Latest Posts

Enjoy Edinburgh and the stunning Holyrood Palace

Fun at Holyrood Palace

The setting of Holyrood Palace is quite special. Sitting in the wide expanse of historic Holyrood Park is sheltered by the imposing volcanic hill of Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags. This extinct volcano goes back 350 million years. We enjoyed an off-season visit to this royal home. At times on the tour we were the only visitors to be seen! Her Majesty The Queen stays here every July when she is in residence in Scotland. This is when she hosts the Royal Garden parties and meets visitors of state.

Holyrood Palace also has a rich heritage and has witnessed many important moments in our turbulent Scottish history. It has been a royal residence for over 500 years and it is possible to stand on the spot where Mary Queen of Scots, in the 16th century had lived and worked. A more gruesome note relates to the room where her Italian secretary Rizzio was taken and murdered! Some say you might still see the blood stains on the wooden floor!

Holyrood Palace and the Courtyard Fountain

We loved the fountain in the court and agreed it looked rather familiar. It seems that Queen Victoria was so impressed with the beautiful fountain in Linlithgow Palace (commissioned by King James V in the 16th century) that she ordered a replica for her Holyrood palace courtyard!

After enjoying the sumptuous furnishings, paintings and tapestries of the Palace it was a wonderful contrast to step out into the sunshine and ruins of the majestic Holyrood Abbey. The origins of the Palace actually lie in the foundation of the Augustinian abbey started in 1128 by David I. The detail on the sculptures, the ancient grave slabs and the wonderful gable end windows make this an excellent part of the visit.

Holyrood Abbey

Holyrood Abbey

At the end of a day enjoying the rich history of Edinburgh it was time for some exercise and views from the top of Arthur’s Seat. Overlooking the city it was possible to see the castle, the Scottish Parliament, the estuary of the Firth of Forth and the Kingdom of Fife beyond. The visibility was excellent and the wind was brisk! Time to come down and enjoy a dram of whisky at nearby Glenkinchie Distillery. Cheers!

Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat

Historic Stirling in the heart of Scotland

Old Town, Stirling

Historic Stirling in the heart of Scotland is a destination not to be missed on any Scottish vacation. Less than one hour from either Edinburgh or Glasgow, it has a wealth of history and exciting places to explore and our Sublime Scotland tours include one or more days exploring this fascinating city.

Stirling Castle sits high above the old medieval town on an imposing rock. The journey up to the Castle takes us past the Church of the Holy Rude, the Tolbooth and Old Town Jail. Kings and Queens of the Stuart monarchy enjoyed the safety and security of the Castle. The Royal Palace built by James VI in the 1540’s was the home of Mary Queen of Scots as a child and when she returned from France to take up the throne in Scotland.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

The Church of the Holy Rude is the only working church in the UK  apart from Westminster Abbey to have witnessed a coronation. James VI was crowned here in 1567. 

In 1651 the Church was attacked by Cromwell’s troops and bullet holes can still be seen on the tower.

Stirling is also a must see destination for anyone keen to follow in the footsteps of William Wallace. The Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 took place at the River Forth and although the original wooden bridge is no longer seen, the medieval stone Stirling Bridge is the place to gain the best views of the National Wallace Monument. Built during Victorian times (1869) the monument tells the story of the fight against King Edward I when William Wallace used clever tactics to beat off the challenge of the superior forces of the Government troops.

Enjoying the view at the National Wallace Monument



Robert Burns – Scotland’s National Poet

Visiting the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Robert Burns was born on 25th January 1759 in a village in Ayrshire in Scotland. After more than 250 years his poetry is even more popular across the world than ever before. Throughout January people will gather together across the world to celebrate the huge contribution he made. Although he only lived for 37 years he wrote so many poems and songs that he is famous all over the world and is one of the world’s best known poets.

We offer private guided tours of Scotland which include a visit to the excellent Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Ayrshire. Enjoy the many wonderful, original pieces from the writing  of Burns.  Hear also about the life of the  simple ploughman who loved everything about the natural world around him and wrote many poems about the places he saw and loved.

A wee moose

We enjoyed this sculpture of the mouse which reminded us of one of Burns best loved poems “Tae a Moose”.

