World class rail journeys in a stunningly beautiful region
From the proud city of Glasgow, make the exciting journey through the mesmerising scenery of the Scottish Highlands on one of the world's great railways, before visiting the beautiful Isle of Skye and embarking on a scenic cruise on the Sound of Mull.
Your tour begins in Glasgow, where you meet at your hotel. After settling in, you are free to explore. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and has gone through a renaissance of sorts in the last few decades.
Modern-day Glasgow has much to recommend it, and places of interest include Buchanan Street, the core of Glasgow's rich retail centre and home to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, The Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street, which were designed by the celebrated architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. With free entry, here you can admire paintings by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Dalí. It also features a fine collection of natural history exhibits and armoury displays.
Embark on a journey along the magnificent West Highland Line, one of the most scenic railways in the world. The routes takes you through the remote and mountainous west coast of Scotland, along the River Clyde, and over the hills and glenns of Argyll. You'll also travel by the northwestern shores of Loch Lomond and through Trossachs National Park. This is one of the most iconic sights in Scotland and is considered to be the natural boundary between central Scotland, and the stunning Highlands. On the way, pass through Glen Falloch, Taynuilt, Crianlarich, Dalmally and several other Highland villages known for breathtaking landscapes.
Your destination is Oban, your base for the next 3 nights. The afternoon is at leisure to explore. Perhaps visit McCaig's Tower on Battery Hill, or the Oban War & Peace Museum. The Oban Chocolate Company is the place to go for some delectable handmade chocolates, or you could take the local bus to the partially ruined castle of Dunstaffnage, located on a promontory with sea on 3 sides. You can also visit the Ocean Explorer Centre, the visitor centre of Scottish Association for Marine Science. This centre seeks to teach visitors about various challenges facing marine life, and ways to contribute positively towards their conservation.
Transfer by coach to Fort William for a journey on the iconic Jacobite Steam Train*. Hailed as one of the great railway journeys in the world, the service began operating in 1984 as a tourist attraction. The Jacobite travels from Fort William to Mallaig, crossing lochs, rivers, mountains, silvery beaches, and beautiful villages before passing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
From Mallaig, take the boat to Armadaleto, on the south of the Isle of Skye, known for its striking castle ruins and history of mining. The castle was once home to the Macdonalds of Sleat, and you have time to explore the romantic castle and historic gardens, with stunning views to the Sound of Sleat and the mountains of Knoydart. The estate is also famous for its wildlife, so be on the lookout for eagles, deer, and pine martens. Explore the Museum of the Isles for an education on local Highland history before sailing back to Mallaig.
You return to Oban by coach, seeing the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct from a different angle en route. This viaduct is loved by photographers and filmmakers alike, and features prominently in the second Harry Potter movie. Constructed over the waters of Loch Shiel, the viaduct overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument and offers stuuning views of Loch Shiel.
*Steam-hauled when possible. Some departures will make this journey on Scotrail's diesel service.
After a leisurely morning, board the MV Isle of Mull for a highlight of your tour, a scenic cruise along the Sound of Mull. Soak up incredible views as you sail from Oban to Craignure, seeing the island of Lismore with its impressive lighthouse, the Nevis Mountain range, the Garvellach Islands, and imposing Duart Castle.
The Sound of Mull's geographic position makes it the ideal area for spotting marine life. The Atlantic Ocean's clear waters ensure good visibility, while the sheltered location of the sound keeps it protected from harsh weather. These conditions also make the Sound of Mull a favourite among divers and snorkellers. Keep your eyes peeled for porpoises and cormorants during your cruise.
Later, enjoy a tour and whisky tasting at Oban Distillery, one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland and one of the smallest, with just 2 pot stills. The distillery began operating in 1794, and is famous for its Oban West Highland malt. Your evening is free to spend at leisure. Perhaps take a stroll through the historic town.
Travel by rail back to Glasgow, enjoying views over wild, unspoilt areas of natural beauty. This afternoon is free; perhaps stroll along Buchanan Street, taking in the impeccable Victorian architecture. On Day 6, you are free to depart at your leisure.
20HMS01, 20HMS04, 20HMS05, 20HMS14: Days 3 and 4 have swapped around
20HMS03: Day 2 - Visit to Oban with Tour & Tasting at the distillery before heading to the hotel. Day 3 - Free morning in Oban. Sound of Mull sightseeing cruise in the afternoon. Day 4 - Journey on the Jacobite Steam Train with entry into Armadale Castle.
On many of our UK & Ireland tours, you may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.
Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.
World class rail journeys in a stunningly beautiful region