The Big Four Tour : Glenfinnan, Glencoe, Loch Ness & Ben Nevis

Explore the highlights of the Scottish Highlands including: the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Glencoe, Ben Nevis and Loch Ness on this one day tour from Inverness.

Rated 5* on TripAdvisor TripAdvisor by more than 1750 happy customers # 1 on TripAdvisor for Scotland tours from Inverness

Tour Highlights

  • Watch the "Hogwarts Express" cross Glenfinnan Viaduct
  • Marvel at Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain
  • Experience Glencoe and hear about its tragic history
  • Enjoy the best views of Loch Ness
  • Visit the Commando Memorial
  • The only tour to experience all of this in one day!
Prices£75pp
Times7.45am - 6.30pm
Free CancellationUp to 72 hours before tour starts
UpgradesFront row seats
Free hotel pick-up

Itinerary and Map+

Itinerary & Map

1

The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins
The Big Four Tour starts in Inverness, where you can be picked up at the centrally-located bus station, or from most of the city’s hotels.

Our journey from the Highland capital takes us west, along the picturesque shores of Loch Ness, which will whet your appetite for our exploration of that area later.  During this first part of the day you can focus on soaking in the scenery whilst your guide keeps you entertained with plenty of stories about the history, legends and geography of the area. We will arrive at Glenfinnan Viaduct around 10am,  in plenty of time for the first highlight (of many) today!

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Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan Viaduct
Watch the Jacobite steam train (aka the Hogwarts Express) cross this iconic viaduct.

Our first stop of the day, at Glenfinnan, is timed perfectly to coincide with the Jacobite steam train crossing over the 19th Century viaduct. It’s without doubt one of Scotland’s most iconic views (regardless of whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not!) and you’ll have plenty of time to get yourself into prime position to watch the train chug cross, and snap that all important picture.

It is worth noting that there is much more to Glenfinnan than just its bridge. It was here, on the 19th August 1745, that Bonnie Prince Charlie rowed ashore and began his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to win back the thrones of Scotland and England for the Stuarts. The event is commemorated by an impressive 18 metre high memorial, built in 1815, which you are able to climb up for a small charge (£5 for adults, £3 for children).  Your dizzying climb will be rewarded with stunning views out over Loch Shiel and the surrounding mountains.

For those interested in finding out more about Jacobite history there is also a National Trust visitor centre outlining the events of the ‘45 .  You are welcome to visit if you wish (admission is currently free).

We will spend around 1 1/4 hours at Glenfinnan Viaduct.

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3

Ben Nevis view

Ben Nevis view
Amazing views of Scotland's highest mountain and the old boat of Caol.

Standing proudly at 1345 metres tall, Ben Nevis is Britain’s highest mountain and  thus seeing or climbing it are high on many visitors’ bucket lists. Whilst we don’t have enough time to climb it (that takes a day in itself!) we will take you to our favourite vantage point down by the shores of Loch Eil so that you can admire the majesty of the Ben from afar.

For days when the summit of Ben Nevis is shrouded in our famous “Scotch mist” this is still a great stop as, shipwrecked in the water just metres from the stony beach, is the Old Boat of Caol.  This herring and mackerel boat, also known as the Corpach wreck,  has been stranded here since 2011 and its rusting hulk makes for a beautiful picture, whatever the weather.

We will spend around 20 minutes enjoying the views from the beach here.

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4

Old Inverlochy Castle

Old Inverlochy Castle
Medieval castle and battle site

Old Inverlochy Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Scotland and was the location of two major battles too. When the weather permits, we enjoy a picnic lunch here overlooking the River Lochy. Close by is the Highland Soap Company Visitor Centre & Cafe for those that fancy a little retail therapy or a coffee.

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5

Glencoe

Glencoe
A spectacularly beautiful valley steeped in history.

Glencoe is without doubt one of the most beautiful locations in Scotland, which is quite a feat considering just how many impressive landscapes we have in our country! As we drive through the valley we are in fact driving straight through the heart of an ancient volcano, which goes some way to explaining why the area is just so impressive.

Being such an iconic location, it is perhaps unsurprising that it has been the backdrop to some major Hollywood films including: Braveheart; Skyfall; Harry Potter; as well as the Bollywood classic Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

It is also famous for being home to one of the most treacherous events ever to occur in Scotland – the infamous Massacre of Glencoe. Its infamy lies not in the number dead, but rather in the way it was carried out, and your knowledgeable local guide will be sure to bring the story to life, warts and all.

We will drive all the way up the “Pass of Glencoe” to the start of Glen Etive, which is home to Buachaille Mor, one of Scotland’s most recognisable mountain peaks.

In addition to the time spent admiring the glen from the vehicle, we will have around 45 mins – 1 hour off the bus to enjoy the panoramic landscapes and take some stunning photos.

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Commando Memorial

Commando Memorial
Views over the WW2 Commando training grounds

The Commando Memorial is one of Scotland’s most iconic and well known statues and commemorates those members of this elite military force who lost their lives in WW2. The statue lies around 5 miles from Achnacarry Castle, which was where the Commando Basic Training Centre was established back in 1942.

As well as being a poignant place of remembrance, it also offers fantastic views of the local area, including the peaks of Ben Nevis, Aonach Mor and the Grey Corries.

We will spend around 15 minutes in this poignant place of remembrance, taking in the atmosphere and enjoying the views.

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Fort Augustus & Loch Ness

Fort Augustus & Loch Ness
A chance to see Loch Ness & explore this historic town

Our next stop is in Fort Augustus, a charming Highland town on the banks of Loch Ness. A short walk will take you to one of our favourite spots on the shores of the loch, where you can take in the world-class views (and perhaps indulge in a spot of Nessie hunting too)!

 The Caledonian Canal cuts through the heart of the village with its impressive array of 5 five lock gates, where you can watch boats travel up and down. You can find out more about the canal’s fascinating history at the recently opened Caledonian Canal Centre.

The bustling village is also home to various cafes and bars where you can enjoy some of the local area’s wonderful produce.

 

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Suidhe Viewpoint

Suidhe Viewpoint
Great views as far as the eye can see.

Our tour involves travelling along many classic stretches of roads, although this is our personal favourite, in part due to its “off the beaten track” feel. The road was initially built by the British military in the early 1700s in an effort to stamp out dissent in the Scottish Highlands, and en-route we will pass the “White Bridge”, built in 1732.

As we travel we will see great scenery, and often spot some of the resident red deer and feral goats. The highlight of the journey is the 400 metre high summit known as the “Suidhe viewpoint” which affords breathtaking views.

We will have a short stop at the Suidhe Viewpoint to enjoy, yip you’ve guessed it, the views!

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9

Dores

Dores
Yet another of Scotland's best views!

The last stop on our journey is in the village of Dores, on the eastern end of Loch Ness. This is where the locals go to enjoy Loch Ness, and affords a truly spectacular view of the loch. In fact, it was the voted as the 6th Best View in the UK (a view of the Three Sisters in Glencoe, which we will also see today, was in 2nd place!).

As well as the spectacular views, it is also home to the extraordinary Steve Feltham. Steve is one of the world’s most famous monster hunters and has been looking the Nessie now for over 27 years from his converted mobile library van on the banks of the loch.  He sells his much sought after model Nessies here, so  be sure to pick up one of these authentic souvenirs if Steve is around!

For those of you that have worked up a thirst you might want to grab a quick drink in the legendary Dores Inn. And don’t worry, if there is not enough time to enjoy your local ale or whisky you are welcome to bring it back onboard!

We will spend around 15 minutes at Dores Beach; a stunning end to a stunning day!

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Tour Map

Book a Tour

Pick-Up Points+

FREE HOTEL PICK-UPS & DROP-OFFS

Please use the map to see where your closest pick-up location is. There is also a list below the map. If you are unsure please just ask!

