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Edinburgh & the Highlands by Steam

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20242025
6 days From £799 £779 per person
4.1 stars(212 reviews)
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Enjoy the majesty of Edinburgh before exploring the lochs, mountains and glens of Perthshire and the soaring Cairngorm Mountains, aboard Scotland's spectacular railways.

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Save up to £150pp on selected 2024 holidays, when you book by 29th February 2024.

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Mobility Rating 2

2024 Tour code: 24AHS

About the tour

Adventure through the beautiful landscapes and rich culture of Scotland aboard the country's spectacular railways. From the vibrant city of Edinburgh to the stunning Cairngorm Mountain, every day is a new and breathtaking experience on this 5-day tour.

Explore towering sculptures, discover quaint towns and enchanting castles, journey on the world-famous Jacobite Steam Train, and immerse yourself in the traditional Scottish way of life at the Highland Folk Museum. Let Scotland's history, beauty, and hospitality captivate you.

Unforgettable Experiences

Jacobite Steam Train
Jacobite Steam Train
Journey on the Jacobite Steam Train and travel through the breathtaking scenery of the West Highland Line.
Vibrant Edinburgh
Vibrant Edinburgh
Stay in the vibrant city of Edinburgh, where stunning architecture, dramatic history, and a lively atmosphere are ready to be explored.
Kelpies, Falkirk
Kelpies, Falkirk
Experience the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel, two modern engineering wonders that pay homage to Scotland's industrial past.
Strathspey Steam Railway
Strathspey Steam Railway
Board the marvellous Strathspey Steam Railway and gaze out of the window at inspiring views of the Cairngorms and picturesque River Spey.
Blair Castle and Gardens
Blair Castle and Gardens
Step into a fairytale with a guided tour of the majestic Blair Castle and Gardens, discovering its white-washed stone walls and exquisitely landscaped gardens.
Queen's View
Queen's View
Experience the panoramic vistas of Queen's View, one of Scotland's most renowned and striking lookouts.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Vibrant Edinburgh

On the first day of your Scottish adventure, you meet your Tour Manager at your hotel just off Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile. After checking in, you have time to explore the Scottish capital's stunning architecture, dramatic history, and vibrant cultural scene. Dinner this evening is at one of Edinburgh's popular restaurants, Luckenbooths, where you enjoy your first night in the welcoming atmosphere of Scotland.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - The inspiring Kelpies, impressive Falkirk Wheel and delightful Blair Atholl

After breakfast today, you head to the magnificent Kelpies by coach. These towering sculptures were designed by the talented Glasgow-based artist, Andy Scott to pay homage to the hardworking horses of Scotland that once pulled barges along the canals and worked in the fields of the area.

A few miles down the road is a wonder of modern engineering, the Falkirk Wheel. Opening in 2002, the rotating boat lift connects the Forth & Clyde canal with the Union canal and is the only one of its kind in the world. There's time to admire this masterpiece and take photos.

Continuing the journey to Blair Atholl, you stop in the historic city of Stirling where you can take some time to relax and explore. Enjoy a leisurely lunch while taking in views of the magnificent, imposing castle and the picturesque hills that surround it or wander the charming streets spotting medieval landmarks.

Arriving in Blair Atholl, a village enveloped by ancient forests and rolling hills, you check into your hotel. Once you've settled in, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore the picturesque town known for its 13th-century castle and stunning views of the River Garry.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Stunning Queen’s View, beautiful Pitlochry, and enchanting Blair Castle

Today, you begin at Queen's View, one of Scotland's most famous lookouts. With stunning panoramas stretching out across Loch Tummel towards the Glencoe Hills, you can see why this was Queen Victoria's favourite view.

Continuing to Pitlochry, set against the backdrop of mighty Ben Vrackie, take some time to discover this quaint town. Wander through the lovely streets and browse the delightful souvenir shops.

Next, you return to Blair Atholl to enjoy a tour of the fantastic Blair Castle, one of Scotland's premier stately homes. A vision in white stone, the castle has a fairytale quality, with exquisite gardens and interiors that showcase Scottish design through the ages. After exploring the castle, the rest of your afternoon and evening is free to relax or experience more of Blair Atholl.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Journey on the incredible Jacobite Steam Train

You experience the beauty of the West Highland Line today aboard the magnificent Jacobite Steam Train. Travelling in restored carriages, this journey is renowned as one of the best and most scenic in the world. A highlight of the route is the moment you cross the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, a marvel of engineering with 21 arches, that you may recognise from the 'Harry Potter' films.

