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The Outer Hebrides & The Highlands

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Enjoy an adventure to Scotland’s idyllic Outer Hebrides

You are viewing 2020 itinerary. Select departure year
20192020
8 daysFrom $2,025 per person

2020 Tour code: OHS20

About the tour

Enjoy an adventure to Scotland's idyllic Outer Hebrides and The Highlands on a tour that takes in the UK's most famous train line, the West Highland Line, as well as time in Stornoway.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Glasgow

You arrive in Glasgow today to meet your fellow travelers and Tour Manager. This lovely and industrial city has become one of Scotland's best tourist highlights, with amazing architecture delightfully representing the old beauty of the city, and combining with the more modern pieces that showcase the more modern wonderland that this revived city has become. You overnight here, with our first dinner served at the hotel this evening.

Includes
  • Dinner
Glasgow
Day 2 - West Highland Line

Enjoy a journey on the magnificent West Highland Line from Glasgow to Fort William today. This spectacular rail journey travels under the gaze of moody mountains and over stone bridges on a route which takes in the best of the wild and dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.

This rail journey is widely regarded as one of the finest in the world, and for very good reason. Few things can beat the stunning and moody drama of the glorious Scottish Highlands, with purple heather running rampant over the moorlands and breathtaking mountain scenery.

We arrive in Fort William, where we transfer to our hotel. This evening, we enjoy dinner and a welcome drink.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
West Highland Line
Day 3 - Onwards to Outer Hebrides

We continue on the West Highland Line from Fort William to Mallaig today. From the beginning, this is an incredible stretch of one of the most beautiful railroad lines in the world. Beginning with a journey along the brooding banks of Loch Eil we continue on to one of the highlights of this journey, the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Built by Robert McAlpine, whose use of concrete earned him the nickname 'Concrete Bob', this famous example of Victorian architecture is truly a wonderful feat of engineering. This viaduct has also become well-known for its inclusion in Hollywood, being used in films such as 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'. This stunning section also provides astonishing views of the brooding forests and ancient glens of central Scotland as it passes by Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK.

As we draw nearer to Mallaig, we begin to catch sight of the beautiful coast of Scotland, and on a clear day, it is even possible to see across to the Isle of Skye, one of the islands of the Outer Hebrides.

On arrival in Mallaig, we continue by coach through Skye. From here, we travel by ferry to the Outer Hebrides and Stornoway.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Glenfinnan Viaduct
Day 4 - The Isles of Lewis & Harris

We take a full-day coach excursion today visiting many of the attractions that the Outer Hebrides has to offer. We begin with the Butt of Lewis, an atmospheric and desolate area that is the most northerly point of Lewis. We then head to the Port of Ness, a pretty little fishing village, where we have some time at leisure.

Next we adjourn to the Callanish Standing Stones and the accompanying visitor center. The stones were erected in the late Neolithic period and were used for rituals during the Bronze Age, and is surrounded by local legends. We are accompanied by our specialist local guide, who is full of fascinating insights about this wonderful island.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Excursion
Callanish Standing Stones
Days 5-6 - South Lewis and Stornoway to Inverness

We take a coach through the South of Lewis today, breaking for lunch, before later stopping at the Isle of Harris Distillery for a tour and a tasting of the product.

We enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Stornoway on Day 6, the largest town in the Outer Hebrides. Some of the sights that can be seen around this area are the lovely turn-of-the-century Town Hall, and impressive Lews Castle, a beautiful crenellated Victorian-style fortress built in the 19th century for the man who'd bought the entire Isle of Lews, Sir James Matheson.

After time for lunch, we transfer to Ullapool on the mainland. We enjoy a coach journey through the awe-inspiring scenery of the northern Highlands of Scotland on our way to Inverness, an iconic city on the east coast of the country. We arrive into Inverness just in time for dinner, and we check into our overnight hotel here.

Includes
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Dinner
Stornoway
Day 7 - Inverness to Glasgow

Enjoy a morning at leisure in Inverness today, taking in some of the most delightful sights. You may like to walk by the banks of the River Ness, which feeds the famous Loch Ness, and enjoy the sights that line the banks. One of the delightful sights is Inverness Castle that overlooks the river. Although it is not possible to enter Inverness Castle, it is still an arrestingly delightful sight that is perfect for your last full day in Scotland.

You may also like to visit Inverness Cathedral, and delight in its beautiful nave. This afternoon, we take the train onwards to Glasgow, where we enjoy a final farewell meal at our hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Glasgow
Day 8 - Departure day

Following breakfast this morning you are free to depart at your leisure.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Departure Day

Additional information

Local Guide - Chris Ryan

The Outer Hebrides section of the tour is guided by a local specialist guide Chris Ryan. Chris came to live on the Isle of Lewis in 1993, taking up residence in his wife's croft which had been in her family for many generations. Chris was the first professional guide on the Isle of Lewis.

Recommended Airport

We recommend that for this tour you arrange flights to and from Glasgow Airport (MAN), which is approximately 14 miles from your base in Glasgow. 

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

Nevis Bank Inn

Nevis Bank Inn, Fort William

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Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

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Cabarfeidh Hotel

Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway

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Apex City of Glasgow Hotel

Apex City of Glasgow Hotel, Glasgow

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Train

West Highland Line

Reviews

84% of travelers would recommend this tour

Based on 32 verified reviews

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Anonymous

Submitted Jul 27, 2019

Everything was great but one part of the trip entailed too long on a coach and an overnight should have been scheduled. On the last morning at Cabarfeidh there was no senior person, 3 coach tours and they ran out of gas...no hot food for breakfast and only at end was toast and tea brought and that was because the staff stepped up and were wonderful esp. Jack. Though not Great Rail's fault it should be investigated...the meals were not 4 star either. Perhaps some competition & another hotel used on occasion as the management seem to have become complacent.

Dr W Parry

Submitted Sep 28, 2018

If you had selected betterl hotels, as I mention below, then probably it would have gained an extra star! Accommodation is an important part of a vacation, i'm surprised I have to mention this!

Mr C Harris

Submitted Aug 17, 2018

Could write an essay but haven't time unfortunately

Mrs M Brown

Submitted Aug 17, 2018

Well organised. Good hotels and a lovely group of people.

Mr R Theobald

Submitted Aug 13, 2018

Generally great hotels - loved the character of the one in Bara; a bit disappointed by the standard of the food in Glasgow. The Guide on the Islands was super - we would have liked a day or two to explore on our own, e.g. in Stornaway or simply to have a little more time to look closely at the Standing Stones, even being able to do some walking. We were concerned at the mobility issues of our party - it was rather a worry!

Mr R Dyke

Submitted Jun 06, 2018

The organisation was, as usual, very good, the hotels also were very well chosen. The weather played its part with sun most days which made photography easy with some great results.

Europe, UK & Cruising by Rail 2019

Europe, UK & Cruising by Rail 2019

The definitive guide to our 2019 rail tours to a wide range of destinations in Europe.

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The Outer Hebrides & The Highlands

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