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West Coast & Iona Rail Tour & Glasgow City Break

Iona is a spellbinding spot

Best Time To Go

26-Jun-2022 - Fully booked
24-Jul-2022 -Fully booked
18-Sept-2022 - Fully booked
23-Jul-2023 - Open for booking
24-Sep-2023 - Open for booking

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pre-book a meal at a top Glasgow restaurant?

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Iona is a spellbinding spot

West Coast & Iona Rail Tour & Glasgow City Break

Best Time To Go

26-Jun-2022 - Fully booked
24-Jul-2022 -Fully booked
18-Sept-2022 - Fully booked
23-Jul-2023 - Open for booking
24-Sep-2023 - Open for booking

Why not...

pre-book a meal at a top Glasgow restaurant?

Prices From


No of Nights


Starts From


Finishes In


Spend a week in an escorted small group exploring Scotland's enticing West Coast from Kilmartin Glen to Iona then get under the skin of Glasgow.

Venture west on this week-long small group rail tour through mystical Kilmartin Glen, on to the spiritual island of Iona, rounding off your guided journey with an epic trip on the Jacobite Express steam train. Then relax for a final couple of days in the city of Glasgow – we’ll provide plenty of tips to make the most of your time here. Plus uncover the city’s art and architecture on a locally-guided half day tour  which can be tailored to your wishes.

With a maximum of 15 passengers per group on the six night rail tour, you can be sure of highly personal service, accompanied throughout by your tour leader, until your return to Glasgow. Early booking is strongly advised as places are strictly limited.

Read about the measures we took to keep our 2021 small group guided tours safe here.

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Holiday Details

Spend a week in like-minded company exploring the best of the West Highlands and Iona, uncovering fascinating history, culture and local stories, travelling predominantly by rail including a fabulous trip on The Jacobite Steam Train. Then, extend your trip with a short break in Scotland’s largest city, cosmopolitan Glasgow.

Day one – meet and greet in Glasgow

Meet your fellow travellers and tour guide this evening for a welcome dinner held in the heart of the city. Begin your journey of discovery.

 Your accommodation in Glasgow

Your four star hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the city, right by George Square and Queen Street Station. The staff are welcoming and friendly, while complimentary drinks are provided in your room’s mini bar. Dinner features seasonal produce, enjoyed while taking in skyline city views.

Day two – Westward by Rail

Your West Highland Line train soon emerges from city sprawl as you pass Loch Lomond, Loch Awe and Loch Etive. Your McKinlay Kidd guide will be on hand to point out the sights and entrance with stories.

The end of the line is Oban, where fishing boats and ferries pass in and out of this pretty bay.

Alight here from the train then continue by minibus into Kilmartin Glen. Standing stones stick out from farmers’ fields like broken teeth; chambered cairns fill the landscape. There are over 350 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of Kilmartin village. We’ll take you on a walking tour into Prehistory. Learn how thousands of years of the human story are immortalised in this special place.

End the day with a visit to Dunadd, the coronation spot of ancient kings.

Your accommodation in Kilmelford 

It’s hard to beat the view from your West Coast hotel, looking out to sea and the Slate Islands. Enjoy Scottish fare created with fresh local ingredients – your meal’s provenance part of the experience.

Day three – Iona beckons but first a garden

Just a short walk from your hotel, wander through Arduaine Gardens accompanied by the head gardener. Marvel at rugged coastline transformed into lush forests and blankets of flowers. Warmed by the North Atlantic Drift, the grounds are a surprise of colours and scents.

From here, it’s a short road journey back to Oban and disembarkation for the Isle of Mull by Calmac ferry.

On arrival, you will transfer by private coach through the south of the island, visiting Duart castle, home to Clan Maclean for generations – a major refurbishment in 1911 has returned the crumbling ruins to their former glory. End the day with a short ferry hop from Fionnphort to Iona, your base for the next two nights.

Your accommodation on Iona

Conveniently situated at the end of the pier near the village centre, this cosy and welcoming hotel combines traditional Hebridean charm with a touch of sophistication. The first hotel to open on the island, it dates back to the 1860s.

Dinner for the next two nights is a real flavour of island hospitality. Ingredients grown in the hotel’s garden, and organic produce sourced from local crofts, combine to make traditional delights.

Day four – Staffa Island & Iona’s Treasures

Today your group will embark on a boat tour to Staffa Island.

Staffa is an island of basalt pillars grown into geometric wonders; caves like cathedrals reach into the heart of the island and black rocks step out of the sea. Spend an hour wandering through green meadows atop the skerry, and if the weather is right, gaze upon the geological beauty of Fingal’s Cave. We’ll also keep a look out for seabirds, dolphins and minke whales.

Returning to Iona, embark on a walking tour with your guide. Iona has been a beacon of Christian worship since St Columba’s arrival in AD 563. Walk through the Abbey, built in the 13th century but still an active place of worship and stand on Tòrr an Aba where Columba conducted his writing. Visit the grave of Scotland’s most misrepresented king, and learn of Europe’s greatest medieval treasure and its connection to this slip of land.

Day five – Journey into the Highlands

Ferry hop back to Oban and board the train to Crianlarich, then northwards along the West Highland Line to Spean Bridge.

The train departs from the road at Achallader and heads over open moor into the heart of The Highlands, the wilderness of Rannoch Moor enveloping you, with barely a trace of human civilisation.

