01904 521 936
Tour Search



Edinburgh, the Highlands and Islands

Save
You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
20242025
9 days From £1,995 £1,945 per person
4.3 stars(468 reviews)
Gallery
Map

Experience the wonders of Scotland’s lochs, glens, castles, and more on a rail adventure across Edinburgh and The Highlands.

Save £50pp

Save £50pp on selected British Isles 2024 last-minute holidays, when you book by 30th June 2024.

View terms and conditions

Mobility Rating 2

2024 Tour code: SHS24

About the tour

Majestic lochs and glens await on this Scottish escape as we explore Edinburgh and cross the Highlands. Travelling on the scenic West Highland and Kyle railway lines, we discover historic castles, sail along glistening lochs, and stay in vibrant cities.

Wander the rainbow streets of delightful Tobermory, stand at the foot of Neptune's Staircase, and admire the iconic Glenfinnan viaduct. Scotland's beauty and culture pave the way for a range of amazing experiences and memories.

Unforgettable experiences

Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle
Cruise the legendary Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle and explore its 13th-century ruins which overlooks the loch.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle
Visit the stunning 13th-century Eilean Donan Castle, amidst the serene surroundings of Loch Duich.
Isle of Mull
Isle of Mull
Sail to the Isle of Mull, off the glorious West Coast of Scotland, and visit the picturesque port of Tobermory.
West Highland Line
West Highland Line
Journey on the West Highland Line through the heather-clad moorland of the Scottish Highlands.
Kyle Line
Kyle Line
Travel on the scenic Kyle Line, passing mountains, ancient forests and glimmering lochs.
Fantastic Farewell
Fantastic Farewell
Enjoy a fantastic farewell evening filled with traditional Scottish entertainment and food.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Lively Edinburgh

Our holiday begins today as we meet at our hotel in Edinburgh, where we're greeted by our Tour Manager. After checking into our hotel, you're at leisure to start exploring Scotland's capital before dinner this evening.

The heart of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Old Town's Royal Mile and the New Town's award-winning Georgian 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 – The West Highland Line to stunning Fort William

Bidding farewell to Edinburgh this morning, we make our way to the train station and travel by rail to Glasgow. From here, we journey along the West Highland Line, passing Loch Lomond and wild Rannoch Moor on our way to Fort William, a town on the shores of Loch Linnhe.

After checking into our hotel here, 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, and we're taken on an atmospheric journey through time.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Sailing to the vibrant Isle of Mull

This morning, we catch the ferry from Oban for the crossing to the Isle of Mull. Drifting through small islands and across Loch Linnhe, the views are awe-inspiring. Rugged coastline, hills rising from the water's edge, and jagged, exposed rock faces create the backdrop as we sail.

On a clear day, stunning views of Duart Castle welcome us before we dock at the port of Craignure. Here, we board our coach for the scenic drive to Tobermory. Spend time at leisure in the island's colourful capital, famous for its fresh fish you could enjoy a seafood lunch. Wander the pretty port and seek out its sheltered bay where, according to legend, one of the Spanish Armada ships sank in 1588 carrying a stash of gold.

After catching the ferry back to Lochaline, our coach takes us back to our hotel where a traditional whisky tasting awaits us after dinner this evening.

**Please Note: For departure 02/05/2024, Day 3 and Day 4 are swapped.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – The impressive Neptune’s Staircase and relaxing Loch Linnhe cruise

We visit Neptune's Staircase today, the longest staircase lock in Scotland. Situated on the Caledonian Canal, this impressive flight of locks overcome a height of 64 feet over the course of one-and-a-half hours.

After time to admire the staircase and take photos, we continue to Loch Linnhe. Here, we enjoy a peaceful cruise listening to our skipper's live commentary as we see Ben Nevis, The Caledonian Canal, and Black Rock -a protected area also known as 'Seal Island' because it's home to both Common and Atlantic Grey seals.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – The enchanting Jacobite Steam Train

After breakfast this morning, we board the wonderful vintage carriages of the Jacobite Steam Train. Finding our seats, we get comfortable, ready for our journey to Mallaig, one of the most scenic stretches in the UK.

Pulling out of the station, Ben Nevis, the UK's highest mountain, passes by our window followed by fishing boats bobbing on shimmering lochs, beautiful heathers and the seasonal colours of Scotland. We could even spot some of the local wildlife, such as red deer, grazing on the hillside.

The railway is famous for its role in the Harry Potter movies, and you'll immediately recognise it as we cross the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. Continuing through charming Scottish villages and past historic landmarks, our train journey ends in Mallaig.

With some time at leisure, you can explore the village's shops, cafes, and restaurants or simply roam the charming streets admiring the colourful architecture.

We then board the coach to our next hotel in Inverness, pausing enroute at the Glenfinnan viewing point. From this stunning vantage point, we could see the Jacobite Steam Train glide across the iconic viaduct. Reaching our hotel which overlooks the River Ness in the city centre of Inverness, we check in before dinner this evening.

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

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – The legendary Loch Ness and historic Urquhart Castle

Remember your cameras today because this morning, we take a cruise on Loch Ness. Evidence of its famous mythical monster, Nessie, is said to be worth £1 million.

