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Acclaimed the world over as one of the most picturesque rail routes in existence, the West Highland Line is a rare treat for travellers. Board in bustling Glasgow, sit back and enjoy a relaxing ride as you skirt Gare Loch, Loch Long and Loch Lomond, climbing to Crianlarich, then onwards around Loch Awe to the classic west coast harbour town of Oban.
Your accommodation in Oban
Clinging to the hillside, overlooking the town, your accommodation in Oban is a classic and imposing Victorian villa, carefully upgraded by the charming owners to bring guests the best of traditional and modern in one package. A comfortable guest lounge gives way to the elegant dining room, flooded with light through the vast bay windows, while bedrooms are wholly unfussy and very comfortable. The house is situated away from the bustle, yet mere moments’ walk will carry you to the many attractions on offer in this appealing little town.
The gateway port for many of the Scottish islands, Oban also offers many options for a day’s exploration, including walks to Dunollie Castle, or to the heights of McCaig’s Folly. The tiny island of Kerrera can also be reached by short ferry crossing, and offers a haven of peace away from the bustle of the port.
It is just a short walk to the ferry port where you board your ferry to Mull. Just 50 minutes on the water and you’re deposited at Craignure on Mull, an island quite unlike any other, home to skyscraping mountains, glistening lochs, romantic glens and abundant wildlife on land, in the sea and in the air. Alighting at Craignure, take a short bus-ride to your first hotel, in the island capital, Tobermory.
Your hotel in Tobermory
Your small hotel resides amidst Tobermorys elegant conservation area. Ideally located high above the harbour, you can escape the village bustle yet are still just a short walk from Main Street. Sweeping views across the bay can be enjoyed from large comfortable sofas in one of the two guest lounges. With just six small, but beautifully furnished, bedrooms two even have a four-poster bed the friendly owners aim to make your stay a rather luxurious home from home.
There are few better places in the UK than Mull to spot such diversity of wildlife, and our specially chosen guide will whisk you off from your hotel for a tour as part of a small group. With expert advice formed of a lifelong knowledge of the landscape, you’ll enjoy the best possible chance to see eagles, otters, deer and seals amongst many other species. After a full day out, enjoy a relaxing evening in Tobermory, with dinner at your hotel or at any one of the excellent nearby alternatives.
This morning, catch a bus for the short trip back to Craignure and your return ferry to Oban. From there, board the train and enjoy another scenic trip to Arrochar, from where you’ll be transferred to your hotel just a stone’s throw from the shores of Loch Lomond.
It could be fair to say that the residents of central Scotland take Loch Lomond somewhat for granted, due, in most part, to its proximity to Glasgow and the surrounding area. It’s worth remembering, though, that the UK’s largest body of inland water is a genuine jewel in Scotland’s scenic crown, stretching northwards towards the Trossachs and Highlands, fringed by imposing mountains and home to 30+ islands. Your visit will be an unforgettable one.
Your hotel by Loch Lomond
Once part of the wider surrounding estate, your hotel by Loch Lomond has recently changed hands, enjoying a substantial upgrade in the process. Set at the head of one of the country’s most picturesque villages, with delightful rooms, a lively bar and good-quality restaurant serving the best local produce, including salmon from their own smokehouse, this is the ideal place from which to discover this breath-taking corner of Scotland.
This morning after breakfast you will set sail from Luss and discover the jewels of Loch Lomond – the peaceful islands dotted along its waters. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife, both on the boat and as you walk the tranquil shores. You even have the chance to spend some time chasing adventure on Inchcailloch – also known as ‘Famous Five’ island! Think woodland walks and picnics on the beach; today is the perfect gentle introduction to life around the loch.
Following a terrific breakfast, you’ll take a road transfer to Balloch. At Balloch, switch to the train for a short ride to Glasgow, followed by another scenic rail trip alongside the River Clyde and down the Ayrshire coast to Ardrossan to catch your ferry to the Isle of Arran.
Set jewel-like in the Firth of Clyde, the Isle of Arran has everything you could ever wish to see on a Scottish Island: soaring peaks, dramatic coastline, inviting beaches, lush forests and superb local produce. A gentle sail of just under an hour brings you ashore, with your hotel moments away from the ferry port.
Your hotel on Arran
Set on a prominent elevated position overlooking the ferry port at Brodick, your family owned hotel on Arran has been the subject of substantial and stylish upgrades over the past year or so. The elegant and comfortable rooms present an oasis of calm after a good day’s exploring, while the bustling bar and brasserie serving the very best local produce, are each fine spots in which to spend an evening.
The waterfront at Brodick is right on the doorstep, and with Goatfell looming large in the background, there are few more evocative scenes in all Scotland.
The island has an intriguing smattering of traditional industries that are worthy of a visit – Arran Aromatics, the Isle of Arran Brewery and the modern Arran Distillery. The Arran Heritage Museum in Brodick will give you the local history or head out to Brodick Castle, an imposing sandstone structure cloaked in dark trees at the foot of brooding Goatfell.
Take your time over breakfast before saying your goodbyes to Arran and making your way back to Ardrossan.
This holiday is part of our ever-growing collection of public transport based holidays, enabling you to reach destinations around Scotland – including the Isles of Mull and Arran – 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 a local guide on this holiday.
Spend one night in Oban, followed by three on the Isle of Mull, two near the shores of Loch Lomond, and finally three on the Isle of Arran.
£1365 per person for April & October, £1425 per person for May to September.
Prices are based on two adults sharing a double or twin en-suite room for nine nights on a bed and breakfast basis in our hand-picked selection of small hotels and guest houses. They include train travel from Glasgow to Oban, Oban to Loch Lomond and Loch Lomond to Ardrossan; return ferry crossings to Mull and to Arran; a wildlife safari on Mull, and a waterbus trip on Loch Lomond.
The single supplement for this holiday is £785, based on sole occupancy of double rooms throughout.
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 holiday can be arranged from April 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.
A bewildered shaggy highland cow standing in the garden, peering through the glorious Scottish rain that was battering the cottage window: that was on...
We both particularly enjoyed Mull and the wildlife safari…watching the changing light and clouds and their effect on the landscape was a delight.John, Leicester
The safari on Mull was outstanding.Daphne & Ian , Western Australia