I love incorporating tours, visitor attractions and events into our travels to make our trips varied and fun. To avoid waiting in long queues to buy tickets, I always book online in advance. Over the years we’ve:
- Charged round Disneyland Paris like five year olds high on E numbers
- Explored the Roman ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum
- Slathered on face packs at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon
- Sampled Carlsberg on a brewery tour in Copenhagen
- Gone puffin spotting on the Firth of Forth
- Discovered Amsterdam and Venice by canal
- Walked deep underground in Poland’s Wieliczka Salt Mine
- Visited a Berber village in the High Atlas Mountains
- Cheered on the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium ( a dream of mine since childhood)
- Ran up the ‘Rocky Steps’ in Philadelphia (a dream of Mr G’s since childhood)
Finding entertaining things for us to do on our travels always starts with me trawling through various websites to find tours, attractions and events I think we’ll enjoy. For a holiday somewhere like New York, that could mean booking tickets from as many as ten different websites. That’s nine websites too many in my book. So, when I was introduced to Musement – a one stop shop where you can book tour, museum, attraction and event tickets, it’s safe to say I was a tad excited.
The world’s your playground with Musement
I’ll be honest, when Musement got in touch and invited me to try their service, I’d never heard of them. I checked out the Musement website to find out more and was immediately sucked into a browsing frenzy of amazing travel experiences worldwide.
This was definitely my kind of website. It was simple to navigate and I quickly found detailed information about the tours, attractions and events that fitted my search criteria. Prices were clearly displayed and customer reviews were available too. Really helpful if you’re struggling to choose between a Highland whisky tour or a Lowland beer tour.
So far, so good. My Musement browsing experience had been easy.
Choosing a tour for Mr G and I wasn’t quite as easy. Decisions, decisions – the tours, attractions and events available in bonnie Scotland all sounded fun. In the end I settled on a Highland Lochs, Glens and Whisky – 1 day tour from Edinburgh with local tour operator Rabbie’s.
Shortly after booking, I received an e-mail from Musement with our e-tickets for the tour attached.
And now for the travel bit. You didn’t think I’d leave that out did you? It’s time to join me (virtually) for that Rabbie’s tour. So, buckle up and let’s go visit those lochs and glens, before having a wee dram of Scotch whisky.
Highland lochs, glens & whisky – 1 day tour from Edinburgh
We’d never set off to explore Scotland for the day without having breakfast first. I’m not even human before I have my morning coffee and scone. And Mr G, well he wakens up hangry.
Rabbie’s tours from Edinburgh depart from their HQ on Waterloo Place, which just so happens to have a cafe.
We arrived early for our 8:45 am check-in at Rabbie’s Cafe and tucked into delicious bacon rolls, scones and a much-needed cup of coffee.
Set up for the day ahead, we were ready to explore Scotland.
And we’re off – on the road again
Outside, we were introduced to our driver/guide Pete who ushered us onto our bus. The sixteen seat mini bus had nice leather seats, tinted windows and USB ports – everything we needed for a comfortable trip.
Our tour group consisted of us, a couple from Slovakia and an Aussie girl who was travelling solo.
Pete was an Aussie too, but with guid Scots blood running through his veins. He told us his grandparents had emigrated to Australia from Inverness in the 1950s.
As we headed towards our first stop of the day, Pete regaled us with wonderful tales from Scotland’s often turbulent past.
Mary Queen of Scots, John Knox, William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Bonnie Prince Charlie were all covered. I think history should be fun and engaging, but it also needs to be accurate and not the embellished Hollywood version of event a la Braveheart. Pete really knew his stuff and it was obvious he was passionate about Scottish history. The tales he told us were entertaining, well-researched and accurate.
Dunkeld – a coffee and cathedral stop
Our first stop of the day was at the pretty Perthshire town of Dunkeld where we were given some free time to explore. Pete rattled off a list of the best places to buy coffee, cakes and locally crafted keepsakes.
When in Dunkeld there’s only one place I’m heading and that’s straight into Dunkeld Cathedral to visit the incredible medieval tomb of all-round bad egg the Wolf of Badenoch (son of King Robert II). He may have set the braw wee toon of Elgin on fire and brought shame to his family, but he was given a good send off and an ornate royal tomb to rest in for all eternity.
Before leaving Dunkeld we popped into The Country Bakery on the High Street. Pete had confirmed we’d find a decent cup of coffee and gigantic scones there. We did indeed find a decent cup of coffee, but having scoffed scones for breakfast we decided to share a gargantuan snowball for our mid-morning snack.
It was deeeeeeeelicious.
Shortly after leaving Dunkeld we arrived at our second stop of the day. The Hermitage is one of Perthshire’s loveliest beauty spots. It’s easy to reach too, which makes it popular with walkers and families, keen to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. The Hermitage is located a stone’s thrown from the busy A9, but once you’re surrounded by towering Douglas Firs and listening to the enchanting roar of the Black Linn Falls, it feels fabulously remote.
