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. The next day journey through the Highlands by comfortable inter-city train to reach Inverness then take an afternoon tour to Loch Ness. From Inverness, enjoy a full-day excursion to the magical Isle of Skye to see the towering Cuillin Mountains and iconic Eilean Donan Castle. Enjoy time to relax in colourful Portree before visiting the remarkable Trotternish Peninsula. Return to London by train through the Cairngorms National Park and the Grampian Mountains.
Edinburgh - explore by hop-on, hop-off tour to see Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace
Loch Ness - see 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, Kilt Rock 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 comfortable express 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 - Loch Ness - Inverness
After breakfast, head to the railway station and settle into the reserved seats on the morning Inter7City service bound for Inverness.
Our scenic journey along the Highland Main Line makes a stop in historic Stirling, famed for its ancient castle proudly standing guard over the city.
Departing from Perth, enter Highland Perthshire, where we experience an ever-changing landscape of soaring trees, fast-flowing rivers and attractive villages. Leaving Pitlochry, we enter the Pass of Killiecrankie, the scene of a famous Jacobite Battle, then pass Blair Castle, the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Atholl.
As we make the long climb through Glen Garry, keep a careful watch as deer and soaring eagles can often be seen along this picturesque section of the route. At Druimuachdar summit (452 m/1,484 ft), we reach the highest point on the UK rail network.
The Cairngorms National Park is famed for its natural beauty, and as we travel through the Spey Valley, the peaks of the Cairngorms Mountain Range provides a spectacular backdrop to our journey.
On arrival in Inverness, make the short walk to our city centre hotel, our base in the Highland Capital.
After time to relax, join a local guide for an afternoon tour to Loch Ness. Discover the legend of “Nessie”, the Loch Ness Monster, before hopping aboard a cruiser for a sail across the deep and mysterious waters of the loch to visit Urquhart Castle.
Overnight: Premier Inn Inverness Centre River Ness, Inverness (or similar) (2 nights)
Day 3 - Isle of Skye Excursion
From Inverness, travel to reach the remote village of Achnasheen, then through picturesque Glen Carron, where there is a stop at the viewpoint to enjoy the stunning panorama over Loch Carron and the Applecross Mountains.
After crossing the majestic Skye Bridge, there is a stop in Kyleakin, so we can enjoy the views over Loch Alsh to the tiny 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 the Trotternish Peninsula, famous for its spectacular rock scenery. During our scenic drive, see The Quiraing and its strange rock formations known as The Prison, The Needle and The Table.
Stop at Kilt Rock, a 61m (200 ft) cliff where the basalt resembles the tartan of a pleated kilt. Look out for the nearby Falls of Mealt cascading into the sea below.
The last visit will be to the Old Man of Storr, a 49m (160 ft) pinnacle that stands overlooking Loch Leanthan below. Its scenic location has been featured in several movies, including King Arthur and the Big Friendly Giant.
Back on the mainland, there is a photo-stop at Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland's best-known icons. The castle stands on an islet in Loch Duich connected by a little bridge and is one of the most unmistakable Scottish scenes.
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 along the banks of mysterious Loch Ness to Inverness.
Day 4 - Inverness - Edinburgh - London
Enjoy an early breakfast, then make your way to Inverness Railway Station, where the “Highland Chieftain” Azuma train awaits to return us 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 location of the famous battle in 1746.
After leaving Dalwhinnie, the train will descend through Glen Garry to reach Highland Perthshire, once more.
Departing 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 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 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 before your tour starts. If you require your documentation earlier, just let us know, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.
All the vouchers and tickets will be in electronic format, so all you need to do is download them onto your smart device, and you’re good to go.
If you don’t have a smartphone or prefer hard copies, the documents we send are printer-friendly.
What happens if I miss my train?
The tickets 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 the railway stations at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time of your train so that you have time to locate the departure platform and board your train in good time.
- 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
- Afternoon tour to Loch Ness with a local driver/guide including a loch cruise and admission to Urquhart Castle
- 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, 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: 15:54 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.
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.
Blogs and Guides - discover insider tips and ideas
Customer Reviews Overall Rating:
Rating:(5 /5) 21 Sep 2021
I booked a trip through Scottish Tours to Edinburgh, Skye and the Scottish Highlands. The communication is very efficient and professional. My tickets and itinerary arrived by email and everything ran very smoothly. The hotel in Edinburgh was comfortable and close to the Royal Mile so was convenient for everything I wanted to see. Next day I joined my tour group to the Highlands led by our guide Andy. He was so knowledgeable and was always checking on everyone to make sure they were okay. He went above and beyond what I was expecting. Our minibus was comfortable and clean We saw so much of the Highlands and had plenty of stops for photographs, I took the optional Loch Ness cruise which I would recommend, although I was disappointed not to see Nessie! I stayed at the Penta Hotel in the center of Inverness. Again, it was comfortable and had a nice bar which is where breakfast was served each morning. It had a good location, just a short walk from the train station which was handy as the train to London leaves quite early. Overall, I was very impressed with Scottish Tours and would recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see Scotland.from London,
Rating:(5 /5) 28 Sep 2019
This was an excellent tour! Scotland is beautiful!Nancy from Pelham, US
Rating:(5 /5) 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