From $1,350 per person
Begin your Scottish adventure aboard an express train from London to Edinburgh before joining a hop-on, hop-off tour of the Scottish capital. The following day travel to Inverness by train via the beautiful Scottish Highlands before embarking on a tour of Loch Ness which includes a cruise along the loch itself.
From your base in Inverness, experience a breathtaking excursion to the Isle of Skye and truly magical Eilean Donan Castle. The high point of this tour is undoubtedly the journey on the Jacobite Steam Train, also known as the real-life Hogwarts Express. Finally, return back to London by comfortable high-speed train.
Departing from Kings Cross Station in the heart of London, the high-speed train passes through York, Durham and Newcastle, where you’ll dramatically cross the River Tyne. Travel the (approximately) 4 hours and 30 minutes journey in style with complimentary WiFi and optional on-board buffet, serving tasty treats sourced from local producers.
On arrival in Edinburgh, make the short walk to your hotel, situated in the center of the city where you’ll check-in, officially marking the start of your exploration of Edinburgh.
The included hop-on, hop-off tour will take you to see many of Edinburgh’s famous landmarks, including the Georgian-inspired New Town and the medieval Old Town… both UNESCO World Heritage Sites and well worth visiting.
It’s then on to magnificent Edinburgh Castle before traveling along the Royal Mile, where many sights are up for grabs, including the Palace of Holyroodhouse, HM The Queen’s official Scottish residence, as well as the contemporary Scottish Parliament building.
Overnight: ibis Styles Edinburgh St Andrew Square, Edinburgh (or similar)
Enjoy your breakfast before boarding a ScotRail train bound for Inverness along the Highland Main Line. This journey is famed for its stunning Scottish scenery.
You’ll journey from Edinburgh to Stirling, where you’ll catch a glimpse of its magnificent castle before visiting Gleneagles Station, built to serve the famous golfing resort, and heading through Strathearn to reach Perth.
It’s then onwards into “Highland Perthshire”, which is where the nature of Scotland really comes into its own. Enjoy a vista of giant trees and fast-flowing rivers before moving on to the historic station of Dunkeld and Birnham. The scenic journey continues by following the Rivers Tay and Tummel to reach the Victorian town of Pitlochry.
Glen Garry offers terrific views of the Grampian Mountains, and you may even be able to spot a herd of deer grazing on the purple heather.
It’s then on to the Druimuachdar Summit, the highest point on the rail network in the UK… another item to tick off the bucket list.
From Dalwhinnie, enter the Spey Valley, which boasts a backdrop of the majestic Cairngorm Mountain Range, to reach the outdoor sports center of Aviemore. All too soon, it’s journey’s end, and we arrive at our destination.
After checking in at your hotel in Inverness, there’s some time to sit back and unwind, getting you ready for your afternoon tour of Loch Ness.
A local guide will tell you all about the elusive Loch Ness Monster while you take in the stunning loch views and enjoy a cruise that will take you across the mysterious waters to explore the legendary Urquhart Castle.
It’s then time to board the coach once more and return to Inverness, where the rest of the day is free.
Overnight: Premier Inn Inverness Centre River Ness, Inverness (or similar) (3 nights)
Today you’ll be exploring the Isle of Skye. There is stunning scenery to enjoy as you pass through Glen Carron and stop to take in the dramatic views of Loch Carron and the Applecross mountains.
As the song proclaims, you’ll then cross “over the sea to Skye”, to be greeted by the resplendent Cuillin Hills. There will be a stop at Sligachan, where the Red and Black Cuillins come together. It’s one of the best places to get snapping and forever capture the fantastic alpine-like views.
A trip to Skye wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Portree, the largest settlement on the island. You’ll be able to take a stroll around the harbor and take in the instantly recognizable pastel-colored houses that are dotted along the bay.
After the break, make your way towards the Trotternish Peninsula and see for yourself the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing. Kilt Rock is also on the itinerary, featuring basalt columns that are thought to look like the pleats in a kilt. It’s then off to the viewing platform, where you’ll be able to watch the Mealt waterfall cascading 60 m into the sea below.
Back on the mainland, Eilean Donan Castle is next on our tour. Even if you’ve seen this castle in films such as Highlander and The World Is Not Enough, nothing beats seeing it for real – it’s the stuff fairytales are made of.
As we drive through Glen Shiel, see the Five Sisters Mountain range and hear the fascinating legend of these soaring peaks. After driving along the banks of Loch Ness, you’ll reach Inverness around 19:30 hrs.
The day has finally arrived. Today you’ll be enjoying a journey on the iconic Jacobite Steam Train, famed as the real Hogwarts Express! Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, a ride on this train will not disappoint!
Departing from Inverness, travel through the Great Glen, then strike westwards along the famous “Road to the Isles” heading for Mallaig.
The gorgeous views begin before you even step foot on the Jacobite Steam Train as you pass Loch Eil and the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which has become instantly recognizable worldwide thanks to the Harry Potter movies! As you drive by, remember that you’ll be crossing this very viaduct later on by train.
Glenfinnan itself isn’t just known for its viaduct – it also has links to Bonnie Prince Charlie, who landed in this part of Scotland back in August 1745 at the beginning of his Jacobite Uprising. A poignant monument has been built to honor those Highlanders who paid with their lives for the cause.
It’s also worth keeping an eye out for the beaches at Arisaig while you listen to the story of the Highland Clearances before you finally reach the fishing port of Mallaig.
After time for lunch, it’s on to the main event – boarding the Jacobite Steam Train. Take your seats and relax as the train departs and your journey along the West Highland Railway begins.
The train will puff its way past some Scottish landmarks on its 42-mile trip, namely the shortest river, deepest loch and highest mountain. Then it’s on to the highlight… crossing the 21 arched Glenfinnan Viaduct. Get those cameras at the ready!
The Jacobite Steam Train will then arrive back at Fort William, where the motorcoach awaits to drive us back to Inverness.
We start the final day bright and early with a delicious breakfast before arriving at Inverness Railway Station, where your “Highland Chieftain” express train awaits.
Your railway journey will give you the chance to take in the Moray Firth and the Cairngorms National Park as the train begins its journey south. Can you glimpse Ben Macdui on your travels, the second-highest mountain in Britain?
After passing Dalwhinnie’s iconic whisky distillery, there are gorgeous views to enjoy as the train descends through the Grampian Mountains. On the approach to Blair Atholl, see Blair Castle, the seat of the Duke of Atholl, the only individual in the UK with his own private army, The Atholl Highlanders.
Your journey will take you from Perth back to Stirling, home to an impressive monument dedicated to William Wallace, who fought for Scottish freedom. He was the real Braveheart!
After pausing in Edinburgh, the train will follow the same route as it took northbound, arriving back at Kings Cross Station later in the afternoon (times may be subject to change).
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