Independent Rail Tour + Self-Drive Holiday

At a glance

18 days / 17 nights
Departing Jun 24 – Mar 25
From AUD$4041pp

Your Itinerary

A – Depart London Euston Station
B – Liverpool, 3 nights
C – York, 2 nights
D – Edinburgh, 3 nights
E – Glasgow, 2 nights
F – Fort William, 2 nights
G – Inverness, 3 nights
H – Stirling, 2 nights
I – Glasgow – return rail to London

DAY 1 – Depart London to Liverpool

Begin your journey from London Euston station to Liverpool Lime Street on a direct 2.5 hr service. Check-in to your 4 star city centre hotel, then begin to explore this exciting and vibrant city.  Take a stroll to the historic Royal Albert Dock to enjoy views of the iconic Mersey River and The Wirral.  A must see is the Maritime Museum with it’s Titanic Exhibition or visit Tate Liverpool Art Gallery & Museum, both located in the World Heritage waterfront dock.  Your accommodation for the next three nights is at the Beatles inspired city centre hotel.

Overnight: Liverpool city centre hotel
Inclusions: Rail pass
Rail travel: 2 hrs 30 mins

DAY 2 – Liverpool

Start the day with a relaxing Mersey River Explorer cruise to take in the grand buildings along the riverbanks of this mighty city. Follow that up with a visit to The Beatles Story, a truly immersive experience, ending with a stop at the Beatles-themed cafe to soak in the vibe. Exploring more of Liverpool in the afternoon offers so many enticing options, from museums to cathedrals to shopping at Liverpool ONE.

Why not end the day with a bowl of scouse, the local Liverpudlian stew. It’s a perfect way to warm up and savor the flavors of the region. It’s hearty, comforting, and a true taste of Liverpool. Enjoy a fantastic day filled with relaxation, exploration, and delicious food!

Meals: Full English Breakfast
Inclusions: The Beatles Story, Mersey River Ferry
Overnight: Liverpool

The Three Graces, Liverpool

DAY 3 – Liverpool

Taking a Magical Mystery Tour to explore key locations from The Beatles’ younger years sounds like an absolute treat for any fan of the Fab Four! Visiting the places where they grew up and were inspired will offer a unique insight into their journey to becoming one of the most iconic bands in history. Ending the tour at the legendary Cavern Club is truly a fitting finale. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the atmosphere that helped shape the bands early careers and witness firsthand the magic of their music.

Optional day tour: explore more of the beauty which Britain has to offer.  Depending on the departure day, take a full day escorted tour to North Wales with visits to Llandudno, Conwy, Snowdonia along with many more stunning sights which are sure to impress.  On alternate days, tours run to the Lakes District with breathtaking scenery and historic sites.

Meals: Full English Breakfast
Inclusions: Magical Mystery Tour
Overnight: Liverpool

DAY 4 – Liverpool to York

Your journey today takes you to the ancient city of York with it’s imposing Roman Walls, majestic Cathedral and centuries of history.  Stroll the famous Shambles and Snickleways to see some of the best-preserved medieval shopping alleys in the world.  Quaint tea rooms, antique dealers, confectioners and gift shops are all found within Old Town.  Why not take a sunset cruise along the River Ouse for a relaxing way to enjoy the sites and learn how the river helped develop the city.  Spend two nights in a 4 star city centre hotel.

Meals: Full English Breakfast
Inclusions: Rail Pass
Overnight: York
Rail travel: 2 hrs, 15 mins


DAY 5 – York

Take a guided walking tour of York Old Town to see all the key sights, including the Minster, Shambles and the idyllic Museum Gardens. Be transported deep into the medieval maze of alleys to reveal some hidden secrets few visitors get to see.  The afternoon is yours to enjoy this small, yet mighty city.

Optional extra: day tour to the stunning Yorkshire Dales, or North York Moors with a visit to the traditional seaside town of Whitby

Meals: Full English Breakfast
Inclusions: York Walking Tour
Overnight: York

Shambles, York

DAY 6 – York to Edinburgh

This morning, take the train to Edinburgh, the stunning capital of Scotland.  Enjoy the spectacular scenery out to the North Sea as the train journeys along the east coast.  After checking into your 4 star city centre hotel, take a short walk to the famous Royal Mile for a great selection of pubs, bars and restaurants.  You will pass the 12th century St Giles’ Cathedral as you make your way to the mighty fortress of Edinburgh Castle.  Take in the spectacular views down to Princes Street and out to Leith.  Be sure to try some haggis, neeps and tatties, washed down with a wee dram!  Spend the next three nights in Edinburgh.

