This wonderful tour begins when you board an express train in Central London bound for Edinburgh. On arrival, hop aboard an open-top tour to explore all that Edinburgh has to offer.
The following day includes a comfortable train journey through the Scottish Highlands to Inverness, followed by a tour to Loch Ness.
It’s onwards to Skye for a full-day excursion where the stunning Cuillin Mountains and fairytale Eilean Donan Castle are waiting to be discovered.
There’ll be time to visit pastel-colored Portree and the Trotternish Peninsula too. Return to London via the Cairngorms National Park, Grampian Mountains and Highland Perthshire.
Your experience begins when you board an express train departing Kings Cross Station in London with a destination of Edinburgh. In a journey that takes around 4 and a half hours, you’ll pass many famous locations, including York, Newcastle and Berwick upon Tweed, before crossing the border into Scotland.
It’s then full speed ahead as you savor stunning cliff-top views before arriving in Edinburgh, where you’ll have a short walk to your hotel in the center of the city.
The afternoon will include a tour by open-top bus of Edinburgh’s many attractions. Head upstairs to take a seat on the top deck to really take in all those spectacular Scottish views.
The tour passes many iconic Edinburgh sights, such as the Georgian New Town, the historic Grassmarket and there’s even a drive along the cobble-stoned Royal Mile – a trip to Edinburgh wouldn’t be complete without it!
One of the tour’s highlights is majestic Edinburgh Castle. The informative commentary will tell you all about this mighty fortress and the many significant events that took place within its walls.
Later in the tour, see the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which has strong connections to Mary, Queen of Scots, and still acts as a royal residence to this very day. On your return to the city, you’ll then be able to enjoy panoramic views of Holyrood Park.
The day ends with some free time, perfect timing to visit one of Edinburgh’s many historic pubs to relax with a wee dram of whisky? Slàinte!
Overnight: ibis Styles Edinburgh St Andrew Square, Edinburgh (or similar)
Start your day with a hearty breakfast, then make your way to the train station to board the Inter7City service to Inverness.
The train will take you to Stirling, the home of a magnificent Scottish castle that overlooks the city, as well as the striking monument to the patriot and freedom-fighter William Wallace.
On leaving Perth, the Highland Main Line enters Highland Perthshire, which offers quintessential Scottish scenery and picturesque stations such as Dunkeld and Birnam. From Pitlochry, enter the Pass of Killiecrankie, the location of a Jacobite Battle, then at Blair Atholl see magnificent Blair Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Atholl.
When the train travels through Glen Garry, you’ll want to be on the lookout for Scottish wildlife, including deer and eagles. If none can be seen today, the breathtaking scenery offers ample compensation! You’ll eventually reach the Druimuachdar summit at 452 m (or 1484 ft), the highest point on the rail network across the whole of Britain.
The journey continues through the Spey Valley, where you’ll be able to take in the true beauty of the Cairngorms Mountain Range before arriving at Inverness, the destination of this journey.
After checking in to the hotel and taking some time to recharge, it’s time to meet up with a local guide for a tour to Loch Ness, where the legend of the Loch Ness Monster (also affectionately known as “Nessie”) lives on. A cruise across the loch takes us to Urquhart Castle, where there is time to explore its romantic ruins.
On return to Inverness, the evening is free, so you can dine as you wish.
Overnight: Premier Inn Inverness Centre River Ness, Inverness (or similar)(2 nights)
From Inverness, travel westwards to the small village of Achnasheen, then head through picturesque Glen Carron, where there is a stop at Loch Carron to take in the fantastic views of the Applecross Mountains.
It’s then time to cross the Skye Bridge, then enjoy a stop at Kyleakin, which offers views of Loch Alsh and beyond, the island of Eilean Ban.
Your tour of Skye begins with a drive along the coast to Broadford, where the Cuillin Hills will eventually come into view. The view is so stunning that it has to be seen to be believed.
Explore the town of Portree – enjoy a walk along the harbor, or why not indulge in a spot of retail therapy and browse the goods on offer in the local craft shops?
The next stop is the Trotternish Peninsula, where you’ll also be able to spot The Quiraing with all its weird and wonderful rock formations, including The Prison, The Needle and The Table.
A popular stop is at Kilt Rock, so named because the basalt resembles the pleats in a tartan kilt. The tumbling waters of the Falls of Mealt are nearby.
And last on the list, but by no means least, is the Old Man of Storr, a 49 m (160 ft) high rock that stands tall above Loch Leanthan. If you think it looks familiar, that’s because you may have seen it on the big screen in movies such as King Arthur and the Big Friendly Giant.
Heading back to the mainland, there is time to visit iconic Eilean Donan Castle, world-renowned and is a must for any visitor to Scotland. This castle stands on Loch Duich, with a quaint bridge connecting the islet to the mainland. To visit this romantic fortress is a magical Scottish experience.
Make sure you look out for “The Five Sisters of Kintail” as you pass through Glen Shiel, an impressive mountain range with an even more remarkable legend attached to it.
End your day by traveling past Loch Ness for an evening return at Inverness.
It’s up bright and early before you head over to Inverness Railway Station and board the “Highland Chieftain” Azuma train, which will whisk you back to London.
There are many landmarks to watch out for on the journey, including the Culloden viaduct, with its 29 arches, and Drumossie Moor, where the 1746 battle took place. Soon the train enters the Cairngorms National Park, where it will call in the winter sports resort of Aviemore.
Departing Dalwhinnie, your train will journey through Glen Garry before reaching the picturesque Highland Perthshire, giving you one last look at the beautiful Scottish scenery.
Once you leave Edinburgh, you’ll travel along the same route as you did when heading northbound, stopping at both Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York before arriving at London Kings Cross Station mid-afternoon.
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
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