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Edinburgh, the Highlands and Islands

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4.3 stars(375 reviews)
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Explore the highlands of Scotland

9 days From £1,595 per person

2023 Tour code: SHS23

About the tour

Majestic lochs and glens await as we explore Edinburgh and cross the Highlands, visiting historic castles and the Isle of Mull. We travel through the West Highlands, tasting local delicacies along the way, ending our holiday in the stately Caledonian capital.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Edinburgh

We meet at our hotel in Edinburgh, after which you're free to begin exploring. The heart of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its medieval Old Town, home to the Royal Mile, Georgian New Town and award-winning modern 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 – Fort William

We travel along the West Highland Line, passing Loch Lomond and wild Rannoch Moor on our way to Fort William. After checking into our hotel, 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 - The Isle of Mull

We catch the ferry from Oban for the crossing to the Isle of Mull. As we head through the small islands and across Loch Linnhe, the views are awe-inspiring; rugged coastline, hills rising from the water's edge, an endless tapestry of green, purple and brown moorland and jagged, exposed rock faces. We arrive in Craignure and make our way to Duart Castle, the 13th-century home of the MacLean Clan. Sitting on the island's west coast, we explore the different rooms, which tell the story of the MacLeans through the ages, before making the scenic drive to Tobermory. Spend some free time in the island's colourful capital, famous for its fish, ahead of a traditional whisky tasting back at our hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Neptune’s Staircase and Glencoe

We visit Neptune's Staircase, an impressive flight of locks operated by a team of at least three lock keepers. Situated on the Caledonian Canal, they overcome a height of 64 feet over the course of one-and-a-half hours. We continue to Loch Linnhe, enjoying a scenic cruise across the water ahead of our visit to Glencoe. One of Scotland's most iconic glens, it's full of dramatic scenery, including waterfalls, mountains and fjordlike lochs.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - The Jacobite Steam Train

We join the Jacobite Steam Train for a trip to Mallaig along the final leg of the West Highland Line. During our journey, the train climbs into the mountains surrounding Glenfinnan, a small town famous as the rallying point for Bonnie Prince Charlie's assault on the British throne. Next, we cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct, seen in the 'Harry Potter' films and an iconic piece of British engineering. As we descend towards Mallaig, we drop down to the sea's edge and the landscape offers up our first view of the rugged 'Small Isles' - Rum, Eigg and Muck - which sit tantalisingly offshore. After some free time, we make the journey by coach to Inverness, stopping at the Glenfinnan Monument along the way.

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

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Loch Ness

We take a cruise on Loch Ness, famous for its mythical monster. It's 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, boasting panoramic views over Loch Ness and a historic collection of weaponry and artefacts, including a working trebuchet, and you have some free time before we return to Inverness.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – The Kyle Line

Our day takes us along the Kyle Line. Travelling east to west, we cross the Caledonian Canal, skirting crystal-clear lakes before winding through woodland and past seaside towns. We arrive at Kyle of Lochalsh and continue to Eilean Donan Castle for a tour. Situated in Loch Duich and joined to the mainland by a bridge, this island castle was designed to defend the region from Vikings. This evening, a local storyteller weaves their magic as they tell us time-honoured stories of Scottish myths and legends.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Edinburgh

We leave Inverness, travelling south by rail through the Cairngorms to Edinburgh via Aviemore, Pitlochry and Kingussie. This evening we enjoy dinner at our hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Home

After breakfast, you're free to check out and begin your journey home. Alternatively, you may plan on staying in the area to sightsee further.

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

Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, Edinburgh

Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, Edinburgh

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Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Palace Hotel Inverness, Inverness

Palace Hotel Inverness, Inverness

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Glenspean Lodge Hotel

Glenspean Lodge Hotel, Roybridge

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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 · 375 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (189)
  2. 4 stars
    (133)
  3. 3 stars
    (34)
  4. 2 stars
    (13)
  5. 1 star
    (6)

A Jones

4 stars

Submitted 9/Nov

Probably a 4.5/5 or 9/10. Very well organised. Accommodation was good. Meal choices and quality were excellent. Bus driver for the 3 days around Fort William was excellent - history, stories, jokes, singing and driving. Good group size. What we saw was great. Earlier starts some days would be better, but appreciate locked into train timetables. Wish Scot Rail would clean their train windows to allow better photography - beyond tour manager to manage this Expect some fog and rain - it is Scotland.

Collected by Trustpilot

A Johansson

5 stars

Submitted 2/Nov

A really good trip, with a specially good tour guide! The weather was very Scottish, but okThe tour was extremely well planned, but got a bit messed up because of rail strikes. Otherwise, the company was good, the accommodation mostly good, the scenery in Scotland is, as always, AMAZING. A very much appreciated detail, was the transport f luggage to our next destination. Many thanks for a lovely holiday.

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karen morvinson-capes

5 stars

Submitted 1/Nov

An enchanting insight to the highlands, very informative and extremely interesting, saw and heard about Scotland that would not have been possible otherwise.

Collected by Trustpilot

Kathleen

5 stars

Submitted 31/Oct

We loved every minute. Every place we went was just beautiful, and we loved the different things we did. Mary did a great job of organizing and giving us information for the trains and tours. Our group was wonderful, caring, and fun. We will definitely do another Great Rails trip!

Collected by Trustpilot

Annette Risley

5 stars

Submitted 31/Oct

brill..only dissappoint was the WEATHER

Collected by Trustpilot

Linda Ginn

5 stars

Submitted 31/Oct

A great holiday - thank you

Collected by Trustpilot

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Edinburgh, the Highlands and Islands

Explore the highlands of Scotland

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