Wonders of Scotland by Rail – 2022/2023smg2022-05-19T12:43:15+10:00
Independent Rail Tour of Scotland
Experience some of Britain’s most spectacular and scenic train journeys as you explore Scotland and the Scottish Highlands by rail. Your epic Scottish rail journey will take you from the vibrant cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow along Scotland’s picturesque West Coast, through the dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and over the sea to the beautiful Isle of Skye. A hand-picked selection of small-group day tours will enable you to discover the remote landscapes of the Highlands and Skye which cannot be reached by rail alone.
Journey along some of Europe’s most scenic rail lines including the West Highland Line over the Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Northern Highland line
Spend two nights on the beautiful Isle of Skye
Enjoy day tours to take in the Highland scenery on Skye, from Inverness and in Aberdeenshire
Visit the beautiful Scottish capital city and Edinburgh Castle
11 nights in charming hotel accommodation
Full cooked Scottish breakfast daily
Britrail Spirit of Scotland (8 in 15 day) Rail Passes – Passes offer 8 separate days of travel on the Scottish Rail Network within a 15 day period. Travel is fully flexible and completely unlimited on each day of use and will cover all outlined rail journeys. Rail pass also covers your ferry crossing to the Isle of Skye.
Private transfers to / from Portree on the Isle of Skye
Explore the countryside that cannot be easily reached by rail on a selection of hand-picked small-group day-tours as follows:
Full day tour exploring the Isle of Skye from Portree
Loch Ness day tour from Inverness
Royal Deeside day tour from Aberdeen
Admission to the following attractions on your itinerary:
Postage of your travel documents pack
Local (UK based) out of hours contact number for emergency use during your trip
Additional pre-tour accommodation in Glasgow
Add extra nights in Inverness to explore the city or take additional day-tours from the city
Add extra nights in Fort William and a private day tour of Glencoe and the surrounds
Arriving in to Edinburgh or Glasgow Airports or travelling from London, board the train to the vibrant city of Glasgow. Scotland’s largest centre of population, Glasgow is the home of modern Scottish culture. Explore the city from the elegant Victorian monuments and facades of George Square to the bustling Sauchiehall Street and the imposing Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis. In the leafy West End you can visit the Kelvingrove Park and Museum set around the university quarter or head to the Merchant City to enjoy a host of modern Scottish bars and restaurants.
George Square, Glasgow
DAY 2 – The West Highland Way and Fort William
Today board the train for one of Scotland’s famous rail journeys as you head North on the West Highland Railway to Fort William. Your spectacular journey will take you along the scenic shores of Loch Lomond and over the desolate expanse of the Rannoch Moor. Arriving in Fort William you can spend the afternoon walking the harbour overlooking Loch Linhe, visit the Ben Nevis Distillery or the West Highland Museum for a candid history of the region. Alternatively, the brave might choose to take a hike up (or simply admire views of) the towering mountain of Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest peak.
Overnight: Fort William Inclusions: BritRail Pass Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
DAY 3 – The Glenfinnan Viaduct and Portree
Another glorious rail journey awaits today on the second leg of the stunning West Highland line. Your route takes you over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct (which features in the “Harry Potter” movies) offering panoramic vistas over the Glenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel beyond. Arriving in Mallaig, board the ferry to the beautiful Isle of Skye. There’s no rail network on Skye, so you’ll enjoy a private transfer from Armadale port to the island’s main town of Portree where you can spend the balance of the day wandering this charming harbour of pastel fishing cottages with the Cuillin mountains in the distance.
Overnight: Portree, Isle of Skye Inclusions: BritRail Pass, Ferry to Skye, Transfers to Portree Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
DAY 4 – Isle of Skye Excursion
Spend a day dedicated to exploring the natural beauty of Skye on a tour with a local guide. Your journey will take you to the corners of this small island to take in its most dramatic natural landscapes; spot sea and bird-life in the chilly Atlantic waters from Neist Point, pass through the enchanting Fairy Glen and tour the Trotternish Peninsula which is home to a host of unique geological features such as The Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock. There’ll be ample time for photo-stops and the opportunity to pause at some of Skye’s cultural highlights.
Overnight: Portree, Isle of Skye Inclusions: Small group tour Isle of Skye Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Quiraing mountains, Isle of Skye
DAY 5 – The North Highland Line and Inverness
Today, a private transfer is provided by road from Portree over Skye Bridge to the Kyle of Lochalsh on the Scottish mainland. Here you can board the train for yet another of Scotland’s renowned rail journeys as you follow the course of North Highland Line. Your journey takes you through the barren wilderness of the Northern Highlands with views of the Torridon peaks before arriving in Inverness, capital of the Highlands. Straddling the banks of the River Ness, explore this picturesque Highland town from the cobbled Mercat Cross and St Andrews Cathedral to the hill-top castle and museum.
