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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold Award

West Highland Line to Skye

Travel on the "Greatest Railway in the World" and stay in an atmospheric lochside hotel on Skye.

Readers of Wanderlust travel magazine regularly vote for the West Highland Line as the best railway journey in the world.  We created this unique holiday so that you can relax and take in the glorious scenery from Glasgow to Fort William, before enjoying the final section in first class style as the steam train meanders its way from Fort William to Mallaig.  But that’s not your final destination: from here you take the ferry ‘over the sea to Skye’ to a beautiful, cosy hotel in a tiny village with stunning coastal views and excellent local walks.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Apr - Oct. Early booking advisable, as Jacobite is very popular.

Why not...

add a day tour to explore the Isle of Skye?

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Day One: From Glasgow to Fort William

You start your rail journey in Glasgow travelling north on the Scotrail regular service, past Loch Lomond, over Rannoch Moor and past Ben Nevis, to reach your first base in the highland village of Spean Bridge.

Your Hotel

With views toward Ben Nevis, this family-run small hotel is a popular restaurant serving organic, home-cooked food and also has comfortable but informal accommodation.  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 rail station – and you will be picked up and dropped off 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 is only 17 minutes away by train.

Day Two: by Steam train to the Isle of Skye

This morning, travel on by train to Fort William then join the Jacobite Steam train for the final section of the West Highland Line; your route will include the spectacular Glenfinnan viaduct and finish at Mallaig, the ferry port for Skye. On the way you will also visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station (Arisaig), then pass close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain (Loch Morar), the shortest river in Britain (River Morar) and finally arrive next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe – Loch Nevis.

After a short time in Mallaig, it’s over the sea to Skye on the ferry with a taxi waiting for you on the other side to whisk you to your waterside hotel.

Your Hotel

Sheltered by a gently curving bay, your charming whitewashed hotel sits right on the seashore, enjoying expansive views over the Sound of Sleat to the wilderness of Knoydart.  This, the most southerly part of Skye, is an area of great natural beauty often referred to as the “Garden of Skye” thanks to its’ abundant bird life and profusion of wild flowers.  This is a Gaelic-speaking community and the bar is a convivial meeting place for the locals who mix happily with hotel guests – often to the accompaniment of traditional music and Gaelic song in front of the roaring log fire.

Due to the remote location of your hotel, we would strongly advise that you either hire a car or join a small group tour of Skye, so you can fully explore the island.

Twelve bedrooms (six in the Garden House) are decorated with pretty cotton and linen chintzes and there are four new suites in the recently restored stables, each enjoying superb views across the water to the lighthouse of Isle Ornsay. Candlelit meals in the wood-panelled dining room reflect the estate’s culinary riches, with wonderful shellfish and game featuring prominently on the menu.  Langoustines are landed at the old stone pier and oysters come from the hotel’s own oyster beds.

Day Three: Relax on Skye

On the little harbour right beside the hotel is the headquarters of “The Gaelic Whiskies”, where you can sample an excellent range of connoisseur brands before browsing in the nearby gallery and craft shop.

The surrounding area of hills, moorland, woodland and seashore offers endless opportunities for walking and taking in the magnificent sea views.

Though there is a reasonable local bus service, to see more of the island we would strongly recommend hiring a car for the day or we can arrange a small group guided tour for you – ask us for more details.

Day Four

Today you retrace your steps, back to the ferry then across to Mallaig for an early afternoon crossing and journey by the regular train via Fort William to Glasgow, arriving in the evening.


Map West-Highland-to-Skye

This twin-centre holiday features Spean Bridge and the Isle of Skye. The holiday starts and finishes in Glasgow. We can also customise this to include Edinburgh – less than an hour’s rail journey from Glasgow. We can also arrange travel from London by Caledonian Sleeper or other daytime services.


£535 per person for April & October, £595 per person for May through September. 

Prices based on two people sharing a room for three nights, one with dinner, bed & breakfast and two on a bed & breakfast basis.  This includes train travel from Glasgow to Fort William on the regular Scotrail service, travel by Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig first class, a return ferry to Skye as foot passenger and return taxi transfers to the hotel on Skye.  The return from Mallaig to Glasgow will be on the regular Scotrail service.

The supplement for a single traveller is £295 per holiday, based on single occupancy of double/twin rooms.

To explore the Isle of Skye, as local bus services are quite limited, we strongly recommend either hiring a car or taking a guided tour, with one of our local guides.
To hire a car during your stay on Skye costs an additional £150. The car would be collected from and returned to the ferry port on Skye.
To join a small group guided tour of Skye costs an additional £60 per person. Your driver guide will collect and return you to your hotel on Skye.

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 to Skye

This holiday can be arranged from April to October. In 2018 the Jacobite will run from March 30th to October 26th.

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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