The World of the Covenanters

Full day private vehicle tour

When the religious revolution that was the Reformation swept Scotland in the 1500’s, led by the fiery preacher John Knox, the bulk of the Scottish public switched to the new form of worship. 

Conflict with the Stuart monarch Charles I led to the declaration of religious freedom called the National Covenant, signed first at Greyfriars Church in Edinburgh on a wave of religious zeal. Civil war followed across the whole of Great Britain and Ireland, and when the Stuart king Charles II was restored and again asserted Royal power over the church, rebellion and persecution followed quickly, with Presbyterian worship driven into the hills of southern Scotland, where charismatic preachers such as Alexander ‘Prophet’ Peden held worship to faithful bands, in extreme danger of arrest and even hanging or transportation. Skirmishes and even battles took place between the armies of Covenant and King, until relief came in the change of monarch in 1688.

Our full-day private tour takes in some of the most important Covenanter sites in Scotland. You and your party will be picked up at your accommodation or cruise vessel, first visiting the city’s famous Grassmarket; site of the martyrdom of many Covenanters during their persecution. 

Then we’ll proceed to the National Museum of Scotland, where Peden’s preaching mask can be seen with other Covenanter relics.

Next, Greyfriars Church (open seasonally), is the site of the signing of the Covenant, and the document’s home still. In the kirkyard you’ll see a Covenanter memorial, as well as the space where hundreds of Covenanters were imprisoned for months in disgraceful conditions after the battle of Bothwell Bridge.

Leaving Edinburgh, we’ll first visit the battlefield of Rullion Green, in the Pentland Hills, where a Covenanter rising in 1666 ended in defeat. After lunch, we’ll continue into Lanarkshire, visiting the site of a Conventicle, or illegal worship service, at which ‘Prophet’ Peden preached.  Finally we’ll return to Edinburgh, and (availability permitting) a look at a modern tribute to the Covenanters, before returning to your vessel, hotel or choice of drop-off point.

tour essentials


  • Visiting key locations related to the National Covenant and the Covenanters.
  • Full day tour
  • Debit/credit card, Apple/Samsung pay, cash all accepted
  • Lunch not inclusive
  • Warm and waterproof clothing required plus strong shoes or boots for walking to memorials.


  •  Free cancellation up to 24hrs before tour time
  •  Complimentary pickup and drop-off at your choice of location
  • Commentary from local guide
  • Children welcome but we cannot provide child safety seats