Scottish Tourist Guide
We're proud to recommend:
Margot McMurdo, Blue Badge Scottish Tourist Guide.
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" My family and I were looking for a guide for a customized day trip from Edinburgh. We asked for a recommendation from our B&B host in Edinburgh and he suggested Margot McMurdo. From my first contact with Margot, I liked her. She was very eager to customize the day to exactly what I was looking for. I asked her to combine a visit to St Andrew's for my husband with a "Brave" Castle experience for my daughter niece and nephew as a surprise. Margot communicated with me via many emails to make sure that she was capturing my vision for the day.
When the day came, Margot and her partner Ian, who was our driver, arrived right on time and were both very nice and easy to talk to. Margot did a great job of explaining different sites as we passed by while still holding an amicable conversation with us as well.
Our first stop was Balgonie Castle, where Margot and the Laird and Lady of the Castle had a great experience planned for us. We had a tour of the castle guided by the Laird himself. The castle, which is being meticulously restored, was fascinating. Then, we were all dressed in period costumes with my daughter being dressed as Princess, Merida. Jock, who works with Margot, taught us the basics of archery so we could have our own contest with prizes for the winners, (and losers) of the day. This was followed by tea and cakes in the newly refurbished barrel vaulted ceiling room. What a wonderful experience in a real working castle. Everyone in my family really enjoyed it.
From there we had a lovely drive over to St Andrew's where Margot had a reservation for us at The Jigger Inn on the old course. The location was perfect and the food was great. Margot and Ian were very patient while my husband shopped in the St Andrew's Pro Shop. They then took us for a quick picture on the stone bridge on the Old Course, a tour of the town, which was lovely, and then for a quick run on the beach where the movie, Chariots of Fire, was filled. The perfect end to a perfect day.
We would love to return to Scotland, and if we do, we will definitely contact Margot to set up another of her lovely tours for us. Thank-you Margot!"
" We had a fabulous time with Margot and her partner Ian on our dream Outlander tour in Edinburgh! Margot is very knowledgeable about everything in the area, and she went to an incredible amount of effort to make our tour truly spectacular! We were able to eat at Mrs Baird's Bed and Breakfast, walk the streets of the town where Claire and Frank honeymooned, stand in the church where Claire and Jamie got married, and explore Castle Leoch as well as Blackness Castle which was used for Jamie's prison scenes. We also had an amazing presentation by Jock Ferguson, an actor who gave us a private performance as he played a period Highlander.
We had a wonderful time visiting with Wee Hamish and Honey the Highland cattle, and we had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant. I even tried haggis, and I liked it! We were also able to talk to several people who were involved in the making of Outlander, including some who had met the cast and crew. As an added bonus while we were in the town that filled in for 1940's Inverness they were filming Tommy's Honour and we were lucky enough to meet the Prop Master for that movie who also happened to be the Prop Master for Outlander! All in all the two days we spent with her gave us memories which will last a lifetime. Thank you so much Margot and Ian! We will never forget you, and we hope to be friends for many years to come!"
"For a week of May this year, my husband Bill and I were transported through a long list of Scotland's 'must see' natural and man-made sites, sounds and tastes, fulfilling a twenty year dream of returning to the surprisingly small country of incredibly green hills, friendly people and an uncanny way of wrapping around an unsuspecting average tourists' heart.
After deciding against driving ourselves, I ended up looking at small group tours and it didn't take long to find one who specialised in up to 6 travellers. We liked the idea of travelling in comfort, choosing what we wanted to see, and having someone else make it happen. I might also add that I have mobility issues and walk more slowly than most and sometimes need to opt out of another stone spiral staircase or slick marble floor. Enter Margot McMurdo, a take charge lady who clearly loves her country and loves to show it off. How long has it been since any of us can make up a wish list and have it all come true? It happened to us the minute Margot met us at the airport and said, 'Where shall we go first?'
We saw castles, Outlander related sites....yes, I wanted to see as much about the series as I could because I enjoy it so much... and Margot didn't hesitate a minute. Better yet, she didn't make fun of me wanting to see the general area where the wonderful series was filmed.
