Edinburgh, the Highlands and Islands Rail Tour

Majestic lochs and glens lie in wait as we take in Edinburgh and cross the Highlands, making visits to historic castles and the Isle of Mull. We travel through the West Highlands, tasting local delicacies along the way, culminating in a ‘Scottish Evening’ in the stately Scottish capital.


  • Enjoy two journeys on the West Highland Line, including one aboard the iconic Jacobite Steam Train
  • Travel on the scenic Kyle Line to tour Eilean Donan Castle, journeying cross-country for fantastic views of the wild Scottish countryside
  • Sail to the Isle of Mull and visit 13th-century Duart Castle
  • Cruise Loch Ness and visit Urquhurt Castle
  • Enjoy local flavours with a whisky tasting and two Scottish themed dinners

Days 1-2 – Edinburgh and Fort William

We meet at our hotel in Edinburgh. After checking in, you are free to start exploring the city. On Day 2, we board the train to Glasgow. Changing trains, we travel along the famous West Highland Line, passing Loch Lomond and wild Rannoch Moor. Mighty mountains provide an imposing backdrop to our journey as we approach Fort William. On arrival we transfer to our hotel in either Fort William or Ballachulish.
– Includes: Day 1 – Dinner, Day 2 – Breakfast, Dinner

Days 3-4 – The Isle of Mull and Glencoe

We catch the ferry from Oban this morning. Leaving the mainland, we make the 40-minute crossing to the Isle of Mull. As we head through the small islands and across Loch Linnhe, the views are awe-inspiring; rugged coastline, hills rising from the water’s edge, an endless tapestry of green, purple and brown moorland, and jagged, exposed rock faces. We arrive in Craignure and make our way to Duart Castle, the 13th-century home of the Maclean Clan. Sitting exposed on the island’s west coast, we explore the different rooms, which tell the story of the Macleans through the ages, before making the scenic drive to Tobermory. Spend some free time in the island’s colourful capital, famous for its fish, before returning to our hotel for a traditional whisky tasting ahead of dinner.

We visit Neptune’s Staircase on Day 4, an impressive flight of locks operated by a team of at least three lock keepers. Situated on the Caledonian Canal, they overcome a height of 64 feet over the course of one-and-a-half hours. We continue to Loch Linnhe, enjoying a scenic cruise across the water ahead of our visit to Glencoe. One of Scotland’s most iconic glens, it’s full of dramatic scenery, including waterfalls, mountains and fjordlike lochs. Tonight, we celebrate in true Scottish style with an authentic meal at our hotel, followed by dancing and a piper.
– Includes: Day 3 – Breakfast, Dinner, Day 4 – Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 – The Jacobite Steam Train

This morning we join the Jacobite Steam Train* for a journey to Mallaig along the final leg of the wonderful West Highland Line. During our journey, the train climbs into the mountains surrounding Glenfinnan, a small town famous as the rallying point for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s assault on the British throne. Next, we cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct, seen in the ‘Harry Potter’ films and an iconic piece of British engineering. As we descend towards Mallaig, we drop down to the sea’s edge and the landscape offers up our first view of the rugged ‘Small Isles’ – Rum, Eigg and Muck – which hang tantalisingly close offshore. After some free time, we make the return journey by coach, stopping at the Glenfinnan Monument along the way. On arrival in Inverness, we check into our hotel for three nights. *On early departures the Jacobite Steam Train does not operate and we make this excursion using Scotrail’s scheduled service.
– Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Days 6-7 – Loch Ness and the Kyle Line
We take a cruise on Loch Ness today, famous for its mythical monster. It’s also blessed with some of Scotland’s most breathtaking scenery. Surrounded by mountains, we glide by fairytale forests before visiting Urquhart Castle, a 13th-century castle perched on the banks of the loch. These atmospheric ruins are a delight to explore, and you have some free time before we return to Inverness.

Day 7 takes us on a magical journey along the Kyle Line. Travelling east to west, we cross the Caledonian Canal, and skirt crystal-clear lakes before winding through wooded hillsides, over sparse moors, and past seaside towns. We arrive at Kyle of Lochalsh, the end of the line, located across a short stretch of water from the Isle of Skye. We continue to Eilean Donan Castle for a tour. Situated on a tiny island in Loch Duich and joined to the mainland by a small, elegant bridge, the island was designed to defend the region from invading Vikings.
– Includes: Day 6 – Breakfast, Dinner, Day 7 – Breakfast

Days 8-9 – Inverness and Edinburgh

We leave Inverness, travelling south by rail through the Cairngorms to Edinburgh via Aviemore, Pitlochry and Kingussie. Tonight, we enjoy a Scottish evening that includes a traditional piper, fascinating Scottish folk stories and snippets of local history. We also sample a menu of traditional dishes. After breakfast on Day 9, your holiday comes to an end and you’re free to head home.
– Includes: Day 8 – Breakfast, Dinner, Day 9 – Breakfast

Itinerary variations
– The itinerary may vary slightly depending on departure date, we will explain at the time of booking

Optional extras
– Rail connections from around the UK
– Additional nights in Edinburgh