Invergordon Bus Tours

Thistle Excursions offer the finest sightseeing tours of the Scottish Highlands. Our Invergordon based bus tours are available for both Invergordon cruise ship visitors and any person looking to find out more about the history of the local area.

Our tours are set to leave at 10.00 or 10.30 however for ships arriving later, such as the Norwegian Getaway the departure will be 1 hour after ship docks.  This might show a 10.00 start on your itinerary, but it will be later.  Similar for ship departure, we are aware of your leaving time and will have you back 1 hour before your ship leaves, so please be assured you are in safe hands. 

If you cannot find what you are looking for or your ship is missing please email us as we do offer bespoke tours on our 8 seater Eurobus. Email info@thistleexcursions.co.uk

You can book onto any of ours tours using our online booking system. Or continue reading to find out more about Tour 1) Harry Potter, Madonna and Whisky Galore or Tour 2) Castles, Battles, Nessie and Outlander.

Tour 1 – Harry Potter, Madonna and Whisky Galore

Here we have blended the fairy tale of Harry Potter and his on screen fame, along with the American starlet, Madonna and her marriage to Guy Ritchie and son's baptism at Dornoch Cathedral.  In Dornoch you will encounter the basic ingredient of Scotland and the Highlands especially – its famous whiskies, by sampling various blends or malts, whilst at the Glenmorangie Distillery, not only delight in how their Highland whisky is made, but experience true malt whisky luxury in the tasting session.  Dornoch has a myriad of little streets to explore, containing amazing and unique shops, as well as delightful cafes.  Discount vouchers for the eating places will be given out on this excursion to make your adventure even more enjoyable.

At Black Rock Gorge, not only do you have an enjoyable short trek through a Highland forest, but you see the geological marvel of the deepest gorge in Scotland.  Harry Potter enthusiasts must have also shared this thought, as they chose this location for the filming of Harry Potter – Goblet of Fire. You might even see a red squirrel, stoat, rabbit, deer or a wild cat.  If you are really lucky you might get an elusive glimpse of the Highland black panther, which haunts our local woodland.


We aim to give you a full day of adventure and enjoyment, making you as comfortable as possible.  We hope you will return again and again to visit the Scottish Highlands, as this is all but a taster session, although you will have plenty of time to experience every aspect of the Thistle tour.

What's included in the price?

Water refreshments will be provided on the coach, as well as waterproof rain macs should you require one.  Entry fees into the Glenmorangie Distillery are also included and there is no entry fee to Invergordon museum should you wish to visit at the conclusion of the bus tour.  For £59 this full day tour is a bargain; we aim to please and want to give you a quality experience at an affordable price.

Tour One Itinerary

This tour will see you leaving Invergordon, your Highland port of call, around 10.30

Black Rock Gorge - Harry Potter Experience

Black Rock GorgeWe will take you a few miles away to the little village of Evanton, where we will drive up the hill then disembark for a short 500m walk to the Black Rock Gorge, itself a geological marvel.  Here Harry Potter the Goblet of Fire was filmed in 2008.  The walk will take you over two wooden bridges over the deep gorge and through fairylike woodland, where the filming took place.  This will take around 1 hour in total.  Please put on your walking shoes and it is unsuitable for disabled passengers, but they may wait on the coach and listen to local Scottish music.

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Historic Dornoch - Whisky and chocolate

DornochAround 11.30 you will leave for the lovely and historic town of Dornoch, about 18 miles north of Evanton, arriving around 12.00.   Here a guide will meet us and introduce you to the many many things to see and do in Dornoch, from historic walks starting at the museum, to visiting amazing shops that will delight you, including candles, jewellery, books, antiques, Golf Pro shop, the castle hotel, the Jail, the Whisky Cellar etc. and you have to visit Cocoa Mountain, where everything is made with chocolate!  You can have a bite of lunch or simply afternoon tea, the choice is yours. 

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The Carnegie Whisky Cellars Tasting Room

Visit the Carnegie Whisky Cellars for Whisky Tastings and Gin Master Classes 

Blind Whisky Tasting – this is so enjoyable, don't miss it.