Also historic battlefields, quaint bed and breakfast accommodations, restaurants, shops and even a whole afternoon at Loch Ness so we could try our luck at spotting Nessie, who wasn't home that afternoon , but shares a great attraction by Urquhart Castle that tells its history and legend.Don't miss the Tain Pottery if you like thistle cups and saucers in a gorgeous shade of blue.
What I didn't count on was wishing I could have extended our time right on the spot when she dropped us back at the airport, but someone else had found out about Margot and her talents for leading 'you are there 'trips and I was happy someone else would be having the same experience. I can't wait to go back and look for her shiny red hair in the crowd, with our last name on her sign!
What surprised me the most is that I had no idea I would end up homesick for Scotland when I returned home."
"Margot is a wonderful guide! This was our second tour with her. My husband and I met Margot in 2012 and had such a lovely time with her and Ian, we were eager to set up an extended tour when we returned in 2014 with Jeff's parents. Margot set up a fantastic tour which included many castles,falkirk wheel, Roslyn chapel and a trip to Inverness in the highlands. We were with her for a week and she was able to cover all our wishes. Because of mobility issues with our parents, she was able to suggest other alternatives if needed. I would highly recommend Margot to anyone wanting an informative and Fun tour of Scotland. We have made a wonderful friend in Margot and will treasure our time with her! "
"Every time you set foot on an airplane, you hope this will be the holiday you've always dreamed of. Because you were waiting for us at the other end of our flight, that dream came true for us. Our two weeks with you in Scotland were magical.
Your meticulous attention to detail ensured that we saw everything we wanted to see and many other things that we hadn't even known were there to be seen. From magnificent castles, moving historical sites, and beautiful gardens to charming little extras such as a Beatrix Potter exhibition and Shakespeare's Birnam Wood, you filled our days with the sites and sounds of Scotland.
You chose wonderful B&Bs for us to stay in, each one different and all delightful. Because most were centrally located, we had time to walk around after our touring day ended and explore on our own. Your long acquaintance with the lovely people who run these establishments gave us unique opportunities to visit with locals and learn more about the culture and politics wherever we were. You also also took us to visit with artists, craftsmen, and local historians who showed us their work and talked with us about how they've been influenced by their surroundings. The souvenirs we brought home with us will always be more than just souvenirs because we met so many of the gifted people who made them and were given intimate looks into their creation.
And then there was the food! As a vegetarian, I'm perhaps not the easiest client to travel with, but you called ahead and made sure there would be meat-free dishes available everywhere we went. I didn't have a single meal in Scotland that wasn't drop-dead delicious. And in some instances your choices were absolutely inspired. If dining on vegetarian haggis lasagna less than an hour after witnessing a beautiful double rainbow over Loch Sunart in the Highlands isn't magical, then nothing is.
But the biggest single treasure of we found on our trip was you yourself. You're bright, personable, funny, and knowledgeable about the history and culture of your country. You kept us well supplied with maps, guides, and even newspapers and made sure we got to sample local treats and goodies that we might otherwise have missed. And if we took a random notion to see something that wasn't on the day's itinerary, you re-adjusted on the fly and made sure we saw it.
Your pride in being a Scot and your passion for your country are contagious. We came away with a new appreciation of the wonder that is Scotland. And isn't that, after all, what we travel for?
We came together as guide and clients. We parted as friends. There's no higher compliment we can pay you. Except, of course, to promise you that we'll be back!"
"We were delighted with Ms McMurdo's guidance during our recent visit to Edinburgh and environs. Her superior knowledge of her country, her understanding of our special needs, and her brilliant sense of humor made our trip not only memorable but also one of the travel highlights of our life. She individualized our tours with skill, and she never "read from a tour script" because she knew it. We are eager to return to Scotland and her. She made the difference from seeing something in another country to getting to know the flavor and beauty of a remarkble astounding land. We highly recommend her for any of the Scotland tour packages that she offers; she is a Scottish treasure."
