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 that 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 2 nights. On arrival, we can expect a warm welcome as well as a talk and guided tour of the historic property. After time to unpack, this evening we meet in the hotel's dining room for a sumptuous meal.
We spend the day discovering Scotland's treasures with an excursion to beautiful Eilean Donan Castle, on the tiny island in Loch Duich. We start 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 3 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 our guided tour. Afterwards we return to Tulloch Castle by coach for dinner.
We say a fond farewell to Tulloch Castle 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. Alladale is one of the largest privately owned members of the re-wilding project in the UK. Regular schemes include tree planting, a captive breeding program for the Scottish Wild Cat, and relocation projects for red squirrels.
Surrounded by rugged terrain, woodland dells and heather-tinged valleys, Alladale is a very special destination, offering remote, rural experiences amidst landscapes that have been used in many high-end commercial shoots by the likes of Vogue and Rolls Royce. After checking in, we have some welcome tea and cakes followed by an opportunity to walk around the lodge and into Glen Alladale. 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. After being collected from Alladale's main lodge by expert rangers, we 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. On our return to the lodge, we enjoy coffee, tea, and cake as we participate in a talk about the history of the reserve, their re-wilding projects, and surrounding area.
We have a little time at leisure this morning; perhaps unwind in Alladale's cosy surroundings or head back into the wild for a short walk before we make the trip back to Culloden Battlefield by coach. After a guided visit of the famous Battlefield, we transfer back to Inverness. There's some free time here before we board the return overnight sleeper train back to London Euston, where our holiday comes to an end.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 43 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 18 miles from your start and end point.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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.
An experience which harks back to a bygone time, we enjoy a magical journey through the English countryside on the Caledonian Sleeper Train - the perfect way to arrive refreshed and ready for our Scottish holiday. With everything in place for a relaxed journey, you could enjoy ever-changing views and indulge in a wee dram of malt whisky in the Club Car. Then, retire to your comfortable cabin for a night on the rails.
The Caledonian Sleeper Train was relaunched in 2019 to feature elegant furnishings and onboard Wi-Fi throughout. All cabins now come with essential amenities to make your trip as comfortable as possible, including a 'sleep kit' with Scottish toiletries.
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.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!