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A Castle On The Shores Of Loch Fyne

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Take in a stunning, unspoilt region by rail

7 days From $1,445 per person

2020 Tour code: KCS20

About the tour

Set in idyllic, undiscovered surroundings overlooking picturesque Loch Fyne, a 19th century Baronial Castle awaits you on this magnificent tour. Cruise the open waters to the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, explore nearby Oban and Inveraray.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Meeting in Glasgow

Our tour begins in the bustling city of Glasgow, where you meet your Tour Manager at the 4-Star Indigo hotel. There is some free time to explore this city before enjoying dinner at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, located in our hotel.

Includes
  • Dinner
Glasgow
Day 2 - Glasgow to Stonefield Castle

Today we enjoy a journey on one of the world's most spectacular scenic railroad lines, traveling on the West Highland Line - known as the 'Iron Road to the Isles'. We reach the coast at Oban, which is set in an idyllic bay. Here you have time at leisure. Perhaps you may wish to visit the local War & Peace Museum, detailing the history of the local area, especially its usage as an important naval port during World War Two.

Alternatively, you could visit the famous McCaig's Tower, based on the design of the Roman Colosseum, the tower is the focal point of the town provides wonderful views of Oban and the harbor below. The town is built around the Oban Whisky Distillery, which holds regular tours of its inner factories. The Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel is also within walking distance and the vivid colors of the castle grounds and stoneworks are really something to behold. Later, we travel by coach to Stonefield Castle. We spend four nights here.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
West Highland Line
Day 3 - Islay and Bruichladdich Distillery

This morning we sail from nearby Kennacraig to the beautiful Isle of Islay, the southernmost island in the Inner Hebrides. Islay is the fifth-largest Scottish island and the seventh-largest surrounding Great Britain. The crossing, made aboard the Calmac Ferry, is accompanied by incredible views of the rugged coastline. On arrival in Port Ellen, we transfer through the craggy grassy plains to Bruichladdich, where we enjoy a guided tour of the distillery.

Islay is one of five whisky distilling locations in the country whose identity and heritage is protected by law and its produce has become famous the world over. Bruichladdich produces mainly single malt Scotch whisky, but has also created its own artisanal gin. Owned by Rémy Cointreau, it is one of eight working distilleries on the island. Later we continue across the heart of Islay, visiting Port Askaig for a short stop.

We then continue by ferry to Kennacraig and by coach to Tarbert. You have some free time in this Scottish village, built around an inlet to the nearby Loch Fyne. Interestingly, Tarbert is a Gaelic word for a small stretch of land joining two larger pieces, similarly to how the titular village lies.

Whilst in Tarbert, you may wish to visit the ruins of the ancient fort, built in the 13th century and a former home of Robert the Bruce, who looked to defend it against the fabled Lords of the Isles.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Isle of Islay
Day 4 - Mount Stuart

Today we take the short ferry crossing to the Isle of Bute to visit one of the world's most spectacular Victorian Gothic mansions, Mount Stuart. The ancestral home of the Marquesses of Bute was designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson for the 3rd Marquess of Bute in the late 1870s, replacing the earlier home which had been lost in a blaze.

The house is the seat of the Stuarts of Bute, direct male-line descendants of John Stewart, the illegitimate son of King Robert II of Scotland, the first Stuart King. Through this bloodline, they are also descendants of the infamous Robert the Bruce. The main part of the house provides a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture and is rather imposing with its red stone walls. Mount Stuart's main features include the colonnaded Marble Hall and the elaborate Marble Chapel, with its spiraling spired tower.

Two other parts of the home are quite different in style, and reflect more of a Georgian era of architectural design. Much of the interiors and garden areas were redesigned by one Robert Wier Schultz in the first years of the 20th century. Interestingly, Mount Stuart was the first house of any kind to contain an indoor heated pool and was also the first home in Scotland to experience electrical power. We enjoy an afternoon tea here, relaxing in the charming grounds of this heritage home.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Isle of Bute
Day 5 - Inveraray Castle and Crarae Gardens

On today's excursion we enjoy a scenic drive to Inveraray Castle, the imposing, turreted ancestral home of the Dukes of Argyll. During our guided tour we explore the lavish stately rooms and learn about the folklore and legends that have shaped this region of Scotland. Mid 18th century neo-Gothic in design, the castle is surrounded by 16-acres of verdant gardens and boasts an estate of 60,000. The castle has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell since the 17th century.

