Train Holidays in Scotland - Getting Around by Rail

You’ll find some of the world’s most iconic railway journeys and train holidays in Scotland. Plus a Scottish railway journey is one of the best ways to take in the stunning landscapes. From scenic train routes through the Scottish Highlands to short steam train rides, Scotland's train tours can offer unforgettable journeys with great service and amazing views.

  1. West Highland Line Glasgow to Oban or Mallaig

    A Scotrail 156 Sprinter crossing Loch Awe near Dalmally

    © Scotrail / Tony Hardley

    Time: 5h 15mins

    Look out for: the Jacobite Steam Train* and its Harry Potter connections.

    The West Highland Line is described as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. It runs from Glasgow up north to Crianlarich. One route then goes west past Loch Awe to Oban or continues north through Rannoch Moor to Fort William and Mallaig. Or you can do both!

    This route is known to millions for taking Harry Potter from Platform 9¾ all the way to Hogwarts. As the train heads west, it passes over the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct and offers breath-taking views of locations such as Loch Shiel, Loch Eilt and Ben Nevis, many of which can also be seen in the films.

    * Please note that the Jacobite Steam Train is running with reduced capacity for the 2024 season. Please check directly for the latest availability.

  2. The Far North Line Inverness to Thurso or Wick

    Inverness Castle and the River Ness

    Time: 4h 30 mins

    Look out for: varied coastline, pleasant farmland, traditional distilleries.

    The far north of Scotland is home to unspoiled landscapes perfect for a relaxing break, but it's still easy to get there by train. Trains run north from Inverness to Thurso and onto Wick in just four and a half hours.

  3. The Kyle Line Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh


    Time: 2h 30 mins

    Look out for: the magnificent rocky shoreline, wild mountain vistas, red deer.

    Travel along the Kyle Line between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh for amazing views of mountains, forests and lochs. You’ll also pass by charming Highland villages, such as Achnasheen and Plockton.

  4. The Borders Railway Edinburgh to Tweedbank

    A couple admiring the Borders steam train from the platform at Tweedbank

    © VisitScotland / David N Anderson

    Time: 1h

    Look out for: rolling countryside, historical gems, family attractions.

    The Borders Railway will take you through the engaging landscapes of Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, giving you easy access to some rich history and thrilling outdoor activities.

  5. The Forth Bridge Edinburgh to North Queensferry

    The Forth Bridge seen from North Queensferry

    © VisitScotland/ Kenny Lam

    Time: 20 mins

    Look out for: the incredible views when crossing the bridge.

    The Forth Bridge is an iconic structure which connects Edinburgh with Fife across the Firth of Forth. It is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Enjoy amazing views of the Firth of Forth and the other bridges as you speed across on the train. You can take the train from Edinburgh and get off at either Dalmeny or North Queensferry to admire the bridge from below.

  6. The Belmond Royal Scotsman Starts from Edinburgh

    The Glenfinnan viaduct on the West Highland Line

    © VisitScotland / Airborne Lens

    Time: 2-7 nights

    Perfect for: luxury travel, stunning scenery, first-class service, exquisite food and drink.

    If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on a luxury train in Scotland, then treat yourself to a trip aboard the truly glamorous Belmond Royal Scotsman. This ultra-exclusive train offers fine-dining and 5-star hospitality as guests are whisked away on breaks around the country, stopping off along the way for unforgettable experiences and excursions.

  7. The Strathspey Steam Railway Aviemore to Boat of Garten and Broomhill

    The Strathspey Railway is a traditional steam powered train, based in Aviemore

    Time: 1h 45 mins

    Perfect for: a fun family day out, vintage steam train trips, wild birds of prey.

    See the majestic Cairngorm mountains from the comfort of a plush carriage on a trip along the Strathspey Steam Railway. Tuck into afternoon tea or a three-course Sunday lunch on board the train or stop off at Boat of Garten to spot ospreys and other wildlife at the nearby RSPB reserve.

  8. The Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway Bo-ness to Kinneil, Birkhill and Manuel Junction, Whitecross

    The Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway

    Time: 1h 10 mins

    Perfect for: a family day out.

    The route passes by the local nature reserve, estate and museum at Kinneil and the charming vintage railway station at Birkhill. Book a special trip with Thomas the Tank Engine for young kids, while all the family can climb aboard heritage locomotives at the Museum of Scottish Railways in Bo'ness after the trip.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  9. The Royal Deeside Railway Milton of Crathes

    The Royal Deeside Railway

    Time: 20 mins

    Look out for: the award-winning Victorian station and railway carriage tearoom.

    Take a journey through the beautiful Royal Deeside countryside, as this heritage railway runs for a mile alongside the River Dee. Explore the Milton of Crathes complex for craft shops, a restaurant and art gallery or discover the grounds and attractions at nearby Crathes Castle.

  10. Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway Leadhills

    Leadhills And Wanlockhead Railway

    Time: 30 mins

    Look out for: the collection of locomotives at Leadhills station.

    This railway runs between Scotland’s highest villages, Leadhills and Wanlockhead in Dumfries & Galloway. This round trip takes you through the mining area. You can request to get off at Glengonnar Halt and walk into the village of Wanlockhead to visit the Museum of Lead Mining.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
  11. Keith and Dufftown Railway Dufftown to Drummuir, Towiemore, Keith Town

    Keith Town Station

    Time: 40 mins

    Look out for: the special events including Santa Specials and a Ghost Train.

    This heritage railway runs for 11 miles through dense pine forests, the valley around the River Isla and rolling fields. Try and spot the local wildlife from the window including red squirrels, deer, buzzards and other birds of prey.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  12. The Aberdonian Edinburgh to Forth Bridge, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen

    The Aberdonian Steam Train

    Time: All day

    Look out for: the off-train trips including a whisky distillery.

    This train runs along the coast of Fife before heading up to Perth and along the coast again to Dundee, through Angus and up north to Aberdeen. There are bookable off-train excursions to a castle or whisky tasting. You can enjoy fine Scottish produce on-board served by a friendly team.

  13. Museum of Scottish Railways Bo'ness, near Falkirk

    Museum of Scottish Railways

    © @museum_of_scottish_railways

    Time: 2 hours

    Perfect for: this isn't a train tour, but a chance to find out more about trains in Scotland.

    Railway locomotives, carriages and wagons – there’s plenty to keep all explorers entertained at the fascinating Museum of Scottish Railways at Bo’ness, near Falkirk.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets

General tickets and travel information

Please be aware that from 14 July ScotRail is operating a temporary timetable. Consult the timetable when planning your journey.

See the temporary timetable

Buy train tickets

Look out for the Spirit of Scotland Travelpass, which gives you:

  • 4-days unlimited travel over 8 consecutive days for £149
  • 8-days unlimited travel over 15 consecutive days for £189

Buy the Spirit of Scotland Travelpass

Check out our Railway FAQs page for more information on train travel and accessible travel across Scotland.

Find out more on Scotland's railways

Find out more on accessible travel on ScotRail’s website

Want to see more of Scotland by train? Check out our train tours for a guided trip filled with the best attractions, scenery and more.

See train tours in Scotland

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