Arrive at The Great Glen and check-in to your group’s accommodation for the next two nights. Once settled, take a guided walk and hear of the uprising begun with a bullet and the bagpipes barely a quarter mile from your hotel.

Your accommodation in The Great Glen

This small family-run hotel is a long-standing favourite. After a warm welcome, take a moment to relax in your charming and spacious room. Settle in the cosy alcoves and read of local history or sit out in the garden and look to Scotland’s highest mountain range.

Each table has a view in the open plan restaurant, and organic ingredients are used to conjure a feast suitable for all diets and palates.

Day six – The Bonnie Prince & The Jacobite Express

This morning the group will travel by coach to the Glenfinnan monument to hear stories of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Uprising. Then, travel on to Mallaig. Spend some time exploring this harbour town at your leisure; choose from one of the local restaurants and cafes for lunch or sit by the shore and watch the fishing boats land their catch.

Regroup with the tour and prepare for your journey on The Jacobite Express steam train, a nostalgic highlight of this tour. The train passes coastline and sea loch before rising into the mountains on this special railway.  Hear the story of the horse that’s held up a railway for a hundred years, before reaching the Glenfinnan Viaduct. This iconic piece of railway engineering is known throughout the world – watch from the carriage window as the engine crosses first, a performance that has bewitched onlookers for a century.

Day seven – Glasgow calling

Retrace the tracks of the beautiful West Highland Line, each vista and glen seen anew. Spend the day in the company of newfound friends and maybe hear one last story from your guide. Arrive back in Glasgow in mid-afternoon with much greater knowledge of Scotland’s rich culture and history. Say your farewells to the group.

Return to the nearby hotel where your trip began, now with the luxury of a couple of nights at leisure to relax and discover more about Scotland’s main city.

Day eight – Art & Architecture

Glasgow abounds with architectural splendour which is not always apparent at first glance. That’s why we’ll set you up with a local guide for a half-day walking tour. This can be tailored to your wishes – focussing in on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries or perhaps a more general overview of the Victorian gems across the city centre, and earlier foundations of the city’s wealth in the Merchant Quarter. More recently, Glasgow has seen a flourishing art scene in the use of murals to decorate blank walls. Look out for the Big Yin, Billy Connolly, keeping a watchful eye on all around. Spend the rest of your day visiting museums and galleries or perhaps indulging in a little shopping.

We’ll happily provide recommendations for restaurants or events in the city. We recommend booking ahead for the top places so do let us know if you would like us to assist.

Day nine – your Scottish journey complete

Perhaps stretch your legs with a stroll around nearby George Square, admiring the imposing City Chambers, before your onward journey home.


Meet with the group in Glasgow then travel by train to the West Coast just south of Oban. Spend two nights on the Isle of Iona, before returning to the mainland and two nights at Spean Bridge. Return by rail to Glasgow, where you have a further two-night city break of your own.


The price per person sharing a twin or double room includes:

  • Eight nights in hand-picked accommodation on a B&B basis.
  • A welcome dinner in Glasgow and dinner on five other nights on the rail tour within your accommodation. One picnic lunch.
  • Rail travel from Glasgow to Oban on the West Highland Line, ferry travel from Oban to Craignure and Fionnphort to Iona, rail travel from Oban to Spean Bridge via Crianlarich, a journey on the Jacobite Express steam train from Mallaig to Fort William and rail travel from Fort William to Glasgow.
  • Walking tours of Kilmartin, Iona and Spean Bridge, a guided tour of Arduaine Gardens, a guided coach tour on the Isle of Mull, a boat tour to Staffa Island and a guided coach tour of Scotland’s West Coast from Spean Bridge to Mallaig.
  • Transfers as described throughout.
  • The services of McKinlay Kidd’s tour leader, accompanying the group and providing expert guiding and assistance throughout.
  • A half-day tailor-made tour of Glasgow with an expert local guide.

Not included:

  • Meals other than those described above
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities and tips

All accommodation is carefully-selected and researched by us, predominantly featuring small, family-owned hotels – contact us for more detailed information. We will do our best to accommodate room preferences subject to availability at individual properties.

This tour will operate with a minimum of four and maximum of 14 passengers on each departure date.

Simply complete the form below to reserve your place(s). We will hold your place(s) for 48 hours to provide time for you to pay the deposit of 25% per person.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.

Tips for UK & Ireland Rail Touring in 2022

Tips for UK & Ireland Rail Touring in 2022

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Reserve your place(s) for West Coast & Iona Rail Tour & Glasgow City Break

Departure Dates & Current Availability
Departure DateStarts FromNights£ per person (2 sharing)£ per person (single)
Sunday 26 Jun 2022Glasgow8£ 2345 - Fully booked£ on request - Fully booked
Sunday 24 Jul 2022Glasgow8£ 2345 - Fully booked£ on request - Fully booked
Sunday 18 Sep 2022Glasgow8£ 2345 - Fully booked£ on request - Fully booked
Sunday 23 Jul 2023Glasgow8£ 2345£ on request
Sunday 24 Sep 2023Glasgow8£ 2345£ on request

To reserve your place(s) on this tour, please call us or complete the form below, making sure to select your departure date from the dropdown menu and advise of any special requirements. We will hold your place(s) for 48 hours and contact you with details of how to confirm your booking by payment of the per person deposit.

Please note: All form fields are required unless otherwise stated optional.

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Availability of double or twin rooms can vary at individual hotels on the tour, so it helps us to understand your preferences.

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