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Blog / Exploring Scotland’s Whisky Trail: A Journey Through Scotland’s Best Distilleries

Exploring Scotland’s Whisky Trail: A Journey Through Scotland’s Best Distilleries

Scotland is famous for its whisky and there’s no better way to experience it than by following the Whisky Trail. This trail takes you on a journey through Scotland’s best distilleries, offering a glimpse into the country’s rich history, stunning scenery, and delicious whisky.

The Whisky Trail is located in the heart of Scotland, stretching from the city of Aberdeen to the Isle of Islay. Along the way, you’ll discover world-renowned distilleries such as Glenfiddich, Macallan, and Talisker. You’ll also visit smaller, family-run distilleries, each with their own unique character and charm.

One of the most incredible things about the Whisky Trail is the stunning scenery that you’ll encounter along the way. The trail takes you through the rugged Scottish Highlands, past dramatic mountains and sparkling lochs. You’ll also visit picturesque villages and towns, where you can learn about the local history and culture.

Of course, the highlight of the Whisky Trail is the whisky itself. You’ll have the chance to taste a wide variety of whiskies, from smooth and mellow to smoky and peaty. Each distillery has its own unique style, and you’ll learn about the production process and the history of each whisky.

But the Whisky Trail is about more than just whisky tasting. It’s about immersing yourself in Scottish culture and history. You’ll learn about the art of coopering, the ancient craft of making whisky barrels. You’ll visit castles and ancient ruins, where you’ll hear tales of Scotland’s past. And you’ll meet the friendly locals, who are always happy to share their knowledge and love of whisky with visitors.

If you’re a whisky lover, there’s no better way to experience Scotland’s finest than by following the Whisky Trail. With stunning scenery, delicious whisky, and fascinating history, this trail is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

Ready to start your own whisky adventure in Scotland? Contact Finest Journeys to plan your custom whisky trail tour today! #WhiskyTrail #Scotland #WhiskyAdventure #FinestJourneys #TravelScotland

The Most Beautiful Villages in the Cotswolds

Head west from London and you’ll find yourself in The Cotswolds, a delightful area of timeless villages and medieval towns characterized by their mellow Cotswolds stone. The local honey-hued limestone graces garden walls, country churches, and quintessential thatched cottages with roses framing the front door. While these pretty villages offer historic architecture, quaint tea rooms, antiques, and gifts shops for exploring, the area also has an abundance of fine country house estates. 


This area of south-central England is the largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and definitely lives up to its name. Covering 800 square miles, it incorporates five counties including Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. From Bath to Stratford-upon-Avon (home of Shakespeare) and Cheltenham to Banbury, this area is steeped in history.  


Visitors will quickly discover that the Cotswolds villages are as pretty and unique as their quaint-sounding names suggest, including Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, and Chipping Norton! So without further ado, let’s dive in and explore some of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds! 


Castle Combe

Castle Combe, Chippenham, UK

Castle Combe is said to be the prettiest village in England, and it’s easy to see why. Amble down the winding lane admiring the pretty thatched cottages and walled gardens and you may get a sense of déjà vu. It is frequently used as a film set for period dramas including Downton Abbey and Warhorse. You can almost hear the horses’ hooves on the cobbled streets! Although it takes its name from the 12th-century castle ruins, the hub of the village is the 17th-century manor house. Now a five star luxury hotel, it is open to the public and offers drinks at the bar and afternoon tea in the glorious Italianate Garden beside the babbling brook. Stroll around the village admiring the abundance of color in the walled cottage gardens. Look out for the 14th century Market Cross, a Scheduled Monument, and the old village water pump. For motorheads, the Castle Combe Racing Circuit is nearby. 



Cotswolds, UK

The historic market town of Stow-on-the-Wold is steeped in medieval history. The word “wold” means “hills” and the name means “Holy Place on the Hill”. It’s a typical rural community that once prospered from the fairs and markets that were held by royal charter since 1330. King Edward III set up the first annual charter fair for the sale of wool and livestock. It is no coincidence that the parish church is dedicated to his namesake, St Edward! The pretty streets are decked with flowers in summer while bow-fronted tea rooms and shops offer a range of local artworks and gifts. Check out the two ancient yew trees that now intrude across the entrance door to the church. Other interesting features in Stow are the narrow lanes leading into the market square. They were used for herding and containing the animals that were traded here.  



