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

Explore Scotland by Train

Start from Edinburgh, travel round the Scottish Highlands and enjoy a stay on the Isle of Skye.

We have designed this holiday especially for ‘car-less’ travellers who want to experience Scotland independently. Begin your journey in Edinburgh, before travelling round Scotland by train. Enjoy the sights of the Highlands, explore Inverness and its famous loch, then hop over to the Isle of Skye. Complete your circular tour with a trip on the West Highland Line, renowned as one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Apr - Oct

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add a boat trip on Loch Ness and day tour on Skye?

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Sat: 9.30-16.30

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Day One – Journey to Pitlochry

Your holiday begins in Edinburgh, from where you will take the train to Pitlochry in the Southern Highlands to spend the first two nights.

Your hotel in Pitlochry

Located in the heart of Pitlochry, tucked away in secluded wooded grounds this early Victorian, former Doctors house, has been beautifully transformed into an award winning luxury bed & breakfast, providing a unique blend of the traditional with the luxury of contemporary design. Within walking distance of all the local attractions, shops, restaurants and the Pitlochry Festival Theatre it is also and an ideal location to explore the local area.

Day Two – Exploring Pitlochry

Time to explore the National Trust gorge, site of a famous battle, or visit nearby Blair Castle, with the adjacent House of Bruar – a mecca for Scottish souvenir shopping, or simply relax in comfortable surroundings.

Day Three – To Inverness

Today you will journey north by train to Inverness where you will spend two nights.

Your accommodation in Inverness

We offer a selection of high quality, family-run guesthouses, all within easy reach of the city centre and the riverside, though in quiet residential areas. Enjoy a home-booked full Scottish breakfast, and the freedom to choose from one of Inverness’ many good local restaurants.

Day Four – Exploring Inverness

Time to explore the highland capital, perhaps taking a boat trip on nearby Loch Ness or tour to the battlefield of Culloden.

Day Five – The Isle of Skye

Today you will travel by way of the beautiful North Highland Line from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh. Upon arrival at Kyle of Lochalsh, you will be met by our local driver and transferred over the Skye Bridge and north to Portree – your base for the next two nights.

Your hotel on Skye

Uniquely situated only 10 minutes’ walk of the island capital Portree, yet set in 20 acres of woodland garden, this hotel is an ideal base for touring Skye. Built over 200 years ago, and still run by members of the same local family, the house retains all its original charm and the splendid Victorian interior is wonderfully intact. Suppers are available on a daily basis by prior arrangement with the hotel, and afternoon tea is available in the drawing room.

Day Six – Exploring the Isle of Skye

A day to relax and explore the village of Portree and local area – on foot or local bus. Should you wish to explore much of this large island, we strongly recommend hiring a car for a day or using the services of our local guide.

Day Seven – The West Highland Line

After breakfast, our driver will collect you for the trip to Armadale on the Sleat Peninsula, the Garden of Skye. From here you travel over the sea by ferry to Mallaig, where you will join the Jacobite steam train – sure to be one of the highlights of your Scottish holiday. The spectacular steam train journey will take you through many contrasts in scenery and places of interest, including the famous Glenfinnan viaduct. Upon arrival in Spean Bridge, you will be met and accompanied to your hotel for your final night.

Your hotel in Spean Bridge

In this wonderful west-highland setting, you will find all the luxury of a top quality hotel, without the formality. The hotel owners pride themselves on combining a warm and friendly welcome with a truly relaxing informal atmosphere – where only the food and your enjoyment are taken seriously.

There are comfy sofas and cosy corners in the sitting rooms with ‘a library of books begging to be looked at’ and when the need arises, real fires to warm your toes. This is a perfect haven for a relaxing break, where the pace of life slows the minute you arrive.

Day Eight – Journey to Glasgow

Today you will return to Glasgow (and potentially on to Edinburgh) from Spean Bridge, following the rest of the famous West Highland rail line. As you pass the high moors, cross viaducts between mountain passes, you will surely marvel at the wonderful engineering which has made this journey possible.
If you would like to spend a night or two in the vibrant city of Glasgow, we would be delighted to arrange this for you, and share our recommendations for what to see and do in our home location.


Explore Scotland by Train

This holiday departs from Edinburgh and includes nights in Pitlochry, Inverness, Skye and Spean Bridge, before returning to Glasgow.


£1025 per person for April, £1035 per person for October, £1095 for May, June & September, £1125 per person for July & August.

Price is based on two adults sharing a double or twin room for seven nights in our hand-picked selection of small 3 and 4 star hotels. Dinner is included for your final night in Spean Bridge. Other nights include breakfast. The holiday also includes:

  • Train travel in standard class between Edinburgh, Pitlochry and Inverness, on the North Highland Line between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh, and on the West Highland Line between Fort William and Glasgow.
  • First class single journey on the Jacobite Express Steam Train, from Mallaig to Fort William (if out of season, this leg of the trip will be onboard a ScotRail train service).
  • Single ferry journey from Armadale to Mallaig
  • Transfers to and from the train at all locations, except for Glasgow, Edinburgh & Inverness.

The supplement for a single traveller is £425 per holiday, based on single occupancy of double/twin rooms.

To explore the Isle of Skye, as local bus services are quite limited, we strongly recommend either hiring a car or taking a guided tour, with one of our local guides. To hire a car during your stay on Skye costs an additional £120. The car would be collected from Kyle of Lochalsh and returned to the ferry port on Skye as you leave the island. To join a small group guided tour of Skye costs an additional £60 per person. Your driver guide will collect and return you to your hotel on Skye.

We would also be delighted to assist with hotel reservations in Glasgow and Edinburgh, from our selection of centrally located, high quality hotel and aparthotel options.

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.

As porterage is not included in this largely self-guided holiday, and assistance at train stations is somewhat sporadic, we recommend packing just one manageable suitcase per person.

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

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.

Falling in Love with the Isle of Skye

Falling in Love with the Isle of Skye

“Somewhere along the Scottish coast An emerald island lies So I will steer my sailing boat Unto the Isle of Skye” [Andrew Peterson] I take a glanc...


Check availability for Explore Scotland by Train

This holiday can be arranged from April to October. In 2019, the Jacobite Steam train will run from the 19th April until the 25th October. Outside these dates the same route can be booked, but a standard train service operates to Mallaig.

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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