Edinburgh, Skye and Jacobite Steam Train Experience - 5 day tour
Edinburgh, Skye and Jacobite Steam Train
5 day/4 night
Speed to Edinburgh by express train, then see the city sights by hop-on, hop-off tour and visit the mighty castle. The next day enjoy more time in Edinburgh before taking a scenic train journey through the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Based in Inverness, enjoy a full-day excursion to the scenic Isle of Skye and fairytale Eilean Donan castle. Undoubtedly the highlight is a memorable trip on the West Highland Railway Line aboard the Jacobite Steam Train, the real Hogwarts Express. Return directly to London by high-speed train.
Express Train - enjoy a comfortable journey with reserved seats between London and Edinburgh
Edinburgh - get the best views and visit mighty Edinburgh Castle on a hop-on, hop-off tour
Inverness - unwind with a relaxing three-night stay in the Highland Capital
Isle of Skye - see the weird landscapes of Trotternish, visit the delightful port town of Portree and marvel at the towering Cuillin mountain range
Jacobite Steam Train - all aboard for a scenic trip on the real Hogwarts Express
Movie locations - Harry Potter, Highlander and Fast and Furious
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - London - Edinburgh - Discovering Edinburgh
The whistle blows, and your express train glides out of Kings Cross Station in the heart of London, bound for Edinburgh. As you speed northwards to the Scottish Capital, you’ll travel through the Viking City of York, Durham, famed for its magnificent Cathedral and bustling Newcastle, which straddles the River Tyne.
During the journey, enjoy free WiFi and access to the onboard buffet, where tasty food and drink can be purchased. It will typically take under 4 hours and 30 minutes to reach Edinburgh.
On arrival in Edinburgh, it’s a short walk to your city centre hotel, and after you’ve checked in, Scotland’s Capital City is waiting to be discovered.
Join an open-top bus tour to see many of Edinburgh’s most famous attractions, including the historic Grassmarket, where many gruesome tales are told. Travel along the wide streets of the Georgian New Town to see grand squares before heading into the medieval Old Town; both these areas have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
When ready, hop aboard the next tour bus to continue your sightseeing adventure.
The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: Motel One, Edinburgh (or similar)
Day 2 - Edinburgh - The Highland Line - Inverness
Edinburgh is the World’s first UNESCO City of Literature, so after breakfast, why not head out to discover some of its literary connections?
Enjoy a coffee in the café where JK Rowling penned her first Harry Potter novel or visit the historic Greyfriars Kirkyard, where the names on the gravestones gave her the inspiration for the names of her characters.
At lunchtime, make for the railway station to join the ScotRail Inter7City train bound for Inverness. Get ready for a beautiful journey as the Highland mainline is considered one of the most scenic in Scotland.
Travel from Edinburgh northwards towards Stirling, with its grand castle standing guard over the city. Next, travel through Gleneagles station, which serves the famous golfing resort, then across Strathearn to Perth.
“Highland Perthshire” boasts a landscape of towering trees and fast-flowing rivers. After calling at historic Dunkeld and Birnham station, we follow the Rivers Tay and Tummel to arrive at Pitlochry, a pleasant Victorian resort town.
The train will make the ascent through Glen Garry, where there are fine views of the Grampian Mountains, and if you are lucky, a deer herd can often be seen grazing on the heather. Soon we reach the highest point on the British rail network at Druimuachdar Summit.
After leaving lonely Dalwhinnie, the train enters the scenic Spey Valley, where the towering summits of the Cairngorm mountain range provide an impressive backdrop.
On arrival in Inverness, it’s a short walk to your hotel. Tonight why not seek out some traditional folk music played in a local pub?
Overnight: Premier Inn Inverness City Centre, Inverness (or similar) (3 nights)
Day 3 - Isle of Skye Excursion
Today head for the picturesque Isle of Skye. Leaving Inverness behind, you’ll drive through beautiful Glen Carron, stopping to view the panorama of Loch Carron and the mountains of Applecross.
After crossing “over the sea to Skye”, the magnificent mountain scenery of the Cuillin Hills is our first treat. These soaring peaks dominate the island, first the gentle Red Cuillins, then the jagged and daunting Black Cuillins. There is a photo stop where the alp-like views are at their most impressive.