Meals: Full English Breakfast
Inclusions: Rail pass
Overnight: Edinburgh
Rail travel: 2 hrs, 30 mins

St Giles’ Cathedral

DAY 7 – Edinburgh

After breakfast, validate your sightseeing pass and spend the day discovering the best of Edinburgh.  Three city tours are included with your pass which provides 24 hours of unlimited travel.  Discover Edinburgh’s Old Town and Royal Mile, the Georgian New Town, Grassmarket, and the harbour districts of Newhaven and Leith.  The evening is yours to find a characterful pub or why not take a ghost tour of the medieval Old Town.
Consider taking an option activity: a Scottish evening with food and traditional entertainment in Edinburgh.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Hop-on, Hop-off Bus
Overnight: Edinburgh


DAY 8 – Edinburgh at leisure

Your Historic Scotland Explorer Pass offers admission to 78 historical sites throughout the country including entry to Edinburgh Castle.  Be sure to book your entry and discover the historical significance of the iconic castle, perched atop Castle Rock with a commanding presence over the surrounding landscape.  The castle has witnessed centuries of events, battles, and royal residences, making it a treasure trove of stories and heritage. Visitors can explore its various sections, including the Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny, the Great Hall, and the Scottish National War Memorial, each offering a glimpse into Scotland’s past.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Overnight: Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

DAY 9 – Edinburgh to Glasgow

Today, take a short train journey to Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.  Sitting on the banks of the River Clyde, marvel at the striking architecture, numerous museums and galleries, plus an array of independent shops.  The afternoon is yours to relax.  Find a bench in the grand George Square to admire the magnificent City Chambers or stop by the Victorian glasshouse at the Botanical Gardens where afternoon tea can follow at the Tearoom.  Settle into your 4 star city centre hotel for a two night stay.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Rail pass
Overnight: Glasgow
Rail travel: 1 hr

George Square

DAY 10 – Glasgow sightseeing

Glasgow is yours to explore with your 1-day hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour.  The double decker, open top bus with full audio guide is a perfect way to discover the city.  With 21 stops throughout Glasgow including Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Riverside Museum, Glasgow Cathedral & the shopping district.  The evening is yours to try one out the many bars and restaurants in the city centre.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Sightseeing bus tour
Overnight: Glasgow

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

DAY 11 – Begin Self-Drive Tour of Scotland – Glasgow to Fort William

After breakfast, collect your hire car and enjoy the freedom to explore the country’s stunning landscapes, historic sites, and charming towns at your own pace.  Your Scottish adventure begins at the picturesque village of Luss, nestled on the banks of Loch Lomond.  Continue through the stunning Trossachs National Park, famous Glencoe and onto Fort William for a two night stay in an award winning guest house overlooking Loch Linnhe.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Car Hire
Overnight: Fort William
Driving distance: 165 km
Total drive time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Loch Lomond

DAY 12 – Fort William at leisure

After breakfast, the day is yours to explore Fort William and beyond.  A rich tapestry of natural wonders, historical sites, and cultural experiences are on your doorstep. Here’s a glimpse into what you can discover: Glenfinnan Viaduct made famous in Harry Potter series, Ben Nevis the highest peak in UK, Neptune’s Staircase located on the Caledonian Canal or Oban, the seafood capital of Scotland.  Plus, the Historic Scotland Explorer Pass is yours to use at any included sites.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Overnight: Fort William

Glenfinnan Viaduct

DAY 13 – Fort William to Inverness

Travelling through the Great Glen and along the banks of Loch Ness offers a truly magical experience, with stunning scenery and the allure of spotting the legendary Loch Ness Monster, Nessie. As you journey along, keep your eyes peeled for any mysterious ripples in the water!

A visit to Urquhart Castle adds an extra layer of history and intrigue to your adventure. Exploring its ruins and taking in the panoramic views of the loch is an unforgettable experience.

Your stay in Inverness offers a chance to delve deeper into Scottish culture and history. Check into a 4 star, historic 18th century hotel for a three night stay.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Overnight: Inverness
Driving distance: 110 km
Total drive time: 1 hrs 30 mins

Urquhart Castle

DAY 14 – Inverness at leisure

Inverness, often referred to as the capital of the Highlands, is a vibrant city with a rich history and stunning natural surroundings. Here are some things you can do while visiting Inverness:  Inverness Cathedral, Culloden Battlefield, Whisky distilleries – Glen Ord Distillery, Tomatin Distillery, and Dalmore Distillery.
Historic Scotland Explorer Pass provides entry to Fort George.
Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply soaking up the local culture, you’re sure to find plenty of things to see and do in this charming Scottish city.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Overnight: Inverness