  • Inverness Bus Station (choose for Mercure Hotel, Royal Highland Hotel, Travelodge City Centre, Pentahotel, The Kings Highway and Black Isle Hostel)
  • Kingsmills Hotel
  • Premier Inn Inverness East
  • Premier Inn Inverness Centre Millburn Road (also select for Chieftain Hotel & Caberfeidh B&B)
  • Jury’s Inn
  • Craigmonie Hotel
  • Heathmount Hotel/The Corriegarth Hotel (also select for Redcliffe Hotel, Rossmount B&B, Aberfeldy Lodge, Dionard Guest House)
  • Rocpool Reserve Hotel
  • Beaufort Hotel
  • Glen Mhor Hotel
  • Glenmoriston Town House
  • Tomnahurich Street (also select for Premier Inn Inverness Centre River Ness, Columba Hotel, Best Western The Palace, Strathness House, Coo’s Guest House and B&Bs on Ardross Street)
  • Bishops Road (select for Aye Stay B&B, Lairds Lodge and B&Bs on Glenurquhart Road, Ballifeary Road and Bruce Gardens)
  • Ness Walk Hotel
  • Bught Park Caravan Park and Campsite
  • Loch Ness Country House Hotel
  • Clansman Hotel

DEPARTURE FROM AVIEMORE, CARRBRIDGE & TOMATIN

We are currently offering a transfer service from Aviemore, Carrbridge (additional charge) and Tomatin (no charge).

For Aviemore or Carrbridge please select the Aviemore option when booking, then contact us to advise of where you are staying.

For Tomatin please contact us to arrange this prior to booking.

PICK-UP IN DRUMNADROCHIT AREA

We can offer pick-up from Drumnadrochit and Invermoriston, but please note that we cannot drop-off in either of these places, as we take a different route back to Inverness on this tour.  Please select the option you would like when booking.

We can also pick-up at hotels which are on our route, including the Clansman Hotel, the Loch Ness Lodge Hotel, the Loch Ness Country House Hotel and the Loch Ness Lodge.  Please book a ticket from Inverness then contact us to arrange specific hotel pick-up. Please note that we cannot drop off at these hotels at the end of the day.

CHARGES

Unless stated above, there is no extra charge for pick-up or drop-off at any of the listed hotels or villages.  We want to make your entire day as enjoyable and stress-free as possible!

BAGGAGE

Got baggage? It’s no problem to take it with you. We have a very large boot!  Please just note what bags you have when you book, in the additional information section.

FAQs+

Tour FAQs

What time does The Big Four Tour start and finish?+

This tour departs from Inverness Bus Station at 7.45am. Please ensure that you are ready to board the bus at 7.35am as we will leave promptly at 7.45am (0745), and are unable to wait for any latecomers, The tour will return to Inverness city centre at approximately 6.30pm (1830). It is possible that we may return a bit later than this, although we always try to keep to our schedule as much as possible. We also offer pick-ups from and drop off at various Inverness hotels. These will be available to select when booking, with a specific pick-up time and place provided in your email confirmation.

Where is the pick-up point in Inverness?+

Our main departure point is at Stance 7 at Inverness Bus Station, Margaret Street, Inverness, IV1 1LT. Look out for the WOW guide and WOW-branded coach and you won’t miss us!

When you book you will be given the option to book a pick up from your hotel, as an alternative to the bus station. Further details on specific hotels are provided in the next FAQ, and precise timing information will be provided in your booking confirmation email.

Can you pick me up from my hotel?+

Yes, as a thank you for booking direct, via our own website, we are delighted to be able to offer you free pick up from the following Inverness hotels:

Please just select your hotel when booking and we will collect you there in the morning, and drop you off again in the evening.

Timings above are approximate and are subject to change – more precise timings will be provided on your booking confirmation email.

Can I join the tour from anywhere else?+

Yes! We offer pick-up and drop-off from the following outlying villages;

  • Aviemore – please see details of our transfer service on our Aviemore page
  • Carrbridge – we can offer a transfer service, similar to that offered on our Aviemore page
  • Tomatin – on most days we offer free pick-up (6.45am) and drop-off (7.45pm) from Tomatin, which is where we are based

PICK-UP IN LOCH NESS AREA

We can offer pick-up from Drumnadrochit and Invermoriston, but please note that we cannot drop-off in either of these places, as we take a different route back to Inverness on this tour. Please select the option you would like when booking.

