Edinburgh, Skye and the Far North - 5 day tour
Edinburgh, Skye and the Far North
5 day / 4 night
Speed from London to Edinburgh by high-speed train. On arrival, explore the city on a hop-on, hop-off tour and visit the historic castle. The next day relax with more time in Edinburgh before taking a train through the Highlands to reach Inverness. From your highland base, enjoy excursions to the picturesque Isle of Skye and John O’Groats & the Far North. Return directly to London through the Cairngorms National Park and Highland Perthshire.
Express Train - travel between London and Scotland in comfort with reserved seating
Edinburgh - explore the fascinating history of Edinburgh and visit its colossal castle
Eilean Donan Castle - discover this stunningly beautiful castle
Isle of Skye - see the mighty Cuillin Hills, spend time in colourful Portree and be awed by the Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock
Northern Highlands - visit John O’Groats, Britain’s most northerly village and admire the fairytale Dunrobin Castle
Movie locations - Sunshine on Leith, The World is not enough and Winter Solstice
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - London - Edinburgh - Edinburgh Sightseeing
All aboard! Join your comfortable express train for the speedy journey to Scotland.
Along the way, the train will travel through the historic communities of York, Durham and Newcastle, which sits on the famous River Tyne.
After Berwick-upon-Tweed, we cross the border and enter Scotland. Experience stunning sea views as we make our way along the cliff tops towards Scotland’s Capital City.
On arrival in Edinburgh, it is a short walk to your hotel for tonight.
After you’ve checked in, it’s time to explore Edinburgh by open-top bus. This absorbing tour will first take you into the Georgian splendour of the New Town with its wide streets and grand squares.
Listen to stories of mystery and murder as you travel through the Grassmarket, then visit majestic Edinburgh Castle, which stands guard over the city and has done since the earliest of times. During your visit, see the Scottish Crown Jewels and admire the stunning views over the city from the battlements.
Next, you’ll discover the hidden secrets of the medieval Old Town, where many important events took place in the city’s history.
Get grandstand views of the modern Scottish Parliament building and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, HM The King’s official residence in Scotland.
The remainder of today is free for independent sightseeing.
Overnight: Leonardo Royal Hotel, Edinburgh (or similar)
Day 2 - Edinburgh - The Highland Line - Inverness
After breakfast, head out to discover more of Edinburgh. Why not stroll along the Royal Mile with its narrow medieval houses and many historical attractions?
At Gladstone’s Land, you can discover what life was like in a 17th Century tenement house or head underground to explore 400 years of hidden history at spooky Mary King’s Close.
Later we head into the Highlands on a spectacular rail journey as we make our way from Edinburgh to Inverness by train.
The “iron road” will take us to historic Stirling, where its ancient castle sits atop a volcanic core. Later travel across Strathallan and through the attractive station that serves the famous Gleneagles Hotel and Golf Courses.
Admire the picturesque views as the train heads for the attractive Victorian resort of Pitlochry then, after passing through the Pass of Killiecrankie, see white-washed Blair Castle, the home of the Duke of Atholl.
Our train starts the climb through the Grampian Mountains to reach the Druimuachdar Pass, the highest summit in the British rail network.
As we travel through the attractive Spey Valley, look out for the high peaks of the Cairngorm Mountains on the approach to Aviemore, one of Scotland’s premier outdoor sports venues.
On arrival in Inverness, make your way to your city centre hotel, where the rest of the day is free to enjoy the many attractions of the “Highland Capital”.
Overnight: PentaHotel, Inverness (or similar) (3 nights)
Day 3 - Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Excursion
There is an exciting day in prospect as we head for the lovely Island of Skye.
Our first stop is in the tiny village of Achnasheen, which is surrounded by spectacular scenery.
Next, there is a scenic drive through Glen Carron, stopping along the way to admire the panoramic views over Loch Carron.
Soon we are crossing “over the sea to Skye”.
The magical Isle of Skye is known for its wild and beautiful landscapes of deep lochs and jagged mountains. This land has had a harsh history of 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 colourful fishing port of Portree, which sits around a pretty harbour.
This afternoon we head to the north of the island to explore the dramatic landscapes of the Trotternish Peninsula. We’ll see the impressive obelisk known as the Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock, which is said to resemble a pleated kilt.
The scenic tour continues with magnificent views of the Cuillin Mountains, considered by many to be the finest in Britain!
We return to the mainland and stop at Eilean Donan Castle. This picturesque castle stands on a tiny island at the confluence of Lochs Duich and Alsh. The view of this iconic castle is just perfect for your next social media post.
Soon we are heading through Glen Shiel, a spectacular valley where the “Five Sisters of Kintail” mountain range soar skywards.
The final part of our journey takes us along the banks of Loch Ness and back to Inverness.
Day 4 - John O’Groats and the Far North Excursion
Today we join a new group and driver/guide for a day of nature, history and scenic beauty as we travel to John O’Groats and the Far North.
From Inverness, we head northwards across the Black Isle to the Cromarty Firth, where, hopefully, we will catch sight of members of the local seal population.
The attractive village of Golspie is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches. Nearby is fairytale Dunrobin Castle, the ancestral seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. It resembles a French chateau and overlooks beautiful formal gardens modelled on those at the Palace of Versailles.
During the stop, there is a chance to visit this impressive castle and tour the grounds.
Enjoy incredible sea views as we travel northwards along the famed North Coast 500 route.
We will take a break for lunch in Wick. This former Viking settlement became a prosperous fishing town during the herring boom of the 19th Century. The legacy of the “silver darlings” is an impressive harbour that is still in use today.
