Edinburgh, Skye and the Highlands - 4 day tour
Edinburgh, Skye and the Highlands
4 day/3 night
Speed northwards to Edinburgh by express train. On arrival, explore the city on a hop-on, hop-off tour. Next day travel to the Highlands by luxury coach to see Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe and Loch Ness. From Inverness enjoy a full-day excursion to the magical Isle of Skye to see the towering Cuillin Mountains and beautiful Fairy Pools. Enjoy time to relax in colourful Portree before visiting Talisker Malt Whisky Distillery. Return to London by train through the Cairngorms National Park and the Grampian Mountains.
Price Range: £645 - £1,020
Edinburgh - explore by hop-on, hop-off tour to see Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace
Loch Ness - visit impressive Urquhart Castle and enjoy a monster-spotting cruise
Inverness - enjoy a relaxing two-night stay in the Capital of the Highlands
Isle of Skye - tour the magical isle to see the soaring peaks of the Cuillin Mountains, vibrant Fairy Pools and the bustling fishing port of Portree
Eilean Donan Castle - see this romantic castle surrounded by beautiful lochs and mountains
Movie locations - Cloud Atlas, Under the Skin and Highlander
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - London - Edinburgh - Edinburgh Sightseeing
Take your seats, sit back and relax as your train glides out of Kings Cross Station in central London bound for Edinburgh. The journey will take around 4 hours 30 minutes, and along the way, the train will make stops in the Viking city of York, Newcastle on the River Tyne and historic Berwick upon Tweed. Once across the Border enjoy panoramic cliff-top views as the train speeds towards Edinburgh.
On arrival in Edinburgh, it is a short walk to your hotel in the heart of the city centre.
This afternoon explore the delights of Scotland’s Capital City on an open-top bus tour. Take your seats on the upper deck to get the very best views as the city’s highlights glide by. During your tour discover the elegance of the Georgian New Town then hear stories of murder and mystery in the Grassmarket area.
Drive along the famous Royal Mile to see the many historic buildings that sit on this famous street. The highlight will be mighty Edinburgh Castle, which has stood guard over the city for centuries.
If you have the time hop-off to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse, forever connected to the tragic story of Mary, Queen of Scots and still a working royal residence. Later enjoy panoramic views of Holyrood Park as the tour returns to the city centre.
Tonight, why not a visit to one of Edinburgh’s historic pubs for a wee taste of whisky?
Visit our Scotland Travel Tips page for helpful planning advice on your trip to Scotland.
Overnight: ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge, Edinburgh (or similar)
Day 2 - Edinburgh - Glen Coe - Inverness
Join your guide and fellow passengers for the start of your Scottish Highland adventure. We leave Edinburgh and make our northwards into the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
Soon we cross into the Highlands and make the dramatic ascent of the “Black Mount” Pass to reach the Great moor of Rannoch. This desolate wilderness extends for some 50 miles and is sprinkled with little lochans, wild rivers and rocky crags.
We take time to enjoy the haunting beauty of Glen Coe, probably Scotland’s most famous glen. It was here in 1692 that 40 of the resident MacDonald clan were murdered by troops of the Clan Campbell acting under Government orders.
Fort William is next. “The Fort”, as it’s known locally, makes the most of its stunning location on the banks of Loch Linnhe and is a popular spot with outdoor sports enthusiasts. On the outskirts, we’ll pause to take in the view of Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain.
Next is the beauty of the Great Glen. We’ll drive along the banks of Loch Lochy and Loch Oich to reach Scotland’s most enigmatic lake, Loch Ness. During the stop here, there will be a chance to learn more about the area’s most famous ‘resident’ on a cruise across the deep and dark waters to visit majestic Urquhart Castle.
On the outskirts of Inverness, you’ll be transferred to your hotel in the centre of the city.
Overnight: Premier Inn Inverness Centre River Ness, Inverness (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 3 - Isle of Skye Excursion
From Inverness travel over the Kessock Bridge and through the Black Isle to reach the remote village of Achnasheen. Travelling through picturesque Glen Carron, there is a stop at the viewpoint to enjoy the panorama over Loch Carron and the Applecross Mountains.
After crossing the majestic Skye Bridge, we’ll have a stop in Kyleakin, so we can enjoy the views over Loch Alsh to the little island of Eilean Ban.
The magical island of Skye is famous for its charm and beauty. Our tour of the island starts with a coastal drive to Broadford. The landscape becomes more rugged as the impressive Cuillin Hills come into view, greeting us with some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland.
Portree, the main town on Skye, sits attractively around a natural harbour. You’ll have time to discover Portree’s many craft shops or breathe in the sea air on a stroll around the harbour.
