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West Highland Line

Running between Glasgow, Fort William, and Mallaig, the West Highland line has been made famous for its use in the Harry Potter films and because of the steam train that runs on it: The Jacobite.

West Highland Line

The Train

There are two ways to travel along the iconic West Highland Line, the most famous of which being the majestic Jacobite Steam Train. The Jacobite was one of many steam trains to travel this line over the years and has inspired a traditional Scottish tune thanks to its beauty. Steam locomotives were removed from the West Highland Line in 1967, they were reintroduced in 1984 as an attempt to promote tourism - an attempt which proved successful after this line became one of the most famous in the world. The Jacobite became known under its current title in 1995, and operates regular services during the spring, summer, and autumn months.

An alternative way to travel along this line is using the excellent ScotRail service. This fleet of trains that services the entirety of mainland Scotland, from the lowlands right to the farthest reaches of the Highlands, and has done since 1997. The West Highland Line is one of its main rural lines, and is serviced by a regular schedule, taking both tourists and commuters along this line.

The Journey

Travelling between Glasgow, Oban, Fort William, and Mallaig, this line covers some of the most beautiful areas of Scotland. As you leave beautiful Glasgow, a modern metropolis, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by the wild and windswept panorama of the Scottish Highlands. One of the most iconic landmarks to look out for along the pretty Fort William route is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, an incredible feat of engineering that was opened in 1901. Most famous for being featured in the 'Harry Potter' films, the viaduct stretches over some truly verdant views that cements the West Highland Line as one of the most scenic lines in the world.

Another magnificent sight can be found on the Oban line, as you pass under the mighty Munro, Ben Lui. Of course, the highlands are filled with mountains such as this, but there is something particularly beautiful about this mountain with its five ridges making the mountain seem larger than it really is.

Of course, the destinations are almost as lovely as the journey itself. Fort William, a delightful port town, is nestled within the mountains and hills of the highlands, whilst Mallaig is famed for its stunning harbour and fantastic array of seafood.


The Jacobite offers four distinct locomotives that take passangers along the route, the most iconic of which being the K1, built in 1949. Passengers travel n carriages decorated to reflect the 'Golden Age' of rail travel, with comfortable seats in an armchair style. The wide windows are perfect to watch the passing scenery, whilst the wood panelling escort travellers into a lovely bygone era. Although there are toilets on board the train, these are unable to be used whilst the train is in motion.

Although already comfortable and effective, ScotRail is gradually introducing new trains to its fleet, which include newer and more modern amenities including Wi-Fi, power sockets, and more accessible carriages. The current commuter trains offer on board toilets, comfortable seating, and large windows, perfect for viewing the passing countryside.

We’ve found 13 tours for you matching: West Highland Line

Edinburgh, the Highlands & Islands

Majestic lochs and glens lie in wait as we cross Edinburgh and the Highlands, making visits to historic castles and the Isle of Mull. We travel through the West Highlands and Cairngorms on a fabulous holiday which climaxes with a 'Scottish Evening' on Edinburgh's stately Royal Mile.

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9 days from £1,295 pp

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A Castle On The Shores Of Loch Fyne

Set in idyllic, undiscovered surroundings overlooking picturesque Loch Fyne, a 19th century Baronial Castle awaits you on this magnificent tour. Cruise the open waters to the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, explore nearby Oban and Inveraray.

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7 days from £980 pp

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Grand Tour of the UK

Imbued with centuries of history and culture, the UK is one of the most rewarding nations to explore by train. Discover the length and breadth of Britain on this outstanding tour and experience ancient attractions, modern cities, and wild landscapes from Inverness - the 'Capital of the Highlands' - to mind boggling Stonehenge.

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14 days from £2,695 pp

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The Outer Hebrides & The Highlands

Enjoy an adventure to Scotland's idyllic Outer Hebrides and The Highlands on a tour that takes in the UK's most famous train line, the West Highland Line, as well as time in Stornoway.

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8 days from £1,395 pp

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Edinburgh Tattoo

Experience the spectacle of marching bands when you visit the Edinburgh Tattoo by train, with pipes and drums resonating from the castle's elevated setting. Complimenting the trip, witness incredible lochs, glens and mountains as we explore the West Highlands.

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4 days from £595 pp

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Christmas in the Highlands

Experience the wild and wonderful Highlands at the height of the festive season. Experience the incomparable West Highland Line, discover the amazing Nevis Mountain range, and warm up with a wee dram of whisky, all on a trip that showcases the best of Scotland at Christmas.

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6 days from £795 pp

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Scottish Islands & Lochs Cruise

This fantastic five-night cruise through the heart of the Highlands begins with a night in Edinburgh before we board our ship for a journey through the rugged coastline of Scotland's west coast to the unspoilt beauty of the Isle of Mull, up Neptune's Staircase, along the Caledonian Canal and across Loch Ness.

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7 days from £1,595 pp

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Edinburgh, Glencoe & Isle of Skye

From journeys on the West Highland Line and discovering previously hidden streets in Edinburgh, to exploring the history of some of Scotland's famous clans, the heritage of Scotland is fascinating.

On a small group tour, you have the benefit of enjoying more exclusive entrances and special experiences such as the fantastic Mary King's Close and Armadale Castle, both of which are closed off to larger groups.

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9 days from £1,695 pp

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The Best of Scotland and Ireland

3 of the British Isles' most scenic countries combine on a holiday that showcases the best of these Celtic beauties. Beginning in Scotland, explore the majestic Highlands and its most incredible cities before travelling to both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, nations of incredible culture and tradition.

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13 days from £2,495 pp

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Western Highlands & Hebrides

Discover the incredibly picturesque Western Highlands and the rugged, breathtaking coastal islands which lie off Scotland's western coast. This tour takes us on some of the world's most scenic railway journeys as part of a truly memorable exploration of the Highlands.

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8 days from £1,245 pp

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Five-Star Highlands Cruise

After travelling on the incredibly scenic Kyle Line Railway, we explore the rugged Scottish Highlands on a voyage that takes us up Neptune's Staircase, along the Caledonian Canal and passes the glorious islands and idyllic scenery of the Inner Hebrides.

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9 days from £2,845 pp

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Grand Tour of Scotland

Immerse yourself in the culture and majesty of the Scottish Highlands. You take in the rugged landscapes on two of the UK's most famous train lines; the West Highland Line and the Jacobite. You also visit Loch Ness and castles that transport you through the history of this region.

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Helen Laverack
Luke Simpson
Lynne Broadley
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