The Western Isles of Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle - © Kate Berry
Dunvegan Castle - © MacLeod Estate
The Jacobite
Jacobite Steam Train
Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis
Isle of Skye

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore some of Scotland's most iconic and interesting castles - Eilean Donan, Dunvegan and Kisimul
  • Stays on the rugged Isle of Harris and the magical Isle of Skye
  • Visit inspirational Abbotsford House, Melrose Abbey and Rosslyn Chapel
  • Ride Scotland's most famous mainlines - the Kyle line, the West Highland and the Highland Main
  • Return journey on the Jacobite Steam train
  • Our private coach enables visits to places not easily reached by public transport
  • All evening meals are included
  • 13 Days from £2,565pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Thursday 12 September to Tuesday 24 September 2019

We travel the length of the Outer Hebrides before journeying eastwards to the Isle of Skye; a land of silken moors, jagged mountains, sparkling lochs and soaring sea cliffs. On the mainland, we combine iconic rail journeys such as the Jacobite steam train to Mallaig, the Kyle of Lochalsh and the newly re-opened Borders Railway, with some of Scotland's cultural jewels.


Day 1 – Welcome to Glasgow

Meet in Glasgow for a welcome dinner and a 1-night stay. Our historic hotel has hosted stars including Frank Sinatra and Charlie Chaplin and even features in the James Bond book Licence Renewed. It is also conveniently located next to Glasgow Central station.

Day 2 – West Highland Line

A morning at leisure before our lunchtime train. The hotel is centrally located, near many of Glasgow's best museums and art galleries. Later, we board the ScotRail service which runs along the shores of Loch Lomond, round the horseshoe curve and over Rannoch Moor to Fort William for a 2-night stay.

Day 3 – Jacobite Steam

A return journey on the famous Jacobite Steam train today. This 84 mile round trip sees us cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument. There is time at leisure in Mallaig to explore and have lunch before we return to Fort William.

Day 4 – Mallaig to South Uist

After a leisurely start, we travel by road to Mallaig for the afternoon ferry crossing to Lochboisdale on South Uist. The island is one of the last surviving strongholds of the Gaelic language in Scotland and the crofting industries of peat cutting and seaweed gathering are still an important part of everyday life. We have a 2-night stay here and our hotel overlooks the bay.

Day 5 – Isle of Barra

Full day’s sightseeing via the Sound of Barra ferry. The Isles of Barra and Vatersay are the most southerly inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides and the most westerly in the UK. We take the short but memorable journey to Kisimul Castle - the 'Castle in the Sea' - and unearth times past at the Dualchas Heritage Centre.

Day 6 – North to Harris

A scenic drive across both Uist islands this morning to Berneray before catching the Sound of Harris ferry over to Leverburgh. Once on Harris, we journey around the west coast of the Isle to Tarbert where we have a 2-night stay. Harris and Lewis offer an ever-changing mix of terrains; mountains, hills, lunar-like rocky plateaus, moorlands, meadows, rugged coastlines and white sandy beaches all feature.

Day 7 – Historic Lewis

Our day tour of Lewis embraces the island's ancient roots, taking in the mystical Callanish Standing Stones, the well preserved Broch at Carloway and several traditional Blackhouse sites. We also travel out to the Eye Peninsula, have free time in the port town of Stornoway and visit Lews Castle and Museum.

Day 8 – Over to Skye

After a morning visit to the petite fishing island of Scalpay, we take a lunchtime ferry over to Uig on the Isle of Skye. We have free time in the colourful harbour town of Portree before making our way to our hotel for a 2-night stay.

Day 9 – Best of Skye

We start the day exploring the Jurassic Trotternish peninsula with visits to The Storr, Kilt Rock and The Quiraing. From here, we continue to Dunvegan Castle and Gardens before heading to Neist Point lighthouse which affords magnificent views on a clear day.

Day 10 – Kyle of Lochalsh

Travelling by road, we cross the Skye Bridge on our way to Dornie. Here, where three great sea lochs meet, we discover the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. Later, we are transferred back to Kyle of Lochalsh for the impressive rail journey to Inverness for a 1-night stay.

Day 11 – Highland Main to Edinburgh

Travel by train to Edinburgh, passing through the mountainous central Highlands. We arrive at lunchtime for an afternoon at leisure. Why not visit Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht Britannia or take a stroll up the Royal Mile?

Day 12 – Abbotsford, Melrose & Rosslyn

We travel along the Borders Railway to Tweedbank and transfer to Abbotsford House, Sir Walter Scott's 'romance of stone and mortar'. Following a guided tour and lunch (included), we continue to the elegant ruin of Melrose Abbey and the lavishly decorated Rosslyn Chapel.

Day 13 – Farewell

After breakfast, travel home from Edinburgh independently.

Please note - this tour involves a lot of walking on uneven ground.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

The Alexandra Hotel, Fort William

Lochboisdale Hotel, Lochboisdale

The Hebrides Hotel, Tarbert

Cuillin Hills Hotel, Portree

BW Palace Hotel & Spa, Inverness

Radisson Blu, Edinburgh

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • All rail travel as stated in standard class
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis
  • Excursions and admissions as listed
  • All road journeys by private coach
  • Services of a tour leader from Glasgow and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,565
Single room supplement: £550
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service