Carpenter Holidays

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11-17 September 2020 Lammermuir Festival and Mendelssohn in Scotland

Friday 11 September 2020 to Thursday 17 September 2020

Following the successful trip in 2018, Carpenter Holidays, in association with Hannick Reizen, will be repeating the "Mendelssohn in Scotland" holiday in September 2020, this time linking the Mendelssohn pilgrimage with concerts at the Lammermuir Festival. If you admire Mendelssohn’s music and particularly his Hebrides Overture or Scottish Symphony and want to learn more about what inspired him to write these works; if you would like to know more about Mendelssohn the man, who was admired during his life as one of the most talented and engaging people of his time; if you have a fascination with Scottish history including the life of Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century or the Jacobite up-risings of the late 17th and early 18th centuries; or if you simply want to enjoy some of the UK’s most beautiful sights and scenery, then join this “Lammermuir Festival and Mendelssohn in Scotland" holiday in September 2020 which will follow in Mendelssohn’s footsteps 191 years after his Scottish journey in 1829.

The tour will start in Edinburgh on Friday 11 September 2020 and will take us to all the places visited by Mendelssohn in 1829: Melrose and Abbotsford, the Hermitage at Dunkeld, the Pass of Killicrankie, Bruar Falls near Blair Atholl, Loch Tummel (with its spectacular “Queen’s View”), Aberfeldy and the Falls of Moness, Loch Tay, Glencoe and Fort William, then to Oban, Mull and the Isle of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave, and Iona, before returning via Inveraray and Loch Lomond to Edinburgh where the holiday ends on the morning of Thursday 17 September 2020. And before head off into the Highlands of Scotland, we will attend three concerts at the Lammermuir Festival which takes place in country houses and churches in the beautiful Lammermuir District to the south east of Edinburgh.

The route that we will take when we leave Edinburgh is same as that followed by Mendelssohn and his travelling companion, Karl Klingemann, in 1829 (see map right). Our modes of transport will be more sophisticated than theirs – coach and modern ferries, rather than horse and cart or walking or travelling in smoky steam-ferries, and our accommodation will be more salubrious: three- and four-star hotels, rather than leaky cottages sharing rooms with hens and pigs!


Friday 11 September 2020 – Edinburgh. Independent arrival and check-in at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton Hotel from 3.00pm. Dinner and welcome briefing at 7.00pm.

Saturday 12 September – Rosslyn Chapel and the Lammermuir Festival. Departing from Edinburgh at 10.00 we make the short journey to Rosslyn to visit the beautiful chapel which is the supposed location of the Holy Grail. After lunch together, we attend a Lammermuir Festival concert followed by dinner and an evening concert before returning to Edinburgh.

Sunday 13 September – Holyrood Palace, Abbotsford, Melrose and the Lammermuir Festival. In the morning will we have take the short walk to Holyrood Palace for our own private tour (8.30am to 10.30am) of the Palace and the ruined Chapel where Mendelssohn was inspired to write down the opening of his Scottish Symphony. We will then take the hour-long journey down to Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott whose novels inspired so many 19th-century composers and who was one of the main reasons why Mendelssohn visited Scotland in 1829. We will have lunch together at the Ochiltree Restaurant in Abbotsford followed by a private tour around the house. From Abbotsford we go to the beautiful town of Melrose and explore the Abbey where Robert the Bruce’s heart is buried, and where Mendelssohn found some solace on the day of his unsuccessful attempt to meet Sir Walter Scott. Dinner together, followed by our final visit to a Lammermuir Festival concert.

Monday 14 September – Into the Highlands!  Departing at 8.30am, we will travel over the newly opened Forth Road Bridge with its breath-taking views of the Firth of Forth, the old Forth Suspension Bridge, and the Forth Rail Bridge built in the 1880s, through the Kingdom of Fife, past Perth, and stop at the Falls of Braan at the Hermitage which were sketched by Mendelssohn and, a little further up the valley, there is Ossian’s Cave, the supposed dwelling place of the fictitious 3rd century Scottish bard.  We then journey on the short distance to the House of Bruar Visitor Centre for lunch under your own arrangements before the option of a walk up to the Bruar Falls (sketched by Mendelssohn) or a browse around the many gift shops at the Centre. After lunch we journey on to Dalmally past Killiecrankie, Loch Tummel (where will we pause to look at the fabulous “Queen’s View”) and Loch Tay. Check in to the Dalmally Muthu Hotel for two nights; dinner together at the hotel.

Tuesday 15 September– The Isles of Mull, Staffa and Iona. An early start from the hotel for the ferry crossing from Oban to Mull and the hour-long coach journey to Fionnphort on Mull’s western tip. Weather permitting we will take the boat trip out to the Isle of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. We will land on the Island for an hour and, as well as walking round to the mouth of Fingal’s Cave, we might be lucky in seeing seals basking sharks. After Fingal’s Cave, we will land on Iona and spend an hour or two exploring the island (including the ruined abbey) before travelling back to our hotel in Oban where we have dinner together. NB in case of inclement weather, we may not be able to sail to Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. In this eventuality, we will instead visit Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull and the attractive capital of the Island, Tobermory.

