Loch Ness, Cawdor Castle & Outlander 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 1750 happy customers Number 1 on TripAdvisor

Tour Highlights

  • This is the ultimate way for cruise ship passengers to explore the local area
  • Includes visits to Cawdor Castle, Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns and Inverness
  • We can show you the real Scottish Highlands and offer the opportunity to fall in love with this place we call home
  • WOW Scotland Tours are Invergordon's only 5 star VisitScotland rated operator
  • We guarantee you will be back on time, every time!
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Prices£78 + £11.50 Castle entrance per person
(if booked in advanced)
TimesEach tour is designed to coincide with your arrival and departure times.
If times change (i.e later arrival), we will adjust our timings accordingly.
Free CancellationFree cancellation up to 14 days prior to departure.
50% refund up to 7 days in advance.
Back-to-ship guarantee100% success rate at getting you back to your ship on 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.

Upon arrival at the Port of Invergordon you will be greeted to a warm welcome from the WOW Scotland team (usually resplendent in their kilts!).  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….oh what a day we have in store for you!!As we journey along the shores of the Cromarty Firth keep your eye out for seals, oystercatchers and herons as your guide enthralls you with stories of the area’s fascinating naval history (you’ll even find out why the US Navy used a local distillery as their HQ during the First World War!).

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2

Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Castle
NEW for 2020 – this tour will visit Cawdor Castle!

In 2020 this tour will visit Cawdor Castle and we can’t wait to show you this absolute jewel in the Highlands’ crown!

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, 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 splendid 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.

On most tours this will be our first stop of the day and, for all tours starting before 0900 we will arrive at the castle before it opens to the public, ensuring that we can beat the crowds, and have the best possible experience!  We will spend two hours at the castle and in its grounds.

 

Admission to the castle is £11.50 if paid in advance (more expensive on the day)

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3

Inverness

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

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

There are a plethora of 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 see 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 woolen 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.

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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;  not generally frequented by tours, and recently voted one of the top 10 views in the UK, we are confident that this spot gives you the best experience of this legendary loch.  It’s a beautiful spot 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.  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 20 – 30 minutes at Dores Beach (20 minutes if you are on a 6 hour tour, 30 minutes if you are on an 7-8 hour tour).

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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 split standing stone so close to the battlefield of Culloden and this is seen as many as the spiritual home of the fictional, ‘Craig na Dun’.We will spend approximately 30 minutes here.

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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 enthralls 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.

 

We will spend at least one hour at Culloden Battlefield and your guide will provide a 45 minute walking tour of the site.  For anyone who does not speak English we can provide complimentary entrance and an audio guide to the interactive exhibition instead.

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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 some 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 traditional villages which are well-known for their impressive floral displays. We will arrive back at the port in plenty of time for your ship’s departure.

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FAQs+

Tour FAQs

What size of vehicle do you use?+

As of 2019 we have been operating two main vehicles on this route; a 28-seater and a 30-seater.  Both vehicles are very well-appointed, with panoramic windows, comfortable reclining seats and on-board WiFi.  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 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.

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, and generally standing with WOW Scotland flip signs.

 

Due to parking restrictions at the Port of Invergordon you will have to walk around 0.2 – 0.3 miles (i.e. approx. 5 minutes) to the coach, which will be parked close-by.

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.

What are the arrangements for lunch?+

From 2019 we are planning to visit a local bakery en-route to pick up lunch (own expense).

For less than £4 you can get a freshly made sandwich, delicious cake and soft drink. On Sundays we will have an alternative plan as the bakery is not open.

 

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!). At Beauly there are number of quaint shops plus there are lots of places in Inverness too. There is also a gift shop at Culloden Battlefield, and there will usually be a chance to buy unique handmade ‘Nessie’ souvenirs at Loch Ness.

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.
  • 4 back row seats – these are ideal for groups who wish to sit together.  Unlike on most other coaches we have removed the fifth/middle seat so the seats are spaced further apart, giving you more elbow room.

The price of the upgrades vary depending on which tour you are on, with prices between £2.50 and £22.50 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 seating works on a first-come-first-served basis, 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 cancel your tour.

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Discover the Factor

LOCAL EXPERTISE
Local owners, guides and knowledge for a truly authentic experience.
FAMILY-RUN
10 years of tours and our aim is the same; to provide a WOW experience every time.
GUARANTEED DEPARTURES
Tours always depart, whether with 2 or 20 guests, so you can book with confidence.
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.

Gordon Pearson

Founder & Tour Guide

  560 Reviews

Gordon founded WOW Scotland in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. He loves talking about the Scottish Highlands, both on tour and on the TV and radio.

Robert Carr

Tour Guide

  85 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.

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