The Poets path leads to this wonderful museum and then to the Brig O’ Doon. This old bridge dates from the 15th century and Burns would have known this well as a child. It is linked to his very famous poem “Tam O’ Shanter” and has escaped demolition twice thanks to this. The magnificent Burns Monument is undergoing interior restoration but still looked amazing in the bright January sunshine.

Enjoy also the thoughts and writings of modern Robert Burns fans on this blog from the burnsmuseum

Burns Monument, Alloway

A special part of the visit was to step inside the cottage where Robert Burns was born in 1759 and where he lived for the first seven years of  his life. 

It was a very simple life but his father paid for a private tutor and even at six years of age it was clear the young boy had a very special talent.

Over his lifetime he wrote around 900 poems and songs. The most famous is “Auld Lang Syne” about  the bonds of friendship and is often sung at the end of a party as people say farewell.

Cottage where Robert Burns was born in January 1759




Romantic private tour of Scotland


Romantic Culloden House

Take a romantic private tour of Scotland. Are you planning a romantic proposal? A honeymoon? A vacation for two without the family? An anniversary trip? A Golden Wedding treat? 

Enjoying a special tour

We love planning romantic tours! We have the perfect car to take you around Scotland in comfort and style. Leather seats, tinted windows, and a very relaxing, smooth drive.

Travel in style and comfort

We also recommend some of the most romantic hotels during the tour. Special places where  the friendly staff will give you all the space you need.

Where the rooms are furnished to the highest standards and the comfort is exceptional.

Some of our favourite places on tour include The Airds Hotel on the beautiful Loch Linnhe in Argyll. Tucked away in the tiny hamlet of Port Appin this hotel takes you to a different world of luxury, fine dining and indulgence.

Enjoying some of the famous attractions of the Inverness area, the exquisite Georgian mansion  of Culloden House is a special place to stay over. Set in open parkland it has historical  connections back to Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746.

Of course romantic candlelight dinners are also an important part of any tour and we can recommend restaurants where the best of local

Romantic Afternoon Tea

Relaxing at Loch Lomond

Queen’s View, Loch Tummel

Scottish produce will tempt you. Afternoon Tea in a  top luxury hotel is another treat our guests enjoy. 



Highland Games summer 2018

Enjoying the Bagpipes and drums

Have you ever been to a Scottish Highland Games? Why not book a tour with us and we will take you to one of the best. Highland Games are held all over Scotland from May until September and we will plan a personalised tour to include at least one of these great occasions.

The Atholl Gathering on 27th May  2018 will be a spectacular day set in beautiful Perthshire. The historic fairy tale Blair Castle hosts this wonderful event where you will enjoy the sounds of the only private army in the country. 

Throughout June and July there are many more Games to choose from all over the country. Why not visit the local Oldmeldrum Sports in Aberdeenshire on 16th June 2018. Combined with a tour around Aberdeen’s Castle country this would make a great tour. 

Later on the 24th June 2018 at the west coast ferry port of Oban you may visit the famous Lorne Highland Games. Add this exciting day to a visit to the Island of Mull, colourful harbour of Tobermory or to the peaceful island of Iona. Later in the summer, enjoy the spectacular setting of the Mull Highland Games on 19th July 2018.


Colourful Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Throughout August there are choices all over Scotland. We plan tours to enjoy the Mey Highland Games in the far north of the Highlands. These have had royal connections for the last 50 years and so you are likely to see a famous face!

Later in the month you could enjoy the Crieff Gathering. Surrounded by the Perthshire scenery and enjoying the Highland Dancing, the local school bagpipe band and the traditional Scottish athletic competitions. Listen to the pipe band from our last visit to the Crieff Gathering.

Our time at the Crieff Games  with Sublime Scotland was some of the most fun we had in Scotland” Theresa, Florida, USA 

Crieff Highland games

Of course, there are also competitors from all over the world who take part in all the Highland Games across Scotland. The Bridge of Allan Highland Games takes place on 5th August 2018 and in previous years there have been bagpipe bands who are also taking part in the World Piping Championships. Enjoy this short practice session from our fantastic day at the Bridge of Allan Highland Games.




Sublime Scotland Tour highlights of 2017

Our 2017 season draws to a close and so too does our  private tour of Scotland. Bookings are already flowing in for 2018 and we have put together  highlights of this year. Meet our wonderful guests and all the great places we explored across Scotland. Sit back, relax and enjoy this tour!

