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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold Award

Highlands, Castles and Whisky by Train

Experience the best of Scotland – the Highlands, castles and whisky, on an independent trip by train, including two privately-guided day tours.

Begin your holiday with two days in historic Stirling, with its superb castle and Wallace Monument, before a relaxing train journey through classic Highland scenery to the seaside at Nairn. From here, head east to the Granite City of Aberdeen. On the way you’ll experience breathtakingly scenic railways as well as two privately guided day tours, taking in some of Scotland’s finest castles and whisky distilleries.


At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Year round

Why not...

Add on a few nights in St Andrews or Edinburgh?

Prices From

£975

No of Nights

6

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Office Hours 9am-5.30pm UK Time (Mon-Fri)

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Details

Day One – Splendid Stirling

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.

Day Two – monuments and more in Stirling

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.

Day Three – on the Highland rail line

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. Changing trains here, it’s just one more stop before arrival at the Highland seaside resort of Nairn, where you’ll spend the next two nights in a wonderfully convivial, privately owned guest house.

Your accommodation in Nairn

Set on a peaceful, Victorian residential street, this impressively presented guest house with beautifully kept gardens is one of our recently discovered gems. You’ll be greeted by the aroma of home-baking and a complimentary glass of sherry in the drawing room, before being shown to your soothingly appointed room.

Enjoy the rest of the day in Nairn, exploring its quirky shopping and seemingly endless sandy beaches. Your award-winning host will be only too happy to advise you of the best local walks, cafes and restaurants.

Day Four – On the Whisky Trail in Speyside

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.

Day Five – Towards the Granite City

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 accommodation in Aberdeen

A high-quality serviced apartment is yours for this two-night stay in Aberdeen, set on a super-convenient location just moments’ walk from many of the city’s finest attractions, with a good selection of bars, restaurants and shopping right on the doorstep. The generously proportioned and comfortable suites are fully equipped with every convenience, including a fully fitted kitchen and a superb bathroom, while the in-house restaurant serves a terrific breakfast to set you up for the day.

Day Six – Castles, Castles, CASTLES!

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.

Day Seven – Heading back south

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.


Location

This week-long exploration of the East and Central Highlands takes you first to Stirling, then heads north to Morayshire and 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 Inverness or St Andrews.


Pricing

£975 per person for Jan to April, October & November, £990 for May, June & September,  £1040 per person for July &  August.

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.

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.

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.

Check availability for Highlands, Castles and Whisky by Train

This train touring itinerary can be arranged from March to November.

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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