Later, we head to John O’Groats; the most northerly village in the British mainland. After the obligatory “I was there” photograph at the signpost, you can take a cliff-top stroll to enjoy the views and, maybe, spot some wildlife.
On our return journey to Inverness, there will be a stop in Dunbeath, where we can take a stroll around its attractive harbour.
Day 5 - Inverness - Edinburgh - London
After an early rise, head to Inverness Railway Station to catch the "Highland Chieftain" train bound for London. As well as comfortable seating, air-conditioning and panoramic windows, the Azuma train also features free wifi.
There is an onboard café serving drinks and locally sourced food throughout the journey.
The train will follow the same route as our northbound journey, including the scenic Cairngorms National Park and Highland Perthshire.
After a brief pause in Edinburgh, the journey southwards takes in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York.
Your tour will terminate at London (Kings Cross) Station around 15:50 hrs (17:55 hrs on Sundays).
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 options are available on this tour and what is the cost?
Other than Edinburgh Castle, admission fees are not included in the cost of the tour. To complement your itinerary you can choose to participate in these exciting options:
The link above will give you more information on this attraction as well as current prices. On some tours discounted prices are available to tour passengers - your driver/guide will provide more information if this applies. Please note that not all attractions take payment by credit/debit card so it is recommended that you carry sufficient cash should you plan to make a visit.
What type of room should I choose?
There are different bedrooms types to choose from, here is what you can expect:
Single room - one person sleeping in a single bed
Twin room - two people sleeping in two separate beds
Double room - two people sharing one large bed
Family room - three people sharing a room sleeping in one large bed (2 people) and one single bed (1 person)
Please note that a family room can be a standard double room with either a sofa bed or a rollaway bed.
What are the train times?
Subject to availability, we will make a reservation for you on a train departing London (Kings Cross) Station between 07:00 hrs and 08:00 hrs (arrival time in Edinburgh between 11:22 hrs and 12:20 hrs).
The return journey will depart Inverness at 07:55 hrs (arrival time in London (Kings Cross): 15:54 hrs).
If you leave Inverness on a Sunday, the departure will be at 09:40 hrs (arrival in London at 17:52 hrs).
I’m an independent spirit, will I enjoy your tours?
Our Freestyle Train Tours are designed to have as much free time as possible. We have designed our tours to combine the freedom of independent travel with the cost advantages of group travel.
In particular, we think that our relaxed excursions from Inverness will appeal to those who enjoy time on their own to enjoy their own pursuits.
- 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 Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye with a local driver/guide
- Full-day excursion to John O’Groats and the Far North with a local driver/guide
- Standard class train tickets from London to Edinburgh, Edinburgh to Inverness and Inverness to London
- Seat reservations on all train journeys when available
- Customised tour itinerary
- Service charges and taxes
- Admission charges
- 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: 15:54 hrs
Child discount applies to children aged 3 to 15 years inclusive.
We’re sorry but children aged under 3 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 are issued in electronic format. 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.
Blogs and Guides - discover insider tips and ideas
Customer Reviews Overall Rating:
Rating:(5 /5) 03 Jun 2022
All the arrangements were top notch. Hotels good, scenery amazing and the drivers really friendly. I would totally recommend this tour.from ,
Rating:(5 /5) 14 Aug 2021
I booked my first ever trip to Scotland with Scottish Tours. I was a bit worried as the tour was described as semi-independent, but everything ran like clockwork. I got my train tickets and vouchers about a week before I was due to leave. The hotels in Edinburgh and Inverness were in great locations and the train journey in both directions was a breeze. Andy, the driver/guide for the first two days of the tour was great. He had a great sense of humour and was very patient with his 10 passengers. He was so knowledge of history and facts was awesome! I hadn’t realised Scotland could be so beautiful and Sky was just amazing. I loved Eilean Donan Castle.I joined another group for my tour to John O’Groats. It was a long day, but the scenery was stunning. Best of all I had couple, Sinclair and Kathleen as the driver and guide. They were lovely and gave lots of information.I would recommend this tour if you want to get a taste of Scotland in a short space of time. Thank you Andy, Sinclair and Kathleen for an amazing trip. And Scottish Tours for arranging it so well.from London, United Kingdom
Rating:(5 /5) 05 Oct 2019
I wanted to visit Scotland on vacation and was looking for 5 days tour from London. I came to know about scottishtours through my search and loved the itinerary of their 5 days tour. It covered most of the places which I wanted to visit and also included return train tickets of London and Scotland. My only concern was there were very few reviews regarding scottishtours even when it said it is member of ABTA. As their tours were offering most of my travel requirements I went ahead and booked the tour and Im so glad I did!!! The tour experience was fantastic. From the start to end there has been no complains. The tour included accommodation and the accommodation that was provided to us was amazing. All located in the center of the city and very close to the coach station was we did not have to hurry in the morning to catch the tour coach. The tour coordinator(Euan) has been very helpful and informative, he made sure everything was arranged perfectly. He also provided us upgrade to our day tour to Skye with the new tour including few more places to visit and we were not disappointed at all. We were arranged tour coaches of Timberbush and Highland experiences and both the tours had excellent guides who told us the stories of the places we were visiting. We missed our coach to inverness(which included Lochness experience) from Edinburgh on the second day of our tour, but the tour was kind enough to arrange an alternative tour(with similar itinerary) which left in an hour and it was awesome. I would definitely recommend Scottishtours for best experience of Scotland.Swathi from London, GB