Take in a stunning, Unspoilt region by Rail
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Breathtaking scenery and fantastic journeys by mainline and steam railways; this tour takes in the very best of northern Scotland from our base in Inverness - the gateway to your Highland adventure.
Our tour begins in Inverness at the Palace Hotel & Spa, which overlooks the River Ness in the centre of the city. Perhaps familiarise yourself with the city on a riverside stroll before meeting for this evening's meal. This delightful city is considered to be the capital of the Highlands, and it is crowned by the stunning Inverness Castle.
The history of Inverness dates back well over 2,500 years, and one of the most famous residents, King Mac Bethad Mac Findláich may seem familiar as he is the inspiration for one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, MacBeth.
Today we transfer to Fort William, where we join the Jacobite Steam Train* for the return journey to Mallaig, travelling on the magnificent West Highland Line, which is arguably the most scenic railway journey in the UK. During the journey, the train steams past Ben Nevis, then climbs into the mountains surrounding Glenfinnan, where we cross the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
After time for lunch we return along the West Highland Line to Fort William, from where we continue by coach to Inverness, stopping briefly at the Commando's Memorial and Fort Angus along the way.
*The Jacobite Steam Train does not operate until mid-May. Earlier departures travel on Scotrail's scheduled service.
We spend the day discovering another of Scotland's most scenic railway lines, travelling on the breathtakingly beautiful Kyle Line to Kyle of Lochalsh, across the water from the Isle of Skye. Climbing from Dingwall on to the Cromarty Firth, we skirt alongside lochs and up into the wild mountain landscapes. Past Achnasheen we reach the Luib Summit then descend, hugging Loch Carron's shores.
At Plockton, we see an unusual sight for Scotland - palm trees and yachts in the bay. Following Plockton, the train heads back towards the sea at Kyle of Lochalsh, from here we enjoy an excursion to the beautiful Eilean Donan Castle on the tiny island in Loch Duich.
Eilean Donan is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular castles in Scotland. Perched atop a tiny island at the confluence of Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh, this iconic castle has been filmed and photographed numerous times over the years, most famously being featured in the Mel Gibson film 'Highlander'.
Originally built in the 13th century, it was destroyed 400 years later during the Jacobite rebellions. The original owners of the castle and land, Clan Mackenzie, had strong ties to the rebellion, and the castle was used as a stronghold for Spanish soldiers, leading to its destruction by the Royal Navy., 200 years later, and over a period of 13 years, the castle was lovingly restored. The bridge connecting the castle to the shores was added, and it now stands as a reflection of its former glory. Enjoy some time at leisure at the castle, perhaps absorbing its magnificent surroundings or taking a short walk by one of the Lochs that feeds the watery surroundings.
After, we return to Inverness on the Kyle Line, arriving back at our hotel ahead of dinner this evening.
Our excursion today is on the tracks of the historic Highland Railway. Travelling to Aviemore by rail, we join the nostalgic Strathspey Steam Railway. From Aviemore through to Broomhill, the train passes moorlands, woods and by the River Spey. Through the large windows of the excellently restored carriages, take in the stunning sights of the Cairngorm National Park. From rolling hills blanketed by purple heather, to the craggy top of Cairngorm Mountain, to mysterious depths of the thick pine forests, pass through some of the most delightful stations in Scotland on this short but rather spectacular journey.
The final station on the line, Broomhill, could also be recognisable thanks to its use in the television series 'Monarch of the Glen', where it is used as the station for 'Glenbogle'. There is even a 'Glenbogle' sign that still stands at the station, and there is plenty of time to stretch your legs and breathe in the fresh, Scottish air on arrival.
Finally, we enjoy an excursion on board the Cairngorm Mountain Railway, Scotland's only funicular railway. The sights that can be seen from the departure station are already incredible, but as you ascend, more of the national park is revealed to you in its splendour. A handy voice over in the carriage unveils more information about the various flora and fauna of the mountain, including the tiny bird after which the summit station is named - the Ptarmigan.
Upon arrival at the summit station, you have some time at leisure. Perhaps explore the interactive exhibition that describes the history and geology of the mountain? Alternatively, pop to the Café and enjoy a coffee by its panoramic windows. On a clear day, the glittering lochs, verdant pine forests, and tiny towns are revealed in a truly awe-inspiring sight, and if you are lucky, it might be possible to spot a reindeer from the United Kingdom's only reindeer herd.
We return by rail to Inverness after descending the Cairngorm Mountain Railway, and upon returning to our hotel, we enjoy a final farewell meal together.
Your Tour Manager bids you farewell from Inverness and you are free to travel home independently.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 32 verified reviews
Very well organised, excellent hotel in a great location and delicious food.
A good holiday, but the first morning after travelling to Inverness was a VERY early start. Brochure did not indicate this.
Everything was fabulous thanks
Worth it in every respect
Good, but not exceptional
A superb introduction to the Highlands. And some excellent rail journeys showcasing excellent excellent scenery.
Well,organised. Excellent tour manager. Even the weather was perfect!
Everything except the breakfast at the hotel was excellent
We saw wonderful scenery and wildlife in the Scottish highlands while on three steam train excursions and the funicular lift up the Cairngorm mountain. The beautiful weather we experienced enhanced it all the more. The tour manager David was well organised and very efficient without been intrusive. The group of 31 was just the right size and varied in ages. The itinerary Our hotel The Kingsmill, although not the one featured in the brochure, was an excellent hotel, very comfortable.
Very good tour and excellent company. Hotel in an excellent position next to the river, a short walk to Cathedral, Castle and Town Centre. Unfortunately a poor lift in the hotel, 2 people with 2 sets of luggage the absolute limit. Consequently queues at times to return to third floor. Hotel room adequate but beds more comfortable in a Premier Inn. Breakfasts excellent. Dinner - generally a good amount of vegetables but a lot of boiled potatoes and one fish dish was under-cooked but it was dealt with. Having gelled as a group it was a shame to be sat as couples or singles at the last breakfast.
Take in a stunning, Unspoilt region by Rail