In Style

Western Scotland in Style

18 to 25 May
United Kingdom

Join us on PTG’s first “in style” venture north of the border with a tour focusing on Glasgow and the beautiful west coast. The eight-day trip is a two centre holiday using four-star hotels in Glasgow and Troon. The tour is timed to take advantage of the first weekend of the year when the paddle steamer Waverley sails from Glasgow, and we will join the ship for a full day cruise. Glasgow is a vibrant city with splendid architecture and a reputation as a shopping mecca. During our time here we will visit the hidden areas of the Victorian Central Station, enjoy fine dining in upmarket restaurants and, on our first night, have the opportunity to partake in the extensive cultural scene.

You may wish to travel the wonderfully scenic West Highland line to Mallaig, riding on the Jacobean steam train from Mallaig to Fort William, before returning to Glasgow. As an alternative, there is the option of a cruise on Loch Lomond. We will ride the Falkirk Wheel, have afternoon tea on the steam train at the Bo’ness Railway, visit Dumfries House, sample a Burns’ Supper and tour Culzean Castle. We will take the ferry to Arran to visit Broddick Castle and the Lochranza Distillery.

This really is a fantastic opportunity to experience the West of Scotland in comfort and style. Culture, heritage, railways, cruising, good food drink and friendly company all combine to make for a truly memorable week.

Tour Manager: Stephen

Itinerary

Day 1 Saturday 18th May (B) We would recommend that you travel to Glasgow by train, bus or plane to arrive at the Radisson Blu hotel by mid-afternoon. PTG can arrange your travel for you. Tonight, is our cultural evening for your choice of:

  • the opera, “The Magic Flute” at 7.15 in the beautifully restored and renovated Theatre Royal, which opened in 1867 and is the oldest theatre in Glasgow 
  • a classical concert, featuring Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” given by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at 7.30 in the Royal Concert Hall, a venue with superb acoustics
  • the musical “Kinky Boots” at 7.30 in the Kings Theatre, which opened in 1904 and is the main venue for the many touring shows which grace the Glasgow stage
  • a Mayfesto production at 7.45 in the Tron Theatre, which in 1795 was a church, Tron Kirk, and was rescued from dereliction in 1978 to become a home for modern drama as well as Scottish plays. Its intimate Victorian Bar is a venue for monthly jazz performances as well as a “seven song” club

These venues are close to excellent restaurants,

Day 2 Sunday 19th May (B, D) This morning we will explore the hidden heritage of Central Station, constructed by the Victorians before boarding the Glasgow sightseeing bus for an orientation journey around the city. You can now decide which of the many attractions you would like to visit for longer, using the “hop on hop off” facility to transport you from one to another. The Transport Museum, Peoples Palace and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum all have good cafes for lunch, or you may elect to sample the excellent shopping, and eating, opportunities in the city centre. Equally, you may choose to find the statue of the Duke of Wellington with a traffic cone for a hat, admire the architecture in the city centre where there are facades borrowed from Venetian, Egyptian and French architecture, as well as those designed by Glasgow’s own Charles Rennie Mackintosh, or walk around the cosmopolitan Merchant City district. Tonight, we have our Welcome Dinner in the private dining room of a nearby hostelry.

Day 3 Monday 20th May (B) There are more choices today. You may wish to travel the West Highland Line with its spectacular scenery – the glorious views over the lochs, the starkness of Rannoch Moor, the splendour of the Glenfinnan Viaduct (made famous by the Harry Potter films), and the magnificent coastal vistas near Mallaig. You will be able to return to Fort William on the steam-hauled Jacobean train, before connecting with the service train back to Glasgow. 

The other option is a cruise on Loch Lomond, which is one of the largest bodies of water in the UK, dominated by Ben Lomond, an extinct volcano and the most southerly of the Munros (mountains over 3000 ft). Travelling to Balloch by train, we cruise to the village of Luss, which doubled as Glendarroch in the Scottish show “Take the High Road”. The village has a heritage walk and a choice of places for lunch. Later in the afternoon we cruise back to Balloch to catch the train for Glasgow.

Day 4 Tuesday 21st May (B, D) Today is “moving day” as we leave Glasgow by coach, for the Ayrshire coast, but not before we have visited an engineering marvel, the Falkirk Wheel which recreates the lost link in the Forth and Clyde canal system. The canals were restored as part of the Millennium celebrations. We will ride the Wheel to experience the raising and lowering of boats which now use the canal for recreation. 

Our next stop is the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, the home of the Scottish Rail Preservation Society, where we will have a trip on their steam train, enjoy afternoon tea and then visit the railway museum.  On our way to Troon, we will pass by the Kelpies (which are water sprites in Scottish folklore), two huge horses heads we can see from the motorway.  We have dinner in the Lochgreen House Hotel, our home for the next two nights.                       

Day 5 Wednesday 22nd May (B,L,D) This morning we will visit the historic 18th century Dumfries House, once owned by Johnny Dumfries, the former racing driver who is also the 7th Marquis of Bute. When he decided to auction off the House, (designed by Adam) and contents, Prince Charles stepped in to help save it all for the nation. We will have a guided tour and/or have time to see the gardens.

We cannot be in Ayrshire without a visit to the birthplace of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard. In Alloway, at the cottage where he was born, we will indulge in an express Burns’ Supper, then visit the Museum, see Kirk Alloway (in which a very inebriated Tam O’Shanter watched the witches dancing), Brig o’ Doon (where Meg, his horse, lost her tail in saving her master) and the Burns Monument and Gardens.

Our final visit of the day is to Culzean Castle, another Adam designed building in which “Ike” Eisenhower was given an apartment after WW2. He visited several times, even while he was President. It has a stunning clifftop location and we will be given a guided tour. We may also visit the gardens before returning to the Lochgreen for dinner.

 Day 6 Thursday 23rd May (B, L) Today we will be dropped off at Ardrossan Harbour to take the ferry across the Clyde to Arran. Often called “Scotland in Miniature”, the highest peak is Goat Fell, it has Standing Stones and its own Holy Isle. We will be met in Brodick and taken to the Castle, the scene of much violence and turbulence since the 5th century. The castle has recently been undergoing restoration.  

We will have lunch in the Auchrannie hotel, the premier resort on Arran, before heading off to the distillery in Lochranza to find out about the distilling process and sample a dram”. We may even have time to visit Arran Aromatics, or be able to taste Arran cheeses or beer before we leave the island. From Brodick we return to the mainland by ferry and connect with the train back to Glasgow.                                       

Day 7 Friday 24th May (B, D) Today we are “going doon the watter” as Glaswegians would say, and sailing on the PS Waverley for the day. She is the last ocean-going paddle steamer in the world and has been carrying passengers, on and off, since 1946, when she was built to replace her predecessor, which was used as a minesweeper in WW2, and sunk in 1940 while helping with the evacuation of Dunkirk. She is now owned by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society charity and has circumnavigated the British Isles – an iconic sight wherever she sails. On our return to Glasgow, we will meet for our Farewell Dinner.

Day 8 Saturday 25th May (B) Should you want longer to explore Glasgow and its environs we can arrange for an extension at the hotel.

Place(s) available

For more details or email Stephen at smart@ptg.co.uk

There are a range of prices and options for this tour so please contact us on 01235 227288 to discuss the various options.