"You're the BEST! To let you know what a fantastic time we had with you in Scotland. We all agreed that traveling around the country with you was the best way to see Scotland. You took us to so many neat places that gave us insight into your country's history, its people, the 'lovely food', and the beautiful countryside. All of your wonderful suggestions during the trip's pre-planning were so helpful, too. We're so lucky that we were able to explore Scotland with you. Your knowledge and personality truly made this trip incredible for all of us. "
"Max and I would like to thank you for such a fantastic vacation. We loved your itinerary! We had always wanted to see the Scottish Islands and northern Scotland and you made it a superb journey. I loved seeing all the 'off the beat' and non touristy things but you also included the must see historical sites. You were so flexible in adjusting your plans if we even commented that we were interested in something. You listened to our comments during the trip and added so many extra places to see. It was really wonderful having Ian drive all those one lane roads where only the local people go. Scotland has such diverse scenery! We never could have seen such wonderful countrysides on a bus tour. Again, thank you for such a wonderful vacation. It was the trip of a lifetime! "
"Thank you so much for all you and Ian did for me and my family! I had an incredible and well informed time. To see so much of your beautiful country with a superb guide (that's you Margot!) and driver (thank you Ian!) was truly the trip of a lifetime. You opened doors for us we wouldn't even have known to try, and I feel like we got so much more out of touring with you than we would have, guide book in hand, on our own. And should I have chosen to drive I likely would have wrecked the car! Most important, you were so kind and helpful with my mobility-limited Dad, so his experience was just as good as mine."
"We recently spent the better part of 4 days with Margot and her husband Ian. Leading up to our vacation, Margot and I had exchanged emails about what our interests were and her response was always "anything is possible". She lived up to that motto and we experienced a delightful 4 days, touring vibrant Edinburgh, beautiful Rosslyn Chapel, and several Castles, each fascinating in its own way. As 'Braveheart' fans, a true highlight for us was viewing (and climbing to the top!) the William Wallace Monument. Margot was knowledgable, entertaining and very kind to us throughout our visit. And thank goodness for Ian who not only can drive on the left hand side of the road, but can drive safely through a torrential downpour while travelling through northern England one evening, can fit suitcases into the back of the vehicle like a master jigsaw puzzle champion, and is an especially nice fellow!
They took us to fascinating sites along Hadrian's wall after we spent a great day at Lindisfarne, the Holy Island. Everywhere we went, Margot was informative, willing and able to answer our questions and just made things absolutely great!
I think I can sum up our whole experience with Margot and Ian by saying that – after our four days together – we do not just consider Margot our tour guide (and Ian our chaffeur) but we know we made two friends! We have already referred four of our best friends to Margot for touring later this year and are confident they will feel the same way as we do!"
"In planning our first trip to Scotland it became apparent to us that a local guide would be invaluable in making our vacation a success. We were fortunate to find Margot online through the web and that was the beginning of a wonderful experience. We engaged Margot to personally guide us in Edinburgh which made our day a huge success. In addition Margot was very helpful in suggesting places to visit throughout Scotland. She is a wonderful and knowledgeable person that enhanced our visit. We can truly say that without Margot our Scotland experience would not have been as successful."
"Margot gave us the inside tour of everything Scottish! Having visited the country several times before, I didn't realize what I had missed. She was able to give all 12 of us suggestions to suit our interests, and that was very much appreciated. Two of our group are Charles Rennie MacKintosh fans, and Margot gave us many suggestions on seeing his work while we were in Glasgow (I am an architect). She was also enthusiastic about our Scottish family hIstory and helped us delve into that. Margot will be an incredible resource for all of us, as she is now a dear friend as well. I will be using her as a tour guide whenever I return to Scotland. There is so much more to see!"
"Our vacation in Scotland was via a cruise ship. Margot was extremely helpful even before we hired her as a tour guide in answering questions about how long it took to get from the port to where we would like to go, if it was even possible to see those sites and various other typical tourist questions. Once we did retain her as our tour guide she went the extra mile in helping us have the most awesome shore excursion on our whole trip around the British Isles. Not only were we able to fit in the places we wanted to see (clan sites), she also arranged for a surprise visit from 'Rob Roy' which capped off the day. It was a wonderful way to leave the shores of Scotland and continue on the cruise.
