Private Group Tours to 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
  • Private transport enables visits to places not easily reached by public transport
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Travelling around Scotland by train is one of the most rewarding ways to see the very best of this wild and beautiful country. You can sit back and enjoy some incredible views and experience some unforgettable journeys, including a ride on the West Highland Line, made famous by the Harry Potter films, and named best rail journey in Britain in 2019 for the second year running by top travel magazine Wanderlust.

From June 2019 onwards you will be able to reach Scotland by train in the most civilised and comfortable way yet! The Caledonian Sleeper service begins operating its new fleet of trains at the end of May 2019, in time for the summer season. The Lowland service between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh will begin immediately with the Highland service to Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen to follow. Arrive refreshed at your destination of choice following an overnight journey geared to providing the best train guest experience - from double beds and en-suite rooms to Highland-sourced food menus.

Ffestiniog Travel has been running group tours to and around Scotland for many years and as rail tour experts we believe riding the country’s railways is an essential part of any visit. The West Highland Line is an absolute ‘must’ – running from Glasgow to Mallaig, its 164 mile route runs by Loch Long, Loch Lomond, Loch Etive and Loch Eil. It crosses the world’s first concrete rail viaduct at Glenfinnan, famously featured in the Harry Potter films, and passes the silver sands of Morar. Wanderlust picked out the 85 minute section between Fort William and Mallaig as the best scenic rail journey in the UK, hauled by the wonderful Jacobite steam train.

“The Jacobite encounters some of the UK’s most dramatic scenery. As the steam locomotive chugs along the 67km track, mountainous hillsides pierce the skyline and lakes glimmer in the distance.”

The West Highland Line provides a fantastic scenic route to the enchanting Western Isles of Scotland. A great group tour is to combine a trip on the railway with island hopping through the Outer Hebrides towards the Isle of Skye. The sample tour below combines the wonderful Western Isles with some great rail journeys, including the Kyle of Lochalsh Railway which travels past pleasant rural villages with the spectacular Highland scenery as a backdrop. Our suggested tour also includes the scenic Highland Main route from Inverness to Edinburgh which passes through the mountains central Highlands.

If your family or group would like to explore Scotland we can arrange all rail travel, road and ferry travel, accommodation and sightseeing excursions. If you have a route in mind or are interested in a section of the tour outlined below please contact us via the Request a Quote button or call direct on 01766 512400.

ITINERARY

Day 1 – Welcome to Glasgow

Meet in Glasgow for a 1-night stay. Your 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 your lunchtime train. The hotel is centrally located, near many of Glasgow's best museums and art galleries. Later, you 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 you return to Fort William.

Day 4 – Mallaig to South Uist

After a leisurely start, you travel by private road transfer 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. You have a 2-night stay here and your hotel overlooks the bay.

Day 5 – Isle of Barra

Full day’s sightseeing via the Sound of Barra ferry and private road transport. The Isles of Barra and Vatersay are the most southerly inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides and the most westerly in the UK. You 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 by private transport across both Uist islands this morning to Berneray before catching the Sound of Harris ferry over to Leverburgh. Once on Harris, you journey around the west coast of the Isle to Tarbert where you 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

A day tour by private transport 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. You 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

Morning transfer by private transport to visit the petite fishing island of Scalpay, you take a lunchtime ferry over to Uig on the Isle of Skye. You have free time in the colourful harbour town of Portree before transferring to your hotel for a 2-night stay.

Day 9 – Best of Skye

You start the day exploring the Jurassic Trotternish peninsula with visits to The Storr, Kilt Rock and The Quiraing. From here, you continue to Dunvegan Castle and Gardens before heading to Neist Point lighthouse which affords magnificent views on a clear day. All travel is by private transport.

Day 10 – Kyle of Lochalsh

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

Day 11 – Highland Main to Edinburgh

Travel by train to Edinburgh, passing through the mountainous central Highlands. You 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

You 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), you continue to the elegant ruin of Melrose Abbey and the lavishly decorated Rosslyn Chapel. Road travel by private transport. 

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 transport

Price per person

Price available upon request

Booking form

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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

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