In 2017 we toured from March to October and each new season brings something special. Guests enjoyed the new lambs in the fields in spring and the daffodils at stunning Eilean Donan Castle. As summer arrived we enjoyed the castles of Aberdeenshire, the pink fairytale castle of Craigievar. The clifftop location of Dunnotar Castle near the harbour town of Stonehaven is always a surprise and well worth the steep climb up the cliffs steps.

We enjoyed many whisky tours along the way and visited Glenfiddich, Aberlour and Glenkinchie Distillery to enjoy a wee tasting of whisky.

Whisky Distillery

Scotland’s Smallest Whisky Distillery

The famous Isle of Skye was on some of our adventure tours and we explored the soaring Cuillin Mountains, enjoyed the famous seafood and hospitality and then learnt about the islands fascinating history at the special Armadale Museum. A place not to be missed.

As summer turned to autumn the landscapes became golden and we enjoyed touring the Highlands, Perthshire, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and many other beautiful spots along the way.

Castles and Countryside

We enjoyed a visit to the castles of Aberdeenshire – castle country in the rolling farmlands of the north-east. Our first and long overdue tour to Craigievar Castle. The pink castle is said to have inspired Walt Disney to create his Cinderella Castle. This castle in Aberdeenshire has a much more varied history. Built by the Clan Sempill in the 14th century and then owned by the Forbes family for 350 years. It was passed to the National Trust for Scotland in 1963.

We enjoyed exploring and the guided tour. The spiral stairs are steep and take you to the top floor where the servants would do the laundry and sleep four to a bed. This is such an excellent example of a tower house and we enjoyed hearing about the families who had lived there so long ago.

Smoking fish like a Jacobite

Bannockburn House in Bannockburn has been empty for many decades. However we enjoyed an open day there in September when we heard about the plans to restore this marvellous mansion house back to its former glory. Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed here for four weeks in 1746 planning for the Battle of Falkirk, nearby. It is very exciting since a local trust has been formed to buy the house and to begin a project of restoration. It is clearly a very significant part of our local, and national, heritage and Sublime Scotland looks forward to keeping in touch with progress.

During the September open day we enjoyed exploring the house and imagining how it was when Bonnie Prince Charlie was welcomed to stay. After the Battle of Falkirk he left from here to travel to Inverness and Culloden. The Jacobites had to be very clever when travelling and we saw how they enjoyed smoking their food in a whisky barrel.

Inveraray on Loch Fyne

Our guests enjoyed a private tour to Inveraray Castle and the town of Inverary on Loch Fyne. We also enjoyed the view from the top of the tower where we saw the stunning loch and mountains of Argyll. Enjoy our highlights of our 2017 season of private tours.

Love Scottish History – then Visit the Border Abbeys

The Scottish Border region, close to England, has been a part of Scottish history since the middle ages. The number of beautiful Abbeys, within a short driving distance of each other, make this a perfect place to based yourself to be immersed in some of the highlights of Scotland.

Stunning Melrose Abbey

Visit Melrose Abbey – founded in the 1100s

We visited Melrose Abbey in August in a private tour of the Borders. This beautiful building grew to become one of the wealthiest and most majestic medieval monasteries in Scotland. Today it is within just a few miles of the splendid ruins of Kelso, Dryburgh and Jedburgh Abbeys. One of the most touching features at Melrose Abbey is the casket said to contain the heart of Robert The Bruce. Discovered in 1921 in a lead casket this is now carefully protected in the Abbey grounds.

Only a few miles away sits the stunning Jedburgh Abbey standing on an elevated position overlooking the Jed Water of Jedburgh. Founded in 1138 this major Augustinian Abbey is one of the most complete in Scotland. The scale and quality of its buildings, and their location close to the border with England, were clear statements of King David I’s ambitions for the Scottish church. We enjoyed climbing the steep spiral stairs of the tower to enjoy the amazing view of the ancient nave through the Abbey.

Climb the tower of Jedburgh Abbey

Our final visit on this private tour of the Border Abbeys was Dryburgh Abbey. This is a favourite, not just because of the wonderful history of Dryburgh Abbey itself, but also for the fact it is the burial place of Scotland’s famous writer Sir Walter Scott. The journey from his home at Abbotsford House to Dryburgh includes his favourite viewpoint across his bellowed Scottish Borders – Scotts view. Sir Walter Scott built his beautiful home at Abbotsford. In 1819 he had begun his love affair with this house by building the armoury, dining room, study and upstairs bedroom.