The next visit is to Talisker Distillery, where you can discover how whisky is made using traditional methods. At the end of the visit, there’s a tutored tasting of a malt whisky then the chance to visit the distillery shop.
Our last stop on the island will be to visit the Fairy Pools. These natural water pools and cascading waterfalls have become one of the most popular attractions on the island and an Instagram sensation.
Back on the mainland, there is a photo-stop at Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland’s best-known icons. It has appeared as the backdrop to many popular movies and is one of the most unmistakeably Scottish of scenes. The castle stands on an islet in Loch Duich connected by a little bridge to the shore.
As we travel through remote Glen Shiel look-out for the towering mountain range known as "The Five Sisters of Kintail".
The last part of the tour will take us to Invermoriston then along the banks of Loch Ness back to Inverness arriving around 20:15 hrs.
Day 4 - Inverness - Edinburgh - London
Enjoy an early breakfast then make your way to Inverness Railway Station where the “Highland Chieftain” Azuma train awaits for the journey to the heart of London.
On leaving Inverness, the train will cross the 29 arches of the impressive Culloden viaduct then skirt Drumossie Moor, the scene of the famous battle in 1746. Later the route enters the Cairngorms National Park with stops scheduled in Aviemore, the popular winter sports resort and Newtonmore.
After leaving Dalwhinnie, the train will reach the Drumochter summit, the highest point on the British rail network. From here we descend through the Grampian Mountains to reach Highland Perthshire. Look out for white-washed Blair Castle and the dramatic Pass of Killiecrankie, the scene of another battle associated with the Jacobite cause.
From Edinburgh, the train will follow the same route as the northbound journey calling at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York. You can expect a mid-afternoon arrival in London’s Kings Cross Station (Sunday departures will reach London a little bit later).
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 print these out and you are good to go. Any questions or if you need your documents early - just email or call us, we’re here to help. On the 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 are convenient for sightseeing and the tour departure points. A buffet breakfast is included in the cost of the tour. The sightseeing tours that are included as part of this package are led by experienced driver/guides who will provide an entertaining and informative commentary in English.
What are the optional extras on this tour and how much do they cost?
Admission fees are not included in the cost of the tour so to complement your itinerary you can choose to participate in these exciting options:
Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness Cruise
Visit hauntingly beautiful Urquhart Castle, once one of Scotland’s largest castles. The castle boasts a commanding presence overlooking the loch. After time to explore the castle and admire the views take to the water for a cruise on Loch Ness. Please note that for operational reasons it’s not possible to visit Urquhart Castle only.
The cost of the ticket is £19 per adult and £15 per child.
Eilean Donan Castle
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.
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.
How and when will I get my train tickets?
All your documentation will be emailed to you approximately 7 days prior to your tour commencing . It is important that you print these documents and bring them with you on the tour as you will need to exchange the vouchers to access the various services that make up this package.
What happens if I miss my train?
The tickets that are issued as part of this package are only valid on the train service shown on the ticket and in your itinerary. If you miss the train you will need to purchase new tickets at your own expense. We recommend arriving at London and Inverness Stations at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time of your train so that you have time to locate the departure platform.
- 3 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Edinburgh (1) and Inverness (2)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (3)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Hop-on, Hop-off tour of Edinburgh
- Full day tour to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands
- Full day excursion to Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye with a local driver/guide
- Standard class train tickets from London to Edinburgh and Inverness to London with seat reservations
- 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: 15:54 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 and guest house 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.
In order to give you maximum flexibility admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.
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Customer Reviews Overall Rating:
Rating:28 Sep 2019
This was an excellent tour! Scotland is beautiful!Nancy from Pelham, US
Rating:13 Sep 2019
We enjoyed this tour very much but we got the wrong impression that there would also be time for a bit of hiking, instead we spent a lot of time on coaches and trains (enjoying the views, ofc) but still too far actually from "touching" them. This tour is great for those who want to get an idea of the lovely places in the Highlands but it's just a glimpse of all the hiking and delightful scenery one could enjoy if only they had more time to wander.Sinziana from Bucharest, RO
Rating:09 Apr 2018
Hotels were basic but did the job. They were well located and that was a big plus. The only issue we faced is we had 3 pieces of luggage with us, and dragging them around was a bit of a hassle as we had to make our own way between stations and hotels. That said, instructions provided were very clear. The tour to Isle of Skye was good but the drive was long. Train ride from Inverness to London felt really long - I would recommend breaking it up with a stop in Edinburgh for a night.Samia from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates