Art and Architecture of the West Highlands

Explore the sensational castles and country houses of Britian's wildest and most romantic region on this exclusive tour is led by leading writer and architectural historian Mary Miers.  The trip includes access to some of the artistic jewels of the West Highlands, many of which are still private homes. 

Tour details

Arrival day - Friday 7th May 2021

Experience teaches us that people prefer to give themselves a full day to recover from the journey and explore a little on their own. We are therefore including two nights at a chic Bed and Breakfast close to Glasgow city centre before the full tour begins.

A taxi from Glasgow airport will cost about £25 (or £75 from Edinburgh airport).

Day 2 (Saturday 8th)

A relaxed morning exploring Glasgow. Perhaps the famous Burrell  Museum, newly opened after a 4-year closure for restoration, or a tour of the Merchant City. Then after lunch we meet our guide for an afternoon excursion down the Clyde. Past Formakin House, then Finlaystone with its lovely gardens, and then Ardgowan. Back to the city in time for tea and a relaxed evening, taking in some of the area’s fascinating maritime heritage along the way.

Day 3 (Sunday 9th)

A 9.15 start for our drive north along Loch Lomond and into the Highlands. We take in the internationally acclaimed Art Nouveau Hill House, Helensburgh (Charles Rennie Mackintosh) before crossing the ‘Rest and be Thankful’ Pass into Argyll.

Stop for lunch at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar before a private tour of Ardkinglas (Sir Robert Lorimer’s Arts-&-Crafts masterpiece, see photo below). We stay the night at a cozy loch-side inn nearby.

Day 4 (Monday 10th)

Morning coffee at 18th–Century Strachur House, home of the famous war hero, author and inspiration for James Bond, Sir Fitzroy Maclean, before a visit to Inveraray Castle, HQ of Clan Campbell and residence of the Duke or Argyll.

Then a short drive through the Argyll hills to extraordinary St Conan’s Kirk overlooking Loch Awe and the picturesque ruin of Kilchurn Castle, before driving on to Oban and the ferry to the Isle of Mull, where we stay for two nights. 

Day 5 (Tuesday 11th)

A day exploring the isle of Mull: Torosay House with Lorimer gardens superbly sited above the Firth of Lorne, Castle Duart, HQ of Clan Maclean, and of course the extraordinary Abbey on Iona.

Day 6 (Wednesday 12th)

We take the morning ferry from Mull to Lochaline on the remote Morvern peninsula. There we visit Ardtornish House and its famous gardens, plus Kinlochaline Castle (a late medieval tower house restored as a private home). Lunch in the village at nearby Lochaline (local freshly caught seafood is a tempting option). Then we travel through the wild landscape of the 'Rough Bounds' into Moidart to visit the unmissably romantic ruins of Castle Tioram, ancient stronghold of the Macdonalds of Clanranald.

We stay at Kinlochmoidart House, a perfectly preserved showcase of Aesthetic Movement taste, which has remained in the same family since it was built.

Day 7 (Thursday 13th)

A day exploring Moidart, incuding a private tour of our base at Kinlochmoidart House. Pub lunch at Glenuig, or, if the weather is fine, a picnic and a stroll down to the poignant deserted crofting village at Smirisary by the sea, followed by afternoon visit/refreshments at Roshven House, with its important artistic connections and collection of contemporary Scottish art.

Day 8 (Friday 14th)

A drive along the West Coast for our next adventure: Arisaig House, the first country house designed by Philip Webb, father of Arts-&-Crafts architecture, overlooking Loch nan Uamh - the site where Bonnie Prince Charlie first set foot on the British mainland in 1745. Then the Himalayan glory of the secret Larach Mor gardens, ablaze with colour in May. Finally we head along the Road to the Isles, stopping at Glenfinnan, with its beautifully sited church at the head of Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan monument before the drive back to Glasgow, through the Highlands via dramatic Glencoe, for a relaxed last night in the city.

Please note that if visitors wish to continue their journey around the West Highlands, Skye and the Hebrides instead of returning to Glasgow, we can help arrange onward travel from the West Coast. Please contact us if you would like to discuss extending your tour in this way.

Day 9 (Saturday 15th) fly home or onward travel.

Price, Transport, Guide, Accommodation and Shopping

The cost of the tours in 2021 is GBP £2,900 (USD $3,800 in Oct 2020).

The tour is priced for people travelling on their own. If you are happy to share a room, there is a reduction of GBP £150 per person.

The tour will be for a maximum of twelve people travelling in two nine seater minibuses.

Breakfast is included throughout; lunch is not included. Dinner is included on selected nights. At the other overnight stops there is a range of bar meals and more formal options.

Luggage: we suggest a medium sized case plus hand luggage for easy access at your seat. If you are continuing your trip please ask us about left luggage facilities in Glasgow. 

There will be plenty of opportunity to buy souvenirs but this is not really a tour for serious shopping!

What's Included?

  • Bed and Breakfast for ten nights
  • Dinner on selected nights
  • Services of lead tour guide and driver/guide for nine days
  • Entry to key sites
  • Entry to selected castles and houses
  • Private castle tours.

Not included:

  • Air Fares
  • Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Dinners except for those specified
  • Trip insurance

We ask for a non refundable deposit of GBP £600 per person which represents the costs of arranging the tour.

The balance is payable twelve weeks prior to the start of the tour.


We strongly recommend that you take out trip insurance in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Now What?

If you would like to know, more about the trip then send an email to me, Diana Gray.


If you would like to go ahead and book a place, you can make your deposit of GBP £600 (Mastercard or VISA) below...

Note - please use Ref: 'ARCH'