Burford, England

The tiny village of Burford is an excellent example of a pretty Cotswolds village with thatched cottages clustered around the 12th-century church. Known as the “Gateway to the Cotswolds”, the name Burford comes from burh meaning fortified town, and ford, a river crossing. The village was once famous for its bell foundry, including some examples still hanging in Burford Parish Church. The attractive Burford Priory is now a country house estate on the site of the 13th century Augustinian priory hospital. The Priory Church continued to be used as a nunnery and monastery until 2008 and was once owned by the disgraced media mogul, Robert Maxwell. Reasons to visit include the many gourmet restaurants in the village and the award-winning Burford Garden Centre with its outstanding Cafe nearby.  



Painswick, UK

Presiding over the pretty Cotswolds countryside around Cheltenham, Painswick is set on a hill. The gently sloping streets and byways are lined with terraces of pretty Cotswold cottages and boutique businesses. It has been nicknamed the “Queen of the Cotswolds” and is well worth visiting in July when the village hosts a renowned Arts Couture Festival. It’s a cross between a fashion and an arts show as it features fabulous wearable designer artworks! After country walks through the scenic Painswick Valley, look forward to feasting at The Painswick, a Michelin-recommended restaurant in a picture-perfect country house. 



A little off-the-beaten-path, Asthall village sits on the River Windrush and attracts many artists – a clue to its idyllic presentation. Surrounded by fields, it is on the ancient Roman road from London, known as Watling Street which had a ford across the river nearby. The pretty parish church of St Nicholas with its peal of six bells was enlarged in 1160, making it very old indeed. Another indicator of the ancient settlements nearby includes the discovery of the “Asthall Hoard” of gold coins during renovations. The angel and half-angel coins are now on display in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Highlights of the village include Asthall Manor with its elaborate Jacobean architecture and stunning gardens which are open on select dates each summer. The Maytime Inn Gastropub is typical of the local Cotswolds architecture and the pub’s Beer Garden has an abundance of blooms. 


Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter, UK

This sleepy Gloucestershire village has no shops or pubs, but it’s very Instagram friendly! Lower Slaughter (the Old English meaning “wetland”) is known for its caramel-colored stone cottages with mullioned windows lining the slow-moving stream. Look for the original red brick watermill and the waterwheel that once powered local industry. The old mill now houses a small museum and craft shop. The cafe sells delicious hand-churned ice cream. It’s the perfect excuse to sit on the stone footbridge spanning the River Eye enjoying the creamy taste and taking in the gentler pace of Cotswolds life.  


If you’re visiting England, the Cotswolds should definitely be part of your itinerary!

Visit Ireland: Rural Spots You Should See

Ireland, the “Emerald Isle” is a land of dramatic natural beauty, from the remarkable karst landscape of The Burren to the stunning sights along the Ring of Kerry. As an island, you’re never far from rugged coastlines, serene loughs (pronounced locks), and spritely seas. Further inland, craggy mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop to timeless rural communities.  


Whether you plan to explore this mainly rural island on foot, by bicycle, or by car, you can be assured of sweeping views and surprising landmarks at every turn. The pristine countryside is dotted with ancient dolmens, ring forts, and Celtic crosses that pre-date modern history. 


We’ve picked out some of the best rural highlights below, but wherever you choose to visit in Ireland, two constants are guaranteed: stunning scenery and the warmest Irish hospitality! 



