Scotland by railway holiday

“A tailor made trip for those wanting to travel independently by train. Thereís a Highland fling with island ferries too. Staying in small, locally owned hotels en route.”

Highlights

West Highland Line | Isle of Skye | Train from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness | Pitlochry | The Pass of Killiecrankie gorge | Edinburgh

Description of Scotland by railway holiday

This eight day, self-guided trip around Scotland by rail is not only the most eco-friendly way to see the countryís highlands and islands, but also one of the most relaxing. Everything is organised for you, from timetables to tickets, connections and transfers to carefully-selected accommodation brimming with local character. This holiday makes the most of rail travel opportunities in Scotland, taking in dramatic landscapes and enabling you to experience authentic Scottish culture.

Starting in Glasgow, the West Highland Line takes you past the world famous bonny banks of Loch Lomond, then across some of Scotlandís wildest and most wonderful scenery at Rannoch Moor. The clue is in the name as you ascend into the Highlands for your first overnight stop in the village of Spean Bridge. The following day, using a quick taxi transfer, you link up with the world famous Jacobite steam train in Fort William, travelling in first class style over the world famous Glenfinnan Viaduct to Mallaig. From here, via ferry, the magnificent, mountainous Isle of Skye awaits. As does a wonderful, locally owned hotel and some of Scotlandís finest food.

After a day to explore Skye, you head back to the mainland by taxi, this time over the Skye Bridge. The next leg of your Scottish rail tour takes you from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness, 80 miles of magnificence. In this Highland hub, your accommodation is an elegant family run guesthouse. With a day to enjoy this fine city, there are many natural and cultural highlights to explore, from the castle overlooking the River Ness, to the site of the Battle of Culloden and broody Loch Ness itself.

Heading south again, sit back and let the train take you through the Cairngorms into the heart of Perthshireís highlands and Pitlochry, a pretty town enveloped by hills and valleys, with wonderful hillwalking and country hotels that know just how to welcome walkers and train travellers. Our chosen one is in the village of Killiecrankie overlooking the National Trustís wooded, deep river gorge formed by the River Garry. Youíre close enough to Blair Castle for some strolls, sightseeing or indeed shopping at the House of Bruar.

You will have enjoyed an eclectic and exquisite mix on this Scottish rail holiday by the time you take your final rail journey from Pitlochry to Edinburgh: a capital city with clout, culture and class. And, of course, one of the countryís finest castles.


Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Map

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made from April to the end of October.
Our top tip:
Summer is lovely for this trip, but donít overlook the magnificent seasonal changes of autumn. With roaring fires and hot toddies to boot.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Surcharge for single room.
Accomm:
Small 3 and 4 star hotels.
Included:
4 nights b&b, 3 dinners, rail and ferry fares, taxis as necessary, first class ticket on Jacobite Express.
Vouchers
Accepted
“You leave the rest of the world behind when you take the famous West Highland line, heading off onto Rannoch Moor and Glencoe.”

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Scotland by railway holiday

Environment

We are continually increasing our range of public transport holidays for those who actively choose low-carbon transport. This holiday has been carefully-designed to allow you to explore much of Scotland, from the cities of Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh to rural Perthshire and even the magical Isle of Skye without a car. It takes you beyond the end of the train lines, through the careful addition of short taxi transfers. We recommend that you explore further on foot or by public transport in each local area. The accommodation chosen takes you a little off the beaten tourist track, so that you will have a more authentic experience. In each place, there are plentiful local walks, and some short trips available by local bus - we will provide suggestions and recommendations in your holiday pack, but do check the most up-to-date information with the staff at your hotel.

We take the utmost care to choose local business partners who share our values and commitment to sustainable travel, preferring to work with locally-owned and managed businesses wherever possible. Your hotel in Spean Bridge is committed to home-cooked organic food, while the country house hotel in Perthshire has its own kitchen garden and prides itself on making the most of locally-sourced produce. We build long-term relationships based on mutual trust with our business partners, with a joint commitment to excellent customer satisfaction and care for the environment.

Community

For us, true sustainability means promoting and helping to maintain a way of life, where the economic benefit from tourism can make a genuine difference. Thatís why we work almost exclusively with local, family-run businesses, not with large corporate organisations. We build close and lasting relationships with our business partners, based on mutual trust and an unerring commitment to customer satisfaction. We carefully select these partners to ensure that they share our values of sustainable and responsible travel. For example, the small hotel featured in this holiday on the Isle of Skye is based in the heart of a Gaelic community, and all staff are encouraged to learn the language, whatever their original native tongue.

All of our holiday packs include "Robert's Recommendations", our specific tips on places to visit, places to eat and places to shop locally, all of which have been researched by us, and many of which are off-the-beaten track.

Reviews of Scotland by railway holiday

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 21 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The entire trip was absolutely breath-taking and well planned. The highlight was Killiecrankie, beautiful scenery and magnificent food.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Book the extra excursions, they are well worth it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely, the accommodations were well-chosen and not chain hotels, local people benefitted from tourism trade, and environmentally better by utilising mass transportation rather than individual car hires.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


10 out of 10

Reviewed on 28 Jul 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


To much to tell really, everything went to your arrangements made for me. All the accomadation was excellent, The Pines certainly didn't expect that, also Hotelat Pitochry the meals you could not fault them. All as said were great. The Pitochry is 3 miles from town which certainly did not bother me at all Thanks for the great time I have had.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't know really it all went so smoothly, there are options at each place for sightseeing which I did in every place.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes it is a benefit to them money for one which we all need. Everywhere travelled it was always clean know rubbish around which is great to see.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent enjoyed every minute so keep up the great service to visitors to your country.

Reviewed on 21 May 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Not having to drive! It was actually freeing to not have to worry about renting a car, finding our way in a foreign land, etc. The trains were comfortable and a great way to travel about.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


As all trips, we would've like more time in each of the locations - but especially in Edinborough and Pitlochry.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, very much. All of our accommodations were in locally owned, historic properties with attentive hosts who were happy to share stories of their establishments with us and make recommendations for local shopping and restaurants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was a first-class tour which is very well thought out and planned.

Reviewed on 23 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The Jacobite Express and the Killiecrankie Hotel

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared to be delightfully surprised.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Taking the train was economical and local people owned and managed our accommodation. And we tasted lots of local whisky!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. We loved everything about it except that it was over too soon!

Reviewed on 27 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The entire experience, although having the opportunity to visit my husband's ancestral home on Isle of Skye was a definite highlight.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The trip was very well planned, complete with pre-booked reserved seats on the trains. Travelers should make sure they understand the Scottish rail's reservation system. We had some confusion on our first leg, but were able to sort it out afterwards.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. Accommodations, hosts, meals, and travel arrangements all exceeded our expectations.

Reviewed on 07 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The opportunity to have assistance to plan a trip suited to our desires, time constraints, budget.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be guided by the trip plans on offer, as well as the knowledgeable staff members, but don't be afraid to ask for exactly what you want because the holiday providers staff are so helpful, flexible and obliging.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes ... Local communities benefit from tourism and train travel benefits the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent ... so easy, comfortable and enjoyable.

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Exciting was the steam train to Mallaig made very enjoyable as we were First Class. Memorable was the welcome, comfort and quality of the service and food at the Killiecrankie Hotel.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Travel light as there is not much room for luggage on the trains

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Bringing income into the areas of Scotland supported local businesses.
Travelling by local transport reduced the environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good indeed. In general and excellent holiday and a good way to see Scotland

Reviewed on 27 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


1) Staying at the beautiful "Old Pines" guest house at Spean Bridge overlooking snowcapped Ben Nevis
2) Travelling on the Jacobite Steam Train.
3)The beauty of the Scottish countryside particularly on the Isle of Skye
& the very hospitable taxi owners Peggy & her husband there.
4) Seeing a red squirrel at Killacrankie.


2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


1) Travel light (as there is not much room for luggage on the trains, & much carrying of luggage on and off trains & up stairs in accommodation (although most hosts were helpful in this regard.
2) If you have mobility difficulties you need to notify hotel hosts as only some accommodation has down stairs rooms.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes very much

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was very enjoyable and I recommend it for train enthusiasts.

Although accommodation places were first class (comfortable good food etc & excellent views etc we would have preferred accommodation on Skye in walking distance to Armadale one closer to the township of Pitlochary of Pitlocary.

Reviewed on 24 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We could not decide - the friendly people we encountered everywhere, the lovely accomodation booked for us, some of which also had fine dining for evening meals, the ease of train travel in Scotland, the rental car and the fun of driving for the first time on the other side of the road on Isle of Skye, and finally the amazingly beautiful vistas in the Highlands. Like "heaven on earth" - I had always dreamed of visiting Scotland but no photo can do justice to the beauty of the green hills, rugged mountains and the livestock everywhere. Tiny tea houses, scones, seafood, lamb, beef, beer and wine. Sampling Scotch Whiskey and Haggas... We loved it all.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


We were thankful that we just had carry-on luggage for ease of hopping off and on trains and buses. Layers of clothing are needed to accomodate to the changing weather - we were told and do believe that there is no bad weather in Scotland, just bad wardrobe choices!! Save shopping for large wouvenirs til the end of the tour, or have items (such as pottery from Uig on Isle of Skye) shipped.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We were aware that the Scotland in general and certainly smaller centres rely on tourism to maintain their grand old manor houses and castles. We saw evidence of efforts to be "green" throughout - both in the city and moreso out in the countryside.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Cant' say enough about how much we appreciated the arrangements made for us by the operator - to be able to see so much of the country and yet enjoy a wonderful stress-free vacation -
Simply ONE OF THE BEST holidays that I have every been on...I will give 4 stars only because I have had some lovely vacations in Africa and in Europe with my family - each one was the best !! But trip was much more enjoyable than I could have dreamed of.

Reviewed on 28 Sep 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The way everything that was listed in the very detailed itinerary happened exactly as stated.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Try to travel as light as possible

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We stayed at several hotels and guest houses also went on 4 excursions so all these benefitted local people.
All travel was by train so apart from transfers from train to accommodation and back our environmental impact was very low.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A wonderful experience

Reviewed on 08 Jul 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Train journeys and particularly the West Highland Line. Enjoyed the drive round Skye though would have preferred to hire a car (too old at 77 according to the three companies we tried)

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Spend more time on Skye and possibly Spean Bridge or wherever a person's interests show more to see. We were not just travelling for the train journeys.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Jobs to locals, saved cars on the roads etc

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent.

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Possibly our stay at Killiecrankie Hotel, although whole experience was memorable

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make sure you book the taxi driver for a half day tour in Skye, the bus service is very erratic !

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I hope so, travelling by train and local buses instead of by car when able makes far more sense.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent holiday with wonderful hotels and superb organization, the sun followed us around Scotland ! Only very slight comment would be on the restaurant menu in Skye which is both very expensive and limited, but the pub is good !!Staff in Skye need to take lessons from the wonderful service elsewhere, particularly @killiecrankie hotel where we were met after an evening at the theatre with an umbrella and kept bar open for us to have a drink to take to the bedroom to watch the Workd Cup !

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