Explore Scotland

Explore Scotland

Welcome to Scotland! A gem of a country situated in the north of the British Isles, Scotland has many treasures crammed into its compact territory 31,000 square miles.

Vast, open skies, ancient architecture, romantic wilderness, unique wildlife and some of the most stunning landscapes that you could only believe to be real in your dreams!

A land with many layers of rich history, a place where every corner tells a story from the Battle of Bannockburn in medieval times, to the mysterious waters and legend of Loch Ness and the hundreds of castles steeped in history. A place home to so much wildlife found nowhere else in Great Britain where golden eagles soar above the lochs and mountains of the northern Highlands, minke whales breach off the coast of Mull and the friendly dolphins inhabit the Aberdeen coastline.

And let’s not forget the culture and arts, be it the poetry of Robert Burns, the crime fiction of Ian Rankin or the songs of Emeli Sandé, Scotland’s cultural exports are appreciated around the world every bit as much as whisky, tweed and tartan. The capital Edinburgh plays host to some of the most world-renowned festivals and events, be it the International Festival, Festival Fringe and Royal Military Tattoo, all of which are packed into August!

This is a truly magnificent and fiercely independent country, proud of its history and traditions, and one which continues to make its mark in this modern world. A magical realm where you’ll receive a very big welcome from its very friendly and down-to-earth people.

Our Tour Highlights

Edinburgh & Glasgow – Festivals, Art & Military Tattoos

Edinburgh, the stunning capital city of Scotland, has an abundance of fantastic attractions ...more

Royal Connections & Romantic Wilderness

Stretching out on the north east coast of Scotland, Aberdeen is bordered by the majestic Cairngorms National Park and panoramic sea views. ...more

Historic Stirling, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

Stirling, the ancient capital of Scotland lies at the heart of the nation’s history as the former seat of Scottish royalty. ...more

Fort William, Scottish Isles and Steam journeys

Towering majestically over Fort William is Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. ...more

Performance Venue Highlights

St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

Also known as the “High Kirk of Edinburgh”, St. Giles’ Cathedral is situated on the city’s famous Royal Mile, between the Castle and Holyrood Palace. It’s famous for being the base of 16th century minister John Knox, known for his firebrand speeches and less so for ordering that all dogs should have freedom of the church, after his friend’s life was saved by a brave canine.
  • Perfect for: Choirs and Orchestras
  • Repertoire: Sacred and classical
  • Performance times: Lunchtime recitals Weekdays and Saturdays

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh

The world’s largest arts festival takes place in Scotland’s capital in August and welcomes all performance groups utilising a wide variety of venues ranging from professional theatres to a double decker bus! People from all over the world flock to the city to admire the artists and soak up the unique atmosphere. In 2018, the festival welcomed 2.7 million visitors, thousands of artists, sold over 3 million tickets and hosted 3000 performances!
  • Perfect for: Any group
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: Annual event throughout August. 2024 Festival taking place from the 2nd-26th August with applications due by January 2024.

Grassmarket, Edinburgh

Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town, Grassmarket is one of the most vibrant and picturesque areas of the city. This lively square is one of many outdoor areas in Scotland’s capital suitable for performances of all types. The surrounding taverns once quenched the thirst of the local cattle traders, but now serve as a magnet for locals and tourists alike.
  • Perfect for: Bands, Choirs, Orchestra and Performing Arts groups
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: Daytime throughout the year

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Located just a stone’s throw from the world-famous Royal Mile, connecting Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse, there are a variety of outdoor concert possibilities available to you. Perform in beautiful gardens with the magnificent Gothic Scott Monument as your backdrop, the Mound Precinct, a regular performance spot for artists next to the National Galleries or Hunter Square, just off the Royal Mile.
  • Perfect for: Bands, Choirs, Orchestra and Performing Arts groups
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: Daytime throughout the year

Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh

This unusual looking church has a simple but pretty interior. Being the parish church of the Castle of Edinburgh there are many military connections represented by embroidery, tapestries and standard flags. The church is an oasis of peace on the busy Royal Mile and was recently chosen as the wedding venue for royal couple Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall.
  • Perfect for: Choirs and small musical ensembles
  • Repertoire: Sacred and classical
  • Performance times: Friday and Saturday evenings

Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling

The Church of the Holy Rude, situated adjacent to the hilltop castle of historic Stirling was the coronation site of the infant James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) following the forced abdication of his tragic mother, Mary Queen of Scots. The stunning nave still has its original medieval oak beamed roof intact.
  • Perfect for: Choirs and orchestras
  • Repertoire: Sacred and Classical
  • Performance times: Evenings or more informal afternoon performances in summer

St Machars Cathedral, Aberdeen

The Cathedral Church of St. Machar is set in the green surrounds of Old Aberdeen, close to the University. It was founded in the dark ages by a follower of St Columba, but the building dates back to the middle ages. William Wallace’s left arm is said to be buried here! The church welcomes sacred and secular choirs to perform evening concerts.
  • Perfect for: Choirs and orchestras
  • Repertoire: Sacred and Classical
  • Performance times: Evenings

St Margaret’s, Braemar

This former episcopal church and listed building of outstanding significance for its architecture, was built in the 19th Century during Queen Victoria’s reign. After some years of deterioration, the building has been brought back to life and transformed into an impressive arts and performance venue for Royal Deeside. The acoustic and atmosphere makes it a glorious venue in which to perform!
  • Perfect for: Choirs, Bands and Orchestras
  • Repertoire: Sacred and Classical
  • Performance times: Evenings

St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness

Britain’s northernmost cathedral is an impressive Victorian building situated on the banks of the River Ness. With views across to the town centre and the turrets of Inverness Castle, where Macbeth is said to have murdered Duncan and a short drive to Loch Ness for some monster hunting you will be able to combine your concert with fascinating excursions into the Scottish Highlands.
  • Perfect for: Choirs and orchestras
  • Repertoire: Sacred and Classical
  • Performance times: Daytime and evening concerts possible subject to the church calendar of events

Where To Stay

*official star rating

Mercure Peebles Barony Castle Hotel, Eddleston, near Peebles

  • Rural 16th century castle hotel with stunning exterior located 5 miles from Peebles and 18 miles from Edinburgh.
  • Contemporary rooms equipped with TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities.
  • Hotel facilities include a stylish restaurant, bar, lounge and outdoor terrace. Leisure facilities include an indoor swimming pool, spa bath, sauna and mini-gym.

*official star rating

The Winnock, Drymen, near Loch Lomond

  • Charming, award-winning hotel overlooking the village green in pretty Drymen just a short drive from Loch Lomond.
  • Traditional Rooms furnished in tartan equipped with TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities.
  • Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar and regular in-house entertainment.

*official star rating

Alexandra Hotel, Fort William, Inverness-shire

  • Located in the heart of the popular tourist destination of Fort William, the Alexandra hotel provides traditional warm Scottish hospitality.
  • Traditional Rooms equipped with TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities.
  • Hotel facilities include a traditional, restaurant and cosy bar area.

*official star rating

Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown-on-Spey, Cairngorms

  • Located in the heart of Grantown-on-Spey, this gem of a hotel offers modern comforts whilst retaining its traditional character. In 1860, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed here!
  • Comfortable Rooms equipped with TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities.
  • Hotel facilities include an ornate restaurant and cosy bar.

