Did you know I love Scotland? Shocker, right? I mean, I did just tell you all the reasons NOT to go to Scotland. But it’s true, this amazing country is first on my list whenever anyone asks me where they should go on a vacation. Scotland truly offers something for everyone. History, natural beauty, amazing architecture, culture. The list is endless. Yes, I could never get enough of Scotland. So when I had the opportunity to go back for a second visit I was perhaps even more excited than the first time. Don’t get me wrong, the first time was fantastic. My mom and I went on a 10-day Outlander/Mary Queen of Scots tour and loved every goofy, girly minute. But this time my husband and three of our kids would be joining me for a 16-day visit and while they’re adventurous, I knew they wouldn’t want to see all things Outlander. Plus, I really wanted them to love the country as much as I do (no pressure, haha!) so everything had to be planned perfectly.
Since I had already been to Scotland once, I knew some of the things we should visit that the family would enjoy. However, I wanted to explore more of the country than I did before and found that I was at a bit of a loss where to start. I mean, how do you know the best route to take or the best B&B to choose? This was the first time I would be driving, and on the wrong side of the road no doubt ;), so I was already a bit nervous about getting around. I began trying to plan the trip by looking at Tripadvisor, Hotels.com, and other search engines but found myself getting overwhelmed quickly, and felt as if there was a lot riding on this trip so didn’t want to be the one to mess it up by making a bad choice.
By pure chance and a lot of Google searching, I came across Absolute Escapes. They looked promising, boasting ratings of 4.9 out of 5 on Facebook and 98% on aito.com, so I sent them an inquiry just to see what they had to say. I was connected with Pippa, one of their lovely tour guides who shared with me a little bit of what Absolute Escapes is all about. Here’s what she said:
“We believe that travel should be exciting, intriguing, rejuvenating and memorable. That’s why we’ve created a company staffed by the most knowledgeable, passionate and enthusiastic experts available. Our philosophy is to offer special holidays tailored to your individual requirements. We use our expert knowledge to seek out the best that the UK has to offer – the best places to stay, the best experiences, the best routes and we take away the hard work by arranging it all for you.”
Since this was exactly what I was hoping for, I was willing to give Absolute Escapes a try. This trip was going to be a tough one to plan because it was a logistical nightmare. Some of the family was coming on one date. They would leave and others would come. We wanted to see a lot so needed to organize many different places to stay, a car rental, routes, places to eat, etc. Taking all that into consideration, I was happy to get any help I could. Pippa quickly answered all of my questions and was clearly very knowledgeable about all things Scotland. After a few more emails back and forth, I knew this company was going to make my trip planning much more manageable.
So patient Pippa and I spent the better part of a month emailing back and forth while working out an itinerary. She was so wonderful, answering all of my questions and really taking the time to listen and understand exactly what it was we wanted to do. She offered many wonderful suggestions on things she thought may be of interest to us and the best way to make it all happen. I honestly cannot say enough good things about her.
Finally, our trip was all booked through Absolute Escapes. The lodging, car rental, driving routes, everything. And when I say everything, here’s exactly what I mean: 16 days=1 rental car, 2 ferry crossings, 9 B&B’s, 1 boat tour, and Explorer Passes (paid entry into select castles and monuments) for all 5 of us. They even sent us a packet with our detailed itinerary that included drive times, contact information, places to eat and things to do. It was perfect. All that being said, you never fully know what you’re going to get until you arrive at your destination and see how all the details play out. Since I had never worked with Absolute Escapes before, I’ll admit that I was a bit worried that things might not go as smoothly as they looked on paper, especially considering all the details involved. But I’m pleased to announce they did! Our rental car was waiting for us at the airport, all the B&B’s were wonderful, and the sights we saw were absolutely amazing.
If you aren’t completely sold yet, according to their website here’s a bit more of what this company has to offer:
Absolute Escapes is a leading specialist in self-guided walking holidays in the UK & Ireland, and tailor-made travel to Scotland.
- We offer self-guided walking holidays on some of the finest long-distance trails in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
- We also specialise in tailor-made travel to Scotland including self-drive itineraries and escorted tours.
- We customise all of our itineraries to your exact requirements based on our experience and intimate knowledge of Scotland. Whether you’d like to drive the North Coast 500 or island-hop around the Outer Hebrides – choose from the many itineraries, experiences and accommodation options that we offer, then contact one of our specialist consultants who’ll turn your ideas into your perfect tailor-made trip.
I would say they are all this and more! Absolute Escapes is a fantastic company that’s willing to listen to what your interests are and will tailor your trip exactly to what you want. They spend a lot of time working out all the details and have many relationships with local businesses that offer them good rates and in turn, can end up saving you money. From start to finish, I cannot recommend them enough.
Take it from me. Why not take the stress out of planning your vacation and let Absolute Escapes help you book the perfect trip? That way you can stop planning and begin dreaming about all the wonderful memories you will make on your special trip.
I know the memories we made on this trip will last us a lifetime!
❤️ Stay tuned for more posts on our amazing trip ❤️
+44 (0) 131 610 1210
Write to Us:
Absolute Escapes Ltd
24 Forth Street
You planned the perfect Scottish adventure and Absolute Escapes made it happen! Can’t wait to go this summer…you’re driving!!
Haha! I was thinking you would drive.
Will you plan our next trip to Northern Portugal & Spain? I’m having trouble finding an itinerary I like from our usual small group travel companies!!!
Only if I can come too! 😉
Have you also heard about http://www.secret-scotland.com
They also do a tour planning service but they don’t book accommodation. This was ideal for us as we are independent travelers who prefer to save money by making our own arrangements.
We used their services in 2017 and we had a lot of correspondence with Mike & Aury to discuss what we should see and how it should be paced. They asked lots of questions to really understand not just the places we wanted to see but why we wanted to see them. They then suggested other places that would tick our boxes but which we’d never heard of.
We got a very detailed information package from them with incredible step by step instructions so we even found great little picnic spots that we would otherwise have sped past. They also gave us a list of recommended accommodation along the route that they had visited and selected. We just had to pick which places we liked best and then booked direct with the B&B.
We could also get a discount on car hire through Secret Scotland, but my partner gets a deal with Hertz so we didn’t need that.
All in it cost us ~£120 to get a 2 week itinerary planned by them in incredible detail. We deviated from their plan on 1 day of the trip, but soon realized that Mike & Aury knew best so we stuck with their suggestions all the way after that and it was great trip.
Worth checking them out.
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Thanks for the tip! 🙂