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The opening leg of your rail journey takes you the short hop from Glasgow or Edinburgh to Stirling, one of the most charming – and smallest – of Scotland’s cities. With history stretching back to Roman times, incorporating royal tradition and fierce battles for the crown, as well as the unforgettable castle, Stirling is the perfect first stop on your journey around Scotland. You’ll want to take your time at Stirling Castle, one of our favourites, whose location near the centre of town makes it so easily accessible from your B&B. Later, take a stroll around the surrounding streets, many of which retain the original cobbles from centuries gone by and feature a selection of quirky shops, galleries and eateries.
Your accommodation in Stirling
Just on the edge of the town centre, this family run guest house is a fabulously presented jewel. Festooned with original Victorian features, sky-high ceilings and a charming collection of art and artifacts, you’ll be welcomed with home-made shortbread and a glass of something special, before being shown to your beautifully appointed room.
You may choose to visit the National Wallace Monument, which tells the story of its namesake and inspiration for ‘Braveheart’ in impressive surroundings. A climb to the top is not one for the faint-hearted, but make the ascent and you’ll be rewarded with one of the finest views in Scotland. Just outside town, the Battle of Bannockburn Experience harnesses the latest technology to tell the story of a key episode in Scotland’s history.
A fabulous journey north today, through Perthshire via evocative place-names like Gleneagles, Pitlochry, Kingussie and Aviemore, skirting the impressive Cairngorms mountain range as you wend your way to the Highland capital of Inverness. Here, you’ll spend the next two nights in a convivial, privately owned guest house.
Your accommodation in Inverness
Set within easy walking distance of the river and city centre, this well- presented guest house is one we love to return to again and again.
Enjoy the rest of the day in Inverness, exploring its winding streets, riverside walks and cosy taverns. Your host will be only too happy to advise you of the best local walks, cafes and restaurants.
After breakfast, you’ll be ready to take an exclusive, day-long private guided tour of Speyside with our specially chosen driver-guide. A local with many years’ experience and a deep knowledge of local history, he’ll show you the very best this wonderful area has to offer, including tours of two of its best distilleries, with drams and a stop for lunch along the way.
Get set for the next stage of your train journey as you travel the two hours-or-so to Aberdeen. A sparkling city on the North Sea coast, Aberdeen boasts a wealth of attractions from shopping and theatre, to food, museums and galleries, and its world-famous granite architecture. Take the rest of the day to explore some of the city’s best sights.
Your hotel in Aberdeen
Set within the wide, leafy streets of the city’s fashionable West End, this is a stylish, family owned property featuring a vibrant bar and sophisticated dining. Beautifully appointed rooms feature a wealth of detail designed to make your stay as comfortable and memorable as possible, with beautifully appointed bathrooms and the highest-quality beds and bedding throughout.
Extensive guest lounging provides quiet nooks for morning planning or evening contemplation, perhaps while enjoying coffee or a refreshment, while dining on the elegant menu hotel’s own restaurant is a fine way to spend an evening.
Aberdeenshire boasts an incredible 300-or-so castles, more than any other UK county. Today, you’ll make the most of your time here as you take a private guided tour with our specially selected local driver-guide, taking you on an unforgettable day out to some of the finest scenery and sights you’ll ever see, perhaps including the atmospheric clifftop ruins of 11th-century Dunnottar Castle; the fairytale turrets, towers and beautiful gardens of Crathes Castle and a drive across the wonderful Cairn O’ Mount pass between Banchory and Fettercairn.
After breakfast, you’re back on the train, crossing the railway bridge over the Silvery Tay and heading south to Edinburgh or Glasgow and your onward journey home, reflecting on memories of the Scottish trinity of Highlands, castles and whisky.
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 and local guides on this holiday.
This week-long exploration of the East and Central Highlands takes you first to Stirling, then heads north to Inverness, from where you will experience some of the whisky distilleries of Speyside. Continue to the Granite City of Aberdeen and the wonderful Castle Trail. The trip can start and finish in Edinburgh or Glasgow as you prefer. We can also tailor-make it to include time in St Andrews on the way south.
£1320 per person for March, £1370 per person for April & October, £1475 per person from May to September.
All prices are based on two adults sharing a double or twin room for six nights on a bed & breakfast basis in our hand-picked selection of small guest houses and hotels. This holiday includes train travel throughout, a full day with a local guide in Speyside to visit three distilleries and a private tour of Aberdeenshire’s Castle Trail.
The price for a single traveller, based on sole occupancy of double rooms is £2020 for March, £2025 for April & October, £2130 from May to September.
We would also be delighted to assist with hotel or guest house reservations in St Andrews, Edinburgh or Glasgow, for the beginning or end of the trip.
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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This train touring itinerary can be arranged from March to October.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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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.