DAY 15 – Inverness at leisure

Spend the day exploring further afield in the Highlands. The drive from Inverness to the Isle of Skye offers breathtaking scenery and the opportunity to explore the stunning Highlands of Scotland.  You’ll pass the iconic Eilean Donan Castle perched on a small island.  Crossing the bridge to Skye provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and sea.  The pretty town of Portree is a must-see, along with the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing, and the Fairy Pools.
An alternative route north from Inverness will take you to Dunrobin Castle, a magnificent 13th stately home located in the northern Highlands of Scotland.  Stroll the stunning formal gardens, which are among the most beautiful in Scotland, along with viewing the daily falconry displays.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Overnight: Inverness


DAY 16 – Inverness to Stirling

Saying goodbye to the Highlands, a fantastic day lies ahead exploring the heart of Scotland!  Start your day by heading south into the Cairngorms National Park. This vast wilderness is renowned for its stunning landscapes, including mountains, forests, and lochs. The charming resort town of Aviemore is worth a visit. Here you will find a relaxed village atmosphere with cozy cafes, traditional pubs, and local shops selling outdoor gear and souvenirs. The Strathspey Railway operates steam train rides between Aviemore and Boat of Garten, allowing visitors to experience the nostalgia of train travel while enjoying panoramic views of the Cairngorms.  Another suggested stop is at Pitlochry, a delightful Victorian town nestled in the heart of Perthshire.  Arrive in historic Stirling in the afternoon and check-in to your accommodation for a two night stay.  A highly rated, family owned B&B overlooking green fields is included, or upgrade to a boutique hotel in the nearby Victorian spa town, Bridge of Allan.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Overnight: Stirling
Driving distance: 145 km
Total drive time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Cairngorms National Park

DAY 17 – Inverness at leisure

Today is yours to explore Stirling’s rich history and stunning landscapes. Here are some suggestions:

  • Stirling Castle: This iconic landmark is a must-visit. Explore its grand halls, learn about its history, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  • Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre: Dive into Scotland’s past at this interactive museum, which commemorates the famous battle fought in 1314.
  • Wallace Monument: Pay homage to William Wallace, one of Scotland’s most legendary figures, at this imposing monument. Climb to the top for breathtaking views.
  • Old Town: Take a stroll through Stirling’s charming Old Town, with its cobbled streets and historic buildings. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit unique shops and cozy cafes.
  • Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum: Explore the diverse collection of art and artifacts that showcase the cultural heritage of the Stirling area.
  • Bridge of Allan: This nearby town offers Victorian charm, with its elegant architecture, boutique shops, and relaxing spas.
  • Doune Castle: If you’re a fan of Monty Python or Game of Thrones, you’ll recognize this castle from various film and TV productions. Explore its medieval halls and impressive ramparts.

Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply soaking up the atmosphere of a Scottish town, Stirling has something to offer for everyone.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Historic Scotland Explorer Pass (Stirling Castle & Doune Castle admissions included)
Overnight: Stirling

Stirling Castle

DAY 18 – Inverness to Glasgow or Edinburgh

On your final day, take the short drive to either Glasgow or Edinburgh.  Ensure to stop a the below points of interest:

  • The Kelpies:  Iconic sculptures located in Falkirk, Scotland. These towering equine sculptures stand at the entrance to the Forth and Clyde Canal. Each Kelpie stands at a towering 30 meters tall (about 100 feet) and represents supernatural water horses from Scottish mythology.
  • Falkirk Wheel: A unique rotating boat lift that connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The nearby remnants of the Antonine Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offer a glimpse into Roman history.

After returning your hire vehicle, rail travel is included to London or another UK city.

Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Inclusions: Rail Pass
Driving distance: 60 kms
Total driving time: 1 hr

The Kelpies

Proposed accommodation in 4 star hotels located less than 10 minutes walk from arrival/departure railway station.  Self-drive tour includes 4 star hotels, inns, or B&B accommodation.  Upgrade to 5 star accommodation including manor houses or similar.

Prices are per person, sharing a double/twin room based on 15 Oct 2024 departure. A single supplement applies for solo travellers provided on request.
Car hire based on Compact 4 door manual vehicle, unlimited kilometres, VAT, liability insurance, CDW with excess, TP with excess.  Additional rate for drivers under 25 years or over 69 years.  Please enquire for vehicle upgrade and automatic transmission.
Terms & Conditions apply.  Click to view
Travel Insurance – we ask that our guests purchase suitable cover in case planned travel is affected or disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances
Flights – all tours are land only within the UK
Transportation, meals and/or sightseeing other than that outlined above.
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