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Edinburgh, the Highlands and Islands

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4.3 stars(246 reviews)
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Explore the highlands of Scotland

9 days Sold out
Flexible Booking

Book your 2022 holiday between 8th December 2021 and up to and including 31st January 2022 and you can transfer your holiday for free - no questions asked. T&C's apply

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2022 Tour code: SHS22

About the tour

Majestic lochs and glens lie in wait while we explore Edinburgh and cross the Highlands, making visits to historic castles and the Isle of Mull. We travel through the West Highlands, tasting local delicacies along the way, with our holiday culminating in a 'Scottish Evening' in the stately Caledonian capital.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Edinburgh

We meet at our hotel in Edinburgh, after which you're free to begin exploring. The heart of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its medieval Old Town, home to the Royal Mile, Georgian New Town and award-winning modern architecture continuing the contrast between traditional and contemporary. As you wander the streets, it's easy to see why Edinburgh came to be regarded as the 'Athens of the North'.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – Fort William

We travel along the West Highland Line, passing Loch Lomond and wild Rannoch Moor on our way to Fort William. After checking into our hotel, we're joined by a guest speaker who entertains us with local titbits of history and a selection of 'tales of the road to the isles'. Keeping alive the ancient art of storytelling that's been a way of life for centuries in this part of the world, we're swept along on an atmospheric journey through time.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - The Isle of Mull

We catch the ferry from Oban for the crossing to the Isle of Mull. As we head through the small islands and across Loch Linnhe, the views are awe-inspiring; rugged coastline, hills rising from the water's edge, an endless tapestry of green, purple and brown moorland and jagged, exposed rock faces. We arrive in Craignure and make our way to Duart Castle, the 13th-century home of the MacLean Clan. Sitting exposed on the island's west coast, we explore the different rooms, which tell the story of the MacLeans through the ages, before making the scenic drive to Tobermory. Spend some free time in the island's colourful capital, famous for its fish, ahead of a traditional whisky tasting back at our hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Neptune’s Staircase and Glencoe

We visit Neptune's Staircase, an impressive flight of locks operated by a team of at least three lock keepers. Situated on the Caledonian Canal, they overcome a height of 64 feet over the course of one-and-a-half hours. We continue to Loch Linnhe, enjoying a scenic cruise across the water ahead of our visit to Glencoe. One of Scotland's most iconic glens, it's full of dramatic scenery, including waterfalls, mountains and fjord like lochs.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - The Jacobite Steam Train

We join the Jacobite Steam Train for a trip to Mallaig along the final leg of the West Highland Line. During our journey, the train climbs into the mountains surrounding Glenfinnan, a small town famous as the rallying point for Bonnie Prince Charlie's assault on the British throne. Next, we cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct, seen in the 'Harry Potter' films and an iconic piece of British engineering. As we descend towards Mallaig, we drop down to the sea's edge and the landscape offers up our first view of the rugged 'Small Isles' - Rum, Eigg and Muck - which sit tantalisingly offshore. After some free time, we make the journey by coach to Inverness, stopping at the Glenfinnan Monument along the way.

*On early/late season departures the Jacobite Steam Train excursion is replaced by the scheduled Scotrail service.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Loch Ness

We take a cruise on Loch Ness, famous for its mythical monster. It's also blessed with some of Scotland's most breathtaking scenery. Surrounded by mountains, we glide by fairytale forests before visiting Urquhart Castle, a 13th-century castle perched on the banks of the loch. These atmospheric ruins are a delight to explore, boasting panoramic views over Loch Ness and a historic collection of weaponry and artefacts, including a working trebuchet, and you have some free time before we return to Inverness.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – The Kyle Line

Our day takes us along the Kyle Line. Travelling east to west, we cross the Caledonian Canal, skirting crystal-clear lakes before winding through woodland and past seaside towns. We arrive at Kyle of Lochalsh and continue to Eilean Donan Castle for a tour. Situated in Loch Duich and joined to the mainland by a bridge, this island castle was designed to defend the region from Vikings. This evening, a local storyteller weaves their magic as they tell us time-honoured stories of Scottish myths and legends.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Edinburgh

We leave Inverness, travelling south by rail through the Cairngorms to Edinburgh via Aviemore, Pitlochry and Kingussie. This evening at our hotel, we enjoy a Scottish celebration that includes a traditional piper, fascinating Scottish folk stories and snippets of local history. We also sample a menu of traditional dishes, the perfect idea to our Caledonian adventure.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Home

After breakfast, you're free to check out and begin your journey home. Alternatively, you may plan on staying in the area to sightsee further.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Please note on some dates we use different hotels in various locations - please call for details.

Departure times

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.

Mobility information

Please note: This may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Hotels

Ballachulish Hotel, Ballachulish

Ballachulish Hotel, Ballachulish

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The Isles of Glencoe Hotel, Ballachulish

The Isles of Glencoe Hotel, Ballachulish

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Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, Edinburgh

Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, Edinburgh

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Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Nevis Bank Inn

Nevis Bank Inn, Fort William

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Palace Hotel Inverness, Inverness

Palace Hotel Inverness, Inverness

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Glenspean Lodge Hotel

Glenspean Lodge Hotel, Roybridge

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Trains

Jacobite Steam Train
The Kyle Line
Scotrail
West Highland Line

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

UK rail connections
Extending your holiday in Edinburgh

Reviews

4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 246 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (127)
  2. 4 stars
    (90)
  3. 3 stars
    (17)
  4. 2 stars
    (8)
  5. 1 star
    (4)

P Dolman

4 stars

Submitted 11 Nov 2021

Third time I have given this review,so short version. Covered a wide selection of places and high points were very knowledgable coach driver bases in Fort William, and due to poor weather interiors of historic castles was high points. Jacobite train disappointing. Squeezing more on the tour into two hotels in Inverness caused unhappiness for those in the original booked Palace Hotel. Tour Manager David Denman was excellent.

Collected by Trustpilot

J Preston

5 stars

Submitted 11 Nov 2021

Great hotels, good itinerary and superb views. A couple of long days but not strenuous.

Collected by Trustpilot

M Baines

4 stars

Submitted 03 Nov 2021

Superb itinerary and scenery with first class guide

Collected by Trustpilot

R Hicks

5 stars

Submitted 03 Nov 2021

Great holiday, excellent guide and perfect sized group.

Collected by Trustpilot

Madge

4 stars

Submitted 03 Nov 2021

This holiday gave us a good chance to explore Scotland and gave a good balance of organised and free time. Our Tour Manager was very good - helpful, friendly and efficient, although the Jacobites and Scottish independence were frequently referred to!! We had an excellent local driver in Fort William. The hotels were good, as you would expect from Great Rail Journeys. Our only criticism of the hotels would be lack of hand holds in the showers. Overall another excellent GRJ holiday.

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MLD

4 stars

Submitted 01 Nov 2021

Well balanced between free time and arranged excursions

Collected by Trustpilot

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Edinburgh, the Highlands and Islands

Explore the highlands of Scotland

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