Iain was a phenomenal tour guide! Sweet, kind, funny, charming and extremely benevolent with his knowledge and his heart.
I toured with my aunt, just the 2 of us, and we had such an amazing time with Iain. He told wonderful stories, knew all kinds of history of everywhere we went and tons of other little bits and tips that really made the experience special. We were looking at areas our ancestors came from and just enjoying the local scenery, it was lovely! We could not think of a better way to spend a day travelling in Scotland! If you are looking for a private tour guide, look no further, because this is the company to book with.
I guarantee you will not be disappointed! Worth every penney and more, and if/when we return to Scotland I will make sure to book another day with Iain!
The itinerary was fantastic, and what we most appreciated is Iain would offer suggestions to alter it based on what he quickly learned would be of most interest to us. He always offered the option, of course, to stick to the original itinerary if desired. Iain didn’t provide a tour, he enabled an experience of a lifetime –one in which we will never forget, and am looking forward to continuing in the future. We also felt like we gained a friend. We felt sad the following week, waking up and asking “where are we going to go with Iain today?” But, all good things must end, but the story can be continued….Ross and DeAnn West Arizona, US
It has now been a couple of weeks since we returned from a truly memorable trip to Scotland, and the blissful Scottish feeling is still with us. We attribute this to the incredible tour Iain Stewart put together for us. Merely filling out a feedback form did not suffice, so we wanted to share in more detail, for any future clients, the tremendous amount of personal research, effort and energy Iain exerted to show us a Scotland we could never have otherwise experienced. Private Tour Highlands Skye Scotland
I had worked with Iain on our trip for almost a year prior. This was to be the first true vacation for my wife Terry and me in over 15 years. We discovered that her Finley roots originated in Scotland, and Iain brilliantly helped us research her clan back to the Finleys and the Farquharsons. Since we were fortunate enough to have over two weeks to spend exploring Scotland, Iain intertwined our cultural journey like a trip through time. It was like a fine Harris tweed being woven with tales, stories and sites of where the Finleys once trod.
A word about our two weeks together, For never having met prior to our trip, what a blessing to have hit off so well with Iain starting with a walking tour of Edinburgh. For being with new people for this long, he showed remarkable people skills including patience, flexibility and showed up each morning with a sunny and positive disposition, even on the few rainy days
Iain's background in history, ethnology and folklore made for intriguing cultural perspectives, and we had the rare opportunity to see sites of significance that ordinary tours would have passed by. His storytelling held us spellbound, and we could visualize the people and the settings as if we were there - such as the Scottish Age of Enlightenment.
With a mutual love of music, we even had the chance to see a favorite artist/musician Andy Chung at a local pub in Edinburgh. On a later part of the trip at Arisaig House, the three of us had an opportunity to try our hand at the bagpipes, and play piano and fiddle together. The Dulaig was another magical bed & breakfast we stayed at with wonderful hosts Carol and Gordon whose warm hospitality made us feel like old friends. One morning we woke up to a brilliant sun on the meadow followed by a double rainbow!
The other accommodations he recommended were a palette of diversity giving us a taste of all levels of Scottish living from the stately Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, to the grand Gleneagles resort, to quaint Rufflets in St. Andrews, to the idyllic House-Over-By at The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye, and last but not least, the pleasingly enigmatic Prestonfield House in Edinburgh whose rooms were described as "Baroque Bordello" - we loved it
Iain's VW was always immaculate and comfortable, with his special touch of leaving some of Terry's heather in place each day (from her family area in Muckle Inverey). We spent many hours in his van, but he was an excellent and skillful driver, especially with the many narrow country roads we took. The hours just melted away with his selection of Scottish music, old and new as well as storytelling from comedian Ivor Cutler.
We were fortunate enough to have great weather on our trip. When it did mist or rain, it was appropriate for feeling the energy of magical areas like the Fairy Glen on the magnificent Isle of Skye. We appreciated Iain's sensitivity and awareness when we needed to slow down or rest. But he was also a great leader especially on more challenging hikes where the views at the end were far worth the exertion.
Of course, being immersed in Scotland's rich culture meant diving into their culinary delights. Again Iain excelled at selecting local spots that exemplified farm to table or fresh seafood to sample. I already miss the Stornoway black pudding, Strathdon blue cheese and Isle of Mull cheddar. One of the most memorable moments was when we pulled into a local town butcher shop to pick up some onion bridies, sausage rolls and Cornish pasties, and had an impromptu picnic with Iain pouring us a generous dram of Glendronach single malt scotch.
Thus when we parted at the Edinburgh airport after this incredible journey, we felt we had made a wonderful friend in Iain, and hope to keep up with him for a very long time. He offers an unique personal approach to seeing this beautiful rugged Scotland. We thought this would be a once in a lifetime trip, but now we hope that we are wrong, and we get to make another journey with Iain again.
There are not enough words to describe the quality of Iain’s knowledge and background. His personality is the key to why I would go back again and again to him. He is funny, easy to be with, beyond knowledgeable and able to sense what his clients want. He is so well connected that he can set up individualized tours that give his clients exactly the experience they are looking for.Terry and Larry Diebold Maryland, US
Absolutely outstanding [information giving/guiding]! Ranging from history to pop trivia and current day politics each topic was covered with the same degree of knowledge and enthusiasm! The folk music and tales provided fantastic additional insight and helped set the tone for places visited. Great idea well executed!