The delightful town of Portree is the island's largest settlement. During our time here, why not take a stroll down to the harbour? The scene of the pastel-painted houses that overlook the bay makes for a brilliant selfie.
After lunch, we head for the Trotternish Peninsula to see the weird landscapes, including the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing. We stop at Kilt Rock, where the basalt columns are said to resemble the pleats in a kilt. From the viewing platform, watch as the Mealt waterfall plummets 60m into the sea below.
Back on the mainland, we stop at picturesque Eilean Donan Castle. There is the chance to take photographs of this fairytale castle that featured in many films, including Highlander and The World Is Not Enough.
Enjoy a scenic drive through Glen Shiel, enjoying stunning views of the Five Sisters mountain range. Our return to Inverness will take us along the banks of Loch Ness. We’ll arrive in Inverness city centre around 19:30 hrs.
Day 4 - Jacobite Steam Train Excursion
It’s an exciting day ahead as you look forward to a memorable journey aboard the Jacobite Steam Train, the real Hogwarts Express.
From Inverness tour through the Great Glen and make our way towards Fort William. Head towards Mallaig along the famous “Road to the Isles”, one of Scotland’s most famous routes.
Enjoy beautiful views over Loch Eil before stopping to view the impressive Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous in the Harry Potter movies. You’ll cross the 21 arches of this magnificent viaduct later – by train.
Glenfinnan is also renowned for its connections to Bonnie Prince Charlie, who landed in this part of Scotland in August 1745 to raise his standard at the start of the ill-fated Jacobite Uprising. The haunting monument you can see was built to commemorate the Highlanders who lost their lives fighting for the cause.
Look out for the stunning beaches at Arisaig and hear the sad tale of the Highland Clearances that took place here before reaching the end of the road at Mallaig. This popular fishing port is just the perfect location for a freshly-landed seafood lunch.
At the station, join the train and take your seats. Departure time comes, and as the train puffs its way out of the station, an unforgettable journey along the famous West Highland Railway begins.
The steam-hauled train will pass Scotland’s shortest river, deepest loch and highest mountain along the 42-mile trip. Have your camera at the ready for a souvenir photo as the train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct, just like the Hogwarts Express!
On arrival in Fort William, reboard your coach for a scenic drive back to Inverness.
Day 5 - Inverness - Edinburgh - London
This morning enjoy an early breakfast before heading to Inverness Railway Station, where the Highland Chieftain express train is waiting.
From Inverness, catch a glimpse or two of the Moray Firth before the tracks turn southwards, and you head for the stunning beauty of the Cairngorms National Park. The range of peaks that we will see includes Ben Macdui, Britain’s second-highest mountain.
After passing through Dalwhinnie, with its famous distillery, there are beautiful vistas to enjoy as the train descends through the Grampian Mountains.
As we arrive in Blair Atholl, look out for whitewashed Blair Castle, the seat of the Duke of Atholl. He is the only person in the UK who is allowed his own private army, The Atholl Highlanders.
From Perth, travel through gentle scenery to reach the ancient city of Stirling with its impressive monument to the great Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace.
The train will follow the same route as your northbound journey from Edinburgh and is scheduled to arrive at London’s Kings Cross Station by late afternoon (subject to change).
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Freestyle Train Tour?
This carefully planned semi-independent tour will stretch your holiday time to the max without making you feeling rushed. A unique combination of travel by train, comfortable accommodation and quality sightseeing will give you extra time to explore Scotland in greater detail.
All the documentation you need, including your rail tickets, will be emailed to you. Just show them on your smart device as you go, if required. Any questions or if you need your documents early - just email or call us. We’re here to help.
On tour, you’ll travel independently by train to and from London. We’ll make sure you have a reserved seat, and we’ll send you a comprehensive itinerary so you know what’s happening at any time during your tour, as well as helpful city guides for you to download to your smart device.
Accommodation in Edinburgh and Inverness is provided in comfortable 3-star hotels that are just a short walk from the railway station and conveniently located for sightseeing and the tour departure points.