The Duke and his family currently live in private residence set between the castle's two circular towers whilst the remaining wings are open to the public, resplendent in their neo-classical design, originally made for the 5th Duke by Robert Mylne. We then have some free time in the nearby town of Inveraray. Situated on the western shore of the mighty Loch Fyne. Here you could visit the Georgian Inveraray Jail, a 19th century prison that is now a replica museum.

Perhaps you may like to wander down to the pier to view the vast iron Arctic sailing ships that are moored here, before they set off on their voyages to the poles. The Bell Tower dominates the town and contains the second-heaviest ring of ten bells in the world. The bells are rung at regular intervals and the tower itself is open to the public. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the nearby Argyll Folk Museum and learn a little of what life was like for the inhabitants of the region in years gone by.

The town of Inveraray itself was completely rebuilt from scratch in the 18th century and is one of the best examples of a new town from that time period in Scotland, with the vast majority of properties in the town now considered worthy of protection status due to their ancient architectural significance. In the afternoon, we take a coach to the Crarae Gardens. Tonight, we enjoy a final farewell dinner together.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Inverary Castle
Days 6-7 - Return to Glasgow

Today we transfer by coach to Oban at the edge of the Highlands. From here we retrace our route to Glasgow, enjoying another spectacular journey on the West Highland Line. After breakfast on Day 7, the tour concludes, and you are free to depart at leisure.

Includes
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 7 - Breakfast
West Highland Line

Additional information

Recommended airport

We recommend that for this tour you arrange flights to and from Glasgow Airport (GLA), which is approximately 8 miles from your base in Glasgow. 

Visa Requirements

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.

Departure times

You may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.

Hotels

Hotel Indigo, Glasgow

Hotel Indigo, Glasgow

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Stonefield Castle Hotel, Stonefield

Stonefield Castle Hotel, Stonefield

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Trains

Scotrail
West Highland Line

Reviews

76% of travelers would recommend this tour

Based on 41 verified reviews

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Anonymous

Submitted Oct 14, 2019

Very little free time, both to experience the hotel and surroundings and also the local harbor. It is Scotland, but there was a lot of travel to get anywhere. The trip to the distillery was a long way for an hour’s experience, and not really of much interest to the ladies perhaps.

Mr R Kingston

Submitted Oct 14, 2019

Thanks to Graham our Guide everything went very well.Very much enjoyed the Castle.

Dr R Dodge

Submitted Aug 06, 2019

we had a great guide (which was very helpful. The tour itself and the places we stayed were very nice

Anonymous

Submitted Aug 05, 2019

The return train journey on the WH Line was horrible; otherwise all good

Mrs V Jeanes

Submitted Nov 07, 2018

we had bad weather so he program had to be changed. Good hotels and courier. thanks

Ms E Ratcliffe

Submitted Nov 05, 2018

Overall, the vacation was good. It loses a few points on the Marco Pierre White restaurant at the Hotel Indigo in Glasgow. Food was OK but not great. On the return journey, I bought what was called a Ham Hock and Egg salad for my lunch, it was basically a bowl of lettuce with a few shredded bits of ham all for 12.50! As far as the Great Rail Journey goes, I was a little put off by the tour guide who kept trying to link me up with another solo traveler. I am used to to traveling on my own and really don't need this. Other than that, despite the very bad weather the the journey was good. I highly recommend a visit to Mount Stuart. What a wonderful place and the staff were so friendly and helpful; the highlight of my journey. Not so much rail about it though, more or a great Coach Journey.

Europe, UK & Cruising by Rail 2019

Europe, UK & Cruising by Rail 2019

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