Abbotsford House – home of Sir Walter Scott

Favourite view of Sir Walter Scott – Scottish Borders

Enjoy a Hike with John

Scotland has been voted one of the top countries in the world to visit in 2017! Rough Guide has said this is a wonderful place to explore and we agree. This is why Sublime Scotland has expanded this season and is now a husband and wife business. John joins us with his own new range of tours. He has spent 20 years hiking across Scotland and always loves to introduce people to new corners of the country. He also has had a lifetimes interest in Scottish history and especially the many battlefields which were important in shaping the country.


Explore some of our stunning Scottish scenery on foot. There are so many options and it is great to have help from John to choose a hike which suits your group. Even a one hour stroll around a beautiful loch shore results in memories to last a lifetime. More remote walks are also offered by John taking account of the experience of the guests.


Hiking in Scotland

July tours

July is peak season in Scotland for visitors so there are plenty of exciting events happening. We find the quiet corners where nobody goes and enjoy the peaceful beauty of the Highlands or the coastal villages. In July guests from Denmark, Mexico and also the United States enjoyed fantastic tours with us. We visited The Scottish Highlands, hiked on the island of Kerrera, explored the quaint fishing and ferry port of Ullapool in the remote north west Highlands, and many more special places.

We also enjoyed the medieval Castles of Stirling, spectacular ruins of Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe, Urquhart castle on Loch Ness and the Aberdeenshire Crathes Castle. Our guests took a fun filled rib boat trip around famous Loch Ness. There are more than 730 castles in Scotland and our tours will take you to many of them across the country. The weather in July was kind to us and many days of warm sunshine kept everyone smiling!

August tours

This month we have welcomed our first cruise ship guests of 2017 and also our first guests from Panama. It was fun meeting them at two different ports of Newhaven, Edinburgh and then two days later at Greenock near Glasgow. This is a great way to see different parts of Scotland from your cruise ship without needing to book a different guide!

Visit the Scottish Gardens in Spring or Summer

Escaping the maze at Scone Palace

Walled garden at Blair Castle

Walled garden at Blair Castle

Blair Castle and walled garden

This Spring our tours have included many beautiful Scottish gardens across our country. We visited the stunning 9 acre walled garden at Blair Castle. Created between 1747 and 1760 by the 2nd Duke of Atholl. Sadly it was abandoned in the 1960’s but very happily it has now been restored and is an excellent addition to any visit to Blair Castle.

The entrance to the Hercules Garden through the south wall was created in 1924, when the 8th Duke and Duchess received a set of beautiful gates from friends and family. After the second world war the lack of labour and difficult economic times took their toll and the gardens fell into decline. Finally in 1989 the importance of the gardens were realised and restoration work began. The pathways, the very unusual Chinese bridge, many yew tress and statues were all restored. Many of our tours include this part of Perthshire and can easily include a visit to this special castle and the walled garden.

Scone Palace and maze

We also visited the Scone Maze. The maze is in a star shape and comprises 2,000 beech trees, half of them green and half of them copper. They were planted in such a way as to create a stunning tartan effect. We visited in June just after the maze had had it’s annual haircut and so it was looking very neat indeed.

The Scone maze is 215 feet across and at it’s centre sits a pentagonal fountain. The site of the maze is in fact the ancient area of flat ground known originally as the Monks Playgreen. it was here until 1559, that the monks of the Abbey of Scone played their own version of football. The nearby Scottish gardens of Scone Palace are also a delight to visit. We strolled among the towering conifers and enjoyed the mounds of pink, purple and red rhododendrons in May. In 2013 work started on a collection of Acers which will produce a fabulous display of autumn colours for years to come.

Castle of Mey walled garden

Our third garden of our 2017 spring tours was the northern Castle of Mey. Favourite holiday home of the Queen Mother for 50 years, this walled garden protects the flowers and vegetables from the harsh north winds of the Pentland Firth. The garden was peaceful and colourful and well worth a visit after the castle tour.

Drummond Castle

Of the four Scottish gardens we toured in spring 2017, the spectacular formal gardens of Drummond castle near Crieff in Perthshire were quite stunning.

Drummond Castle gardens