Alba Experiences
Alba Experiences
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Our friendly private tours of Scotland take you beyond the guidebooks and off the beaten track with a driver-guide who tells you historical tales about local legends and introduces you to Scottish music and Celtic culture. Choose from our selection of tours and Greenock shore excursions and enjoy Scotland’s most iconic landmarks such as Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Stirling Castle, and many more. Book your tour today!
Glasgow, Scotland

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles77 reviews
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Heidi N
Washington, MO1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Couples
March/April 2022: My husband and I were ready for the trip of a lifetime after a few tough years. James with Alba was our guide, driver, storyteller, magician, dream fulfiller, photographer, comedian, bar keep (for us), translator and most importantly, our friend and now part of our family. We used travel credit with a bus company for the start of our Scottish tour around the interior of the country. In looking at the huge map of Scotland, we realized there was so much more. I am a huge outlander fan so we contacted Alba Experiences to book a 2 day tour. After talking with James, we looked at all the post it notes and potential routes drawn out, we asked him the cost, feasibility of taking us on the 10 day journey. He said yes, presented the costs for the bespoke experience and it was a perfect match. We traveled from Glasgow to Speyside to Aberdeen by Ferry to Orkney and the to John O Groats. We traveled the NC500 down to Ulapool and ferried over to Isles of Harris and Lewis. From Lewis we ferried to Isle of sky for an unforgettable 19th wedding anniversary celebration day. We stayed the night near Eileen Donan castle. By the Alba Express van, we drove down to Tarbert and caught the ferry to Islay. Then it was back to Glasgow. Yes, we had quite an itinerary but everyday he had a surprise location that never left us with a dry eye or closed jaw. James has the wonderful ability to bring you to any place in Scotland and make you feel like you are there in the exact right place at the exact right time. They way James at Alba Experiences brought Scotland to us with his knowledge and passion for his country made us feel warm-heartedly welcome. On the specifics side, we never missed a ferry, we were never without drinks and biscuits, we knew all the facts and histories of any place we stopped. He always knew where a WC was! Somehow, James made sure there was always an extra minute for one more glance, deep breath or photo. If you are looking for a travel company to tour Scotland, Alba Experiences offers you immense value, expertise, relaxation far beyond his reasonable prices. In conclusion, be prepared for some whimsy along the way... The only alternative opinion is that now I follow them on Social Media and have started a list of places to visit on our next Alba Experience Adventure!! We love you James! - Heidi & Greg Nuckolls
Written 27 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for this wonderful tour Heidi and Greg, I look back with fond memories of meeting the two of you and be able to be a part of your dream trip to Scotland. Thank you and we hope to see you soon. James
Written 10 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Erika T
8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
James was an absolute hero. My original tour company canceled on me. I contacted James and he had the ten days I would be going to Scotland free. My main goal was to be at Culloden for the anniversary. I am part of Clan MacGillvary and I wanted to be apart of that experience. James did even better. He was able to get an invite to the midnight procession the night before on the 15th. He even scored tickets to go to a ceilidh which are very hard to come by. That was an experience. On this trip we went hiking all over Scotland, followed the same paths as the Jacobites. James really made sure that this trip was geared towards what my interests were, what I wanted to do and he even threw in some amazing surprises. If you are a fan of the show Outlander you are in for a treat. James is an extra for the show, so he can give you all kinds of information, little details from scenes that he was in. He also has tours specifically on Outlander.

It’s hard to put into words all the emotions and experiences I had felt and done on my trip to Scotland. Over the past ten days I had seen incredible sights of the highlands, met new people, learned more about my ancestry and tried new things. I was introduced to some of Jame's friends who I am now lucky to call my friends that I stay in touch with. I know I will be back in a few years and James will be my guide into the highlands again. When I get home I can’t wait to look through all the pictures I took on my camera with the help of James who is also an award winning professional photographer.