Wednesday 16 September – Dalmally to Edinburgh. We leave Dalmally for the final leg of our journey back to Edinburgh through passes and glens, and along the shores of beautiful lochs. We travel via Taynuilt and along the Pass of Brander which hugs the northern shore of Loch Awe, to Inveraray which overlooks Loch Fyne. Skirting Loch Fyne, we then head down the beautiful western shore of the Bonny, Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond, stopping at the Cameron House Hotel on the southern shore of the Loch, affording us the same views that Mendelssohn sketched in 1829. We will have lunch at the Boathouse Restaurant and then return to Edinburgh via Stirling, arriving at around 6.00pm. Dinner together at the hotel.

Thursday 17 September - Independent departure home.


Saturday 12 September, 15.00 – venue to be confirmed
Concertgebouw Wind Soloists
Programme to include works by Flothuis, Poulenc, Mozart and Rimsky Korsakov

Saturday 12 September, 19.45 – Dunbar Parish Church
Royal Northern Sinfonia with Roman Rabinovich (piano)
Programme to include:
Mozart Piano Concerto No 20 in D minor, K 466
Mozart Piano Concerto No 22 in E flat, K 482

Sunday 13 September, 19.45– St Mary's Church, Haddington
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Haydn Symphony No 99 in E flat
Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations (for viola and orchestra)
Mozart Symphony No 39 in E flat, K 543
Peter Whelan, conductor
Timothy Ridout, viola

Travel Information

This holiday is being promoted in association with Hannick Reizen who offer a package which includes return flights from Amsterdam to Edinburgh, the details of which are:

Fridy 11 September Amsterdam-Edinburgh KL1277 dep 08.00 arr 08.25
Thruday 17 September Edinburgh-Amsterdam KL1282 dep 13.25 arr 16.00

For those people not wishing to take these flights but to make their own way to Edinburgh, there is a land-only price for the tour (see below).

Edinburgh is easily reached by train or air from all major UK cities. Regular services take around 4 1/2 hours from London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley, which is a 5-minute taxi ride from the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton. There are also regular flights from all London airports to Edinburgh which take around 1 hour. A taxi journey from the airport to the hotel will cost around £40, or the airport shuttle bus to Waverley Station costs £4.50 one way. In booking your train journey or flight, please bear in mind that there will be an early welcome dinner in the hotel at 5.00pm on Friday 11 September, followed by a private tour of Holyrood Palace. At the end of the holiday, we stay again at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton and you will be able to plan your journey home for the morning of Thursday 17 September.

Price per person

Tour price: €2,295
Land-only tour price: please contat Hannick Reizen
Single room supplement: €470
Booking charge: €25 per booking
"Calamiteitenfonds": €2.50 per person
Deposit: 15% of total invoice per person

Tour price includes: Accommodation, breakfast daily, five dinners (one with wine), two lunches (one with wine), concerts at Lammermuir Festival, private tours of Holyrood Palace and Abbotsford, visits to Rosslyn Chapel, Melrose Abbey and the Glencoe Visitor Centre, coach transportation throughout, ferry crossing to the Island of Mull and boat trip to Staffa and Fingal's Cave, the services of Stephen Carpenter and Thiemo Wind as tour managers.

Excluded is your travel to and from Edinburgh (unless you join the group travelling from Amsterdam), lunch on days three, four and five of the tour when you are free to make your own arrangements for lunch which will be readily available at the carefully selected stopping points.

Cancellation Policy:

Hannick Reizen has a cancellation policy as follows:

Cancellation costs up to 42 days before departure of the trip: deposit

Cancellation costs between 42 days up to 28 days before departure of the trip: 35% of the total invoice

Cancellation costs from 28 days up to 5 days before departure of the trip: 75% of the total invoice

Cancellation costs from 5 days up to day of departure before departure of the trip: costs of the total invoice

Hannick Reizen can only accept cancellation written or by phone during office hours (Monday – Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm)

To Book

Booking is through Hannick Reizen.

Contact Hannick Reizen on info [at], or telephone+31 70 319 19 29. The postal address for Hannick Reizen is:

Veersedijk 95
3341 LL Hendrik Ido Ambacht
The Netherlands.

The office at Hannick Reizen will be able to help you with the booking process. For those wishing to make their own travel arrangements for getting to Edinburgh rather than travelling with the Hannick Reizen group from Amsterdam, they can organise the land-only price.

Please note that there is a 4.3% charge if you pay by credit card, so you may prefer to book by bank transfer direct to Hannick Reizen's account, details of which you will be able to obtain from Boudewijn van Pelt at Hannick Reizen.

If you have any further questions about the “Mendelssohn in Scotland” holiday, please contact Stephen Carpenter at: stephen [at]; or by phone on: +44 (0) 20 8946 6821 or +44 (0) 7730 817891