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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Lakes and Lochs by Train

England’s UNESCO-designated Lake District and the magic of Scotland’s lochs combine with relaxing train-travel to make a superb cross-border holiday.

Unwind in comfort at an appealing hotel on the shores of Ullswater before making your way north by train to Perthshire. A final hop to legendary Loch Ness tops off this specially created rail holiday uniting the finest scenery in England and Scotland. Day cruises on Ullswater and Loch Ness, and a private guided tour of Perthshire, with time to really switch off in between, make this one of the most relaxing trips you’ll ever take.

Featured by Telegraph Travel as one of Europe’s Top Rail Journeys for 2018 (January 10th 2018).

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Day one – discover the loveliness of the Lake District

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017, the mountains, fells and rolling countryside of England’s Lake District in the North of England have inspired poets and attracted travellers for centuries. Arriving at Penrith station, you’ll be transferred to your first hotel in the postcard-perfect village of Pooley Bridge on Ullswater, the second-largest of the district’s lakes.

Your hotel in Pooley Bridge

Originally the village blacksmith’s, then the post office, your accommodation in Pooley Bridge is a stylish, family owned small hotel featuring a popular bar and acclaimed bistro. Recently refurbished to a high standard, with cosy, well-appointed rooms and comfortable lounge areas, this is a lovely spot at which to unwind after a day’s exploring the lake, which is a mere stone’s throw from the front door.

Day two – a day on Ullswater

Discover the beauty of this breath-taking area, in the shadow of Helvellyn, England’s third-highest peak, with a ‘round-the-lake’ pass on a local steamer. Circumnavigating the lake, you are free to hop on and off the boat at your leisure all day long. Don your walking boots, carry a packed lunch from your hotel and enjoy an entire day of gentle meandering, or simply stay on the boat and enjoy the ride and wonderful views.

Day four – north by train to Perthshire

Transfer the short distance back to Penrith for your train to Glasgow and switch stations to catch your train to Pitlochry, the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’. This jewel-like tourist town, set on the River Tummel, popularised by Queen Victoria’s visit in 1842 and the railway’s arrival in 1863, has managed to retain its charming olde-worlde character and is the loveliest of places to spend a couple of days. Its High Street contains quirky shopping and a range of dining options, while Edradour distillery – Scotland’s smallest – is easily reached from the centre of town.

Your accommodation in Pitlochry

Conveniently placed at the north end of Pitlochry’s High Street, your guest house in Pitlochry is one of simple elegance and award-winning quality. Formerly a doctor’s residence, the Victorian villa has been tastefully extended to include a quite superb glass-fronted dining area with gorgeous views out to the manicured garden and impressive monkey-puzzle tree. Breakfast here is the main event and one you’re unlikely to forget, and guests are free to use the lounge areas during the day, warmed by the log stove on chillier afternoons.

Day five – a private guided tour of Perthshire

This morning you’ll be collected at your hotel and taken for a guided day out with our specially chosen driver-guide. The countryside of Perthshire, surrounding Pitlochry as far as the eye can see, features a wealth of superb vistas, taking in lochs, rivers, forests and mountains, as well as charming villages featuring inviting hostelries, idiosyncratic shopping, traditional museums and galleries.

Day six – north to the Highland Capital and onwards to Loch Ness

After another unforgettable breakfast, you’ll be dropped at Pitlochry station in time to catch your train to Inverness, the capital city of the Scottish Highlands. The journey itself is to be savoured, as the train rounds Cairngorms National Park, and with wonderful views found all along the line. Alight at Inverness and take a private transfer to your hotel overlooking Loch Ness.

Your accommodation at Loch Ness

Set back from the road in a superb elevated location, your hotel by Loch Ness is a wonderfully relaxing retreat, where guests’ comfort is really the only thing that matters. Sumptuous accommodation featuring the most comfortable beds imaginable coupled with lavish bathrooms, as well as extensive guest areas overlooking breath-taking Loch Ness, make this a quite wonderful place to stay.

Day seven – a magical cruise on Loch Ness

Enjoy another superb breakfast, before heading to the loch for a wonderful cruise on this mystical body of water. With on-board commentary and the latest live sonar equipment to help you try to catch a glimpse of the loch’s most famous resident, your vessel rounds the loch and offers the best way to approach romantic Castle Urquhart – by boat.

Day eight – onward journey home

Enjoy a private transfer back to Inverness railway station and take a final scenic train trip back to Glasgow or Edinburgh.


Sustainable Travel 

This holiday is part of our ever-growing collection of public transport based holidays, enabling you to reach destinations around Scotland without the need to drive. We feel strongly that true sustainability also means promoting and helping to maintain a way of life in areas where the economic benefit of tourism can make a genuine difference to the local community, which is why we have used locally-owned small accommodation in this holiday.


Spend three nights in the idyllic town of Pooley Bridge on Ullswater, followed by two in Pitlochry and finally two nights in Inverness.


£1485 per person in March, April & October, £1515 per person in May through September.

Price is based on two adults sharing double or twin en-suite room for seven nights on a bed and breakfast basis in our hand-picked selection of small hotels, with train travel from Penrith to Pitlochry, Pitlochry to Inverness and from Inverness to Glasgow or Edinburgh. A ‘Round the Lake’ pass for Ullswater, a private guided tour in Perthshire and group cruise on Loch Ness, plus return transfers from train stations to your accommodation are also included. Please let us know if we can assist with train travel from other starting and finishing points within the UK.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

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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.

Check availability for Lakes and Lochs by Train

This holiday can be arranged from March through September.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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