1012BA0 - Pilgrimage to Scotland 9 days from Chicago

Airline Name Baggage Information
British Airways http://bit.ly/QL20IP

Special Package with this Trip :
International departure taxes of $198 plus current fuel surcharges of $350 are included (subject to change).

Tour Code Departure Date Cost per person
BA1012GS 10/12/2020 $4149.00
Weather Info

Trip Details

Today, we depart from Chicago for our overnight flight to Edinburgh via non-stop flight to London. We will be served dinner and breakfast and enjoy inflight movies while aloft.
We arrive in Edinburgh, the glorious Scottish capital. We are met by our Unitours tour manager and transfer to our motor coach for our drive into Edinburgh. We enjoy a panoramic tour of the old town, taking in the historic Royal Mile in the old town and the Georgian 'new town', taking in the many fine Georgian crescents, squares and streets with their distinctive architecture. Our first stop is the beautiful the Cathedral of St. Mary and its Shrine of St. Andrew. The cathedral was designed by the prominent ecclesiastical architect, James Gillespie Graham, in 1814. Because of a fire of the adjacent Theatre Royal in 1891, the Cathedral was completely restored and expanded. The Shrine of St. Andrew, which houses relics of St. Andrew, was refinished in the 1980s for the Papal of visit of the then Pope, John Paul II. If time permits, we have the opportunity for Mass while here. After our tour, we break for lunch on our own and then visit nearby Edinburgh Castle, which sits on an extinct volcano. On view are the “Honors of Scotland” – the magnificent Crowned Scepter and the Sword of State, which are the oldest Crown jewels in the British Isles. Also housed here is the fabled “Stone of Destiny”, the symbol of nationhood used to inaugurate monarchs of Scotland, England and the United Kingdom for over a millennium. Built in the 12th century, it housed various monarchs and royals until the mid-17th century, when it became a military barracks because of its strategic location. While there we will also stop at St. Margaret's Chapel, which withstood numerous destruction attempts. Dating back to the 12th century, during the reign of King David I, who dedicated this Chapel to his mother, Queen Margaret, who we now know as St. Margaret of Scotland. Also located nearby is the Cathedral of St. Giles, the patron Saint of Edinburgh. We will have the remainder of the afternoon to browse the many shops that surround this area. We check into our hotel before enjoying our “welcome” dinner in Edinburgh. Overnight in Edinburgh.
This morning visit we visit the Palace of Holyrood house, now official residence of England’s royal family’s while in Scotland, but once the home of Mary, Queen of Scots. On the way back to Edinburgh, we stop for lunch on our own before we finish our day in Edinburgh, with time for leisure before we enjoy dinner at one of Edinburgh’s many great restaurants t. We overnight at our hotel.
This morning we depart Edinburgh and journey to Glasgow. En-route, we visit Rosslyn Chapel, which took some 40 years to complete. Its ornate stonework and symbolism have inspired and intrigued artists and visitors ever since it was completed. Today, there are countless theories, myths and legends associated with the Chapel, many of which are impossible to prove or disprove conclusively. En-route, we visit Carfin Grotto and have an opportunity to celebrate Mass there. Carfin Lourdes Grotto, a Roman Catholic shrine in Scotland, is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes and was created in the early twentieth century. For more than ninety years the Grotto at Carfin has been a special place of pilgrimage, prayer and grace for those who visit it. We enjoy lunch on our own along the way to Glasgow. On arrival enjoy a motor coach tour of Glasgow, with views of Tolbooth Steeple, Clyde Arc, Cineworld, and the University of Glasgow. If time permits, we enjoy Mass at St. Andrews Cathedral before our dinner at a great local restaurant. We return to our hotel for our overnight in Glasgow.
Today, we depart Glasgow and journey to Fort William. We stop for scenic photos at beautiful Loch Lomond and picturesque Glencoe. ALL PHOTO AND LUNCH STOPS ON THIS JOURNEY WILL BE SHORT. We break for lunch on our own before boarding the Jacobite Steam Train & West Highland Line for their 2:10pm steam train service from Mallaig to Fort William, enjoying the picturesque Scottish countryside along the way. Overnight in Fort William area with dinner at the hotel.
Following breakfast, we travel to Inverness, stopping for a Loch Ness boat cruise. Loch Ness is a freshwater loch (lake), known for its fabled Loch Ness Monster. Aside from its monstrous connection, this stunningly beautiful loch holds more water than Wales’ and England’s’ lakes combined! Our two-hour cruise includes a visit to Urquhart Castle, located on the shore of Loch Ness. Once considered one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart saw great conflict during its five centuries as a medieval fortress. Control of this castle passed back and forth between the Scots and the English during the many wars over Scottish Independence. Sadly, the last of the government troops garrisoned there blew up the castle when they evacuated. Urquhart’s ruins are all that remain, offering glimpses into past medieval times and the lives of its noble residents. On arrival in Inverness we celebrate Mass at St. Mary’s Church. We conclude our day with dinner at a local restaurant and overnight in Inverness (or surrounding area).
This morning, following breakfast, we celebrate morning Mass before departing Inverness for Pitlochry. First, we visit Culloden Battlefield, the scene of the famous 1746 Battle of Culloden between the Jacobite and the British armies and the last battle fought on British soil. Though the battle lasted a mere hour or so, Culloden marked the beginning of the end of Highland society. Following the battle, kilts and tartans were soon banned as a symbol of Scottish heritage. We continue through the Cairngorms National Park and arrive at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery, which produces one of Scotland’s most exclusive whiskies. There, we enjoy a special tour and tasting while at the distillery. Continue to Pitlochry, which is considered the gateway to the Highlands. We conclude our day with dinner at a local restaurant before we overnight at our hotel in Pitlochry.
This morning, we visit Blair Castle which dates to 1269 and one of the most famous castles in Scotland. It is also home to Europe's only legal private army, the Atholl Highlanders, which consists of the remnants of the old Scottish clan system, a time when every clan had its own army. It is also the seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl. We enjoy a tour of not only the castle, but it’s fascinating collections and beautiful landscaped gardens. Then we travel to St. Andrews in Fife and visit St. Andrews Cathedral. Once Scotland’s largest and most magnificent church, these ruins still show how impressive St Andrews Cathedral would have been when it was originally built in the 12th century. As a Catholic stronghold in medieval Scotland, it was captured by Calvinist zealots during the Protestant Reformation in 1560. St. Andrews was the seat of the country's leading bishops. Used for worship since the 8th century AD, when the relics of St. Andrew, Scotland’s patron Saint, are said to have been brought here. It soon became a major pilgrimage Shrine for Scotland and northern Europe’s early Christians. The cathedral and buildings are surrounded by a graveyard and a massive enclosure of walls. The shape, in which St. Andrew was crucified, is a symbol on the Scottish national flag to remind the country of his martyrdom. We enjoy Mass in St. Andrews, then continue to Edinburgh where we enjoy some time for relaxation before our “farewell” dinner. Tonight. we enjoy a special “Scottish” evening with traditional Scottish music, dance and food. Overnight at our hotel.
This morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight home, with memories of a lifetime! We’ll enjoy lunch and a snack on the return flight home.