Sample Itinerary

This itinerary is for guidance only and will be tailored to meet your exact tour requirements. The excursions and concerts featured below will be subject to your chosen tour dates, availability and budget. Please get in touch to discuss your potential tour in more detail and other opportunities available to your group!
Day 1Travel to your destination from your chosen collection pointWelcome drink at the hotel and time at leisureGroup evening meal at your hotel in Peebles and time to socialise!
Day 2Morning visit to Edinburgh to explore this wonderful city Lunchtime concert at St Giles Cathedral or at an outdoor location near The Royal MileEvening meal at the hotel and evening activity
Day 3Day excursion to continue your exploration of Edinburgh or visit nearby Glasgow Afternoon concert and optional evening meal in Edinburgh or Glasgow Evening meal at the hotel
Day 4Morning excursion to Floors Castle, the largest inhabited castle in ScotlandAfternoon visit to Jedburgh and Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott and onward travel to hotel in WinnockEvening meal at the hotel in Winnock
Day 5Day excursion to historic Stirling Afternoon concert in the Church of the Holy RudeEvening meal at the hotel in Winnock
Day 6Morning visit to Loch Lomond & Trossachs with boat cruise and travel onwards to Fort WilliamAfter exploring the beauty of this region, we take a very scenic drive north to the Highlands of Scotland and hotel in Fort WilliamEvening meal and overnight in Fort William
Day 7Follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter with a magical adventure on the Jacobite Steam train travelling across the Glenfinnan ViaductLunch and leisure time in Mallaig and return to Fort William by train Farewell meal at the hotel
Day 8Depart after breakfast for the mystical shores of Loch Ness, home of the fabled monster ‘Nessie’. Afternoon visit to the city of Inverness with optional visit to concert at St Andrew’s CathedralOvernight in Grantown-on-Spey
Day 9Day trip to Royal Deeside with a visit to the grounds of Balmoral Castle and Crathie Church Afternoon concert at St Margaret’s in Braemar and leisure time in Grantown-on-SpeyFarewell meal at the hotel
Day 10Optional morning excursionOnward journey home


Sound Escapes did a fantastic job on arrangements for our tour . Would thoroughly recommend Jo to any choir looking to travel . All feedback has been positive from everyone who travelled . The extra care at meeting us at the coach and check in to ensure things ran smoothly went above and beyond .
Don OakleyMalmesbury ChoirOxford 2023
As a Chorister, and eventually Head Chorister in our local church choir for eleven years, Jo was talented, dedicated and could always be relied on to work to the utmost of her undoubted abilities. I would expect that she would apply the same attributes to her professional life
P BuckmasterChoral Director
You’ve been patient and kind all the way through this, Jo – especially with it being the first international tour I’ve done, and with all the unforeseen changes to the travel arrangements, so thank you to you and the team.
Sarah MonteithChoir DirectorResound ChoirParis 2023
Care and attention to detail of the highest degree. The planning with Jo Porter was detailed and meticulous, with nothing being missed, and although she was not involved in the accommodation arrangements, she nevertheless checked it out and acted as an intermediary.
Robin SpencerChoir Secretary, Phoenix Choir
From cathedrals and abbeys, churches and stately homes, all steeped in centuries of history, some in Roman Towns others in quintessential English ‘picture postcard’ villages, every choir and musical ensemble should spend a tour exploring the United Kingdom and Ireland. Whatever part of the country you to choose to visit, by working with a knowledgeable team of people who know the regions inside out from both a tourism and musical perspective, you will be guaranteed the richest of touring experiences
Tim KnightBritish composer and Choral Director
Brilliant tour, expertly organised. Kindness and compassion. Nothing was too much trouble. Colin, our driver, was a complete gem and so knowledgeable about the isle. Lovely hotel staff where nothing was too much trouble
Felicity CourageChoir Director, Courage Choir
One of the best tours we have ever undertaken – musically, socially and geographically. Would heartily recommend Sound Escapes to any group considering a tour.
Carole Lindsay-DouglasAmici SingersWeston-Super-Mare 2023

In May 2020 we were due to tour the Stirling area in Scotland and due to the current coronavirus pandemic we took the difficult decision to call off the tour. I’d like to give our thanks and praise to Jo and her team for all the planning and preparation she had done to put the itinerary together – she was able to provide us with an excellent range of stunning concert venues, plus some great suggestions for our leisure time, and we look forward to working with her again soon.

Sally ColesSecretary, Cantamici
Jo and her team came up with a fantastic itinerary for our choir and planned everything to the last detail. We always felt we were in safe hands and that they were on the end of a phone to help us with anything we needed. We couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
Rosie SayersChairperson for Sing It Loud Community Choir
Fantastic tour in Bonnie Scotland, enjoyed by all who went, singing and non-singing. Brilliant organisation from Jo who really made it all look so easy.
Kate HymansTour organiser for Masterworks Chorale