We can also pick-up at hotels which are on our route, including the Clansman Hotel, the Loch Ness Lodge Hotel, the Loch Ness Country House Hotel and the Loch Ness Lodge. Please book a ticket from Inverness then contact us to arrange specific hotel pick-up. Please note that we cannot drop off at these hotels at the end of the day.

Can I reserve seats on the tour?+

Firstly, it is worth mentioning that all seats offer great views and plenty of legroom.

On all tours is possible to book our four front row seats, for an additional charge. These seats give you unparalleled views out of the front windows, and the opportunity to disembark first at every stop. They are, justifiably, our most popular seats.

Depending on the tour you may also be able to book the following;

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.
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 (note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable if you cancel your tour). 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 will be allocated upon arrival as we feel that this is the fairest system, and will do our best to seat all groups/couples together. 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!

What sort of vehicle do you use?+

Here at WOW Scotland we only have two mini-coaches, both of which were built to our precise specifications, to ensure the highest levels of passenger comfort. They are very well-appointed with panoramic windows, comfortable reclining seats and USB ports under every seat. You can rest assured that you will be able to relax and enjoy the majestic scenery in complete comfort. You can read more about our coaches here.

How often are bathroom/toilet stops?+

There are seven main stops where toilets/bathrooms can be accessed, as follows;

    • Drumnadrochit
    • Glenfinnan
    • Fort William
    • Glencoe
    • Ballachulish (if required)
    • Fort Augustus (50p, charge)
    • Dores

Outside of these times it may be possible to make unscheduled bathroom stops – please just ask our driver or guide to see what they can do for you, as the last thing we ever want is for our passengers is to be uncomfortable. Please note that there are bathroom facilities available in Inverness bus station which you can use prior to tour departure (at a cost of 30p per person).

Where will we stop for lunch/snacks?+

Our first refreshment stop will be at Glenfinnan, at around 10am, where there is a takeaway coffee shop.  We will then stop at a Marks & Spencer’s food hall in Fort William to enable you to pick up lunch to go, at around 12pm. You will have around 45 minutes in the village of Fort Augustus around 4.15pm, where you can pick up refreshments from a number of different shops, cafes and bakeries.  Finally, at around 5.30pm, we stop at Dores, where you may wish to purchase a drink from the bar at The Dores Inn, on the shores of Loch Ness

What should I wear on this tour?+

As we say in Scotland, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”!

The West Coast of Scotland is renowned for being wet. Consequently, we would recommend wearing comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or, as a minimum, trainers/sneakers. We would also strongly recommend bringing a waterproof jacket, and ideally waterproof trousers/pants too (note that umbrellas are not appropriate on the West Coast – they just blow inside out and are rendered useless very quickly). In addition to these essentials we would suggest wearing layers, including a thick sweater/fleece option, and bringing a hat and gloves and warm jacket in your bag.

Even if the sun is shining brightly when you leave Inverness, they do say that you only really experience Scotland when you see four seasons in one day, so please be prepared!

Can children come on the tour?+

We welcome children over the age of six on our tour.

It should be noted that more than 50% of the day is spent on the coach, so it may be an idea to bring some toys, games and snacks with you. Unfortunately, due to the duration of the tour and time on the coach, we do not feel that this tour is appropriate for children under the age of six, so the tour is not open to this age group. This is for the comfort of other passengers and also to ensure that the driver guide can focus on doing their jobs without any distractions.

UK law states that each passenger must have their own seat and use their seatbelt at all times. Consequently, it is not possible to take a child on your lap. From experience we know that, very occasionally, parents try to bring children on without purchasing a seat. However, we would like to make it clear that this is not allowed and there will be no refund if you are refused entry to the tour for taking children under 6 or those whom you haven’t booked.

Can wheelchair/walking frame users come on this tour?+

Unfortunately not all of the stops offer wheelchair access, as a lot of the terrain on the West Coast is quite rugged. Also, the coach is not equipped for passengers to remain in their wheelchairs. That being said, if you are able to get out of your wheelchair at the coach steps and walk onto the coach, there is no reason why you could not enjoy the tour from the comfort of the coach and we will make every effort to accommodate those with mobility problems.

How much walking is involved?+

There is a moderate amount of walking involved in this tour, but most is optional.

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