Frequently asked Questions about The Hebridean Explorer Tours
Who will be my tour guide?
John Alasdair Macdonald, owner of The Hebridean Explorer, guides all tours - more about John here.
Can I book individual tickets or seperate group tickets?
We do not sell individual or separate group tickets for people to join tours. The prices quoted are for your private and exclusive group only (of up to 3 people) where your private group collectively hires the vehicle as a whole for a tour. Advertised tour prices still apply if your group is less than 3.
Can I book a group larger than 3?
Unfortunately we are limited to 3 (or 4 at a squeeze). We only operate one vehicle which has windows seats for 3 passengers so we generally limit the groups to 3. While there is a 4th seat in the vehicle, it is a smaller middle seat with limited legroom and without a window view and is not recommended for adults, particularly on longer tours (it's a bit of a squeeze with three adults in the back). However - for Day Tours up to 8 hours and Whisky Tours - if you are travelling as a group of 4 that includes one or more children/teenagers, and/or feel it would be acceptable for one of your group to be in the smaller middle seat then please contact us to dicuss the option. There is no additional charge for a 4th passenger if your group accepts the limitations of the smaller middle seat - Click for Information about the Tour Vehicle
Can I personalise and change a tour?
We try and be as flexible as possible so if you would like to visit other sites or take out stops then we will do our best to adapt a tour for you. Please note that some of our tours, particularly the longer tours to Skye, have less flexibility due to the distances being covered and time limitations.
Do I have to book in advance?
All private tours need to be booked in advance. A 25% non-refundable deposit is required to confirm a booking (for Multi-Day Tours this is 40%). Balance payment is required 30 days before the tour date. For bookings with less than 30 days before the tour date, full payment is taken on booking.
How far in advance do you take bookings?
We take advance bookings up to 24 months before a tour date. Many dates in the popular summer months will fill up quite far in advance. Currently, the majority of our bookings are taken 6-12 months in advance of a tour date - although it is always worth getting in touch at short notice as we may still have availability.
How do I pay for a tour?
We have an online Secure Payment System for deposit and balance payments which accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards. After confirmation of availability and tour details you will be sent a link to our Secure Payment page.
Can tours start earlier or later?
These are private tours so we are always flexible. Our stated timings are designed to maximise your tour time by avoiding traffic and making sure breaks coincide with lunch, etc. However if you need to start later (or earlier) just let us know and we will try and be as flexible as possible.
Where do tours start from?
All tours leave from your Inverness City Centre accommodation (or within 5 miles of Inverness City Centre) or we can pick you up from Inverness train/bus station.
Can you pick up tours from outside Inverness?
All our tours begin from Inverness City Centre and we only offer tour pick up and return for groups within 5 miles of Inverness City Centre. Please note we do not offer any tours from Invergordon, Portree or Dunvegan ports for cruise ship passengers.
Do you operate tours for cruise ships at Invergordon?
We do not offer any tours for cruise ship passengers from Invergordon port. We also do not offer tours for cruise ships docking in Portree or Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye.
How often do we stop?
Generally all tours have a mid-morning refreshment stop for up to 1 hour, along with a lunch stop for 1 hour and depending on the length of the day a late afternoon refreshment stop. All tours have plenty of viewpoint and photo stops. We also have regular restroom stops throughout the day. For tours with ferry trips we plan tour days that work best with travel and mealtimes. Remember this is your private tour, so flexibility is the key, if you want to stop out with our regular stops - to enjoy the beautiful countryside or just to grab a photo - then we stop!
What clothing/footwear should I bring?
We try and get off the beaten track on our tours so some stops give you the opportunity to walk over peat land, take a walk up a hill or along the side of a loch. All this is optional but if you are considering footwear then good footwear - that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty! - will give you lots of choice at stops. We always recommend a waterproof jacket as the weather in the Highlands can be very changeable.
How much luggage can I bring on a tour?
For groups of 3 we can accommodate 1 medium-sized piece of luggage per person plus a small day bag each.
Do you offer tours over the winter months?
Due to the limited daylight hours, winter weather and reduced attraction opening times we offer a smaller choice of day tours from November to February. A number of Highland Tours and Whisky Tours are available.