You will not be disappointed with any trip that you book with James from Alba Experiences.
Written 28 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much Erika for this lovely review. I had such a fun time showing you around our beautiful country and the memories that we shared together is something that I'll never forget. I am already looking forward to your next visit to Scotland. James Alba Experiences
Written 25 May 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Marylee P
Bismarck, ND2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
Our family group of six had the adventure of a lifetime with Alba Experiences! We had scheduled a bespoke tour with James for three days including the Ayrshire coast and the Isle of Arran.

Beginning with a pilgrimage to the humble birthplace of the great Robert Burns and its beautifully curated museum, we visited the exquisite Castle of Culzean with its dramatic views of the the Irish Sea and Brig o'Doon.

On our way to catch the ferry to the Isle of Arran, a perfect storm was brewing: Rainfall of historic proportions began to flood the roads, mudslides were developing, and the government declared a national emergency. Then we learned that the ferry boat had been incapacitated by mechanical issues, stranding people on the island and preventing access.

James deftly finessed the situation: With his many personal contacts, he was able to cancel our Arran hotel rooms without penalty charges and find us rooms at a beautiful hotel in Glasgow. With his deep knowledge of the terrain and roadways, he lined up an alternate itinerary.

The next two days were absolutely magical: We walked the beautiful Loch Lomond, visited the delightful village of Luss with its ancient history and Viking graves, toured the lovely Falkland Palace with its historic furnishings.
We ventured into wooded areas with ancient castle remains and secret fairy trees. Instead of detracting, the rain had only enhanced the beauty of the land, creating moody clouds and mists that contrasted with the lush green landscape.

I shudder to think what this tour would have been like on a "canned" tour! In nearly fifty years of travel throughout Europe, I found this to be one of the very best experiences I have had. With his passion for his native land, his encyclopedic knowledge of its tragic and glorious history, and his ability to gracefully pivot through unforeseen difficulties - not to mention his generosity in sharing his grandmother's delicious shortbread, his tutorials on the protocols of whiskey tasting, and the handsome figure he cuts in his family heirloom kilt! - James is a consummate tour guide! Thank you for a memorable trip!

Written 15 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for your very kind review. This was certainly the tour of tours and I am so glad that you had a great time with our newly planned adventures. Thank you once again and I look forward to meeting you all again on your next sunny visit to Scotland. Kind regards James
Written 16 October 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

sheilabain
North Ayrshire, UK4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
The company of like minded friends and tour guide James McKinley.
I had the most amazing 5 day tour photographing the Islands of Lewis and Harris.
James drove us to all the historic places including { Callanish ) Chalanais Stones , beautiful beaches, Black House village at Gearrannan , the Butt of Lewis, to name a few.

James is an accomplished tour guide, knows the history of all the locations in his tours, also his selection of food fuel stops are always first class.
Written 20 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Sheila. Thank you for your lovely review. I hope that you had a nice time with us on your recent photography tour. Your pics are brilliant and we hope to have you with us on another wild adventure.
Written 3 November 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Maddison T
Tampa, FL3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Family
So impressed by James and his knowledge of Scotland and the history behind so many unique towns, castles and the ultimate photography spots in Isle of Skye! This trip was filled with Scottish ancestry stories, fairy pool swimming and he even helped plan an amazing proposal! I have nothing but nice things to say about our experience with this man! Goes out of his way to help others, find a local gem and dodge the typical loaded tourist locations. He took the time to create a once in a life time excursion around his favorite hidden places that do not disappoint, plus his balmoral chicken was delicious. Beautiful landscapes, kind people and breathtaking views all around Scotland and Isle of Skye. Thank you so much James and Alba experiences for a memorable vacation! I will never forget this and we will be back soon <3
Written 30 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for this wonderful review, What an adventure we had together with plenty of amazing stories to remember . I am so glad that you had a great time and thank you for the special mention for my Balmoral Chicken. Next time I will remember the Rosemary. Hope to see you soon. James
Written 10 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Emily P
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Family
Ahead of booking with James, we already had our hotel booked (the Isles of Glencoe), so he was able to build out an amazing 3 day itinerary around that location, picking us up and dropping us off in Edinburgh.