Autumnal waterfall found at Glencar by The Tour Creator on Unsplash
Autumnal waterfall found at Glencar


Ireland’s most rural county is Leitrim, on the north side of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Despite being one of the largest counties by area, it is one of the least populated. Winding country lines provide endless opportunities for exploring the lush rolling countryside which is interspersed with rural villages and dark-water loughs. One of the best ways to appreciate this bucolic area is aboard a canal barge on the Shannon-Erne waterway. The 39 mile manmade canal has 16 locks and runs from the charming village of Leitrim to Lough Erne. Must-see attractions nearby include Lough Key Forest Park with its nature trails and tree canopy walk. It occupies the former Rockingham Estate and includes the 1970s Moylurg Viewing Tower. Although the grand mansion was demolished long ago, there are remains of the ice house, church, gazebo, stables, Fairy Bridge and Bog Garden within the evergreen and deciduous trees.  


Connemara National Park

Sheep grazing in the beautiful Connemara National Park by Piotr Cierkosz on Unsplash

Located in West Ireland, the Connemara is a stunning region of natural beauty in Galway. Best known for its hardy wild ponies and woolen tweed knits, the best of the area is contained within the Connemara National Park. Three of the region’s 12 Bens (high mountain peaks) can be seen within the park boundaries and these are Benbaum, Bencullagh, and Benbrack. This unspoiled region is traversed by a network of hiking and climbing trails with panoramic views across the endless countryside. The lofty peaks give way to green inland valleys, fertile agriculture, and peat bogs stretching from Galway to Letterfrack. Don’t miss the lakeside Kylemore Abbey, an active Benedictine Monastery housed in a beautiful Victorian castle with heritage gardens in the wild Connemara countryside.



Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

Within easy reach of Dublin City, Glendalough is known as “the Valley of Two Lakes”. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, 28km south of the capital city, this lush rural area boasts rolling meadows, vast loughs, and heather-covered hillsides. Once the site of a silver and lead mine from the 1790s to 1957, the glacial Glendalough Valley was the site of a 6th-century monastery founded by Saint Kevin.  

Aptly nicknamed “the Garden of Ireland” Wicklow remains a nature lover’s paradise.  


The Burren

Burren Way, Lislorkan North, Co. Clare, Ireland by Ingo Doerrie on Unsplash

The Burren offers a remarkable landscape of ruts, broken pavement and natural fissures often described as “walking on the moon”. The flat limestone “karst” landscape covers a huge expanse of Co. Clare in Western Ireland. It’s worth trekking across the terrain which, despite its barren appearance, nurtures a host of rare plants. Miniature alpines and wildflowers bravely struggle through the cracks to bloom in spring and early summer. Highlights of the area include strange green depressions called dolines. These indicate the sites of collapsed underground caverns, hollowed out by underground rivers over millennia. While you’re here, don’t miss the spectacular Cliffs of Moher that are also part of the UNESCO-listed Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark. These sheer cliffs rise to over 500 feet above sea level and stretch for an incredible 9 miles! 


Giant’s Causeway

Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, United Kingdom by Aaron Kato on Unsplash

No trip to Ireland would be complete without a visit to the Giant’s Causeway on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland. Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited tourist attractions, it manages to remain a natural wonder in a stunning rural landscape. The causeway consists of over 40,000 hexagonal basalt rock columns that create a natural pavement of stepping stones with plenty of taller pillars for scrambling over. Stand in awe at this unique natural wonder and enjoy the stunning rural scenery and wave-dashed coastline that surround it. Just four smiles inland are the quaint hamlet of Bushmills and the world’s oldest whiskey distillery. Take a guided tour around the whitewashed buildings, enjoy a tasting and browse the gift shop for unique souvenirs.



Inishmore, County Galway, Irlanda by Paolo Gregotti on Unsplash

The best way to experience the rural landscape of Ireland is with a ride in an authentic pony and trap. You might prefer to upgrade to a horse-drawn carriage with its sprung suspension, but for a breathtaking rural escape head to the island of Inishmore (Inis Mor) in Galway Bay. A short ferry ride connects the remote and beautiful Aran Islands with the small harbor in Rossaveal, Galway. Pony and trap tours take you all around this remote rural island, stopping for a warming Irish coffee and the chance to explore the remains of the ancient Dun Aonghasa Fort. The site dates back over 3,000 years to 1100BC! The ancient laneways around the island resound to the clip-clop of the pony and tours take around three hours to circle the island of Inishmore. With a cozy woolen rug on your lap and the Irish brogue of your local driver and guide, this is rural Ireland at its most memorable!

