Harken back to the golden age of rail travel with an overnight journey on the Caledonian Sleeper Train coupled with classic Scottish castles and wilderness exploration.
About the Tour
Trains, castles and wildlife galore: These are just some of the things you can look forward to on this 7-day small group rail tour through Scotland. Find yourself transported back to the Golden Age of rail travel during your time on the Caledonian Sleeper, which connects London and Inverness. Stay in unique accommodations and immerse yourself in Scotland’s rich history and unique environs with culture and wildlife excursions ranging from a dolphin-spotting cruise along the Moray Firth and a guided tour of Eileen Donan Castle to 4x4 adventures in Alladale Wilderness Reserve, where you can meet the local wildlife.
- Rail travel on the Caledonian Sleeper (2 nights on train)
- Scenic rail excursion on the Kyle Line to Kyle of Lochalsh
- Hotel accommodations for 4 nights
- 11 meals
- Dolphin spotting excursion on the Moray Firth
- Tour of Eilean Donan Castle and a visit to Dunrobin castle
- 4x4 wilderness excursion through the Alladale Reserve
- Guided visit of Culloden Battlefield
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
Day 1 – London to Scotland aboard the Caledonian Sleeper Train
Meet your Tour Manager and small group of fellow travelers at London Euston station this evening, and board the only overnight service running between London and Scotland: the famous Caledonian Sleeper Train. Since its inaugural journey in 1873, the train has become a bit of a clandestine institution, something many have heard of but few have experienced. Modern furnishings surround in the new train cars and updated the accommodation options allow each passenger just the right amount of comfort. There is an onboard lounge, as well. Settle into your private hotel room on wheels, and enjoy a night on the rails. Overnight train.
Day 2 – Dolphin Cruise and Tulloch Castle
A freshly prepared breakfast is served aboard the train this morning ahead of our arrival in Inverness. At the train station, a motorcoach awaits to transport us to the quayside for a magical dolphin spotting cruise along the Moray Firth. We spend approximately an hour at sea, seeking out and admiring pods of energetic cetaceans, then our journey continues by coach further into the Highlands. Our destination is Tulloch Castle, a 12th-century stronghold in Dingwall, where we enjoy unique accommodation for the next 2 nights. On arrival, a guided tour presents the lore and splendor of this historic property, then we join together for a sumptuous meal in the hotel's dining room this evening. Overnight Dingwall. (B, D)
Day 3 – The Kyle Line and Eilean Donan Castle
We spend the day discovering Scotland's treasures with an excursion to Eilean Donan Castle on the tiny island in Loch Duich. Our travels begin this morning as we arrive in Inverness and board the acclaimed Kyle Line, one of Scotland's most scenic railways. Soak in the majestic Scottish scenery - the sparkling lochs, the towering mountain peaks, and the sweeping forests - as the train progresses through the ever-changing landscape. We pass through Achanalt, where the marshlands surrounding Loch Achanalt have been declared a site of Special Scientific Interest and provide a habitat for several rare and interesting plant and bird species, as well as the Achnashellach Forest. We disembark at the end of the line and are transferred to Eilean Donan Castle, which is perched atop a tiny island at the confluence of Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh. This iconic castle was originally built in the 13th century; however, the Jacobite rebellions 400 years ago brought its demise. Learn about this event and many others as we marvel at the castle’s grounds and interiors on our guided tour. This evening, our coach takes us back to Tulloch Castle for dinner. Overnight Dingwall. (B, D)
Day 4 – Alladale Wilderness Reserve
After a hearty Scottish breakfast at the castle, we journey further north in the Highlands, bound for the Alladale Wilderness Reserve. The dramatic scenery of the Highlands is on full display as our coach meanders out to the coastline where we make a stop at Dunrobin Castle. This stately home is the oldest continually inhabited residence in Britain, with the first Earls arriving in the 1300s. Lush forests and perfectly manicured gardens surround the castle, which is the seat of the Earl of Sutherland - a member of the Sutherland Clan. Enjoy time to wander through the immaculate house and though the gardens during our time here.