This huge loch is 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 with a historic collection of weaponry and artefacts, including a working trebuchet. There's also plenty of time to make the most of the panoramic views over Loch Ness before we head back to our hotel.

You're at leisure in Inverness for the rest of the day. You could explore on beautiful riverside stroll, delighting in the babbling river, verdant forests, and local wildlife. Or, you could visit the stunning Inverness Castle whose most famous resident, King Mac Bethad Mac Findláich, was the inspiration for Shakespeare's Macbeth.

With no scheduled dinner at the hotel tonight, you have the perfect opportunity to enjoy a meal at one of the many pubs or restaurants the city is known for.

Please note: on certain departure dates, we stay at the Clansman Hotel in Inverness, where the city centre is farther away. Therefore, we have dinner at the hotel on this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 – The beautiful Kyle Line and iconic Eilean Donan Castle

This morning, we journey on the Kyle Line - one of Scotland's most scenic railways. Skirting alongside lochs and through wild mountain landscapes, we admire the cascading waterfalls, mesmerising nature, and towering peaks that roll by the windows.

After this sensational journey, we arrive in Kyle of Lochalshwhere we visit EileanDonan Castle, one of the most striking castles in Scotland. Perched atop a tiny island at the confluence of Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh, this iconic fortress has played a role in several films.

After exploring the castle's history and amazing views, we return to our hotel by coach. On the way, we stop off at a viewing point of the Skye Bridge which connects the Isle of Skye to the island of EileanBàn.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Edinburgh

After breakfast, we say goodbye to Inverness and head back to Edinburgh. Travelling south by rail through the Cairngorms, endless hills, tranquil lochs, and cascading waterfalls fly by our windows occasionally interrupted by historic towns and villages.

Once we've settled back into lively Edinburgh, we enjoy our last evening in style. Sitting down in the Great Scots Hall at the Raddison Blu, we're served a wonderful Scottish banquet among the traditional furnishings, latticed sandstone ceiling, painted panels, and open flame fire.

Dinner is accompanied by time-honoured Scottish entertainment, creating the perfect farewell evening to our amazing holiday.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Homeward bound

After breakfast this morning, it's time to say goodbye to new friends and fellow travellers. Our time in Scotland comes to an end and you can make your way home, taking new, fantastic memories with you.

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

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Ballachulish Hotel, Ballachulish

Ballachulish Hotel, Ballachulish

View hotel

The Isles of Glencoe Hotel, Ballachulish

The Isles of Glencoe Hotel, Ballachulish

View hotel

Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, Edinburgh

Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, Edinburgh

View hotel

Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh

View hotel

Kingshouse Hotel, Glencoe

Kingshouse Hotel, Glencoe

View hotel

Macdonald Hotel Drumossie

Macdonald Hotel Drumossie, Inverness

View hotel

Best Western Palace Hotel & Spa, Inverness

Best Western Palace Hotel & Spa, Inverness

View hotel

Radisson River Ness Hotel, Inverness

Radisson River Ness Hotel, Inverness

View hotel

Glenspean Lodge Hotel

Glenspean Lodge Hotel, Roybridge

View hotel

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 · 468 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (235)
  2. 4 stars
    (160)
  3. 3 stars
    (45)
  4. 2 stars
    (18)
  5. 1 star
    (10)

customer

5 stars

Submitted 16/Jun

excellent guide and very good itinerary

Collected by Trustpilot

Chris Soulsby

5 stars

Submitted 15/Jun

A very good, if hectic, trip. Made perfect by an excellent guide.

Collected by Trustpilot

ex-customer

5 stars

Submitted 10/Jun

Very well balanced holiday with lovely base hotel in the Scottish wilderness and train/coach journeys every day. Highlight was seeing a herd of deer passing the hotel windows.

Collected by Trustpilot

David

5 stars

Submitted 10/Jun

All train journeys went according to schedule. The hotels were absolutely first class in every respect. And the guide was the best ever. Already planning our next trip with Great Rail.

Collected by Trustpilot

David Gullion

5 stars

Submitted 8/Jun

The rail journey was well organized and executed precisely the way it was advertised. The itinerary was extensive and very interesting. John, our tour guide, was knowledgeable, full of extra tidbits and kind in looking after some of us who are older. The Kingshouse hotel was particularly memorable with excellent rooms with a spectacular views of the mountains. The only negative comment we have is that we should have been warned early in the tour that we should have made dinner reservations in Inverness since it was a bank holiday weekend. Many of us were disappointed not finding suitable places for dinner. Overall it was a great trip!

from Great Rail Journeys
Hi David, Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. That is fantastic to hear! I will make sure to pass your feedback across to our Product team, especially your praise for John, and the necessity of dinner reservations in Inverness. I am glad that you still had a great trip! Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

jennifer durkin

5 stars

Submitted 7/Jun

Had a fantastic holiday

from Great Rail Journeys
Hi Jennifer, Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. That is brilliant to hear! Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

Show 6 more reviews
Related inspiration from our journey blog