The Best Fall Activities for Couples on a UK Vacation

Fall is a great time to take an extra vacation before winter sets in, and where better than the UK? With its plethora of pretty villages from the Cotswolds to Cornwall, ancient castles to explore (or stay in!), and stunning natural parks for hiking, it’s a glorious place to visit. At the end of the day, relax together over a hearty home-cooked meal in a historic inn, warmed by a blazing fire.

Edinburgh and the Scottish Lowlands

Combining historic city attractions with rural activities, Edinburgh makes a great base for a romantic fall break. Travel first-class from London by train and enjoy the passing scenery together. There are plenty of indoor attractions to enjoy in this historic royal city. Tour the majestic Edinburgh Castle and dine in style at the Amber Restaurant and Whisky Bar just outside the castle gates. The dark-wood ceiling and half-moon cellar windows provide a cozy ambiance. Enjoy window-shopping for woolly Aran sweaters and tartan kilts along Royal Mile or do some serious Christmas shopping in the high-class department stores along Princes Street. Beyond the city,  take a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, now moored in Leith, for the ultimate luxury treat.

Try a Whisky Tasting

Whisky in Scotland

Still north of the border, take a private tour of some of Scotland’s premier whisky distilleries. Snuggle close and enjoy the dramatic scenery of the Scottish Highlands while your driver navigates the narrow lanes. Choose your own itinerary, or sit back and let Whisky Wheels put together a bespoke trip. Knowledgeable local chauffeurs will point out the main highlights and you’ll be hosted in style at each distillery. A wee dram of whisky will certainly warm your heart and keep out the cold! Learn to distinguish the different ages and blends and take home a case of quality Scotch. No need to worry about drinking and driving on this tour! Just so you know, Irish whiskey is spelled with an “e” while Scotch Whisky is spelled without!

Fancy your own Whisky tasting tour? Check out our itinerary here: Scotland Castles, Loch Ness, and Whisky Trails.

Greenwich, London

Greenwich, London

You may have visited London many times, but why not focus on one particularly historic area – Greenwich? There are plenty of indoor museums and attractions and the quaint cobbled streets are lined with nautically themed shops, friendly pubs, and cozy cafes. Visit the grand National Maritime Museum and learn about the early explorers and navigators that set sail from this very quay. As well as galleries of naval exhibits, there’s a fine art collection within the Maritime Museum. Admire J.M.W.Turner’s largest painting featuring the Battle of Trafalgar, see the coat Admiral Nelson was wearing when he was fatally wounded in battle, and view the world through a Seafarer’s Lens. Visit the Queens’ House nearby and learn about the Ball Drop on top of the Royal Observatory. You can even stand astride the Prime Meridian Line (Longitude zero) and home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Finish your amazing stay in Greenwich by stepping aboard the Cutty Sark Clipper Ship with its tall masts, 32 sails and 11 miles of rigging! Of course, Greenwich is just a short ferry or taxi ride from London’s gourmet dining scene and West End Theaters for romantic evenings together.

Hot Springs in Roman Bath!

Bath, UK

The elegant spa city of Bath is 120 miles west of London. It’s a gorgeous place to visit, especially in fall when the summer crowds have departed. Hot springs delivered healing waters to the town’s Roman Baths over 2000 years ago, so it’s the perfect place for couples to indulge in a little spa pampering. History lovers will want to take a guided tour of the Roman Baths and Pump House, but the best place to bathe in these health-giving waters is at the modern Thermae Bath Spa just around the corner. As well as two warming thermal pools there’s a rooftop pool with stunning sunset views. While staying in Bath, don’t miss the UNESCO listed Royal Crescent with its Georgian architecture and mellow Bath stone.

