Scottish Highland Railways - 5 day tour
Scottish Highland Railways
5 day/4 night
Climb through jagged peaks on the stunning journey from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh. Watch for stags on the skyline as you travel the West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig – complete with an unforgettable crossing of the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. A steam-powered jaunt into yesteryear on the Strathspey Railway completes this iconic adventure around beautiful Scotland by train.
Cairngorms National Park - enjoy a relaxing stay amongst the finest scenery Scotland has to offer
Loch Carron - marvel at the spectacular views of the loch and the Torridon Mountains
Strathspey Steam Railway -delight in a nostalgic train journey through the Cairngorms National park
Highland Folk Museum – step back in time to discover what life was like for Highlanders during earlier times
West Highland Line - experience the scenic trip experts call "The Greatest Railway Journey in the World"
Movie locations - Harry Potter, Monarch of the Glen and The Wicker Man
Hotel accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Edinburgh/Inverness - Cairngorms National Park - Carrbridge/Newtonmore
Our railway adventure starts as we arrive in Scotland and head northwards by motorcoach.
If Edinburgh is our gateway, the first part of our journey takes us over the Firth of Forth and into the ancient Kingdom of Fife.
From Perth, we follow the banks of the River Tay into Highland Perthshire, a land of towering trees and mountain vistas. Look out for whitewashed Blair Castle, the home of the Duke of Atholl, before we start our ascent through Glen Garry.
To reach our hotel from Inverness Airport, we journey through the numerous delights of the UK's largest National Park, the Cairngorms. Home to a quarter of Scotland's native forest, and teeming with rare and endangered species.
On arrival, a traditional warm Highland welcome awaits at our hotel in either Newtonmore or Carrbridge.
Overnight: Highlander Hotel, Newtonmore/Carrbridge Hotel, Carrbridge (or similar) (4 nights)
Day 2 - Kyle Line Excursion
This morning's breakfast will no doubt be filled with excited conversation about what lies ahead.
Suitably refreshed, we board our coach for the 60-minute journey to the Highland capital, Inverness, where our mode of transport changes from road to rail as we board our train and set off westwards on the 80-mile jaunt to Kyle of Lochalsh.
Sit back and spend two-and-a half hours savouring spectacular scenery on one of the 'Great Railway Journeys' as recommended by Michael Palin.
Enjoy stunning views across the Black Isle as we hug the southern banks of the Beauly Firth, before passing through the charming town of Dingwall as our trip heads north.
Once the compass points west again, we'll climb through the rugged Highlands in the shadow of the mighty 4,200ft-high Liathach and neighbouring Torridon peaks.
Nestled snugly opposite the Isle of Skye, we'll have time to explore its many charms and enjoy local refreshments before returning to our hotel to reflect on a truly exhilarating first day by rail.
Day 3 - Strathspey Steam Railway journey
We start today with a drive to the tiny post town of Boat of Garten. Awaiting us at the station is a loving-restored train belonging to the Strathspey Steam Railway. The sight of the gleaming locomotive instantly transports us back to the glory days of rail travel.
As the whistle blows to send us on our way, we take our seats excitedly and prepare to enjoy a nine-and-a half mile trip through idyllic Highland scenery.
The gentle click-clack and rhythm of the rails is a familiar companion as we follow the twists and turns of the glittering River Spey, steaming proudly across moors and through forests before arriving in the celebrated town of Aviemore.
Here, we will have a chance to discover the many delights of this famous outdoor activity centre and spend time enjoying tasty Highland fare.
After returning to Newtonmore, the afternoon is yours to spend as you wish – but a trip to the fascinating Highland Folk Museum is highly recommended.
During the visit, journey back in time for the second time today and learn what Highland life was like two hundred years ago, exploring its exhibitions of historic homes and ancient artefacts.
Day 4 - West Highland Line excursion
The day begins with a drive southwest to bustling Fort William, which is attractively situated on the banks of Loch Linnhe.
Hopping aboard our carriage, the first of today's many landmarks can be seen as all 4,413 feet of the mighty Ben Nevis bids us farewell.
Gathering pace, we glide through steep valleys of red deer and alongside the smooth waters of Loch Eil before completing the ambition of every railfan – crossing the 21 giant arches of the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.
As we press on through this daunting landscape where roads fear to cross, we pass Loch Eilt with its sprinkling of islands and pay a visit to the remote station at Arisaig. Skirting the gleaming white sands of Morar, we finally arrive in Mallaig, where you are free to spend the remaining time exploring its culture and sampling delicious kippers at the smokery before our coach returns us to our hotel.
Day 5 - Carrbridge/Newtonmore - Highland Perthshire - Edinburgh
Our last breakfast is slightly tinged with sadness as we bid a fond farewell to the Highlands and board a different mode of transport for the journey to the airport.
If your flight departs from Inverness Airport it's a short drive through the Spey Valley to reach the Highland Capital.
