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Find out what inspired our Director of Private Travel to design our most flexible, tailored small group private journey to date.

Amber Shearer, our Director of Private Travel, and her husband Ryan, just returned from a successful scouting trip to Scotland. The result? She just created a sublime 13-day, private guided itinerary departing at your convenience in April, May, August, September or October of 2018.

We sat down with Amber to find out what inspired her to put this trip together, why she fell in love with Gleneagles, and where to find her new favorite type of whisky.

Q: What made Scotland stand out during your trip?

A: Quite a few elements near and dear to my heart stood out during my visit. The history of Scotland fascinates me. I visited Glamis Castle, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth II, with a private driver guide. That was incredible. I can’t get enough of the royal family. The beauty of the highlands, and the people I met there impressed me. The memories I have of exploring the birthplace of modern day golf, watching locals fly fish for salmon, exploring a working highland estate, and sampling rare small-batch scotch whisky with my husband during a private tasting all stand out in my mind. And, of course, bagpipes!

Q: What pleasantly surprised you about Scotland?

A: The country takes great pride in its natural environment. The lochs (lakes) are not overrun with houses or people. They’re pristine with ancient pine forests all around, so it’s just as it was hundreds of years ago…untouched. In North America if there’s a great view or area people build right on top of it, and it’s not like that in Scotland. It was a pleasant surprise.

Q: Can you describe some of your favorite stops during your visit?

A: Edinburgh is personally one of my favorite cities. My husband and I loved walking through Old Town and New Town and experiencing the Royal Mile together. It is a must do experience and something that can be done multiple times in a lifetime and never bore.  I absolutely loved meeting with the distinguished kilt maker, Howie Nicholsby, and learning about the history of the fabled garment. Joining him and a bunch of locals  for a pint afterwards was also a very entertaining highlight and a great welcome to Scotland. One that I will forever remember and cherish.

St. Andrews is more than a charming coastal town, it’s the birthplace of golf! It’s a lively intellectual hub that has a beautiful mix of history, legend, and youthful energy with gorgeous views.

The Highlands are absolutely stunning, pristine countryside with beautiful areas to hike, watch wildlife, and literally witness landscape that has not changed since the ancient highlanders were living off the land.

The entire west coast, including the isles, is in my opinion one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The lochs, animals, peaks and valleys are breathtaking. Glencoe is magnificent. It seems to be trapped in history with very little human encroachment and plenty of ruins of old highland settlements and castles. There’s something truly special about this area.

My husband and I fell in love with Scotland, the people, its heritage, folklore, music, lodging, food, whisky, and nature so much so that I felt the need to create a unique insiders program for others to have the best Scottish experience imaginable.

Q: If you could offer any piece of shopping, drinking or dining advice to travelers what would it be?

A: It’s a myth that the UK has bad food. Scotland particularly has wonderful established eateries and classic old pubs that serve not only great local fish, but equal amounts of charm too.

Q: Can we talk about the whisky?

A: My knowledge of Scotch whisky expanded at least tenfold during my time there. My husband and I became lifelong fans of Speyside—northeastern region—single malts. Glenlivet and Glenfiddich come from Speyside, but we were introduced to a handful of amazing, smaller independent distilleries. Private tastings are the way to go. There are over 40 different distilleries in Speyside. Shoot me an email—[email protected]—if you want my full report.   

Q: Guests on Scotland 2018 will spend time in some fabulous accommodations. Can you describe one that particularly stood out to you?

A: All of them are unique and provide something special. I designed the trip to end with Gleneagles because it’s not only a truly extraordinary property—5-star to be specific—but it’s also a grown-up playground. Yes, they offer world-class golf, but they also offer shooting, tennis, riding, off-road driving, falconry, hunting, cycling, archery, fishing and even a ferret school! From fine dining—it hosts no less than 3 bars and five restaurants—to the service, the décor and the grounds, to all the activities they offer, Gleneagles is mind-blowing.

Q: Guests have the option to build pre- and post-trip extensions. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Yes! Marry this trip with Ireland and you can’t go wrong.

About Amber Shearer

Amber has explored more than 86 cities in 35 countries. Beyond the numbers, Amber is meticulously creative while planning journeys. She loves her guests and has built a loyal and enthusiastic fan base. She has been with TCS World Travel for more than 12 years.

Did Amber’s enthusiasm for Scotland inspire you to learn more about our upcoming Scotland 2018 journey? Email her today at [email protected], or call her at 800.454.4149 to learn more about this wonderful opportunity to discover Scotland for yourself.