Cumbria’s Lake District

Lake District National Park

Just south of the border with Scotland, the Lake District National Park has dramatic fall scenery. Deep lakes reflect dramatic fells (hills) covered in rusted bracken and purple heather. This is hiking country at its best! Tuck some Kendal Mint Cake in your pocket for energy later – it’s what the locals do! Explore winding country lanes or travel back in time aboard the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway to Windermere. Stop for a hearty lunch in a lakeside pub and listen to local gossip at the timeless bar. Book a cruise on Coniston Water aboard the National Trust’s Gondola, a restored steam-powered yacht (sailings until October 31st). Visit Arnside Country Market on Fridays and pick up homebaked cakes, artisan bread, savories, preserves, jams, and crafts. When it comes to food, you’re guaranteed to dine well on local seafood and tasty Herdwick lamb at one of the renowned restaurants in Ambleside. You can’t go wrong with a romantic meal at the Michelin star Old Stamp House Restaurant.

Wildlife in Wales

Snowdonia National Park

If you enjoy outdoor adventures as a couple, Wales offers many hidden delights. Although it’s a tiny independent country, it has three national parks, each with its own natural beauty. Explore the dramatic peaks of Snowdonia or stay close to the coast and walks stretches of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. This traffic-free route traces the coastline along the clifftop or down at sea level. You’re very likely to see gray seals and their pups that are born between September and December. Further out to sea you might spot basking sharks, blue whales, and pods of Risso dolphins. The Brecon Beacons National Park is another paradise for hiking, biking, bird watching, and stargazing with your loved ones. The area is known for its magnificent waterfalls such as the 90-foot Henryd Falls which is at its best in fall. For those who love Italian architecture, a day at the village of Portmeirion delivers Gothic towers, baroque facades, and Italianate mansions surrounded by Mediterranean plantings. It’s the perfect place to propose, or just celebrate being in love.

Happy fall!

Spooky Places in Europe to Set the Scene for Halloween!

It’s officially spooky season 🎃

As fall sets in, Halloween provides some fun events to liven up the dark evenings in late October. We’ve got some fantastic castles, historic houses, and uninhabited mansions that make a great tour experience by day….but would you sleep well in those dark and draughty chambers after dark?

From powerful Barons and headless women to prisoners and even animals, we feature some of Europe’s spookiest sightings to get you in the mood for Halloween….

Top 7 Fall Walking Routes in Europe

Fall is the perfect season for engaging in a trip with more physical activity. Days are bright but without the steamy energy-sapping heat of summer. As the shadows lengthen, fall color can be spectacular. Europe has so much to offer, from river valleys and famous wine routes to alpine meadows, dark lakes, and lofty mountains. Now’s the time to polish your hiking boots, pack your camera and join nature in a final fling outdoors before winter sets in.

Let’s take a look at the walking routes we’ve chosen…

Fun Ideas for Family Travel in Europe’s Capitals

Europe has some of the world’s most legendary, exciting, and historic capital cities. Just like families, they are a blend of generations. Why not plan a legendary family trip to Europe, perhaps to mark a milestone birthday or anniversary?

Here are some of the great cities in western Europe with some suggestions for more off-the-beaten-path places to include in your itinerary. 


Best street food in Europe: Deliciously local

Travel is all about new and different experiences, and nothing does it better than food. One of the best places in the world to find tasty local street food is Europe. It’s a great way to sample seasonal food and local delicacies, often unique to that region or town.

Join us on a smorgasbord of delights as we tour 10 hidden corners of well-known cities to add flavor and spice to your amazing European trip.

Christmas Food Traditions: a flavorsome journey around Europe (Part II)

5 Days until Christmas! Here it goes – the second part of our Christmas food traditions series!

Missed the first part?


Countries in spotlight: UK and Ireland & Germany


Exploring your European Family Heritage

The first Europeans to reach the shores of what is now the US and survive to tell the tale arrived way back in 1620. The Mayflower Society estimate there are now 10 million Americans with European heritage, descendants of the 102 brave souls that arrived aboard the Mayflower. In the years since, waves of immigrants from every European country have added vigor, energy, and enterprise to make America the great country it is today. 


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