Edinburgh, the Jacobite Steam Train and Scottish Islands & Lochs Cruise
Explore the rugged Scottish highlands before a cruise on the MV Lord of the Glens
Discover the amazing Scottish Highlands, beginning in historic Edinburgh, venturing through some of the most scenic areas of the country by rail, and enjoying a wee dram of whisky, before joining a cruise on the magnificent MV Lord of the Glens
Highlights and Inclusions
- The West Highland Line & the Jacobite Steam Train
- Scenic rail journey on the Kyle Line
- First and Standard Class rail travel throughout
- 7-night cruise on the MV Lord of the Glens (James Watt Lower Deck)
- 5 nights’ hotel accommodation
- 30 meals, including 12 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 12 dinners, including a welcome dinner and a Captain’s farewell dinner
- Guided tour of Edinburgh
- Visits to Eigg, Tobermory, and the Isles of Skye and Mull
- Excursions to Craignure, Fort Augustus, and the Gen Ord Distillery
- Cruise on Loch Ness
Day 1 – Depart USA to Edinburgh
Board your international flight for the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. (Air travel not included in tour cost.)
Days 2 & 3 – Edinburgh
Meet your group and Tour Manager at the Apex Waterloo Place Hotel in Edinburgh today, where you are at leisure until dinner this evening at our hotel. After breakfast on Day 3, we embark on a guided tour of this historic city. Edinburgh boasts of a myriad of sights, including the incredible Edinburgh Castle, which sits on the caldera of an extinct volcano. The Royal Mile is also an iconic part of the city, not only because it is the main promenade of the Old Town, but also due to it linking Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the monarch of Great Britain whilst in Scotland. This afternoon, you are at leisure. (Day 2 – B: Day 3 – B, D)
Day 4 – To Glen Spean
We take a taxi to the station this morning, then take the train across Scotland to Glasgow on a delightfully scenic route that takes in the views of the ever-changing panorama of the country. On arrival in Glasgow, we begin our journey along the West Highland Line, one of the most renowned railroad lines in the world - and for good reason. This line is incredibly beautiful, and we travel along some truly spectacular sights, including wild and windswept Rannoch Moor. From Fort William, we transfer to Glen Spean where we stay for two nights. (B, D)
Day 5 – The Jacobite*
One of the highlights of our tour takes place today, with a journey along the West Highland Line on the Jacobite. The route we take today, between Fort William and Mallaig, has one of the most iconic sights of the journey, the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The 21 spans of the Glenfinnan Viaduct blend wonderfully with the surrounding hills and valleys, making it seem like it was always meant to be part of the beauty of the area. After some free time in Mallaig, we make a return journey back to Fort William.
Days 6 & 7 – Glen Ord Distillery
We visit Aviemore today, a town in the shadow of the mighty Cairngorm Mountain. After some free time here, we visit the Glen Ord Distillery for a tour and a 'wee dram' of whisky.
After breakfast on Day 7, we take the Kyle Line to Kyle of Lochalsh, where we board our ship, the MV Lord of the Glens. Tonight, we enjoy a captain's welcome dinner on board. (Day 6 – B, D; Day 7 – B, D)
Day 8 – The Isle of Sky
After indulging in our first breakfast on board, we enjoy a morning visit to Eilean Donan Castle, set dramatically in the middle of the confluence of Lochs Duich, Long, and Alsh, before going on to the picturesque village of Plockton. From here, we return to our vessel to sail via Kyle Rhea and the Sound of Sleat to Armadale on the Isle of Skye. Later in the day we visit the Clan Donald Center and Gardens, before we sail to the town of Inverie, located on Loch Nevis.
We moor at Inverie for the night, giving you the chance to have a drink at the Old Forge, which boasts the title of the most remote pub in Great Britain, being 20 miles away from the nearest road. (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Eigg
This morning we sail around Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly point of mainland Britain. We reach Eigg, a tiny island dominated by 'an Sgurr', a dramatic pitchstone ridge.
Whilst on board, look out for the myriad of marine animals and birds that inhabit the island and its surrounding waters, including minke whales, dolphins, porpoises, and a wide variety of seabirds. After exploring Eigg, we sail into the Sound of Mull towards Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, the second largest Island of the Inner Hebrides.
The route takes us past the dramatic scenery of Scotland's west coast, with views of untouched moorland sloping down to jagged rock faces on the shore. We then arrive in Tobermory, the capital of the Isle of Mull, located in the north of the island. This lovely little fishing port is famed for its brightly coloured houses. We moor here for the night, giving you the chance to further explore the pretty harbor of Tobermory. (B, L, D)
Days 10 & 11 – Iona & the West Highland Line
We sail along the Isle of Mull to Craignure today, where we enjoy an excursion to the hidden and beautiful Isle of Iona. This unspoiled island is only accessible from Mull, and is filled with pristine beaches and wild terrain. Later, we return to Craignure, where we sail across to Oban.
Here, we take some time to photograph the lovely 13th century Duart Castle. We moor at Oban overnight.
On Day 11, we leave Oban to sail along Loch Linnhe to Corpach, located at the entrance of the Caledonian Canal. This afternoon, we take the West Highland Line over the beautiful Glenfinnan viaduct to the village of the same name. Tonight, we moor at Corpach. (Day 10 – B, L, D; Day 11 – B, L, D)
Days 12 & 13 – Neptune’s Staircase & Inverness
We sail this morning to ascend the incredible feat of engineering that is Neptune's Staircase, a flight of eight inter-connected locks that take the vessel along the Caledonian Canal, through Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and Laggan Avenue. We arrive at our mooring space for the night, Fort Augustus.