It was a grey January morning, but wandering through the woodland we were greeted with a riot of green and russet hues which added some much-needed colour to a dreich day.
We walked to a folly known as Ossian’s Hall of Mirrors and stopped to watch the falls from a viewing platform inside. After lots of rainfall they were looking really impressive. If you ever visit, make sure you study the falls carefully as they’re a great place to spot salmon leaping up river during the autumn months. My camera captured one (sheer fluke) there a couple of years ago, but my eyes missed the remarkable spectacle.
Pitlochry – time for haggis
Leaving woodland and waterfall behind, it was time to visit another bonnie Perthshire town. Pitlochry is a vibrant little town with lots of great eateries and independent shops. There’s plenty to see and do there too, but having arrived at lunchtime our minds were on food and food alone.
We perused a few menus on the High Street before decided to eat at Mackay’s Hotel & Bar. We both chose homemade soup to start (obvs, as we’re obsessed with soup). Mr G had a chicken and avocado sandwich with his, but I opted for haggis pakora. There had been lots of haggis chat on the bus, which had left me craving the scrumptious Scottish delicacy.
After lunch we enjoyed a wander round town and a spot of shopping. We returned to the bus with Islay whisky marmalade, coconut shortbread and Edinburgh rock. A touristy, but tasty haul.
Our penultimate stop of the day was at the Queen’s View – a stunning Perthshire viewpoint.
When Queen Victoria visited in 1866 she assumed Queen’s View had been named after her. It hadn’t – its namesake was Isabella, wife of Robert the Bruce.
Arriving on a grey January afternoon we found the place deserted – yippee. Queen’s View is often thronging with tourists, so it was nice to enjoy a peaceful visit.
On a clear day the view is glorious and stretches the length of Loch Tummel. The mighty Schiehallion is usually prominent and in the distance the mountains of Glencoe can often be seen. Our view wasn’t quite as expansive. Schiehallion was invisible, completely enveloped in heavy cloud and the peaks of Glencoe were nowhere to be seen.
The scene was still beautiful though, and what we’d call atmospheric when putting a positive spin on a dreich day.
It was chilly, so we didn’t linger too long willing Schiehallion to appear.
It was time for something to warm the cockles.
A whisky tour and tasting at Dewar’s of Aberfeldy
For those of us wishing to partake in a wee dram on a chilly January afternoon, we had the option of paying extra for a whisky tour and tasting at Dewar’s of Aberfeldy. Those not wishing to partake could have coffee and cake in the distillery cafe, a drink in the on site bar, or a browse in the shop for some whisky themed gifts.
Our tour party of five all signed all up to drink whisky. Four out of five of us opted for a two dram tasting instead of one. No prizes for guessing how many drams the Grants signed up for.
It doesn’t matter how many distilleries I visit, I never tire of learning about the whisky making process. I love getting behind the scenes access to see where the magic happens. The whole distillation process fascinates me. From mash tuns, to giant copper stills and spirit safes – seeing ‘uisge-beatha’ (water of life) being made is like watching a large scale science experiment being conducted.
We started our tour in the distillery museum, learning about the history of the Dewar’s brand and trying to identify various whisky related aromas such as peat (not to be confused with Pete our guide), heather, honey and smoke.
The museum was really interactive and great fun.
Next, it was time to sample the goods with our first wee dram.
We congregated at the bar and were given a choice. Dewar’s ‘White Label’ (a blended whisky), Dewar’s ‘The Ancestor’ a 12 year aged blended whisky, an Aberfeldy 12-year-old single malt, or a less alcoholic ‘hot toddy’. Our Rabbie’s posse all chose the single malt.
It was smooth, flavoursome and the perfect warmer on a cold day.
Dram number one down the hatch, we were taken on a tour of the distillery’s production areas and walked through the whisky making process.
Our tour ended in the distillery’s huge warehouses with tasting number two. A 57.6% proof, 21-year-old Aberfeldy single malt, drawn straight from the cask.
I’ve always wanted to try whisky straight from the cask, so I loved the theatrical element of this part of the tour. Even non whisky lover Mr G was captivated.
The whisky tasted surprisingly light, given its high alcohol content. I’d expected it to burn like hell fire, but it didn’t.
Our journey back to Edinburgh was filled with more of Pete’s fabulous tales and some Scottish tunes too. Mr G slept soundly through it all, his wee face flushed with a warm whisky glow.
And there ended a brilliant day out.
Musement – The verdict
If you also like incorporating guided tours, museum visits, events and visitor attractions into your travels, make sure you check out Musement. Making great travel memories, just got a whole lot easier.
This blog was sponsored by Musement, however it doesn’t contain any commission earning links. Our Rabbie’s tour was provided on a complimentary basis to allow me to write an honest review of my experience of using Musement.
Until next time …