The Western Isles of Scotland

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore some of Scotland’s most iconic and interesting historical sites
  • Stays on the rugged Isle of Lewis and the magical Isle of Skye
  • View wonderful wildlife on a boat tour from Eriskay to the island of Mingulay
  • Visits to the inspirational Melrose Abbey, Abbotsford House and Rosslyn Chapel
  • Learn about the final Jacobite Rising at Culloden Battlefield
  • Travel along Scotland's most famous main lines
  • Return steam journeys on the Jacobite & Strathspey Railway
  • Talisker Whisky tour and tasting
  • Travelling by private coach allows us to visit places that are not easily reached by public transport
  • Welcome dinner and evening meals in remote locations are included
  • 14 days from £3,080pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Thursday 7 September to Wednesday 20 September 2023

Travel up through the Outer Hebrides, before heading eastwards to the Isle of Skye. On the mainland, combine iconic rail journeys such as the Jacobite steam train with some of Scotland's cultural jewels. New for 2023 is the inclusion of a South Uist sea tour and Culloden Battlefield visit.


Day 1 - Welcome to Glasgow

We meet in Glasgow for a welcome dinner and a 1-night stay. If you've never been to this lively cultural city, why not arrive a day or two early? We would be happy to arrange this for you, along with rail tickets from your home station.

Day 2 - West Highland Line

Have a leisurely morning or get up early to make the most of your time here, the choice is yours. We take a lunchtime train along the shores of Loch Lomond, round the horseshoe curve and over Rannoch Moor. This line has been voted Britain's most scenic and it's easy to see why. Most of the line is a twisty single track through spectacular Highland scenery. Late afternoon arrival into 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 for lunch in the tiny fishing port of Mallaig before we return to Fort William.

Day 4 - Mallaig to South Uist

Take a ride up the UK's only Mountain Gondola and enjoy the stunning scenery of the surrounding lochs and glens. Later on, continue by road to Mallaig for the afternoon ferry to Lochboisdale. Our hotel for the next 2 nights is only steps away and we arrive in time for our evening meal.

Day 5 - Eriskay & Wildlife

Enjoy a small boat tour from Eriskay to the island of Mingulay. Please note, this is weather dependant for safety reasons. The waters around Mingulay and the other Bishops Isles are teaming with wildlife and Basking Shark sightings are not uncommon. There will also be time to visit Eriskay itself, famous for being the site of 'Whisky Galore!'

Day 6 - North to Harris

We take a scenic drive across both Uist islands this morning to Berneray for the Sound of Harris ferry over to Leverburgh. Once on Harris, we journey around the west coast of the isle - famed for its spectacular beaches and wildflower 'machair' habitats - before continuing to Tarbert and then Lewis for a 2-night stay.

Day 7 - Historical 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 visit Lews Castle in Stornoway, where you can uncover stories of land and sea in the new "Museum nan Eilean" or take a woodland walk.

Day 8 - Scenic Skye

After a leisurely morning, we take a lunchtime ferry over to Uig on the Isle of Skye. En route to Portree for a 2-night stay, we tour the Jurassic Trotternish peninsula (via the coast road) with views of The Storr, Kilt Rock and The Quiraing.

Day 9 - Heritage & Whisky

We start the day exploring Dunvegan Castle and Gardens. The oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, this has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. There will be time for lunch (payable locally), before we head to the Talisker Distillery for a guided tour and whisky tasting.

Day 10 - Kyle of Lochalsh

Travelling by road, we cross the Skye Bridge on our way to Dornie. Here, where 3 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 2-night stay.

Day 11 - Culloden & Strathspey Steam

Morning visit to Culloden Battlefield - the moving site of the final Jacobite Rising. Later on, we drive to Aviemore for a return steam-hauled journey on the Strathspey Railway. This 10-mile long heritage line boasts views of heather-clad moors, woodland and the river Spey. Lunch will be included today.

Day 12 - Highland Main Line to Edinburgh

Travel by train to Edinburgh, passing through the mountainous central Highlands and crossing the famous Forth Rail Bridge (timetable depending) en route. Lunchtime arrival for an afternoon and evening at leisure. Top attractions include the Royal Yacht Britannia, the National Museum and the Old Town.

Day 13 - Melrose, Abbotsford & Rosslyn

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

Day 14 - Farewell

Travel home from Edinburgh independently.

Please note, due to the nature and/or location of some of the hotels used, several do not have lifts and many have several sets of staircases which you may need to navigate with your luggage. Please contact us before booking if you have any concerns.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

The Alexandra Hotel, Fort William

Lochboisdale Hotel, Lochboisdale

Doune Braes Hotel, Carloway

Rosedale Hotel, Portree

Travelodge City Centre, Inverness

Hotel Indigo – Princes Street, 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 bed and breakfast basis
  • 7 evening meals and 2 lunches
  • Excursions as specified
  • Coach and ferry travel as specified
  • Services of a tour leader from Glasgow and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £3,080
Single room supplement: £680
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
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  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

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