A tasty buffet breakfast is provided daily (except day one).
The sightseeing tours included in this package are led by an experienced driver/guide who will provide an entertaining and informative commentary in English.
What type of room should I choose?
Selecting the right sleeping arrangements can be a little bit confusing, so here is a description of what you can expect from the hotel accommodation offered as part of your tour:
Single room - this is a room for one person sleeping in a single bed.
Twin room - this is a room for two people sleeping in two separate beds.
Double room - this is a room for two people sharing one large bed.
Family room - this is a room for three people sleeping in one large bed (2 people) and one single bed (1 person).
Please note that a family room is normally a standard double or twin room with either a sofa bed or a rollaway bed.
All room types, other than twin rooms, are subject to availability.
What is the journey on the Jacobite Steam Train like?
Described as one of the great railway journeys of the world this memorable trip will take you past a list of impressive extremes.
Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis!
The train will cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct (a location made famous in the Harry Potter films) which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument. The train may pause on the viaduct, time permitting, to allow you to take in the magnificent view.
Standard class tickets are included in the cost of the tour. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to upgrade these tickets to First Class.
How will I find my hotel?
This Freestyle Train Tour has been very carefully planned. Your hotel has been selected not just for its comfort but also for its location close to the railway station as well as your sightseeing requirements.
Concise directions on how to reach your hotel will be given in your customised tour itinerary.
What meals are included?
A full Scottish breakfast is included from day 2 onwards. This hearty meal can consist of fruit juice; a choice of cereal; bakery basket; cooked items such as eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato and, maybe, a taste of haggis! plus tea or coffee.
Vegetarian and vegan options are always available.
Lunch and dinner are not included in the price.
During the touring day there will be a stop where you can enjoy lunch in a local pub or restaurant.
- 4 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Edinburgh (1) and Inverness (3)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (4)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Hop-on, Hop-off tour of Edinburgh
- Admission to Edinburgh Castle
- Full day excursion to the Isle of Skye with a local driver/guide
- Full day excursion to Mallaig and the Road to the Isles with a local driver/guide
- One-way Jacobite Steam Train trip with reserved seats on the West Highland Railway Line
- Standard class train tickets from London to Edinburgh, Edinburgh to Inverness and Inverness to London
- Seat reservations on all train journeys where available
- Customised tour itinerary & Official Edinburgh and Inverness guides
- Service charges and taxes
- Admission charges unless stated above
- Meals, snacks or items of a personal nature
- Gratuity to your driver/guide
From Kings Cross Railway Station
London N1 9AL
Check-in: 06:30 hrs
Tour Departs: 07:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 15:49 hrs
Child discount applies to children aged 5 to 15 years inclusive.
We’re sorry but children aged under 5 years cannot travel on this tour.
Photo-ID may be requested to confirm discount entitlement.
IMPORTANT: Once booked this tour cannot be changed or cancelled
The price of this tour includes hotel accommodation with en-suite bathroom.
The times shown above are for guidance only. The train times for your journey will be shown on your tickets and itinerary.
Tour documentation, including service vouchers and tickets, is electronic. A smart device with an IOS or Android operating system is required.
To give you maximum flexibility, admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour (except Edinburgh Castle).
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.
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Customer Reviews Overall Rating:
Rating:(5 /5) 13 Nov 2023
My sister and I have nothing but praise for Scottishtours. Every aspect of our tour was organised so well, right down to directions to various pick up points. Definitely will use them again in the future.Gillian from Godalming, GB
Rating:(4 /5) 30 Jun 2023
Scottish Tours is great about answering questions on the fly, and they have a great nose for budget hotels that still deliver value. Believe me, we picked out our own budget hotel in London and whew. What a mistake. It was a miserable week. Our Scotland portion was definitely what we had wanted the entire time.Julie Ann from ,
Rating:(5 /5) 16 Jun 2023
Prior to booking we had never heard of Scottish Tours, booking through them was a bit of a gamble. A good gamble though, our experience was excellent. David was an excellent communicator and all the tour information and guidance we received was extremely well prepared and organized. We highly recommend Scottish Tours.PATRICIA from MARIPOSA, US