We would wholeheartedly recommend anyone considering a private tour to get in touch with Margot. It was dumb luck that we found her on the internet and we're so very happy we did. We had a wonderful time and can't wait to get back to Scotland at some point!"
Photographs sent by the Lawson family
"Margot, you made our trip to Scotland. Without you we would have been wandering aimlessly through the countryside. I appreciate all the time and effort you put into helping us arrange for the riding at Lunga, far from the normal tourist attractions, and the falconry which was just fabulous. Having our own comfortable private coach and driver Billy was truly travelling in style. Your love of Scotland, your knowledge and stories, were the icing on the cake. Thank you for making our trip extra special."
"My husband and I and my parents were in Edinburgh for my father's 70th birthday, and I wanted to plan a special day out to celebrate. I did an internet search and had the great fortune of finding Margot McMurdo a certified Blue Badge Scottish Tourist Guide. Margot and I conversed by e-mail to design the itinerary for a day tour that included Edinburgh sights, the beautiful Scottish countryside, a lovely birthday lunch at a country manor house (complete with a specially prepared birhday cake), and a distillery tour.
Margot was extremely helpful with the planning, asking about our particular interests and recommending potential lunch locations. Our day with Margot (and driver David) was fabulous. No detail was overlooked, and Margot's knowledge and obvious love of Scotland was infectious."
"We want to express our appreciation for the friendly, professional service you provided when we were in Scotland.
Your willingness to drive to Stirling (for more touring) two days after you had shown us around Edinburgh was typical of the personal service you provide.
Thanks for showing us the real Scotland (small towns and neighborhood pubs) along with the history of the different regions. Loved the Scotch, you can keep the Haggis.
See you in two years. You're the best."
"Greg and I want to thankyou for the most amazing vacation we have ever had. Your knowledge of Scottish history, the castles and the countryside is astounding. We asked you to take us to a few speciality shops and you found the best. We asked for places tostay with good food - and were taken to the finest. I tried to find out where my father had grown up, and through you and Ian I was able to walk through the old homestead and his footsteps.
Our trip was magical, personal, emotional and full of a deep sense of camaraderie with you. We left with a tremendous sense of having experienced Scotland and her wonders. Each island we went to, each place we visited has become part of our wonderful memories.
Margot, you are the best and we consider you a fabulous guide and alsoa very good friend. Thank you for all you have done to enrich our lives
We will not hesitate to recommend you to our friends."
"My wife and I as well as our grandson and his parents travelled about Scotland for about 2 weeks.The trip itself was well organised by Margot and was one of the nicest and most memorable that we have made. Margot has a firm grasp of the history of Scotland and a warm and personable way of conveying the information. The trip can be summarised as a magical moment, it was truly that nice being together as a family and with Margot as our guide. If I appear to be too effusive, I can only say that it was deserved."
"We have been to other countries - Scotland is a favourite! Thanks for great memories!"
"What a charming, lovely, funny woman you are - we are so glad we found you! Thank you for a wonderful day - and days to come!"
"What a wonderful time I had with you! Your love and affection for Scotland shine through loud and clear."
"Just to let you now how much the Davies family enjoyed the tour of Edinburgh's attractions. It was a great relief for me not to have to figure out how to drive somewhere and once we had arrived - where to park! The children felt right at home and can only imagne what they are telling all their friends about our 'private tour guide'. Thanks again for helping make our day special."
"Thank you for making Scotland so enjoyable for us. You helped us see the beauty that was around us. We enjoyed the history that is so rich in this country. Again thank you for making our trip so memorable."
Above: Pre-destination Church Group on the Isle of Barra
"You are a lovely girl and a true Scot. Enjoyed the trip because of you!"
"We enjoyed our visit to Scotland very much - you made it more special with your wisdom, lore and delightful songs! Thank you so much."
"Many thanks for being such a wonderful guide and hostess."