A small group tour to Scotland means you have access to some of the country's most spectacular sights and experiences that just aren't possible with a larger group. Enjoy accommodation at two bespoke hotels, step back to the golden age of rail travel with an overnight journey on the Caledonian Sleeper Train, and meet the local wildlife.
Meet your Tour Manager, and the rest of your small group party at London Euston station this evening, where you'll board the only overnight service running between London and Scotland, the famous Caledonian Sleeper Train. (There is also the option of joining the train at either Preston Crewe.) The train's inaugural journey took place back in 1873, and since then it's become a bit of a clandestine institution, something many have heard of but few have experienced. Settling into our comfortable club cabins, we enjoy a night on the rails.
Following breakfast on the train, we pull into Inverness at the end of a comfortable and relaxed overnight journey. At the station we are met by a coach which will transport us to the quayside for a magical dolphin spotting cruise along the Moray Firth. After an hour or so at sea, hopefully spent admiring pods of energetic cetaceans, we continue by coach further into the Highlands making our way to Tulloch Castle, our unique accommodation for the next two nights. On arrival we can expect a warm welcome which includes a talk and guided tour of the historic property. After time to unpack, tonight we meet in the hotel's dining room for a sumptuous meal.
We spend the day discovering Scotland's treasures with an excursion to the beautiful Eilean Donan Castle on the tiny island in Loch Duich, beginning our day with a journey from Inverness on the acclaimed Kyle Line. One of Scotland's most scenic railway lines, notable stops en route include Achanalt, where the marshlands surrounding Loch Achanalt have been declared a site of Special Scientific Interest and provide a habitat for several rare and interesting plant and bird species, as well as Achnashellach Forest, reputedly the site of an historic battle between three Scottish clans in 1505.
We disembark at the end of the line, transferring to Eilean Donan Castle, 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 film 'Highlander'.
Originally built in the 13th century, the fortress was destroyed 400 years later during the Jacobite rebellions, and we learn more about the property's long and fascinating past during a guided tour before some free time to explore. Afterwards we return to Tulloch Castle by coach for dinner.
We say a fond farewell to Tulloch Castle this morning after breakfast, travelling further north by coach to Alladale Wilderness Reserve. Along the way we stop off at Dunrobin Castle, a turreted stately home set within rolling landscaped gardens, and the seat of the Earl of Sutherland - a member of the Sutherland Clan. There's time to wander round the house and gardens before we complete our journey to Alladale itself, a 23,000 acre Highland retreat, home to rare and endangered animals such as the red squirrel and Scottish wild cat.
Surrounded by rugged terrain, woodland dells and heather-tinged valleys, Alladale is a very special destination, offering remote, rural experiences amidst incomparable landscapes that have been used in many high-end commercial shoots by the likes of Vogue and Rolls Royce. After checking in we have the chance for an easy introductory hike with the hotel's longest-serving ranger, making our way to historic Croick Church. Afterwards we enjoy a real treat, dinner cooked by our own private chef who specialises in traditional Scottish cuisine, such as wild smoked salmon and locally caught venison, with a twist.
This morning we fortify ourselves with a hearty breakfast ahead of our full-day excursion. Being collected from Alladale's main lodge by expert rangers, we will embark on a 4x4 adventure through the winding valleys and craggy peaks as our guides try to get us up close and personal with some of the native wildlife. Watch out for herds of red deer roaming the lush terrain and eagles catching a ride on the thermal currents high above us. The hotel will have sent us off with a packed lunch, and a day of fresh air will certainly have helped us work up an appetite. On our return to the lodge we enjoy coffee and tea, served alongside cake as we participate in a talk about the history of the reserve and surrounding area.
You have a leisurely morning today, perhaps to unwind in Alladale's cosy surroundings or to head back into the wild for a walk before we make the trip back to Inverness by coach. Spend the afternoon sightseeing independently, perhaps visiting the city's red sandstone castle, St Andrew's Cathedral - which dates back to 1869 - or Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, which tells the fascinating story of the Highlands through a range of impressive exhibits. This evening we re-board the Caledonian Sleeper, making the return overnight journey back to London Euston, where your tour comes to an end.
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 Caledonian Sleeper offers two options: First Class cabins which are single berth and Standard Class cabins which are twin berth.
All cabins are non-smoking and are equipped with air conditioning, lighting and bedside controls, a concealed wash basin, shaver point and hand towel. Toilet facilities are situated at the end of each coach.
All Caledonian Sleeper services have a Lounge Car, where you can relax in a pleasant atmosphere and purchase light snacks or a drink at the bar. At very busy times the Lounge Car may be restricted to First Class ticket holders.
The Kyle Line takes us on one of the most scenic rail journeys in the British Isles, travelling between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh.
On leaving Inverness, the line hugs the shores of the Beauly Firth before heading north to Dingwall. From here, the line immediately turns inland and climbs over the Highlands. As a result of a dispute with the landowners of the time, the builders of the railway were forced to make a sharp detour around Strathpeffer. After a steep climb to Black Rock the line descends through beautiful wooded hillsides until it reaches Garve on the shore of Loch Garve. On a still clear day this loch perfectly mirrors the surrounding hills and trees. From Garve station the line climbs up to the broad straths leading to the West Coast before climbing to the summit of the line at Luib.
The line then descends to the magnificent scenery of Loch Carron, where it twists and turns in and out of the loch side inlets. Plockton station and village, with yachts anchored in the shelter of its beautiful bay, is the next passing point, and was the location for the BBC Television series 'Hamish Macbeth'.
The final section of the journey is perhaps the most dramatic (and the most expensive), as it was carved through the solid rock that leads to Kyle Pier. Kyle of Lochalsh ("strait of the foaming lake") sits at the entrance to Loch Alsh, opposite Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye. The two villages were formerly connected by a ferry service, but this was replaced by the Skye Bridge in 1995.
Please note: some of our tours travel on this route in reverse from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness or travel just part of this route. See individual tour for details.
Enjoying an isolated location in the heart of the diverse Scottish Highlands, surrounded by wild and rugged natural terrain, Alladale Wilderness Reserve offers accommodation like no other. With no other buildings for miles around this is a haven for wildlife and nature lovers alike, and on this tour Great Rail Journeys will have the lodges all to itself. This includes a private chef and even an escorted wilderness excursion in all terrain 4x4s.
Dating back to the 12th century, Tulloch Castle still boasts many original features, including its 250-year old Great Hall. With just 20 rooms on site, it has never been possible for us to book this incredible hotel for our customers before, so join us and marvel at the history that surrounds you as you soak up the snug ambience of the Highland lodge décor. The en-suite guest rooms are all individually designed with period features, and come with a television, iron, seating area, and tea & coffee making facilities.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Characterful 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!
Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a
difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the
capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager
the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West
End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your
return to London, you would like to break your journey with an
overnight stay before continuing home.
We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.
|Hotel||Room Rate From Price|
|The Ambassador Hotel||From £65 per person|
|Pullman London St Pancras||From £110 per person|
|Studios2Let, Cartright Gardens||From £55 per person|
Above prices are approximate, subject
to availability, and per room per night based on two people
sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the
hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805.
Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.
We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.
For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.
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.