The train continues towards the coast, unveiling wild and wonderful views across the vast Scottish countryside. After passing through Arisaig, the line descends towards Mallaig, a quaint fishing port that looks over the Isle of Skye. Along the picturesque harbour, there's a choice of traditional Scottish pubs that serve delicious seafood dishes. With some time at leisure, you could enjoy lunch with a view before your return journey on the amazing Jacobite.

Please note that journeys are steam-hauled where possible - some departures may use the ScotRail scheduled service.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - The delightful Strathspey Steam Railway, the beautiful Cairngorm Mountain Railway and the immersive Highland Folk Museum

You make the most of your final full day today and begin with a journey on the Strathspey Steam Railway. Starting from Aviemore, you follow the route of the historic Highland Railway with the scenery of Cairngorm National Park surrounding you on all sides. Wind past pine forests, heathery moors and lush fields before arriving in Cairngorm.

From here, you board the Cairngorm Mountain Railway for a spectacular journey to the summit of Cairngorm Mountain. The 2km funicular railway climbs up the steep mountainside, with breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery. As you ascend, you'll see the landscape change from rolling hills to rugged mountains, with forests, lochs, and valleys below. Once you reach the summit, you step out into the crisp mountain air and take in the panoramic vistas.

The vast expanse of the Scottish Highlands stretches out before you, with jagged peaks and rolling hills as far as the eye can see. On a clear day, you may even catch a glimpse of the North Sea in the distance, shimmering in the sunlight.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can take on one of the many hiking trails that wind their way through the surrounding countryside, offering breathtaking views at every turn. The summit is also home to one of Scotland's premier ski resorts, but for a more relaxed experience, you could simply soak up the natural beauty of the area from the comfort of the visitor centre, where you can get some food or a cup of tea while gazing out at the stunning views.

Your next stop, after a short coach journey, is the Highland Folk Museum - a living, breathing tribute to the traditional way of life in the Scottish Highlands. Set amidst the stunning natural beauty of Newtonmore, the museum transports visitors back in time to the 18th century, with carefully recreated buildings, costumes, and artefacts.

With knowledgeable and passionate guides, you'll experience the culture of the Highland clans and learn about the unique customs and traditions that have endured for centuries. Your fun-packed day comes to an end and you journey back to your hotel for the rest of the evening and a final dinner at the hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Homeward bound

As your holiday comes to a close after breakfast this morning, it's time to bid farewell to Blair Atholl. Heading back to Edinburgh by train via Perth, soak up the stunning landscapes that have been the backdrop for an amazing holiday. You also pass the iconic red steelwork of Forth Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans the Firth of Forth. Arriving in Edinburgh, you bid farewell to new friends and fellow travellers before making your way home with unforgettable memories.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

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.

Mobility information

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.

Hotels

Atholl Arms Hotel, Blair Atholl

Atholl Arms Hotel, Blair Atholl

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Ibis Edinburgh Centre, Edinburgh

Ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile, Edinburgh

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Trains

Cairngorm Mountain Railway
Jacobite Steam Train
Scotrail
Strathspey Railway
West Highland Line

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Rail travel to and from Edinburgh
Extend your UK & Ireland holiday

Reviews

4.1 stars4.1 / 5 · 212 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (82)
  2. 4 stars
    (88)
  3. 3 stars
    (30)
  4. 2 stars
    (7)
  5. 1 star
    (5)

Mrs Ann Lawson

4 stars

Submitted 18 Oct 2023

Lots of trains, some disappointments (beyond our tour manager's control). Rail strikes, broken funicular and Flying Scotsman shunt). But most trips salvaged and a good time was had.

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Howard Selden

4 stars

Submitted 17 Oct 2023

The trip was well organised and the combination of rail and coach travel was good. Mrs Smith organised us well although this was a new holiday to her. Hotel accommodation was good although the first hotel tried to force 4 of us into one room.-not Rail Discoveries fault. It was a pity the steam train across the Glenninan Viaduct was not avaialble to us.

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Pete

5 stars

Submitted 13 Oct 2023

Just brilliant

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Rev Ken Johnson

4 stars

Submitted 13 Oct 2023

On the whole enjoyable but there were several changes to the original itinerary. Some of which were beyond the control of RD.

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Mrs Hilary Daniels

4 stars

Submitted 13 Oct 2023

It was good,but it felt rushed,too much time on the coach,more evening meals should have been provided,there is no where to eat eccept the hotel.need longer in edinburgh.the jacobote was a bit dissapointing.

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Martyn Coblenz

4 stars

Submitted 29 Sep 2023

It was very good but the day to nails it was too long

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