Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, visit grand castles & creative gardens, including time on the Isle of Skye and a journey along the famous West Highland Line. Maximum of 13 places per departure. Places strictly limited.
Day one – meet and greet in Edinburgh
Arrive in Scotland’s capital and settle into your centrally located accommodation. Maybe arrive a day or two early and make the most of your time here – do simply let us know if we can assist with arrangements for you.
This evening, meet your fellow travellers and tour leader for a welcome meal and let the tour leader set the scene for the week to follow.
Day two – Escape to the Highlands
Set off from Waverley Station on the train to Blair Atholl. Pass over the iconic Forth Bridge, a 19th-century feat of engineering made by seven-million rivets and four-thousand men. The train passes by ancient towns and villages as civilisation thins around the track and we enter the Highlands.
Disembark at Blair Atholl station and take the short walk to Blair Castle. Set in nine acres of walled gardens, this grand place is sure to be a highlight of the trip. Next hop on a private minibus to Pitlochry and spend the afternoon exploring this attractive town.
End the day with a visit to the scene of a vicious battle and hear how a night in the local pub raised an army to take on the government. Dinner at a local restaurant is included this evening.
Day three – The Kyle Line to an Artists Garden
Embark on a train journey through the Cairngorms and onto Inverness, changing there to head out on the Kyle Line from East to West coast.
Step off the train and into Attadale Gardens. Known as a painter’s garden, each section is set out to give a plethora of scents and colours. Spend the afternoon in the company of the owner and learn of the garden’s rich history.
From here it’s a short transfer to Plockton and your accommodation for the next two days.
Day four – Tour of Skye
Hop on board a private mini-bus and head over the bridge to Skye. In the company of an expert local guide visit the changing scenes of this famous island. Learn of the changing life on the island, the histories, the families, the feuds.
Reach the top of windswept plateaus, walk past waterfalls that cascade down rocky staircases. With each corner turned the changing beauties tell the story of the island’s violent creation. Discover the oral tradition of Scotland, stories passed down from generation to generation.
Day five – The West Highland Line to The Great Glen
Travel south through Skye. If the tide is right and the ferry timetable allows, visit Armadale Castle & Gardens to glimpse an Elysian staircase surrounded by crumbling glories. Next it’s all aboard the ferry to Mallaig. On arrival, take a couple of hours to explore the seaside town before boarding the train.
Built to open up Scotland’s remote West Coast, The West Highland Line has had trains travelling on it since 1901. Your guide will be on hand to point out features of the journey including the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and tell stories of the area’s importance in wars spanning from the 1700s through to World War II.
From Fort William take a short road transfer to Spean Bridge and your accommodation for the next two nights.
Day six – Adventure Through Glencoe
A private mini-coach will pick you up from your accommodation and transport you to the depths of the Highlands. First stop at Castle Stalker for a photograph and tales of invading Vikings and the technical advancement that banished them from Scottish waters.
Next it’s on to one of Scotland’s most bizarre sites. Almost lost between the trees, this church is a magic combination of artistry, idiosyncrasy and passion. A shin bone from a ruler, architectural features stolen from the past, undiscovered stained glass masterpieces – your guide will be on hand to unravel the mysteries of the strange kirk of Loch Awe.
Return via Glencoe. Falling water from alpine valleys fill deep veined cliffs; entering the glen is like passing through the doors of a great cathedral. Learn of Scotland’s darkest moments while standing in one of its most beautiful locations.
End the day with a final meal together beneath the peaks of Ben Nevis then toast a week of newfound friends and adventure.
Day seven – Journey to Glasgow
The trip concludes with the final section of the West Highland Line. The Highlands will fade into Lowland and Glasgow will appear around you. Share a moment with your fellow travellers and tour leader as your trip through the Highlands and Islands draws to a close.
Say fond farewells before continuing on with your travel plans. Why not spend a couple of days in Glasgow and experience the vibrant atmosphere of Scotland’s biggest city, or add on a self-guided four day whisky tour of Islay? Do let us know if we can help with your onward arrangements.
The price of £1,875 per person based on two sharing a twin or double room or £2,275 single occupancy includes:
Awarded AITO's Tour Operator of the Year in 2019 (Bronze), 2018 (Bronze) and 2016 (Gold), as well as Telegraph Travel's 'Best Specialist Tour Operator 2017' based on customer reviews, McKinlay Kidd has spent years exploring the country. They have stayed in, eaten at, driven through, sailed across, and visited everything they recommend so that your experience of Scotland is as good as it gets. McKinlay Kidd designs tailor-made short breaks, celebratory trips, long excursions, self-drive holidays and small group guided rail tours.
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