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Edinburgh, the Highlands & St Andrews

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Explore Edinburgh, St. Andrews, and the best of the Highlands on this Scottish rail adventure, including three scenic trains.

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
11 days From $2,815 per person

2021 Tour code: GR-SSAA-21

About the tour

Scotland's famous trains, lochs, and historic sites highlight this 11-day rail tour. Beginning in Edinburgh, your Scottish discoveries commence with a walking tour of the city and excursion to St. Andrews. Majestic lochs and glens lie in wait as we cross the Highlands and journey to the Isle of Mull and the Cairngorms. The tour culminates in a traditional Scottish Evening along Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

Your vacation start or end can be tailored to meet your travel needs.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – Edinburgh

Upon arrival, transfer on your own to your hotel. The day is free to begin exploring the city on your own. Meet your tour manager in the lobby of your hotel at 5:30 p.m. The remainder of the evening is at leisure to enjoy Edinburgh's local pubs and restaurants. Overnight Edinburgh.

Day 2 – Edinburgh/St. Andrews

Start the day with a guided walking tour of Edinburgh and its famous landmarks. After lunch on your own, we drive to St. Andrews to explore the ruins of St. Andrews Castle. Overnight Edinburgh.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 – Edinburgh at Leisure

Today brings a full day at leisure to experience Edinburgh. You may wish to visit the shops and cafes that line the Royal Mile. Explore Edinburgh Castle, home to the Crown Jewels of Scotland; Holyrood Palace, Queen Elizabeth II's official residence when she is in Scotland; or venture to one of the city's local distilleries for a dram. Meet your tour manager and fellow travelers at the hotel at 6:30 p.m. for a drink and dinner. Overnight Edinburgh.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 4 - The West Highland Line

Today we travel to Glasgow, before changing trains for a journey on one of the world's most spectacular scenic railroad lines, the West Highland Line. During our time onboard, we travel along a hillside ledge overlooking Gare Loch before we enter the spectacular Highlands, an idyllic, remote and untouched landscape. The incredible route skirts the western banks of Loch Lomond and climbs quickly from Crianlarich to Upper Tyndrum and wild Rannoch Moor. Mighty mountains provide an imposing backdrop to the nearby village of Ballachulish. Overnight Ballachulish.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - The Isle of Mull

Today we travel by coach to the town of Oban. Leaving the mainland by Caledonian MacBrayne ferry, we make the 40-minute crossing to the Isle of Mull. As we head through the small islands and across to Mull, the incredible picture postcard views are truly awe-inspiring; rugged coastline, hills rising sharply from the water's edge, the endless greens, purples and browns of the moorland and jagged, exposed rock faces. We arrive at the town of Craignure from where we visit Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Maclean Clan. The castle is only a few minutes drive from our mooring point at Craignure and remains in a superb condition, occupying a picturesque position overlooking Loch Don. After our visit, we enjoy a whiskey tasting at our hotel. Overnight Ballachulish.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Neptune's Staircase, Loch Linnhe & Glencoe

Today we travel by coach to Neptune's Staircase, an impressive flight of eight locks operated by a team of at least three lock keepers. Situated on the Caledonian Canal, the locks overcome a total height difference of 64 feet. It takes approximately one-and-a-half hours to pass from one end of the staircase to the other, where water overcomes gravity and nature to climb the hillside. From here we continue to Loch Linnhe where we enjoy a scenic cruise across the water. After, we visit Glencoe, one of Scotland's most iconic glens, used as the backdrop of many films, most recently the Mary Queen of Scots movie. Overnight Ballachulish.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - The Jacobite Steam Train

This morning we join the Jacobite Steam Train* for a journey to Mallaig, along the final leg of the wonderful West Highland Line, arguably the most scenic route in the UK. During the journey the train steams past Ben Nevis, then climbs into the mountains surrounding Glenfinnan, a small town famous as the rallying point for Bonnie Prince Charlie's assault on the British throne. Here we cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct seen in the 'Harry Potter' films, one of the most iconic engineering works found throughout the British railway network.

As we head towards Mallaig, we drop down to the sea's edge and the landscape opens up for us to get our first view of the rugged 'Small Isles' - Rum, Eigg, and Muck - which hang tantalizingly close offshore. After time for lunch, we make the return journey by coach, passing the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Overnight Inverness.

*On early departures the Jacobite Steam Train does not operate and we make this excursion using Scotrail's scheduled service.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Loch Ness

Today, travel to Loch Ness to enjoy a cruise. This iconic loch is most famous for its mythical dweller, the Loch Ness Monster, however it is also surrounded by some of Scotland's most breathtaking scenery. Enjoy your short cruise surrounded by the purple pained mountains, before taking a trip to Urquhart Castle, a 13th-century castle that sits perched on the banks of the loch. These atmospheric ruins are a delight to explore, and you have some free time here before we coach back to Inverness. The rest of your day is spent at leisure, ahead of a delightful meal together this evening. Overnight Inverness.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - The Kyle Line & Eilean Donan Castle

Today we enjoy one of the most breathtaking railway journeys in Europe, the Kyle Line. This incredibly scenic route takes us across Scotland from east coast to west, crossing the Caledonian Canal as we leave Inverness and skirting the shores of crystal-clear lakes. Countless photo opportunities present themselves as we wind through wooded hillsides and over sparse moors, climbing over the highlands and past charming loch-side and seaside towns. The tracks rise and fall over hills and valleys, traveling at low speed throughout most of the journey, giving you time to soak up the terrific views. The train sweeps one way and the next, wild deer grazing beside the tracks that follow a route dictated by politicians and powerful landowners as much as by civil engineers. During the final part of the journey we pass the picturesque white-washed houses in the village of Plockton. We arrive at Kyle of Lochalsh, the end of the line, located across a short stretch of water from the Isle of Skye. Afterward, we make a visit to Eilean Donan Castle, situated on a tiny island in Loch Duich, joined to the mainland by a small, elegant bridge. The island was part of the Macrae Clan's territory and in the 13th century, they built Eilean Donan Castle, which was initially designed to defend the clan's land from invading Vikings but which actually saw more battles between the warring Scottish clans. Overnight Inverness.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 - Inverness to Edinburgh

We leave Inverness, traveling south through the Cairngorms, via Aviemore, Pitlochry, and Kingussie, to arrive back in Edinburgh. We enjoy a farewell dinner as part of a 'Scottish Evening'. For this, we are regaled by a Scottish piper with all manner of fascinating Scottish stories and snippets of local history. We also sample a menu of traditional Scottish dishes as we are entertained. Overnight Edinburgh.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 – Tour Conclusion

Your tour concludes after breakfast. You are free to begin your journey home or enjoy more time sightseeing independently.

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.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

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 vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Trains

Jacobite Steam Train
The Kyle Line
Scotrail
West Highland Line
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