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The Best of Scotland and Ireland

Three of the British Isles most scenic countries combine

From $ per person


Three of the British Isles most scenic countries combine on a tour that showcases the best of these Celtic beauties. Beginning in Scotland, explore the majestic Highlands and its most incredible cities, before venturing over to Northern Ireland and the rest of the Emerald Isle, a land of incredible culture and tradition.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights
Days 1-3 - Edinburgh to Inverness
Eilean Donan Castle

We begin our epic Celtic adventure in Edinburgh, where you meet your Tour Manager. This evening, we enjoy a Great Scots Night dinner. On Day 2, we transfer to the station, where we take the train from Edinburgh to Inverness. On arrival, we visit the Glen Ord Distillery for a tour and a whisky tasting. Day 3 sees us journey up to Kyle of Lochalsh on the Kyle Line, where we visit Eilean Donan Castle. After some free time to enjoy the castle, we return to our hotel via scenic Loch Ness.

Days 4-5 - The West Highland Line to Glasgow
West Highland Line

After breakfast today, we transfer by coach to Mallaig, stopping off en-route at the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre. There is some free time in Mallaig, perhaps to enjoy lunch, before we board the Jacobite travelling to Fort William. From here, we transfer to our hotel where we overnight. On Day 5, we rejoin the West Highland Line from Fort William to Glasgow.

Please note: Departure CEG1902 will stay at Nevis Bank Inn.

Days 6-7 - Belfast and Cork
Giants Causeway

We travel to Cairnryan to join the ferry over to Belfast, where we immediately embark on a guided coach tour of the city. After the tour, we check into our hotel. Our excursion on Day 7 is to the Giant's Causeway, stopping off at Carrickfergus Castle for some free time en-route. We also enjoy lunch in Ballycastle. Our time at the Giant's Causeway is at leisure to explore before we return to our hotel.

Days 8-9 - The castles of Ireland
Blarney Castle

Today we visit Hillsborough Castle, the official residence for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and where the Queen resides while visiting Northern Ireland. After time to enjoy the castle, we coach to Dublin Heuston train station for the train to Cork. On Day 9, we explore Ireland's most famous castle, Blarney Castle. We also watch the Celtic Steps show this evening.

Days 10-11 - Ireland's natural beauty
Cliffs of Moher

We take a full-day coach trip around the stunning Ring of Kerry, with time at leisure for lunch. We also visit the Kerry Bog Village Museum, and ride on the jaunting cars of Kerry. On Day 11, we transfer to Tarbet and cross over to Killimer on the ferry. Here, we visit the Cliffs of Moher. We then travel to the Burren Centre where entrance is included.

Days 12-13 - Dublin and homeward bound
Dublin

After a morning at leisure, we travel by rail to Dublin, where there is some free time to discover the city. This evening, we enjoy dinner at the famous Merry Ploughboys Pub. On Day 13, we take the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, where our tour ends.

 

Please note: Departure CEG1902 enjoys dinner and entertainment at Jonnie Fox's Pub Hooley tonight.

Departure Dates

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.

Trains
Irish Railways
Irish Intercity

Many of our journeys in Ireland are on board Irish Railways' new Intercity trains. These smart, modern trains are comfortable and air conditioned. Other journeys are on board Irish Railways' regional services. The Intercity trains include on board Wi-Fi and power points, and on these trains we travel through the stunning Irish scenery. Irish railways operate on a very unique track gauge of 5 foot 3 inches - the only other place in the world where this particular gauge can be found is in Australia.

Jacobite Steam Train
Jacobite steam train

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.

The Kyle Line
Travelling on the Scotrail service to Kyle of Lochalsh on the Kyle Line

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. 

Read about the experiences of a member of the Great Rail Journeys Marketing team during his journey on the Kyle Line

West Highland Line
West Highland Line

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.

Hotels
Hilton Belfast, Belfast
Hilton Belfast

The 4-Star Hilton Hotel in Belfast is located close to the city centre, on the banks of the Lagan River. The Sonoma Restaurant offers a menu of traditional Irish cuisine, accompanied by fantastic views across the river from its floor to ceiling windows. The relaxed Cables Bar is an ideal place to unwind on an evening, offering a range of cocktails and wines along with tapas-style dishes. The guest rooms feature a flatscreen television, a marble bathroom, a minibar and tea & coffee making facilities.

Jurys Inn, Cork
Jurys Inn

The 4-Star Jurys Inn hotel in Cork boasts a fantastic location in the heart of the stunning coastal city, close to the train station, Fitzgerald Park and Cork Museum. The hotel has its own restaurant which offers a range of delicious meals and a contemporary bar which overlooks the River Lee and serves a range of wines, spirits and beers. The spacious guest rooms are modern and comfortable, with tasteful furnishings. In-room facilities include complimentary Wi-Fi, a flatscreen television, a hairdryer, free toiletries and tea & coffee making facilities.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh

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.

Nevis Bank Inn, Fort William
Nevis Bank Inn

Set on the banks of the River Nevis in Fort William is our hotel, the 4-Star Nevis Bank Inn. This lovely hotel is close to one of Scotland's most beautiful sights, Glen Nevis, in which is Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK. This hotel boasts of an excellent restaurant, serving a wide range of cuisine. The comfortable bar offers a variety of beverages, and is the ideal place to relax after a day exploring. The comfortable rooms are stylishly decorated in neutral shades with walnut wood accents, and all come with an en-suite bathroom with a power shower, a hairdryer, tea & coffee-making facilities, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Innisfallen Hotel, Killarney
Innisfallen Hotel

In Killarney, we stay at the 4-Star Innisfallen Hotel in the charming village of Fossa, just moments from the beautiful waters of Loch Leane, an ideal base from which to explore this stunning region. The onsite restaurant, The Valley Bar, offers a range of wholesome meals inspired by local produce. Guest rooms offer superb comfortable overnight accommodation, with complimentary Wi-Fi, free toiletries, a safe, a television, and tea & coffee making facilities.

What's included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

Delicious meals included

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

Not Included

 

Upgrades

We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!

UK Rail Connections
UK Rail Connections

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.

Door to door luggage from £50
Door to door luggage from £85

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.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/au/tours/the-best-of-scotland-and-ireland/#CEG19 on 19 July 2019.
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