To succeed in talking four days straight while keeping the audience at a 100% interest level (as we were) requires outstanding people skills. You did a great job of sensing our energy level (such as being slightly lower after lunch) and adapting narrative accordingly without compromising content. Great job!
All places of accommodation were of high quality, each with its own unique character. Great mixture with a sense of something new each day.
Overall Satisfaction with Tour: 12 out of 10
Dear Iain, We would like to say again thank you for our wonderful and unforgetful tour in your company. We three enjoyed very deeply the Scottisch visiting, stories, music and the special advises to Edouard. We will also keep marvellous memories about a guide which was always friendly, helpful, heartful, a good driver, showing us the best of Scottland. We already gave your adress to a lady. Take care and hopefull we see you again for an other tour. Best regards.Karine, Philip and Edouard Brom Switzerland
We had a amazing vacation with Serenity tours. Ian's knowledge of Scottish history and folklore was amazing and he made Scotland come alive so that you felt you were right there living all of Scotland's history. The scenery was out of this world. The Highlands, Isle of Skye and the Orkney Islands were our favorites.
Ian made sure every day was filled with excitement but just enough relaxation to make this one of the best vacations we have ever taken. We highly recommend Serenity tours and plan to have a article published in our local paper travel section.We have already recommended Serenity tours to our friends.
We hope to travel back to Scotland again and bring more family and we definitely will call Iain at Serenity tours.
Hats Off to You for an excellent Scotland tour. We found our roots in Lochinver Dallachuish and Crimond and that was the intent of our trip to Scotland. You provided the historic and cultural background that made this trip so memorable and meaningful. The many castles and historic events from Bonnie Prince Charlie to the McKenzie and McCrea’s clans with your detailed explanations was exceptional.
We had a good Ireland tour with CIE but it was pale in comparison to your Serenity Scotland tour. Thanks again and we will promote this tour and hopefully send some of our Scottish friends and family your way.
We had the best vacation with Serenity Scotland. From the very first day and even before (during the planning of our trip) Ian made it so personalized. We mentioned to him that although one of us is very interested in Scotch distilleries, another would rather see the nature and architecture. He made sure that both of us had the best experience. Every day was filled with something new and exciting! We didn't have to worry about anything.
Iain has a natural feeling of what people would like, so all his recommendations were fantastic. And his knowledge of Scotland is so great and he presents it so interesting! The only sad part about the trip was to say Good bye. So we hope to go back and see another part of Scotland and may be bring our friends with us and of course Iain will be the one we'll call.
No matter who you are and what is your interest, if you want to have the best vacation in Scotland get in touch with Iain at Serenity Scotland.
My parents and I just returned from a trip to Scotland. The highlight of the trip was the time we spent with Iain Stewart. Iain's background in Scottish history and folklore added great value to the sites we visited and to our personal knowledge. His ability to adjust to the interest of three different people was impressive and the care he took with my parents (who are in their 80s) was touching. I highly recommend his services!Sarah Page Boston MA
Quality of the Information Giving/Guiding: 10+. Iain could not do better! If I could change one thing it would be my own preparation. I was woefully underprepared to take full advantage of Iain’s vast knowledge and intellect. My reading list is now quite long. LOVED the stories Iain told - especially the folktales (I could have used more - but he can’t be expected to be telling stories all day long), and the descriptions of battles and centuries-long grudges, and the rising of the Jacobites and the Battle of Culloden! Loved that he could read to me poetry in Gaelic!
Iain is very entertaining and witty. He saw to every detail - it was great to have someone who could take ALL the stress out of travelling.
Most Outstanding Place/Event: Cannot choose just one place/event. The experiences were all so different. I enjoyed some of the more organic moments, accepting drinks from strange men at The Star Hotel, for instance... I also liked the graveyard and church ruins in Rathan - it had a beauty that is difficult to describe. I loved the castle ruins also- especially Urquhart and Eilean Donon. Breathtaking! I want to move to one of those little fishing villages by the sea where the air smells fresh and all you can hear is silence. I could also go on about the beauty of the scenery in Scotland. Amazing!
Recommendations for B & B locations were perfect. Overall, the detailed recommendations made for the various locations we stayed were outstanding. Iain really listened to what our expectations were and was able to point us to perfect choices. The VW van was perfect for our trip. Very comfortable and great for traveling the countryside. We even gave [Iain] credit for creativeness in finding alternate transportation when his primary vehicle was being repaired. Iain was attentive to our comfort level and made adjustments usually before we were aware adjustments were needed.
We felt very safe riding as passengers.Private Tour Highlands Scotland The quality of the information was significantly higher then we expected and was one of the greatest values we got from the trip. Iain is a well read and knowledgeable historian. We felt as though we were on a university level field study course.
Following our trip we have continued to read about Scottish history and have been impressed with the factual correlation of what Iain shared with us and other writings. One of the most impressive aspects of our trip was how insightful Iain is in being able to read people. He was able to quickly (almost real-time) read our level of interest in various areas, or subjects and make adjustments in the plans to shift and focus on the items that would be most valuable to us and our objectives. This made the trip a very personal and special type of trip for us. Having the opportunity to hear local music was a highlight.
Really felt honored to be able to meet friends and see a little of the soul of Scotland. Our trip to Scotland was one of our most enjoyable trips ever. Iain was a key ingredient in making this trip special. We will come back and will insist on having Iain guide us once again to new parts of the land.