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

West Highland Line to Skye

Travel on the "Greatest Railway in the World" and stay in an historic 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 Jacobite Express 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.

If you are interested in a shorter two-night break including a return first-class trip on the Jacobite Express take a look at our ‘First Class Jacobite Short Break‘ holiday.


At A Glance

Best Time To Go

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

Why not...

Extend the tour to include Inverness and Edinburgh?

Prices From


No of Nights


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

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Day One: From Glasgow to Fort William on the West Highland Line

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. Along the way make sure to enjoy the views and marvel at  the engineering prowess needed to create the railway, which actually “floats” on the moorland for long stretches.

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.

Dinner is included for the next two evenings.

Day Two – relaxing in the Highlands

A day at leisure, with options to walk on the nearby trails, take a bus and boat trip to Loch Ness or ride the cable car up Aonach Mor. Do not miss a stroll to the impressive Commando memorial with its commanding views of the glen.  Fort William is only 17 minutes away by train if you prefer.

Day Three: 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, where you will be met by local taxi, for the hour-long trip to Portree, the island’s capital. Your accommodation for the next two nights is another family-run guest house, more traditional in style and boasting a well-preserved Victorian interior.

Your Hotel

Uniquely situated only ten minutes walk from the island’s capital, Portree, yet set in 20 acres of woodland garden, this is an ideal base for discovering Skye. Built over 200 years ago, and still run by members of the same local family, the house retains all its original charm and the splendid Victorian interior is wonderfully intact.

Your hosts offer light suppers by prior arrangement, and there are a number of options to dine in Portree itself, just a 10 minute walk into town.

Day Four: Explore the Isle of Skye

Today you will enjoy a full day tour of some of the highlights of the Isle of Skye in the company of one of our hand-picked local guides.

The tour may include visits to The Old Man of Storr, Lealt Falls, Kilt Rock,The Quiraing, The Fairy Glens, Dun Beag Broch, Glenbrittle, The Fairy Pools or The Talisker Distillery Shop, Sligachan and the Red Cuillins.

Day Five: Return home

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. This will give you another chance to enjoy the wonderful West Highland Line. You will arrive back in the city in the evening, so do ask us for help with accommodation here.

If you prefer we may be able to arrange an earlier arrival, though this may mean a longer rail journey via Inverness, or a very early start from Portree.


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 – including the Isle of Skye. 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.


This twin-centre holiday features Spean Bridge and the Isle of Skye. The holiday starts and finishes in Glasgow normally but we can also arrange a tailormade trip to start the tour in Edinburgh, or finish in Inverness.

We can also arrange travel from London by Caledonian Sleeper or other daytime services.


£925 per person for April & October, £995 per person for May through September. 

Prices based on two people sharing a room for four nights, two 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 full day guided tour in small group of the Isle of Skye, 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.

We can also arrange a private tour to allow you to tailor your visit to your exact requirements.

The supplement for a single traveller is £430 per holiday, based on single occupancy of double/twin rooms.

We can also arrange car hire on Skye, collected from and returned to the ferry port. Ask us for a tailormade quotation if this is of interest.

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.


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 and a local guide on this holiday.

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.

Falling in Love with the Isle of Skye

Falling in Love with the Isle of Skye

“Somewhere along the Scottish coast An emerald island lies So I will steer my sailing boat Unto the Isle of Skye” [Andrew Peterson] I take a glanc...


Check availability for West Highland Line to Skye

This holiday can be arranged from April to October. In 2021, the Jacobite Steam train will run from the 2nd April until the 29th October. Outside these dates the same route can be booked, but a standard train service operates.

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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