Experience the scenic splendour of the Scottish Highlands at their very best on this unique summer travel tour.
There’s a wide variety of travel, culture, and cuisine on offer as you journey by train, road coach and ferry to culture-rich historic sites. Tour highlights include a trip on ‘The Jacobite’ steam train, one of the great railway journeys of the world; rail journeys from both Kyle of Lochalsh and the ‘Far North’ to Inverness; and visits to two Heritage Railways. Discover the summer romance of the Isle of Skye and explore iconic John O’ Groats. Immerse yourself in Scottish heritage at Dunrobin Castle and the Castle of Mey, and sample traditional Scottish culinary delights at diverse venues. Experience for yourself the glorious appeal of this rugged land and book now for this outstanding travel tour – definitely not to be missed!
Monday 23rd July
‘Highland Chieftain’ to Scotland
From the comfort of the First Class Lounge at London’s King’s Cross Station you join the ‘Highland Chieftain’ for the scenic journey to Scotland. This train follows the route of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) via historic connections and through magnificent landscapes. A light lunch will be served at your seat as you speed on in First Class comfort. Stopping at York to take on passengers who have travelled by service train from Peterborough, you continue along the ECML to Darlington and on to Newcastle and Edinburgh. At Perth you join the Highland Main Line and travel through the amazing Scottish Highlands. Leaving the train at Kingussie a road coach takes you to Fort William where you check in to your hotel, where dinner will be served in the restaurant this evening. (L D)
Tuesday 24th July
‘The Jacobite’; the Isle of Skye; by train to Inverness
A major tour highlight is a trip today on ‘The Jacobite’ steam train, one of the great railway journeys of the world. The train runs from Fort William to Mallaig through magnificent Scottish scenery. Mountains, glens, streams, lochs and the sea combine to provide an unending collage of outstanding views. En route you cross the world famous 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, built entirely of concrete and featured in a number of films and TV series. You’ll have an hour in Mallaig to explore this attractive fishing port and find lunch before boarding the ferry for Armadale on Skye. A road coach then transports you through Kyleakin and Broadford along the coast of this picturesque island. You cross the famous Skye Bridge and return to the mainland at Kyle of Lochalsh. The late afternoon service train to Inverness then takes you along one of Europe’s most scenic railway lines. Running alongside Loch Carron, with superb views of lochs and mountains, you’ll pass through dense forests en route to Inverness. You transfer to a hotel in Inverness, which will be your base for the next four nights. (B)
Wednesday 25th July
After breakfast in the hotel restaurant you depart by road coach for Dunrobin Castle. Travelling north, you cross Kessock Bridge on to the Black Isle, travel alongside Cromarty Firth and over Dornoch Firth to the village of Golspie on the North Sea coast. A piper will greet you on arrival at Dunrobin Castle, the family seat of the Earl of Sutherland. This impressive castle stands on high terraces and affords wonderful views across its formal gardens to the North Sea beyond. There’ll be a guided tour of the castle and its grounds, including a falconry display, before lunch. Afterwards there’ll be more time to explore the castle gardens and museum before you return by road coach to the hotel in Inverness. (B L)
Thursday 26th July
The Far North
Today there’s a trip by road coach to the iconic village of John O’Groats. The route from Inverness follows the A9 trunk road, which hugs the North Sea coast for much of the way from Golspie to Wick, giving spectacular views. John O’Groats is the well-known starting point for charity events travelling the greatest length of Britain to Land’s End. It has a tiny harbour and, if the weather is good, there are views across the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Islands. You continue a few miles west to the Castle of Mey, where a light lunch will be served. The castle was restored from a near ruin by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, for use as a holiday home. Further on, at Thurso Railway Station, you join a ScotRail service train for Inverness. The railway takes a different route to the road, initially crossing isolated moorland, thus providing a fresh perspective on the region’s wonderful scenery. The railway line meets the North Sea coast at Helmsdale and then follows the coastline, often running between the road and the sea. It’s not uncommon to see seals basking on the shore on this section of the route. On arrival at Inverness you return to your hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)
Friday 27th July
The Strathspey and Keith & Dufftown Railways
This morning you travel by road coach to Aviemore to join a steam train on the Strathspey Railway. This heritage railway line shares the main line railway station at Aviemore and runs to Boat of Garten and Broomhill (‘Glenbogle’ in the BBC series Monarch of the Glen). The return trip affords wonderful views of the Cairngorm Mountains. You rejoin the road coach to travel from Aviemore to Dufftown, and have lunch in the ‘Buffer Stop’, a railway restaurant car. The return trip by vintage diesel rail car takes you on the 11-mile long Keith and Dufftown Railway, the most northerly heritage railway in the UK. This so-called ‘whisky line’ passes through dense pine forests, by the tranquil waters of Loch Park, and along the winding valley of the River Isla. To end the day you visit a traditional Highland whisky distillery before returning to the hotel in Inverness. (B L D)
Saturday 28th July
The ‘Highland Chieftain’ to London
There’s an early breakfast at your hotel before you transfer to Inverness Railway Station and join the ‘Highland Chieftain’ express for the return journey to London. Relax in your First Class seat as you travel once more through the scenic Highlands. You climb to Drumochter summit, the highest in the UK, and follow the valley of the River Tay to Perth. You continue to Edinburgh to join the ECML onwards to Newcastle, York and London’s King’s Cross. A light lunch will be served on the journey south. (B L)
All prices shown are per person.
Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner