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.
Today you arrive in Edinburgh to meet your Tour Manager and fellow travellers in your hotel, the Radisson Blu Hotel. This evening we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.
This morning, we visit the majestic Royal Yacht Britannia, once the official yacht of the Royal Family. This fantastic ship sailed for forty years, and now enjoys life as an attraction for thousands every year. Regularly voted one of Scotland's best attractions, it is a delight to be able to explore this magnificent floating residence, which saw the Royal family sail majestically around the world. We enjoy a guided audio tour here, which grants some insight into what life must have been like onboard, including detailed explorations of the main decks, as well as the State Apartments, the Crew's Quarters, and the Engine Room.
Your afternoon is at leisure to venture into Edinburgh. Perhaps spends some time exploring the famous Royal Mile? Alternatively, the short climb up to Arthurs Seat might be worth a go, as from the top you are rewarded with spectacular views across the cityscape of Edinburgh.
Another iconic location to visit whilst here is Edinburgh castle, a magnificent and ancient fortress set solidly atop an extinct volcano, overlooking the beautiful city.
Our excursion today takes us to the wonderful Stirling Castle, a 12th century castle and one of the most historically important castles in Britain. Notably. this has previously been the site of many coronations of Scottish monarchs, including the infamous Mary, Queen of Scots, throughout the ages and remains a vital part of Scottish history. Like Edinburgh castle, this fortress is also located overlooking Stirling in a marvellous defensive position on top of Castle Hill. We enjoy a guided tour here before transferring by coach to our hotel in the Trossachs National Park.
Today we begin by travelling from Crianlarich to Fort William on the famed West Highland Line on a scheduled Scotrail service (Standard Class). From Fort William we join the Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig (First Class). After disembarking the train, we take a ferry to Skye and continue to our hotel, the Skeabost, where we stay for two nights.
Please note: For Departure SHP1903 our Jacobite journey is in Standard Class.
Our first stop today is Dunvegan Castle. The castle is the oldest continually inhabited castle in Scotland and for 800 years has been the seat of the MacLeod Clan. We take a tour of this history rich building and its gardens. Contained within the castle are numerous heirlooms of the clan, including the Dunvegan cup, which dates back to 1493, the Fairy Flag, which is said to contain magical and mysterious properties, and also Sir Rory Mor's Horn, which aspiring clan chiefs drink wine out of to prove themselves to the clan.
We have some time here for lunch before we then transfer to Armadale Castle and Gardens, home to the Clan Donald Centre. This 20,000 acre estate in southern Skye was once home to the Donald Clan and was purchased in 1971 by the Clan Donald Lands Trust. The Trust's main role is to promote and restore the estate for the benefit of guests.
The estate is home to a number of scenic walks which take in the surrounding landscape and the wonderfully restored historic gardens. The on-site museum showcases a library and study centre and was opened in 2002. The estate is also home to a variety of wildlife including many of Scotland's most well known species, such as the roe deer, otters and a range of birds including the majestic golden and sea eagles.
Today we visit another spectacular Scottish castle, the Eilean Donan. Set on a tiny island in Loch Duich, joined to the mainland by a small, elegant bridge. The island was part of the Macrae Clan's territory and in the 13th century they built Eilean Donan Castle, which occupies almost all of the land space. It was initially designed to defend the clan's land from invading Vikings, who had previously seen the site - at the meeting point of three sea lochs - as a weak spot. Eventually the castle saw more battles between the warring Scottish clans.
Later we take a ride on the historic Kyle Line, first laid down in 1870 and taking twenty-seven years to complete. Despite being neither privately owned nor a preserved heritage railway, this marvellous line is a popular tourist attraction, thanks to it's fantastic route through many of Scotland's most dramatic natural landscapes.
Please note: For Departure SHP1903 we stay at the Ness Walk Hotel.
Today, discover mysterious Loch Ness, famous for its prehistoric resident, the Loch Ness Monster. We enjoy a cruise across this shimmering expanse of water, the deepest freshwater lake in the U.K., before visiting the atmospheric ruins of Urqhart Castle that overlooks the loch. We have some time here to discover the Castle before we coach to Glen Ord, a distillery that produces one of Scotland's most favoured drinks - whisky. After enjoying a wee dram, we return to our hotel.
We travel by rail to Perth where we change to coach for the short transfer to St Andrews today, on arrival we check in to our 5-Star hotel, the Fairmont.
Please note: For Departure SHP1903 we stay at the Macdonald Russacks Hotel in St Andrews.
Glamis Castle is our main stop today, this beautiful castle was the former childhood home of the Queen Mother and proves to be an enjoyable visit with history and fine architecture in abundance. Later you have time to explore St Andrews under your own steam. Tonight we gather for a final farewell meal.
Following breakfast we transfer to Dundee for our rail service to Edinburgh where the tour concludes, and your Tour Manager bids you farewell. You are free to begin your journey home or enjoy more time sightseeing independently.
