Edinburgh, Skye and the Far North
On this comprehensive tour you will experience Scotland from many viewpoints from the history of Edinburgh to the scenic beauty of the Isle of Skye and the magnificent seascapes of the far north. This comprehensive tour has something for everyone!
London to Edinburgh
All aboard! Join your express train for the swift journey to Scotland. Along the way the train will travel through the historic communities of York and Durham; Newcastle and Gateshead which straddle the famous River Tyne and Berwick-upon-Tweed, where we cross the Border and enter Scotland. There are wonderful sea views to enjoy as we make our way along the cliff tops towards Edinburgh. On arrival in Edinburgh it is a short walk to your hotel.
This afternoon explore Edinburgh by open-top bus. This absorbing tour will first take you into the Georgian splendour of the New Town with it’s wide streets and grand squares. You’ll see majestic Edinburgh Castle which has stood guard over the city since the earliest of times. Next you’ll discover the hidden secrets of the medieval Old Town where murder and mystery were the canvas on which the history of this historic city was painted. A joint highlight will be the views of the Scottish Parliament building and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Queen’s official residence in Scotland.
Hotel: Jury’s Inn (or similar)
Edinburgh – Loch Ness – Inverness (3 nights)
We head into the Highlands today as we make our way from Edinburgh to Inverness. The journey starts with fantastic views of Stirling Castle which sits atop a volcanic core. Soon we’ve crossed from the Lowlands into the Highlands and almost instantly the scenery around us changes into a panorama of lochs and mountains.
Enjoy the views as we stop in spectacular Glen Coe. Hear the sad story of the massacre of the resident MacDonald Clan by Campbell troops in 1692 which has given this scenic valley the epithet of "The Glen of Weeping”. Soon we’re in Fort William, Scotland’s outdoor sport centre, before entering the Great Glen.
We’ll drive the entire length of mysterious Loch Ness, so keep a careful watch just in case! There is a stop at Urquhart Castle where you can visit this picturesque ruin which overlooks the deepest part of the loch. Here you can also enjoy a short cruise on the loch before making the short journey to Inverness.
Hotel: Ramada Encore (or similar)
The Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle
There’s an exciting day in prospect as we head for the Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Island of Skye. Our first stop is in the little village of Invermoriston so we can explore this pleasant little community. Soon we are heading through Glen Shiel, a spectacular valley with mountains over 3,000 feet soaring skywards on both sides of the road.
Iconic Eilean Donan Castle is next. This picturesque castle stands on a little island at the confluence of Lochs Duich and Alsh. There is a stop here so you can enjoy the views and take a tour of the castle.
Soon we are crossing "over the sea to Skye”. This famous island is known for its wild and beautiful landscapes of deep lochs and jagged mountains. This is a land that has had a harsh history, with Norse invasions, fierce clan battles and the tragic Highland Clearances of the 19th Century. The stories that you will hear will be even more stirring as you drive through this dramatic scenery!
The main stop of the day will be in the little fishing village of Elgolwhere the views across Loch Scavaig, towards the Black Cuillin Hills, are considered by many to be the finest in Britain!
We return to the mainland and enjoy a drive through Glen Carron and the Black Isle before returning to Inverness.
The Far North
Today we have a day of nature, history and scenic beauty as we travel to John O’Groats and the Far North. Our east coast route offers beauty, solitude and a wealth of history. We’ll discover ruined brochs of the Iron Age people to the carved stones left by the mysterious Dark Aged Picts.
We head for the Cromarty Firth where, hopefully, we will catch a glimpse of the local seal population. The attractive village of Golspie boasts a railway station that was built for the 3rd Duke of Sutherland who lived in nearby Dunrobin Castle. High above the village is a huge statue to the first Duke who infamously evicted some 15,000 of his tenants to make way for sheep farming during a sad time in our history called the "Highland Clearances”. We will learn more as we travel northwards.
The traditional industry in this part of Scotland was fishing and as such many attractive harbours were built where the fishing boats shelter to this day. We’ll make a stop so you can enjoy a harbourside stroll.
The northern coast of Scotland offers a rich variety of scenery from tall storm swept cliffs to gentle sandy bays. After an "I was there” photograph at John O’Groatswe travel to remote Duncansby Headwhere a lighthouse stands guard over the surrounding cliffs. Duncansby is rich in birdlife including Guillemot, Kittiwakes and, the most famous residents, Puffins (until late July).
This tour is timed to connect with the overnight sleeper service to London. Please contact us for a quotation if you would like to take this option.
Inverness to London
It’s an early start as we transfer to Inverness Railway Station to catch the famed "Highland Chieftain” train to London. This "iron road” will take you through the Cairngorm National Parkbefore climbing to reach Slochd Summit. As the train leaves Aviemore look out for the high peaks of the Cairngorm Mountains in the distance.
Soon we’ll reach the Druimuachdar Pass, the highest summit in the British rail network before descending towards the gentle scenery of Perthshire. Look out for white-washed Blair Castle, the home of the Duke of Atholl. From Perth the train continues to Gleneagles, built to serve the nearby 5 star hotel, then to Stirling and Edinburgh.
From Edinburgh the train will follow the same route as your northbound journey.
This tour is unescorted.