Day One - Travel to Scotland
Fly into Scotland, meet your tour manager at the airport, and board the coach for the scenic journey to your hotel.
The Carrbridge Hotel is situated on the edge of Carrbridge village, and is close to some lovely local walks (the hotel staff will be happy to point you in the right direction). The famous packhorse bridge, dating back to 1717 and reputed to be one of the oldest in Scotland, is opposite the hotel.
The Highlander Hotel, in Newtonmore, is just a short walk from the highly acclaimed Highland Folk Museum, and there is a handful of shops and bars at the far end of the village.
If you decide to arrange your own travel, and book our Tour Only package, you'll need to meet your Tour Manager at the airport in time for the coach transfer to your hotel. (Exact times will be confirmed closer to departure.)
Day Two - Included rail trip from Inverness to Kyle
Board the coach and travel to Inverness, this morning. Here, you'll board the train for the spectacular 80-mile, two-and-a half-hour journey west to Kyle of Lochalsh, in its idyllic setting opposite the Isle of Skye. From Inverness, the line travels along the south side of Beauly Firth with views back across to the Black Isle, before turning north to the market town of Dingwall. Here it heads west once again, climbing slowly through the remote northern Highlands and offering glimpses (on clear days) of towering Liathach and its Torridon mountain neighbours.
Probably the most spectacular part of the journey is when the line descends to the magnificent scenery of Loch Carron, and runs alongside the Loch, past Attadale Estate and Plockton, and on to Kyle.
Once in Kyle you'll have time to explore, and perhaps have a spot of lunch, before heading back to the hotel by coach at the end of a wonderful day.
Day Three - Included Strathspey steam rail jouney to Aviemore
Today you'll head to Boat of Garten for a somewhat shorter, but no less special, rail journey on the Strathspey
Steam Railway, a reminder of the golden days of steam.
The nine-and-a half-mile run passes through unspoilt Highland scenery, taking you past great sweeps of the River Spey, through moorland and forest, and ending in the famous Highland resort of Aviemore. After an opportunity to explore the famous resort town, one of Britain’s most famous outward-bound centres, you'll have a chance to enjoy an afternoon visit to Newtonmore’s fascinating Highland Folk Museum.
Here, Highland life from the 18th Century to the 1950s is vividly depicted, with a number of historic dwellings – some built from scratch on-site and others brought from other locations - and a vast collection of artefacts gathered together in a beautiful setting.
Those not wishing to visit the museum will have an afternoon free to spend as they wish.
Day Four - Included West Highland Line rail journey
Fort William beckons today, as you enjoy your holiday’s final highlight – the journey on the last stretch of the famous West Highland Line, to the tiny fishing village of Mallaig. Voted by readers of Wanderlust Magazine as the world’s best train journey, this is another truly spectacular route.
As the train pulls out of Fort William, look back and left to see Ben Nevis towering above the town. Minutes later, the train crosses the Caledonian Canal – look out for Neptune's Staircase, a succession of eight locks, to your right. The train then runs alongside Loch Eil before reaching the spectacular, 21-arch, Glenfinnan Viaduct - famously featured in the Harry Potter movies. Other highlights of the journey include island-studded Loch Eilt (considered by many to be the prettiest along the route), Arisaig (Britain’s most westerly railway station) and the white Atlantic sands of Morar.
Mallaig is a delightful, thriving place, with a working port, and is well worth exploring. You may like to head into the hills above, where you’ll be rewarded with some wonderful views, explore the Heritage Centre or visit the Smokery where you can arrange for kippers to be sent anywhere in the world.
Day Five - Return to the airport and head home
Bid farewell to the Highlands today, and travel to the airport to board your flight home.