the front windows, and the opportunity to disembark first at every stop.  Our most popular seats.
  • 4 second row seats – many guests prefer to sit near the front of the coach, or be reassured that you will be seated together if they are a couple/group, both of which you get with this option.  These seats also have a little more legroom than these front row seats.  These are available on some tours only.
  • 2 extra legroom seats – these are situated near the back of the coach and have approximately 50% more legroom than regular seats.  They are particularly suited to those who are tall, or like to stretch out.

The price of the upgrades vary depending on which tour you are on, with prices between £5 and £20 per person.  If they are available, upgrades will be given as an option when booking.

Please note that it does not make any difference which side of the coach you sit on, so we don’t take requests for specific sides.

The rest of our seats are allocated on arrival, as we feel that this is the fairest system of allocating seats. It is not possible to reserve window seats, or seats together if you are travelling as part of a group but, if you do wish to choose your seat, we would recommend arriving early at the bus stop (i.e. a few minutes before check-in closes). If you are unhappy with your seat please let your tour guide know and he will do his best to accommodate your requests, although obviously many guests would prefer a window seat so it is not possible for everyone to have these!

Note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable if you require to cancel your tour.

Where do we meet you in Invergordon?+

For all private and scheduled tours your guide or another member of the WOW team will be waiting at the entrance to the port.

The WOW team are easily identifiable in our branded WOW Scotland uniforms.

Due to parking restrictions at the Port of Invergordon you will need to walk around 0.2 – 0.3 miles (i.e. approx. 5 minutes for someone with reasonable fitness) up a very slight incline to the coach, which will be parked close-by.

Are there admission charges on this tour?+

Yes, there is one admission charge on this tour; Cawdor Castle. 

The admission price in 2023 is £12 for adults and £7.50 for children.  This is a special discounted price for WOW guests who purchase tickets in advance (regular price online/at the door is £14.50 for adults and £8 for children).  This price includes an excellent audio guide, which is available in 10 languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Dutch and Portugese).

The entrance fee for Cawdor Castle must be booked and paid when booking your tickets for this tour.  It is not an optional fee and, even if you just want to go the gardens/cafe/shop, you still require to pay the entrance fee.  We spend around 2 hours at the castle, and there is nothing else to do at this location.

There are no other admission charges payable on this tour.

What are the arrangements for lunch?+

We recommend that our guests pick up lunch to-go at the cafe in Cawdor Castle. 

The menu and prices for 2024 will be confirmed in Spring 2024. The menu is likely to be similar to the one below, and is exclusively for WOW guests.

  • Filled roll and crisps (chips) – £6
  • Filled roll, crisps (chips) and your choice of cake or traybake – £8

You can choose from the following fillings for your roll;

  • Chicken, bacon and tarragon mayonnaise
  • Tuna mayonnaise
  • Cheddar cheese and tomato (vegetarian)

Vegan and gluten-free options are available in the cafe, upon request.

You can either eat this on the bus, or (weather permitting!) enjoy it at a scenic location en-route.

Will we have time to shop for souvenirs?+

Every tour has the opportunity to buy souvenirs (for those that like that sort of thing!).

There are two gift shops at Cawdor Castle, which stock an extensive range of high quality gifts.  These include Scottish wool and cashmere sweaters, local craft gins, single malt whiskies and a selection of sweet treats, toys and exclusive souvenirs.

The gift shop at Culloden Battlefield also stocks a wide selection of Scottish gifts and souvenirs, including Highland honey and shortbread, beautifully crafted silver jewellery and a range of history books and maps.

If you are looking for a unique souvenir from Scotland look no further..there will usually be a chance to buy handmade Nessie souvenirs from Steve Feltham (the legendary Nessie Hunter) at Loch Ness, as long as he is not out monster hunting at the time! 

Depending on the duration of your tour, you may have time to visit the plethora of brand name and independent shops in Inverness.

All of the above places accept debit/credit card payments.

Will you get us back to the ship in time?+

Yes, of course!!  This is the most common question we are asked by cruisers and we would like to state unequivocally that we have a 100% success record in ensuring that every single guest is returned to their ship in a timely fashion. 

We are aware that the cruise ships warn their guests against taking private tours as, if that tour is late, they say that they will not wait for you. In reality, if any of our tours had ever run late and our guests had missed their cruise departure, there is no way that we would still have a business, due to the terrible reviews we would receive! We have been running shore tours for 10 years and have shown thousands of guests the Scottish Highlands; each and every person has returned to their ship on time.  You can read reviews from hundreds of happy cruisers on Google and TripAdvisor.

We aim to get you back at least 1 1/4 hours prior to your ship’s scheduled departure time.  As all of our shore tours are exclusively for passengers of one ship only, if your ship changes its schedule we will of course alter our timings accordingly.

Is the tour suitable for disabled passengers?+

If you have mobility issues please contact us to discuss your requirements and we will do our utmost to assist you.

Please note that we cannot transport mobility scooters on any of our coaches, due to limited boot/trunk space.

Can children come on this tour?+

Yes – children are welcome on our shore tours. Please note that you must purchase a ticket for every child as, even if they sit on a parent’s lap, they officially take up one space on the coach.

We only have one ticket price.  However, the admission charge to Cawdor Castle is £4.50 lower for children, so please be sure to select the child entrance ticket (listed at the foot of the optional extras page) when booking.

What is your cancellation policy?+

For “standard tickets” purchased for our scheduled shore tours, the following cancellation charges shall apply (depending on the effective date of cancellation):

a) Cancellation more than 7 days prior to the tour departure: You will be entitled to a full refund (note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable)

b) Cancellation 72 hours to 7 days prior to the tour departure: You will be refunded 50% of the price paid (note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable)

c) Cancellation less than 72 hours prior to the tour departure: You will not be entitled to a refund

d) If you need to cancel as your ship is unable to reach port we will refund the full cost of your tour.

For, “flex tickets” purchased for our scheduled shore tours, the following cancellation charge shall apply:

a) Cancellation more than 24 hours prior to the tour departure: You will be entitled to a full refund (note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable)

b) Cancellation less than 24 hours prior to the tour departure: You will not be entitled to a refund

c) If you need to cancel as your ship is unable to reach port we will refund the full cost of your tour.

If you require to cancel or change your booking please just send us an email to [email protected] and we will be happy to assist you.

 

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Discover the Factor

LOCAL EXPERTISE
Local owners, guides and knowledge for a truly authentic experience.
GUARANTEED DEPARTURES
Tours always depart, whether with 2 or 20 guests, so you can book with confidence.
FAMILY-RUN
14 years of tours and our aim is the same; to provide a WOW experience every time.
SUSTAINABLE TOURS
Choose to tour with a company who are serious about preserving the Highlands.
BEST GUIDES
Our highly experienced team will ensure you go home with memories to last a lifetime.
COMFORT FIRST
Our custom-designed vehicles offer the highest levels of passenger comfort.

Meet your guides

Gordon Pearson

Founder & Tour Guide

  730 Reviews

Gordon founded WOW Scotland in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. He is passionate about showcasing his homeland, and is continually striving to create the best possible experiences for every guest.

Robert Carr

Tour Guide

  137 Reviews

Prior to being a tour guide, Rob ran successful food and tourism businesses in Edinburgh and Perthshire. He has now been in the Highlands for 16 years, where he loves to indulge in his joint passions of golf and hiking.

Andrew Jones

Tour Guide

  210 Reviews

With over 10 years of experience as a tour director and guide, Andrew prefers to consider himself as a storyteller, amateur historian and, above all, an ambassador for Scotland

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