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
The wonderful journey on the Jacobite Steam Train takes us along a section of the West Highland Line, which stretches from Glasgow to Mallaig, and takes passengers through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in the UK.
We begin in the town of Fort William, spectacularly situated with Ben Nevis as its backdrop. As we leave Fort William we travel along the shores of Loch Linnhe before tackling the increasingly demanding Highland terrain. At Glenfinnan we reach the most scenic and dramatic section of the line, as the train crosses the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan Viaduct: a magnificent feat of railway engineering.
Leaving Glenfinnan, the landscape opens up and we catch our first glimpse of the sea and the small islands close to the shore. During this section of the journey, the Jacobite Steam Train travels across two more viaducts: Gleann Mama and the Borrowdale Viaduct before reaching the small towns of Morar and Arisaig. On a clear, sunny day, the white sandy beaches along this stretch of coastline provide a beautiful contrast with the blue waters of the sea. From here, it is only short distance to our final destination, the busy fishing town of Mallaig.
Also known as 'the Iron Road to the Isles', a journey on the West Highland Line is an epic rail adventure that takes passengers through some of the world's most beautiful and dramatic landscapes. In fact the line has twice been voted the world's best rail journey by readers of Wanderlust magazine.
Running from Glasgow's Queen Street station, the train runs through the city's outskirts and on to Helensburgh. From here the train begins its ascent into the famous Highlands.
Soon the train skirts the beautiful Loch Long, followed by the immense Loch Lomond, as it makes its way up the ever-increasing gradients. The journey continues alongside the Loch - Britain's largest body of inland water - whilst winding through pretty wooden slopes.
Continuing northward through charming isolated villages, the train then climbs more than 500 feet (150 m) in just five miles, before arriving at the tiny hamlet Crianlarich. Here the West Highland Line splits into two branches. One continues to Fort William and Mallaig, the other heads west to Oban.
The 4-Star MacDonald Forest Hills Hotel & Spa is set in stunning grounds just 6 miles from mighty Ben Lomond, with spectacular views over the majestic Loch Ard. The award-winning Garden Restaurant offers classic and modern cuisine, using fine local ingredients, while the Rafters Bar and Bistro serves high-quality food and drink in traditional Scottish surroundings. Guest rooms are luxurious and comfortable, with en-suite bathrooms, a hairdryer, free Wi-Fi and tea & coffee making facilities.
The stylish 4-Star Radisson Blu Hotel is perfectly located on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, half way between Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. The hotel has a restaurant, a bar and a leisure club with a jet stream pool, a sauna and a gym. The rooms are decorated in a contemporary style and feature individual climate control, a telephone, a television, a minibar, tea & coffee making facilities, a safe and a hairdryer.
Located within a short distance of Inverness city centre, the Kingsmills Hotel benefits from its beautiful setting, within four acres of gardens and in close proximity to the Inverness Golf Club. Hotel facilities include a restaurant and bar, free and paid Wi-Fi, a gym and spa, and an indoor pool.
In a stunning white-washed building in an idyllic part of the beautiful Isle of Skye, nestled within its own private grounds, is the Skeaboast Hotel. This 3-Star retreat has a rich history; the current hotel building began life in 1871 as a hunting lodge and has been lovingly restored, with modern décor complementing the original features. Amenities on offer in the neutral shaded guest rooms include a television, an en-suite bathroom, complimentary Wi-Fi, and tea & coffee making facilities. The hotel boasts a range of public rooms including a cosy cocktail bar with an open fire, a historic chapel, a drawing room and the West Pier restaurant which offers a delicious array of cuisine made from local ingredients.
The 5-Star Fairmont St Andrews Hotel is located amidst 520 acres of attractive estate grounds on cliffs overlooking St Andrews Bay. The hotel has its own championship golf courses, a spa, pool and a complimentary shuttle service from the hotel to St Andrews town every hour.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!
Upgrade to Garden View or Columba room at Skeabost from £65 per person on twin share
Upgrade to Superior Garden View or Superior Columba room at Skeabost from £95 per person on twin share
We can book UK rail tickets from your local station to and from the starting/finishing destination of your tour, such as York, London, Edinburgh, and Harrogate. Please call one of our Tour Advisors to discuss your requirements.
Whether as an added luxury, or essential to your enjoyment of the tour, door-to-door luggage collection and delivery services can really enhance your holiday experience. Travelling across Europe by train is so much more relaxing without the burden of your suitcase, and we can help arrange for your case to be collected from home prior to the holiday and for it to be waiting for you at your first main hotel in Europe.
We are pleased to provide the services of the GRJ Luggage Concierge Service - supported by our partner The Baggage Man, offering luggage transport from as little as £50 for one suitcase and £115 for two suitcases.
Please contact us for details of this service.