Loch Ness is our destination on Day 13. We cross this beautiful stretch of water, which has fostered tales of the famous 'monster' because of its murky and mysterious depths, and take in the stunning surrounding scenery, including the ruins of Urquhart Castle.
This afternoon, we enjoy a fascinating excursion to Culloden, the site of the battlefield where 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' and his forces were defeated in 1745. We also visit the ancient standing stones of the Clava Cairns. This evening, we enjoy a farewell reception and dinner on board, spending the night moored in Inverness. (Day 12 – B, L, D; Day 13 – B, L, D)
Day 14 – Departing Inverness
After breakfast on board, we disembark in Inverness and you are free to make your way to the airport for your flight home. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
MV Lord of the Glens
Our luxury ship, MV Lord of the Glens, is the only passenger vessel of its kind, designed to navigate both the Scottish inland waterways of the Caledonian Canal and the open sea. It offers a truly unique way to take in the peaceful atmosphere and timeless landscape of Scotland's most dramatically beautiful lochs.
Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, Edinburgh
The 4-Star Apex Waterloo Place Hotel is ideally located at the eastern end of Princes Street, close to Edinburgh Waverley Railroad Station. The rooms feature a television, fridge, safe, tea and coffee making facilities, luxury toiletries and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness
Located within a short distance of Inverness city center, the Kingsmills Hotel benefits from its beautiful setting, within four acres of gardens and in close proximity to the Inverness Golf Club. Hotel facilities include a restaurant and bar, free and paid Wi-Fi, a gym and spa, and an indoor pool.
Jacobite Steam Train*
The wonderful journey on the Jacobite Steam Train takes us along a section of the West Highland Line, which stretches from Glasgow to Mallaig, and takes passengers through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in the UK.
We begin in the town of Fort William, spectacularly situated with Ben Nevis as its backdrop. As we leave Fort William we travel along the shores of Loch Linnhe before tackling the increasingly demanding Highland terrain. At Glenfinnan we reach the most scenic and dramatic section of the line, as the train crosses the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan Viaduct: a magnificent feat of railroad engineering.
Leaving Glenfinnan, the landscape opens up and we catch our first glimpse of the sea and the small islands close to the shore. During this section of the journey, the Jacobite Steam Train travels across two more viaducts: Gleann Mama and the Borrowdale Viaduct before reaching the small towns of Morar and Arisaig. On a clear, sunny day, the white sandy beaches along this stretch of coastline provide a beautiful contrast with the blue waters of the sea. From here, it is only short distance to our final destination, the busy fishing town of Mallaig.
The Kyle Line
The Kyle Line takes us on one of the most scenic rail journeys in the British Isles, traveling between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh.
Providing the entirety of mainland Scotland with transport links, Abello Scotrail is a fantastic commuter service that means even the farthest reaches of this wild and wonderful country is easily accessible. Running since 1983 under a variety of operators, this service has numerous lines, including one that stretches from the tip, Thurso, down to Edinburgh.
The lines on the Scotrail service are some of the most scenic in the world. The Kyle Line, the West Highland Line, and the Hadrian's Wall Line are all services by Scotrail trains. The West Highland Line, stretching between Glasgow to Mallaig, stopping off at Fort William and with an offshoot line to Oban, is arguably the most famous of this line. There are numerous stunning sights to look out for on this route - from the breathtaking wilds of the highlands, to the peaks of the craggy mountains, to the iconic 21-spans of the beautiful Glennfinnan Viaduct.
Another famed line that we utilise on the Scotrail network includes the Kyle of Lochalsh Line, running 63 miles between Dingwall and Kyle of Lochalsh. With spectacular views of the Isle of Skye as you come towards the pretty Kyle of Lochalsh, this particular line is certainly a glorious introduction to both of the Highlands of Scotland and the Hebrides. Other particularly beautiful places that the network explores include the Cairngorm National Park, on the Inverness to Edinburgh line, which passes through magnificent and verdant pine forests, as well as nearby the iconic Cairngorm Mountain.
The stock that traverses the lines are comfortable and modern, with spacious carriages and seating, as well as large windows through which to see the passing beauty of the Scottish countryside.
West Highland Line
Also known as 'the Iron Road to the Isles', a journey on the West Highland Line is an epic rail adventure that takes passengers through some of the world's most beautiful and dramatic landscapes. In fact the line has twice been voted the world's best rail journey by readers of Wanderlust magazine.
Running from Glasgow's Queen Street station, the train runs through the city's outskirts and on to Helensburgh. From here the train begins its ascent into the famous Highlands.
Soon the train skirts the beautiful Loch Long, followed by the immense Loch Lomond, as it makes its way up the ever-increasing gradients. The journey continues alongside the Loch - Britain's largest body of inland water - whilst winding through pretty wooden slopes.
Continuing northward through charming isolated villages, the train then climbs more than 500 feet (150 m) in just five miles, before arriving at the tiny hamlet Crianlarich. Here the West Highland Line splits into two branches. One continues to Fort William and Mallaig, the other heads west to Oban.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
: Departs 29th April 2019 ($3,975), 16th September 2019 ($3,975)
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*The itinerary on Day 5 for the September 16th departure has been amended due to new group restrictions on the Jacobite Steam Train. There will now be a Coach transfer from the Glenspean Lodge Hotel to Glenfinnan Monument, with free time at the Glenfinnan Monument & Viaduct view point, followed by a transfer to Mallaig. After free time in Mallaig we will board the Jacobite Steam Train for the journey to Fort William, and upon arrival in Fort William, a coach will transfer the group back to the Glenspean Lodge Hotel.