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2024 Clan Forbes Scotland Tour

Updated: Feb 13

The tour is now full! As noted in the January 2024 newsletter: "This is your last chance to join the 2024 Clan Forbes Society Tour to Forbes heritage sites in Scotland! At the end of this month, reservations will be made for all the confirmed participants." Make plans now to join us for the August 2026 Clan Forbes Tour!

The Clan Forbes Scotland Ancestral Tour on August 19 to 26, 2024, will include the most important Forbes heritage sites such as Druminnor Castle and Castle Forbes; some of the most notable sites in Scotland including Dunnottar Castle and Crathes Castle; and participation in the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games. You’ll also be the guest of Clan Chief Malcolm, 23rd Lord Forbes, Premier Lord of Scotland. Your expert tour guide Lord Sempill is a direct descendent of the Forbes-Sempill family of Craigievar.

On the evening of Monday, August 19, participants will gather at the Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel & Spa in Aberdeen for a reception and an overview of the tour.

The first full day on Tuesday, August 20, will start with a visit to the Sir Duncan Rice Library where you will enjoy a private presentation of the archival artifacts from their private Forbes family collection, including portraits by painter Anne Forbes. You will then be conducted on a walking tour of Aberdeen and end the day with at the Loch Garioch Distillery for a whisk tasting.

Wednesday, August 20, will feature Druminnor Castle, the original Castle Forbes, which was the clan seat for 500 years. The current castle owner Alex Forbes, Clan Forbes Historian, will lead you through his home and recount the stories of the Forbes’s feud with Clan Gordon. From Druminnor, you will continue to Castle Forbes, the current seat of the Clan Chief. You will be welcomed to a reception and tour with Malcolm, 23rd Lord Forbes, and Jinny, Lady Forbes.

The first stop on Thursday, August 22, will be Fyvie Castle where you will enjoy a tour to see its amazing collections of antiquities, armor and lavish oil paintings. This impressive turreted building was transformed by the Preston, Meldrum, Gordon and Forbes-Leith families over 800 years. You will continue on to the ruins of Pitsligo Castle, home to the Forbes of Pitsligo for over three centuries. The last Lord Pitsligo served as cavalry commander for Charles Edward Stuart, “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” who sought to restore the deposed monarchy of the Stuarts. After his defeat at the 1746 Battle of Culloden, the crown seized the Pitsligo Estate and declared Alexander, 4th Lord Forbes of Pitsligo, an outlaw. The final stop will be Tolquhon Castle. Now in ruins, the castle was once one of the grandest castles in Scotland.

On Friday, August 23, you will head out to the beautiful pink Craigievar Castle with its turrets, gargoyles and high corbelling said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. The castle was completed in 1626 by William Forbes of Menie. From then it had been lived in by the Forbes and Forbes-Sempill family until gifted to the National Trust of Scotland in 1963. From there, you will visit the famous Tomnaverie Recumbent Stone Circle, a monument found only in north-eastern Scotland. After your visit, you’ll stop for lunch (on your own) at the Boat Inn in Aboyne (or similar location), then continue on to the Victorian village of Ballater which sits in the heart of Royal Deeside.

The morning of Saturday, August 24, will begin with a trip to Corgarff Castle built in the mid-16th century by Forbes of Towie. This was the site of the tragic murder of Mistress Margaret Campbell Forbes and her daughters by Adam Gordon as related in the ballad “Edom o’ Gordon.” After the Jacobite risings of the 18th century, it was rebuilt as a barracks and once held a whisky distillery. The rest of the day will be devoted to the Clan Forbes own Lonach Highland Gathering and Games, “the friendliest Highland Games in Scotland.” The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society was founded in 1823 by Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet of Newe and Edinglassie (1773-1849).

Sunday, August 25, will start off with a visit to Crathes Castle, a 16th-century tower house with towers, turrets, and stories of its resident ghosts. Crathes also boasts a magnificent award winning garden. After lunch, you will head off to experience the Dunottar Castle, one of Scotland's great medieval fortresses. Located on the crag overlooking the North Sea, the castle is probably one of the most dramatic settings anywhere in Scotland.

The entire seven-day tour includes seven nights accommodation, seven breakfasts, two dinners, three lunches, welcome reception, receptions at both Druminnor Castle and Castle Forbes; Glen Garioch Distillery Tour & Tasting; entrance fees for all sites on the itinerary; professional tour guide, Lord Sempill; and executive touring coach and driver for duration of the tour. The cost is £1,947 per person double occupancy, with a £536 single room occupancy supplement.

Tour participants are limited to 20. Non-refundable deposit of US$300 is required at the time of booking or by November 17, 2023. Second non-refundable payment of US$1,000 is due by March 1, 2023. Final non-refundable balance is due May 20, 2023. This payment in US dollars may vary based on the monetary conversion rate at that time.

Download detailed tour itinerary, payment deadlines, and requirements here:

Download PDF • 868KB

To make your booking, please contact Thistle Dubh Enterprises at (925) 303 4008 or

Each traveler is strongly recommended to purchase travel insurance. If you do not have a provider, Thistle Dubh would be happy to provide recommendations. Each participant is responsible for following all flight, U.K., venue, and coach public health requirements.


2022 Clan Forbes Tour Participants at Castle Forbes.

Lord and Lady Forbes are in the center of the back row; Jamie, Lord Sempill is at the far left; and Geordie, Master of Forbes in the front row.

Check out the 2022 Clan Forbes Tour video produced by DHShields:

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1 Comment

My family and I just got back from a vacation in Scotland. We did meet Lord Malcolm, who showed us around the castle and spent about an hour with us. A very gracious and hospitable host!

Given that, although I do intend to go back at some point, the timing doesn't work for me. I'm sure all who go will be delighted!

Best wishes, Rob

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