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

West Highland Line Experience

Relive the age of steam with a first class trip on the Jacobite Express.

The West Highland Line is renowned world over for its engineering and glorious scenery, with a route that brings new and stunning views at every turn. Indeed the line from Glasgow to Mallaig has recently been voted the World’s Best Rail Journey, by readers of the travel Magazine Wanderlust.

Our unique holiday combines a fabulous day trip in first class on the Jacobite Express steam train, that runs on the final section of the line, from Fort William to Mallaig, with two nights at a small, family-run hotel in the highland village of Spean Bridge.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Apr - Oct

Why not...

order champagne on the train for a special celebration?

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Office Hours (UK time) Mon-Fri: 8.30am-6.30pm
Sat: 10am-3.30pm
Sun: closed

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Your Hotel

With views toward Ben Nevis, your hotel for two nights has a popular restaurant serving organic, home-cooked food and offers comfortable, informal accommodation as well as a very warm welcome. On arrival, you will be greeted with fresh tea and home-made scones.  Settle into your room to unwind, or take a stroll down the quiet country lanes for amazing views of Ben Nevis, Loch Lochy and the Great Glen and work up an appetite for dinner.  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 whatever time of year, where the pace of life slows the minute you arrive.

The hotel is around a mile from the local rail station – and we will arrange both pick up and drop off for you as required.  There are many walking trails close to the hotel, including the Great Glen Way, as well as the famous and impressive Commando memorial.  Fort William and the start of your West Highland Line journey is only 17 minutes away by train.

Steam Train Trip from Fort William to Mallaig Return

Today is the highlight of your break. Step back in time to the sounds and smells of the Age of Steam as you sink in to your upholstered first class seat on the Jacobite Express for your day on the West Highland Line. Regularly described as one of the great railway journeys of the world, this 84 mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive sites.  It starts near the highest mountain in Britain (Ben Nevis), visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station (Arisaig), then passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain (Loch Morar), and the shortest river in Britain (River Morar) and finally arrives next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe – Loch Nevis.

The train stops en route to Mallaig at the village of Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745. After crossing the world famous 21 arch Glenfinnan viaduct – used in the Harry Potter movies as the journey to Hogwarts – there are wonderful views down Loch Shiel.  The stop here is long enough for you to stretch your legs and visit the museum in the station buildings.

Beyond are the villages of Lochailort, Arisaig, Morar and Mallaig.  On a clear summer’s day from Arisaig you can see the “Small Isles” of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and the southern tip of Skye.  The train passes Morar and the silvery beaches used in the films “Highlander” and “Local Hero”.

You reach the end of the West Highland Line at Mallaig – not only an access point to the Isle of Skye by ferry but also a thriving fishing community.  There is plenty to see and do while in the village and you have time to explore and grab a spot of lunch before the return journey to Fort William. You may be retracing the same Scottish rail line, but the direction of travel, weather and light are all sure to provide a different perspective on the magnificent scenery.


Sustainable Travel

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 on this holiday.


This holiday is based just outside the West Highland village of Spean Bridge, and you can choose to travel here by road, or follow the length of the West Highland Rail Line, starting at Glasgow.

Indeed you can also take the Caledonian Sleeper Service from London.

We can arrange train tickets from any UK mainline station as well transfers between the station and hotel.


£395 per person in April & October, £425 per person in May to September.

The price is based on two people sharing a double/twin room ensuite for 2 nights on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis. Included in the price is a first class day return on the Jacobite Steam train. We can also arrange for return rail travel on the West Highland Line from Glasgow to Spean Bridge, and taxi transfers to and from Fort William for the Jacobite., for an additional £100 per person. The single supplement for this holiday is an additional £40 per night.

You may also choose to stay an extra night at the hotel and explore more of the local area for £130 per person per night, including dinner, bed & breakfast, based on two sharing.

Children sharing a family room start from £150 per child, including children’s tea.

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 West Highland Line Experience

The holiday can be arranged from April to October. In 2021, the Jacobite Steam train will run from the 2nd April until the 29th October.

First class always sells out and the whole train is often fully booked in advance, so please do contact us as soon as possible to secure your seats for this wonderful trip.

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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