Continuing, our route takes us back inland to Alladale Wilderness Reserve, a 23,000-acre Highland retreat. Alladale is one of the largest privately-owned members of the re-wilding project in the UK and is a place where the untamed beauty of the Highlands is brought to life. The rural retreat includes robust mountains and glimmering lochs. There are dramatic glens and colorful, rolling hills aside woodland dells and heather-tinged valleys. We are greeted at the lodge with tea and cakes and have a chance to peruse the lodge and surrounding grounds once settled. Tonight, a private chef specializing in traditional Scottish cuisine prepares an unforgettable dinner for us. Overnight Alladale. (B, D)
Day 5 – Wilderness Exploration
Savor a hearty chef-prepared breakfast at the lodge this morning ahead of our full-day 4x4 adventure. We are collected from the Alladale by expert rangers and embark on an off-road adventure through winding valleys and craggy peaks, all the while trying to get up-close and personal with some of the native wildlife. Watch for herds of red deer roaming the lush terrain and eagles, as they catch a ride on the thermal currents high above us. On our return to the lodge, we enjoy coffee, tea, and cake as we participate in a talk about the surrounding region, the history of the reserve and the re-wilding project. Overnight Alladale. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Culloden Battlefield, Inverness and Caledonian Sleeper Train to London
Your day begins at leisure to unwind in Alladale’s cozy surroundings or to explore the wild outside the `lodge. Later this morning, our coach takes us to Culloden Battlefield, where the final battle of the Jacobite Rising was fought in 1746. A guided tour presents the harrowing past of this historic site and allows us to see some of the preserved artifacts from both sides of the battle. Back on the road, we continue to Inverness, where you have some time at leisure before boarding the Caledonian Sleeper Train back to London Euston. Settle in your cabin for the night, and let the gentle rocking of the rails lull you to sleep once more. Overnight train. (B)
Day 7 - Tour Conclusion
After breakfast this morning, the train arrives in London. As you disembark, your Scottish adventure concludes. (B)
Tulloch Castle, Dingwall
Built in the 12th century, Tulloch Castle is a place where history and grandeur collide. Cozy Highland lodge décor can be found throughout the hotel, and each of the 22 en-suite guest rooms is well-appointed with modern luxuries. Many of the original features of the castle can be seen today as they were centuries ago, including the 250-year-old Great Hall, the fireplaces and the beautiful ceilings. The guest rooms here are all individually designed with period features and come complete with a television, iron, seating area and tea & coffee making facilities.
Alladale Wilderness Reserve, Alladale
Surrounded by the wild and rugged natural terrain of the Scottish Highlands, Alladale Wilderness Reserve offers accommodation like no other. With no other buildings for miles, this lodge is a haven for wildlife- and nature-lovers alike. The Victorian lodge features traditional furnishings and fantastic extras, such as a sauna, a gym, and a billiards room. Further, guests can all join together in the common TV room or in the dining room for meals prepared by the onsite chef, who prepares the very best of Scottish cuisine. The guest rooms are complete with homey furnishings, flat-screen TVs and telephones.
The Caledonian Sleeper train is a premier overnight train service connecting London and Scotland. Club Rooms include twin bunks or a single bed and an en suite bathroom. All cabins are non-smoking and are equipped with individual temperature controls, Wi-Fi Internet, charging points and dimmable lights. Travelers who choose Club Rooms or Caledonian Cabins enjoy priority access to the Club Car lounge, where you can relax in a pleasant atmosphere and purchase light snacks or a drink at the bar. At very busy times the Lounge Car may be restricted to First Class ticket holders.
The Kyle Line
Travel from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh aboard the Kyle Line. This iconic train is a single-track railway that completes its full route in just under 3 hours. The train runs through moors and mountains, quaint towns and some of Scotland’s more populated areas. It is not uncommon to see animals grazing through the countryside, and as the train reaches its final destination, views of the Isle of Skye are simply breathtaking.
Tour Dates & Prices
Register for Free Notification of 2021 Dates & Prices
Enter your details below if you would like to be notified when 2021 dates and prices are available for Castles and Wildlife of Scotland.