With a high-speed train journey from London to Edinburgh and a hop-on, hop-off tour where you’ll explore all that Edinburgh has to offer – what a great way to get your vacation started!
The next day you’ll board a train bound for the Highlands. Visit Loch Ness, then settle into your Inverness base for the next few days. From here, you’ll take a trip to the beautiful Isle of Skye, then to iconic John O’Groats and the Far North.
The return journey to London takes in the Cairngorms National Park and Highland Perthshire, ending your trip on a high.
Your tour begins aboard an express train that will whisk you from London to Scotland, passing through landmark locations such as York, Durham and Newcastle, sitting astride the mighty River Tyne.
Shortly after leaving Berwick-upon-Tweed, you’ll travel across the border into Scotland, where the stunning scenery begins, with cliff-top sea views that will mark your imminent arrival in Edinburgh, where it’s a short walk to your hotel for the night.
The sightseeing begins straight away as you board an open-top bus that will take you around the sights of Edinburgh. Beginning in the Georgian New Town, you’ll pass impressive squares and wide streets before arriving in the ancient Grassmarket, where you’ll hear tales of mystery and murder.
It’s then on to see what is arguably the highlight of the tour – Edinburgh Castle, sitting high above the city as it has done for many centuries before moving on to the medieval Old Town, an area of great historical importance in the Scottish Capital.
This tour will also take you past the contemporary Scottish Parliament building and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, HM The Queen’s official Scottish residence.
You’ll then have free time where you’ll be able to explore Edinburgh on your own and dine independently.
Overnight: ibis Styles Edinburgh St Andrew Square, Edinburgh (or similar)
Today it’s off to the Highlands when we board a train bound for Inverness.
Traveling along the so-called “iron road”, the train heads towards Stirling, where you’ll be able to take in Stirling Castle, which rests upon an extinct volcano. Next, head towards Gleneagles, known for its deluxe hotel and golf courses, before reaching the Fair City of Perth, which sits on the River Tay.
It’s then time to head to Pitlochry before traveling through the Pass of Killiecrankie and seeing Blair Castle, home to the Duke of Atholl. The train will then begin to ascend through the Grampian Mountains before eventually reaching the Druimuachdar Pass, which takes the title of the highest summit in the UK rail network.
On reaching the Spey Valley continue towards Aviemore, a popular outdoor sports venue where you will be able to spot the towering Cairngorm Mountains.
Once you arrive in Inverness, you’ll check-in at your hotel and enjoy some downtime before it’s on to your first Highland activity, a guided tour to Loch Ness. It would be remiss of us not to remind you to keep an eye out for the Loch Ness Monster as you never know when “Nessie” will decide to make an appearance!
A highlight of the tour is when you sail across the waters of Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle aboard a modern cruise boat. Later, return to Inverness, where you will be able to enjoy some leisure time.
Overnight: Premier Inn Inverness Centre River Ness, Inverness (or similar)(2 nights)
A trip to the Isle of Skye is always high on the list of “must-dos” when it comes to visiting Scotland, and today, the wait is over!
The tour starts with a drive to Achnasheen, a lonely village located in the heart of dramatic scenery. Continuing on, you’ll go on a drive through picturesque Glen Carron, taking in Loch Carron along the way.
Then it’s finally time to cross “over the sea to Skye”, where you’ll be treated to some of the best views Scotland has to offer. Luscious landscapes, stunning sea views and imposing mountains. Along the way, your local guide will entertain you with stories of Norse invasions, clan battles and the Highland Clearances during the 19th Century.
You’ll stop at Portree, the iconic colorful fishing port, before visiting the Trotternish Peninsula at the north of the island. During the drive, there is the chance to see the obelisk known as the Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock – so-called because its appearance is said to be similar in style to the pleats of a kilt.
It’s then off to take in the sights of the impressive Cuillin Mountains before heading back to the mainland and a stop at Eilean Donan Castle, standing where Lochs Duich and Alsh unite. The stunning view is prime social media fodder!
Glen Shiel is the location of the legendary “Five Sisters of Kintail” mountain range. We’ll hear the legend connected to these soaring peaks before returning to Inverness along the banks of Loch Ness.
It’s a day of change, as you’ll join a new group and driver/guide for another day of stunning Scottish scenery!
You’ll begin your journey by heading north from Inverness and traveling across the Black Isle to the Cromarty Firth. Keep your fingers crossed that you’re lucky enough to spot some of the local seal population along the way!
Onwards to the village of Golspie with its sandy beaches, and then it’s time to take in fairytale Dunrobin Castle. Modeled on a French Chateau, this is a truly magical castle that has it all – including formal gardens inspired by those at the Palace of Versailles. Dunrobin has a fascinating history, being the ancestral seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. You’ll get the chance to visit this castle and take a tour of the grounds too.
The next part of the tour takes in the famous North Coast 500 route, where you’ll be able to take in some spectacular sea views as we head for our lunch break.
Wick has an impressive history, originally a Viking settlement before becoming a fishing town during the 19th Century herring boom – did you know that the impressive harbor still used today is in part down to the legacy of the “silver darlings”?
We finish the day by going to the most northerly village in the UK, John O’Groats. While you need to take a selfie with the iconic “I was there” signpost, make sure you leave enough time to be able to take a walk along the top of the cliffs to enjoy the views and, hopefully, spot some wildlife.
You’ll then return to Inverness via Dunbeath, which gives you another chance to go on a Scottish harbor walk.
It’s an early start today, where you’ll head to Inverness Railway Station to join the “Highland Chieftain” train for your journey back to London. The Azuma train has everything you’ll need for the journey, including comfortable seats, air conditioning, an onboard café, free WiFi, and even panoramic windows – perfect for soaking up all those beautiful views!
You’ll go along the same route as before (just in reverse), giving you another chance to take in the Cairngorms National Park and scenic Highland Perthshire.
The train will stop in Edinburgh before it’s time to say goodbye to Scotland and journey past Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York.
Arrival at your destination of London Kings Cross should be at approximately 15:50 hrs (3:50 pm), later on Sundays at 17:55 hrs (5.55 pm).
Visits, Admissions and Experiences