Overnight: Inverness Inclusions: Transfers, BritRail Pass Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
DAY 6 – Loch Ness Excursion from Inverness
Today you’ll join a local guide on a small-group tour dedicated to exploring the Highlands and the scenic area surrounding Scotland’s most famous loch, Loch Ness. Your journey will take you South along the pretty shores of the loch with an opportunity for a boat rip on the glassy waters and a stop at the 13th century Urquhart Castle perched on the loch-side. There’ll be stops at various points of interest before the driver will take you off the beaten path to see some hidden gems passing through remote, wild-life filled pine forests and passing crystal waterfalls.
Overnight: Inverness Inclusions: Small group tour to Loch Ness Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
DAY 7 – Highland Rail to Aberdeen
This morning, your train journey takes you east through another of Scotland’s scenic regions as you traverse the Grampian Highlands and Speyside area of Scotland to arrive in Aberdeen, known as the “Granite City”. Your afternoon is free to explore this affluent maritime city from the 13th century cobbled square of Castlegate, to the Georgian spires and turrets of Union Street and the granite Marchar Cathedral. Don’t miss a visit to the harbour and traditional fish market or a stroll along the promenade with its sweeping sandy bay and views over the wild North Sea.
Overnight: Aberdeen Inclusions: BritRail Pass Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
DAY 8 – Highland Excursion from Aberdeen
Today join a small-group tour taking you through Scotland’s Eastern Highlands. Your journey will take you south to the dramatic ruins of Dunnottar Castle perched overlooking the North Sea before heading inland deep into the Cairngorms National Park. Following a lunch stop in the Highland town of Braemar you’ll return east to Aberdeen through the scenic Royal Deeside region taking in various point of natural beauty such as the dramatic Muir of Dinnet and the Falls of Feugh. On selected days alternative tours to the Northern Aberdeenshire countryside or the Speyside Whisky region are available.
Overnight: Aberdeen Inclusions: Small group tour of Royal Deeside Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Dunnottar Castle credit VisitScotland / Luigi Di Pasquale
DAY 9 – Historic Stirling and Stirling Castle
Today return south back towards the Scottish Lowlands, your rail-ride takes you along the rugged east coast of Scotland with views of the North Sea before turning inland and passing through the Perthshire countryside to historic Stirling. Explore the cobbled old town and historic jail before climbing to the stunning Stirling Castle which, once the royal seat of Scotland, rivals that of Edinburgh for its historic significance and beauty. Time-permitting you may choose to head to the nearby Wallace Monument for spectacular views across to the castle and over Bannockburn Battlefield.
This morning, a final rail journey south will take you to nearby Edinburgh, the beautiful Scottish capital city. Explore this magnificent city from the winding streets of the cobbled Old Town to the wide avenues of the opulent Georgian New Town. Stroll past the Gothic Burns Monument and through Princes Street Gardens before climbing the Royal Mile to the city’s centrepiece at the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny and St Margaret’s Chapel.
Today spend the day exploring Edinburgh in more depth; perhaps enjoy a spot shopping along Princes Street, spend time in Scotland’s national museums and galleries or discover royal Edinburgh with visits to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s Edinburgh residence, or the Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith Docks, the official royal yacht for over forty years. You may choose to visit the seat of Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, climb Arthur’s Seat for amazing cityscape vistas or simply soak up Edinburgh’s excellent pub scene.
Overnight: Edinburgh Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Holyrood Park credit VisitScotland / Kenny Lam
DAY 12 – Tour Ends in Edinburgh
Today enjoy breakfast at your hotel and any final sightseeing or souvenir shopping in Edinburgh before either taking a flight from Edinburgh Airport or boarding the train for an onward rail journey within Britain. Let us know if you need additional rail travel to London and accommodation in the English capital.
Meals: Full Scottish Breakfast
Waverley Station, Edinburgh
Proposed Accommodations & Pricing
Glasgow x 1 night
Millennium Glasgow Hotel
Radisson Blu Glasgow
Fort William x 1 night
Portree, Isle of Skye x 2 nights
Cuillin Hills Hotel
Inverness x 2 nights
Royal Highland Hotel
Inverness Palace Hotel
Aberdeen x 2 nights
Jurys Inn Aberdeen
Stirling x 1 night
Stirling Highland Hotel
Edinburgh x 2 nights
Parliament House Hotel
Prices are per person, sharing a double/twin room based on May 2022 departure. A single supplement applies for solo travellers provided on request.
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
Meals and/or sightseeing other than that outlined above.
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