As overpackers, we were worried about our baggage fitting into his vehicle as other tours we contacted could not accommodate 5 large checked bags plus some smaller backpacks. James’s vehicle was extremely spacious, fitting our bags and 5 people easily. He even sent us a photo ahead of time and played a variety of Scottish music in the car on our trip.

The itinerary James planned was perfect for both history and nature lovers, and we saw all that Scotland had to offer such as lake side towns, ancient standing stones, old castles, and breathtaking mountainscapes. As he got to know us, he even tailored some smaller stops along the way to our interests. We especially loved seeing the Highland Coos!

Throughout, James was so knowledgeable! He knew everything there was to know about the history and culture of each site. On top of this, James is a trained photographer and was able to help us get great photos at every stop along the way. Above all, he was so fun to be with for the 3 day journey! We highly recommend Alba Experiences!
Written 29 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for this lovely review and I am so happy that you enjoyed your tour. I had such an amazing time getting to know you and your lovely family and I hope to see you again on your next visit to Scotland. Kind regards James
Written 9 July 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Deborah K
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Friends
I went on a 7 day tour with James. He is marvelous! He is thoughtful, accommodating, prompt, humorous and knowledgeable.
He tailored our tour to everything we wanted to do and see. He also added hidden gems which enhanced the tour.
Since we are fans of Outlander, we were impressed with his anecdotes about film locations and his own experiences as an extra.
James is by far the best tour guide I have had in my 8 trips to Scotland. I highly recommend his services.
Written 9 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for your review. It means a lot to me that you had a wonderful time touring my beautiful country. I hope to see you soon on your next visit to Scotland. James
Written 10 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

janice b
Largs, UK2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021 • Friends
Fabulous time in The Outer Hebridies with James and 5 other friends. Weather was mixed but we had a great time taking photographs and having lots of laughs. Saw lots of places and James's knowledge of the sites we visted was very impressive. Great guide, amazing knowledge.
Written 19 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your lovely review. We had such a brilliant time and we hope to see you again in the near future.
Written 3 November 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ulandman
Port Jefferson Station, NY22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Friends
James is truly an amazing guide. He does fabulous bespoke tours . This was my third time sightseeing Scotland with James and I’m looking forward to the next time . His energy and love of Scotland shines through in all he does and he brings the history of the country alive for you . He is truly a wonderful and caring person . He planned fun excursions for our group as well as some surprises along the way. He gave recommendations of what would be best to see and do and really was helpful to each and all in the group . I have learned some photography pointers from James Along the trips . I very highly recommend James from Alba Experiences for your next tour of Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Written 14 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for this amazing review. I am already counting down the days to our next adventure together in Scotland. Kind regards James
Written 4 January 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

KaraNYR
Boston, MA30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
We did a private 12 day tour with James. We started planning it in 2019 but because of COVID we didn't get to do it until this year. We traveled with him from June 18- June 29. We traveled up the West Coast across the Highlands and down the East Coast of Scotland. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. We saw 16 castles, 5 gardens, cathedrals, seals and dolphins!! We traveled to Mull and Iona and along the beautiful coast and mountain roads as well as a short hike through Glencoe. James took us to quaint towns off the beaten path and found amazing places for pictures. James not only has a plan A but B and C as well. Nothing is overlooked! James is warm and friendly and has so much patience! His knowledge of Scottish history is incredible!! I couldn't recommend him enough. If you are traveling to Scotland- touring with James is a much!!!
Written 7 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you Kara. What an amazing adventure we shared together with you and your friends. I can not wait to meet you all again on your next visit to Scotland. Chat to you soon. James
Written 10 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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