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Edinburgh, Inverness and the Highlands

Explore the incredible landscapes of Scotland

From £1,595 per person


Explore the incredible landscapes of Scotland as we discover the beautiful cities of Edinburgh and Inverness and immerse ourselves in the rugged scenery of the Highlands on iconic steam railways. We also soak up the country's varied history with visits to the Royal Yacht Britannia, Stirling and Eilean Donan Castles and the Battlefield of Culloden.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights

What’s included

Day 1 - Edinburgh

We meet in Edinburgh at our hotel, the Radisson Blu. After checking in, we enjoy dinner together followed by some free time to see the Scottish capital after dark.

Day 2 - Discovering Edinburgh
Edinburgh

We set out on a guided sightseeing tour today, walking through Edinburgh's ancient streets as we discover famous landmarks in both the Old Town and Georgian New Town. We stroll the Royal Mile and Prince's Street, taking in Edinburgh Castle, which offers fantastic views of the surrounding area and over the Firth of Forth. We also see the Scott Monument, built in 1840 to honour novelist Sir Walter Scott, and Holyrood Palace, the seat of Scotland's new Parliament and one of the Queen's summer homes. After free time for lunch, we drive to the quayside to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, voted the UK's best attraction in 2020. Experience this unique former royal residence as we explore the lavish apartments, charming Royal Deck tea room, smaller crew quarters and the gleaming engine room. The rest of your day is free ahead of dinner this evening.

Day 3 - Stirling Castle and Inverness
Stirling Castle

Boarding our coach, we make our way to Stirling Castle, which sits on a dramatic hilltop overlooking the city of Stirling. Once the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots, this stunning castle is one of the most impressive in Scotland, and a fine example of Renaissance architecture. Enjoy free time to explore the grand interiors, including the impressive Great Hall and Chapel Royal, where Queen Mary was crowned in 1543, as well as the kitchens, where you'll find replicas of traditional dishes from the time. You might also like to wander through the splendid gardens before we make the short walk to the station, where we board the train to Inverness. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel, the BW Palace Hotel, where we sit down to a three-course dinner this evening.

Day 4 – The Jacobite Steam Train
Jacobite Steam train

We join the Jacobite Steam Train in Fort William this morning for a return trip to Mallaig, travelling along the wonderful 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 approach Mallaig, we descend to the sea's edge for our first view of the rugged 'Small Isles' - Rum, Eigg and Muck - which hang tantalisingly close offshore. After some free time to admire the views, we make our way back to Inverness, stopping along the way at the Commando Memorial, near to Spean Bridge, and Fort Augustus.

Day 5 - Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Ness and the Kyle Line
Eilean Donan Castle

We visit Eilean Donan Castle today, one of the country's best-loved castles, driving past famous Loch Ness on the way. Perched atop a tiny island at the confluence of Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh, Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in the 13th century but was destroyed during the Jacobite rebellions. Restored some 200 years later, it's since been featured in films such as 'Highlander' and 'Elizabeth - the Golden Age'. Enjoy free time to explore the magnificent surroundings and soak in the local history before we return to Inverness on the Kyle Line. One of Scotland's most scenic railways, we skirt alongside lochs and through wild mountain landscapes. Back in Inverness, perhaps enjoy dinner at one of the city's pubs or restaurants, where you can sample some of Scotland's iconic national dishes.

Day 6 – The Strathspey Steam Railway and Culloden Battlefield
Strathspey Steam Railway

Our excursion today takes us along the tracks of the historic Highland Railway. Travelling to Aviemore, we join the Strathspey Steam Railway for a journey through Cairngorm National Park. Winding our way alongside the River Spey, we look out over scenery of rolling hills blanketed by purple heather, the craggy top of Cairngorm Mountain, thick pine forests and wooded glens. Finally, we travel by coach to Culloden Battlefield. This atmospheric battlefield was the site of the 1746 Battle of Culloden - the last major battle fought on British soil. We visit the battlefield site as well as the visitor centre, which features interactive exhibitions and Jacobean artefacts. We return to our hotel by coach for dinner.

Day 7 – Edinburgh

We catch the train back to Edinburgh for a final night. This evening, we sit down to a special Great Scots Dinner, complete with traditional food and entertainment.

Day 8 – Homeward bound

Checking out of the hotel this morning, you're free to begin your journey home or continue sightseeing independently.

Departure Dates
31 August 2021From £1,595
14 September 2021From £1,595
22 September 2021From £1,595
24 September 2021From £1,595
28 September 2021From £1,595

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
Jacobite Steam Train
Jacobite steam train

Experience the wonder of steam, on undisputedly one of the great railway journeys of the world - The Jacobite Steam Train. Commencing it's journey in view of the imposing Ben Nevis, The Jacobite Steam Train journeys through stunning scenery between Fort William and Mallaig; taking in beautiful villages, Lochs Morar & Nevis and crossing the majestic Glenfinnan Viaduct, of Harry Potter fame.

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

Strathspey Steam Railway
Strathspey Steam Railway

We enjoy an impressive journey on the Strathspey Steam Railway, taking a 20-mile round trip through Scotland's magnificent Highland scenery. The former mainline route begins at Aviemore railway station, which also hosts modern trains on the National Rail network.

Leaving the station yard, the train navigates a level crossing and continues against the breathtaking backdrop of the Cairngorms National Park. With the gushing River Spey running alongside the line, the heritage locomotive continues under the shadow of high mountains and dense sloping woodland to the station at Boat of Garten.

This immaculately preserved station features its full range of original buildings dating back to 1904, making it popular with rail enthusiasts. On leaving the station, the next leg of our journey takes us through some beautiful landscapes, including the charming rural farmland scenery straddling the meandering River Spey. In summer, there are many vivid colours in the fields; a multitude of greens and even the purples of heather and gorse lining the trackside. After climbing through the valley, we arrive at Broomhill station - the line's current terminus and a double for 'Glenbogle' station in the TV series 'Monarch of the Glen'.

Hotels
Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh
Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh

The stylish 4-Star Radisson Blu Edinburgh 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 an indoor jet stream pool, a sauna and a gym, while the rooms are decorated in a contemporary style with individual climate control, a telephone, flat-screen television, a mini bar, tea & coffee making facilities, a safe and a hairdryer. Free Wi-Fi is featured throughout.

Palace Hotel Inverness, Inverness
Palace Hotel Inverness, Inverness

The welcoming 3-Star Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa is set on the banks of the River Ness, just a short walk away from the city centre. Built over 100 years ago, the hotel is equipped with an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, gym and beauty centre as well as a restaurant, brasserie, lounge and bar. Each immaculate guest room comes with an LCD television, free Wi-Fi, a telephone, hairdryer and tea & coffee making facilities.

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 Edinburgh. Please call us to discuss your requirements.

Extending your holiday in Edinburgh
Edinburgh

Extend your holiday in Edinburgh with alternative rail and accommodation arrangements. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/tours/edinburgh-inverness-and-the-highlands/#HSH21 on 10 May 2021.
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