Heading to Edinburgh Airport, our route south takes us past some of the most beautiful countryside in Scotland as we snake through the delights of rural Perthshire. Known as "the big county" due to its sprawling size at the heart of the Highlands, you'll have the perfect opportunity to admire its wide variety of landscapes.
Gazing west, the snow-topped Grampian Mountains dominate their surroundings, standing guard over the numerous lochs and glens beneath. Keep an eye out for the 3,983ft tall Ben Lawers, which is the county's highest peak and the fourth biggest in Scotland.
As we move past numerous farms and traditional settlements, the land becomes flatter until the outline of the Ochil Hills heralds our arrival in the Central Belt. From here, it's a pleasant few miles until we glimpse the landmarks of Edinburgh in the distance, including the rugged profile of Arthur's Seat.
Journeys end is at Edinburgh Airport, where all that remains is to disembark and depart with our memories of an unforgettable few days on the pride of Scotland's railways.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Air-Inclusive Escorted Tour?
These holidays are the perfect blend of value and convenience. Fly directly from many regional airports to your highland gateway, where your tour director is waiting to greet you.
Everything is taken care of so you can sit back and relax in the knowledge that your tour has been expertly planned and that nothing has been left to chance. Each package includes return flights to Scotland, quality accommodation, many meals, luxury coach transport and the services of an experienced tour director.
You'll find these tours to be well-paced with the perfect balance of organised sightseeing and free time so you can do your own thing. Not sure where to go? Your friendly tour director will be on hand to give you guidance.
A comprehensive tour itinerary will be issued as part of your tour documents which you'll receive around three weeks prior to travel.
If you prefer, you can purchase this tour on a land only basis making your own transport arrangements. Land only customers should make their own way to the first night's hotel.
What airports can I fly from?
The departure airports vary by tour departure and itinerary. Here is a list of the airports used in the tour programme: Belfast City George Best (BHD), Birmingham (BHX), Bristol (BRS), Exeter (EXT), London Gatwick (LGW), London Heathrow (LHR), London Luton (LTN), London Stansted (STN), Manchester (MAN) and Southampton (SOU).
Please contact us for air-inclusive prices
Tell me about the train journeys featured in this tour?
Scotland’s railway lines travel through some of the finest scenery in Britain. On this tour, you’ll travel on scheduled ScotRail trains giving you an authentic travel experience.
Ravel from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh through dramatic and magnificent scenery. See picturesque villages including Garve, Lochcarron and Plockton, famous for its palm trees. Enjoy spectacular views of the Torridon Peaks and the Cuillin Hills on Skye.
West Highland Line
Considered by aficionados as one of the most scenic railway lines in Europe, the 42-mile ride from Fort William to Mallaig will take you past Britain’s tallest mountain (Ben Nevis), deepest freshwater lake (Loch Morar) and shortest river (River Morar). The train will cross the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct during the journey, just like the Hogwarts Express did in the Harry Potter movies.
This popular preserved railway line is operated by enthusiastic volunteers who have created a nostalgic travelling experience from the 1950s.
From the delightful village of Boat of Garten, the steam-hauled train puffs its way 5 miles through the heather-clad moors and woodlands of the Cairngorms National Park to Aviemore, situated in the heart of the Monadhliath and Cairngorm Mountains.
How much luggage can I bring?
You can bring one suitcase and one carry-on bag per person. The maximum weight allowance and luggage dimensions varies by tour so you should check the tour documentation for the luggage policy that applies to your tour.
What meals are included?
One of the great things about travelling on an Escorted/ Premium Escorted Tour is the generous number of meals included as standard.
Start the day with a freshly cooked breakfast or, if you prefer, there’s always a lighter continental option available too. You’ll find a number of evening dinners included which will give you the opportunity of sampling some local delicacies.
Check the “What’s Included' list on the relevant tour page for the exact number of meals that are featured on your tour.
- 4 nights hotel accommodation
- Location: Newtonmore (4) or Carrbridge (4)
- Cooked/Continental breakfast (4)
- Table d' hote dinners (4)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Single journey on the Strathspey Railway from Boat of Garten to Aviemore
- Single journey by scheduled Scotrail train in standard class from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh
- Admission to Highland Folk Museum
- Single journey by scheduled Scotrail train in standard class from Fort William to Mallaig
- Touring by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats
- All baggage handling and hotel tips are included
- Services throughout the tour of a professional Tour Director
- Service charges and taxes
Belfast City George Best/Birmingham/Bristol/Exeter/London Gatwick/London Heathrow/London Luton/Manchester/Southampton Airports
Check-in: TBC hrs
Tour Departs: TBC hrs
Tour Returns: TBC hrs
Please contact us for information on child prices.
The price of this tour includes hotel accommodation with en-suite bathroom.
Return economy flights to either Edinburgh or Inverness Airports from Belfast City George Best, Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, Manchester or Southampton Airports are available.
The prices quoted are based on land only. Please contact us for air-inclusive prices
Train journeys on the West Highland and Kyle Lines are by scheduled Scotrail services operated by diesel-powered trains. The Strathspey Steam Railway journey may be by steam-hauled or diesel train.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.