Have some whisky fun and test your nosing skills in this 45 minute experience.

Independently compare 2 single malts and 1 blended whisky to try to discern where they come from.          

Dornoch Cathedral - Madonna's wedding

Dornoch CathedralVisitors love seeing the 17th century cathedral where Madonna married Guy Ritchie in 2000.  You can hear all about it from the church’s own guide. 

We often hear from cruise passengers that they do not get long enough on a tour, but we are making up for that, as you have a leisurely 2.75 hours to take your time, eat in comfort and walk at a slow pace.  Everything is close to the town centre. We will leave here around 14.45.

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Glenmorangie Distillery

Glenmorangie DistilleryAround 15.00 we will depart for the short journey of about 10 miles to the Glenmorangie Distillery, which takes us just about 15 minutes away from the port of Invergordon.  You will be shown around the distillery with their own experienced guide, culminating in a short walk to view the wildlife at the Cromarty Firth within the distillery grounds and having a tasting session of the famous Glenmorangie Original, not forgetting their shop with various whiskies made at the distillery on sale for your delights.  This section of the tour takes about 1.25 hours, but is unsuitable for the disabled, as there are steps to climb, however the less able may wish to sit and partake of a whisky whilst the others look around. We will leave the Glenmorangie around 16.30 to take you back to your ship for 5pm.

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You will arrive back at your ship for around 17.00.

You may wish to pop into the local Invergordon museum and discover all about the town's naval history and its oil rigs.

This tour is a full day tour, packed full of special delights and memories, which you will take home with you of the Scottish Highlands.  Haste ye back!

Tour 1a - Harry Potter, Madonna and Whisky Galore

Here we have blended the fairy tale of Harry Potter and his on screen fame, along with the American starlet, Madonna and her marriage to Guy Ritchie and son's baptism at Dornoch Cathedral.  In Dornoch you will encounter the basic ingredient of Scotland and the Highlands especially – its famous whiskies, by sampling various blends or malts, whilst at the Carnegie Whisky Cellar, experience true malt whisky luxury in the tasting session.  Dornoch has a myriad of little streets to explore, containing amazing and unique shops, as well as delightful cafes.  Discount vouchers for the eating places will be given out on this excursion to make your adventure even more enjoyable.

At Black Rock Gorge, not only do you have an enjoyable short trek through a Highland forest, but you see the geological marvel of the deepest gorge in Scotland.  Harry Potter enthusiasts must have also shared this thought, as they chose this location for the filming of Harry Potter – Goblet of Fire. You might even see a red squirrel, stoat, rabbit, deer or a wild cat.  If you are really lucky you might get an elusive glimpse of the Highland black panther, which haunts our local woodland.
 

We aim to give you a full day of adventure and enjoyment, making you as comfortable as possible.  We hope you will return again and again to visit the Scottish Highlands, as this is all but a taster session, although you will have plenty of time to experience every aspect of the Thistle tour.

What's included in the price?

Water refreshments will be provided on the coach, as well as waterproof rain macs should you require one.  Entry fees into the Carnegie Whisky Cellar tasting are also included and there is no entry fee to Invergordon museum should you wish to visit at the conclusion of the bus tour.  For £59 this full day tour is a bargain; we aim to please and want to give you a quality experience at an affordable price.

Tour One Itinerary

This tour will see you leaving Invergordon, your Highland port of call, around 10.30

Harry Potter experience - Black Rock Gorge

Black Rock Gorge - Filmed in Harry PotterVisit Black Rock Gorge — the filming of Harry Potter. There is some woodland walking and beautiful fresh air.

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Madonna - Dornoch Cathedral

Dornoch CathedralVisit the magnificent Dornoch Cathedral—Madonna married Guy Ritchie in Dornoch and baptized their son at this church.

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Whisky & Chocolate - Dornoch

Visit Dornoch for a whisky or gin tasting at the Whisky Cellar or try a delicious hot chocolate in Cocoa Mountain café. Also visit the lovely shops and cafes or history trail in this village.

More information…

Whisky Galore - Carnegie Whisky Cellar

Carnegie Whisky CellarWhisky galore at the Carnegie Whisky Tasting centre, have loads of fun blind tasting whisky (or gin mixing if you prefer) and sample the many famous brands.

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Glenmorangie Distillery

Glenmorangie DistilleryThere will be a photo opportunity for cruise passengers

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Coach leaves at 10.30hrs and returns to ship by 17.00hrs

Tour 1b - Fairytale Castle, Historic Village and Whisky Galore

Here we have blended the fairy tale of Dunrobin Castle, along with the American starlet, Madonna and her marriage to Guy Ritchie and son's baptism at Dornoch Cathedral.  In Dornoch you will encounter the basic ingredient of Scotland and the Highlands especially – its famous whiskies, by sampling various blends or malts, whilst at the Carnegie Whisky Cellar, experience true malt whisky luxury in the tasting session.  Dornoch has a myriad of little streets to explore, containing amazing and unique shops, as well as delightful cafes.  Discount vouchers for the eating places will be given out on this excursion to make your adventure even more enjoyable.


We aim to give you a full day of adventure and enjoyment, making you as comfortable as possible.  We hope you will return again and again to visit the Scottish Highlands, as this is all but a taster session, although you will have plenty of time to experience every aspect of the Thistle tour.

What's included in the price?

Water refreshments will be provided on the coach, as well as waterproof rain macs should you require one.  Entry fees into the Carnegie Whisky Cellar tasting are not included unless you have booked it and it is £10 extra, but there is no entry fee to Invergordon museum should you wish to visit at the conclusion of the bus tour.  For £59 this full day tour is a bargain; we aim to please and want to give you a quality experience at an affordable price.

Tour One Itinerary

This tour will see you leaving Invergordon, your Highland port of call, around 10.30

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle ScotlandVisit Dunrobin Castle — one of the largest castles in Northern Scotland. It is also one of the oldest continually inhabitted houses in the UK, dating back to the early 1300s. The entry cost is included if you have booked tour 1b.

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Madonna - Dornoch Cathedral

Bus tour to Dornoch CathedralVisit the magnificent Dornoch Cathedral—Madonna married Guy Ritchie in Dornoch and baptized their son at this church.

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Whisky & Chocolate - Dornoch

Visit Dornoch for a whisky or gin tasting at the Whisky Cellar or try a delicious hot chocolate in Cocoa Mountain café. Also visit the lovely shops and cafes or history trail in this village.

More information…

Whisky Galore - Carnegie Whisky Cellar (optional)

Whisky galore at the Carnegie Whisky Tasting centre, have loads of fun blind tasting whisky (or gin mixing if you prefer) and sample the many famous brands.

More information…

 

 

 

Coach leaves at 10.30hrs and returns to ship by 17.00hrs

Tour 2 - Outlander, Culloden, Castles, Loch Ness

This tour is specially designed for those who love films, fame, legends and the magic of Scottish history.  


We aim to make your tour all-inclusive and as comfortable and exciting as possible.  This tour is  available with a German or English speaking guide for 2018, but we are aiming to provide Italian and Spanish- speaking guides in future for all of our tours.   However, Thistle Excursions will provide you with a written sheet in your own language, which you can easily read instead of trying to understand our Scottish guide.

We aim to give you a full day of adventure and enjoyment, making you as comfortable as possible. We hope you will return again and again to visit the Scottish Highlands, as this is all but a taster session, although you will have plenty of time to experience every aspect of the Thistle tour.

What's included in the price?

Water refreshments will be provided on the coach, as well as waterproof rain macs should you require one.  Included in the price is also your entry fee to Urquhart Castle.  Should you also wish to visit Invergordon museum later, the entry is free.  For £59 you are getting a whole day tour, including entrance fees, which is a very reasonable price - we aim to please and want you to get a quality experience. 

Tour Two Itinerary

Your coach will depart the High Street in Invergordon around 10.00am.

 

Clava Cairns

Clava CairnsHeading first to Culloden to visit the Clava Cairns where Claire stepped through the time continuum to meet Jamie Fraser from Outlander fame.  These prehistoric cairns date back 4,000 years.  Craigh na Dun stone circle is based on Clava Cairns in Diana Gabaldon's book, Outlander.

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Culloden Viaduct

Culloden ViaductAfter a half hour visit at Clava Cairns, we will pop around the corner to see the famous Culloden or Nairn viaduct, designed by Murdoch Paterson and opened as a railway crossing in 1898. It is a spectacle to behold – there will be photo opportunities.

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Culloden Battlefield

Culloden BattlefieldAround 11.40am we travel past the Culloden Battlefield, where the Jacobites lost many a soul in the 1946 uprising. This was the last battle to be fought on British soil. 

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Inverness

InvernessJourneying onwards through the city of Inverness we will pass the historic town hall and the Inverness Castle.  There will be photo opportunities for the castle and Inverness Cathedral.

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Loch Ness & Nessie

Loch Ness MonsterGoing over the River Ness onto Loch Ness, where you need to be ready to spot our legend, Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.  Enjoy the comfortable ride to Uquhart Castle, which takes just around 30 minutes , searching for a sighting of Nessie herself.  The last famous recorded sighting of her was a few decades ago, but we live in hope she will be photographed again soon.  The scenery is second to none, so have your cameras ready. In recent months there has been footage circulated online of video recordings of an animal similar to Nessie playing in Loch Ness.

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Urquhart Castle

Urquhart CastleArriving at the famous Urquhart Castle, around 12.30pm you will have the opportunity to be shown around the battlements, see a short film of the castle’s history, purchase memorabilia or simply relax.  There is a small hill to navigate after you visit the ruins, so please bear this in mind for the less able.  There will be no push put on your ability though, so a slow walk up is an option.  You will have a good hour and a half to look around.  We will not hurry you. 

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Beauly Priory

Beauly PrioryWe will leave the castle around 2-2.30pm to journey via a scenic route to Beauly to visit the historic priory, now a ruin, built in 1230 by a little-known French order of monks. It is also the location where Claire of Outlander fame, is supposed to have met Mairi. It is the true site of the burial ground for the chiefs of Clan Fraser of which the fictional character from Outlander, Jamie Fraser is related. The small town centre of Beauly also contains many lovely shops containing gifts, artworks, pottery and nice little cafes. 

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Return to Invergordon

After around 45 minutes the coach will depart for the 30 minute journey back to Invergordon, where, if time allows you may wish to visit the local museum.

Tour 2a—Outlander, Castles, Battles and Nessie

This tour is specially designed for those who love films, fame, legends and the magic of Scottish history.  


 

We aim to give you a full day of adventure and enjoyment, making you as comfortable as possible. We hope you will return again and again to visit the Scottish Highlands, as this is all but a taster session, although you will have plenty of time to experience every aspect of the Thistle tour.

What's included in the price?

Water refreshments will be provided on the coach, as well as waterproof rain macs should you require one.  Included in the price is also your entry fee to Cawdor Castle.  Should you also wish to visit Invergordon museum later, the entry is free.  For £59 you are getting a whole day tour, including entrance fees, which is a very reasonable price - we aim to please and want you to get a quality experience. 

Tour Two (a) Itinerary

Your coach will depart the High Street in Invergordon around 10.00am. 

Outlander- Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns (Craigh na Dun) where Claire steps through the stones and the wonder of Culloden rail viaduct—photos.

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Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield tourDrive by and photograph the Battlefield where Jamie Fraser almost lost his life in the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

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Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Castle TourTour around the castle and gardens, which has MacBeth history, this has much historical significance for the Highlands and is a lived-in castle with stunning gardens and woodland walks.  Grab a bite to eat in the lovely restaurant.

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Loch Ness and Nessie

Loch Ness Monster TourDrive by, stopping for photos of Loch Ness surrounded by beautiful scenery and in search of Nessie herself .

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Urquhart Castle

Bus tour including Urqhuart CastlePhoto opportunities of the castle.  See where Claire and Jamie spotted something swimming in Loch Ness, in Outlander.

