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Highlands, Castles and Whisky by Train

Experience some of the UK’s most scenic train routes on this specially designed holiday, incorporating Scotland’s finest assets – castles and whisky.

Spend two days in historic Stirling, with its superb castle and Wallace Monument, before a relaxing train journey to the classic Highland seaside resort of Nairn. From here, head East to the Granite City of Aberdeen, before dropping south to a final stop in St Andrews. On the way you’ll experience breathtakingly scenic railways as well as private guided tours of Scotland’s best landscapes, most impressive distilleries and finest castles.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

March to October

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Stay a few nights in Edinburgh before or after

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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

Your second day out in Stirling will be one to remember; the National Wallace Monument tells the story of its namesake in impressive surroundings, and its popularity seems to grow year-on-year as pilgrims arrive from all corners of the globe to pay tribute to ‘Braveheart’. 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. While 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, one of just three in the house.

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 appointed 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 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 South to St Andrews

After breakfast, you’re back on the train and off to the Home of Golf, seat of the Royal and Ancient and one of the most evocative locations in sport. Crossing the railway bridge over the Silvery Tay to Leuchars, you’ll be picked up by a private driver-guide and taken on a superb day out around the Kingdom of Fife. Perhaps you’d like to visit the impressive Kingsbarns Distillery – one of Scotland’s newest – where a uniquely dry and fresh style of lowland malt is being produced, then travel down the coast along the East Neuk of Fife, where charming villages like Crail, Anstruther and Elie offer so much to see and explore, including some of Scotland’s best beaches and wonderful seafood.

Later, you’ll be dropped at your accommodation in plenty of time to explore St Andrews itself. The historic town nestled on the Fife coast is not just for golf-lovers; its medieval centre is defined by the university – Scotland’s oldest – and its ancient buildings, elegant quadrangles and gardens, while the cobbled streets and alleyways, ruined castle and impressive cathedral are just waiting to be explored. You’ll also find two fabulous beaches here, one of which provided the location for the opening sequence in Chariots of Fire.

Your accommodation in St Andrews

Boasting a unique location just 75 yards from the 18th green of the Old Course, and a two-minute walk from the historic centre, your guest house in St Andrews is regarded as one of the town’s finest. Recently presented with an award for Scotland’s best breakfast, this beautifully presented house fuses the traditional with contemporary comfort and convenience making it the ideal location. The gregarious hosts ensure a warm welcome and each of the seven bedrooms, as well as the guest lounge and private walled garden, are set out with your complete comfort in mind.

Day Eight – Heading home

After breakfast, you’ll be transferred back to Leuchars railway station to catch your train back to Edinburgh, or Glasgow, from where you can continue your journey home.


This week-long exploration of the East and Central Highlands starts in Stirling, then heads north by Inverness to Morayshire, East to Aberdeen, the “granite city”, finishing with a night by St Andrews. The trip can start and finish in Edinburgh or Glasgow as you prefer.


£1225 per person for March & October, £1250 for April, £1300 for May, June & September,  £1325 per person for July &  August.

All prices are based on two adults sharing a double or twin room for 7 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,  a private tour of Aberdeenshire’s Castle Trail, a half day tour of the St. Andrews area.

We would also be delighted to assist with hotel or guesthouse reservations in Edinburgh and Glasgow, for the beginning or end of the tour, from our selection of properties.

The supplement for a single traveller is £900, due to the number of private tours included.
All our touring holidays include a map of Scotland with recommended routes from your specified starting point, suggestions on places to see and visit depending on your personal interests and our expertise 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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