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Beauly Priory

The ancient Priory featured in Outlander (where the Fraser clan are buried) and see shops or cafes in this historic village.

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Coach leaves at 10.00hrs and returns to ship by 17.00hrs

Bespoke Bus Tours

We know that sometimes, people want a bit extra. We like to say YES to customer requests. So if your preferred tour is not available in the booking section, we also offer bespoke tours in smaller vehicles (4 or 8 seater vehicles).

These are available at a cost of £79 per person, including entry to one castle.

Tours will typically last 6 hours but we can add time or leave earlier depending what time your ship docks.

 

FAQs

How can I book these tours?

You may book online, which guarantees your place.

Or you may book on the day in our booking office at 64 High Street, Invergordon IV18 0DH…however please do not risk this if you definitely want one of our tours, as they sell out quickly.

 

Are these tours only open to visitors from cruise ships?

Absolutely not. Although our tours have been designed to be perfect for visitors whose cruise ships stop at Invergordon, we welcome any tourist who wants to discover more about local history and the many local, iconic, Scottish sights.

 

Will my Tour Guide be able to speak my language?

All the German ships for Tour 1 (Harry Potter, Madonna, Whisky) are guided with our Swiss guide, who is a fluent German and English speaker, except for unforeseen circumstances.  If this changes we will notify you in advance.

As a new company we are looking to recruit Spanish and Italian speaking guides for our 2020 tours.  All our other tours are in English.  However, we will provide you with a written translation for you to read at your leisure whilst on your coach.

 

What constitutes a child price?

Children under 18 qualify for a child price.  Babies or toddlers under 3 can sit on your knee and therefore will not be charged, if you are willing to accept this.

 

Will there be toilet stops?

The coach will not be driving for more than 40 minutes at any one time, so toilet stops will be at our venues.

 

Will refreshments be provided?

On board the coach we will provide free water for you.  Other refreshments are available to purchase at our locations.   There will be plenty of choice.

 

Where will I get onto my coach?

If you walk to the Thistle Excursions booking office, located at 64 High Street, Invergordon IV18 0LN, the staff will advise you where to pick up your coach, which will be nearby.  You will see signs indicating the direction to walk to our offices, but you can also ask someone or put the address into your satnav on your smart phone.

 

What if my ship arrives at the Saltburn pier, further away from the main berth?

The Port Authority will provide you with a free minibus to get into the town so just look for our offices at 64 High Street, Invergordon IV18 0LN.  Please allow 30-40 minutes to get from your ship to your coach.  If you are running late please phone us and we will try and hold the coach for you. However, if you are more than 20 minutes late we may have to leave without you and there will be no refund. (07751 227367 or 01349 852852)

 

 

What if I change my mind about the tour?

Refunds are only available if the ship cancels its visit, not for any other reason and tours must be paid in full when booking.  If you are ill or miss the ship, your travel insurance company might be able to reimburse you.

 

Do your tours take disabled passengers or passengers in a wheelchair?

We can take you on the coach, but there are walking parts of some tours and also steps, so we would advise that disabled passengers either wait in the coach and listen to music on that particular part of the tour or they wait inside the venuewe will make you comfortable.  If passenger is in a wheelchair they can place it in the coach luggage hold and we will assist, but they need to be able to walk up onto the coach to take part.  The nature of the tours does mean they are less suitable for disabled passengers, but we will try out best to accommodate you. 

 

What happens if my cruise ship is cancelled or doesn't arrive on the scheduled day?

We will try to change your tour onto an alternative day when your cruise ship will arrive, however if this is cancelled completely, we will issue you with a full refund.

 

How do I contact you?

Email us on info@thistleexcursions.co.uk

Telephone us on 0044 7751 227367 (when in port 07751 227367 or 01349 852852)

Reviews

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Bus Tours for Cruise Ships Invergordon

Based in Invergordon, Thistle Excursions is perfectly placed to be able to provide tours to passengers from visiting cruise ships docking at Invergordon. So if you are a cruise ship passenger, looking for an Invergordon Bus Tour, look no further!

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