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Scottish Highland Railways

5days from
£747*per person

Overview

Save up to 15%. Book up until midnight on 15 March 2024, T&Cs apply. No discount code is required.

Experience some of the world’s most spectacular scenery as you enjoy journeys on three of Scotland’s most celebrated railways as part of this wider tour of the Scottish Highlands. Sit back in wonder as you enjoy the breathtaking train journey from Inverness – one of Michael Palin’s "Great Railway Journeys" – to Kyle of Lochalsh. The dramatic 42 miles of the famous West Highland line from Fort William to Mallaig, and a nostalgic trip on the steam-hauled Strathspey Railway complete an unforgettably scenic few days exploring one of Scotland’s most beautiful regions.

Itinerary

  • 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 travel, and book our Tour Only package, you'll need to meet your tour manager at Inverness airport only. You may have the opportunity to join the groups transfer to the hotel, and we would ask if you can inform Newmarket Holidays in advance of your arrival details.  
  • Join your tour manager this morning as you board the coach for the transfer to Inverness, where you’ll embark on 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.  There it heads west once again, climbing slowly through the remote northern Highlands, with 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, both featured in many a TV series, and onto Kyle.  Your return coach journey back to the hotel starts with a brief visit to Kyleakin on the renowned Isle of Skye before stopping en route at one of Scotland’s most iconic castles, Eilean Donan.  Have your cameras and phones ready here for that picture postcard image. Your final highlight of the day will be a picture stop on the banks of Loch Ness.  
  • Today sees you head to Aviemore for a somewhat shorter, but no-less-special rail journey.  Join your tour manager and fellow guests as you board the Strathspey Steam Railway, a wonderful reminder of the golden days of steam.  This run takes you through some delightful unspoilt Highland scenery, and past great sweeps of the River Spey, through moorland and forest.  Return to Aviemore, where this is an opportunity to explore the famous resort town, which is one of Britain’s most famous outward-bound centres. Continue to visit the Cairngorm Reindeer centre, to experience close up, the lives of reindeers with their handlers.  After your visit, drive through twisting mountain roads to the Cairngorm Mountain visitor centre, which offers glorious unspoilt views of the surrounding region.  Take time to soak in the views from this vantage point. 
  • 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 views of the 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 little working port, and is well worth exploring. You may like to explore the Heritage Centre or visit the Smokery where you can arrange for kippers to be sent anywhere in the world. We return to the hotel by coach.
  • Bid farewell to the Highlands today, and travel to the airport to board your flight home.

What's Included

Holiday Highlights

  • Rail travel from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh - a truly spectacular ride through the remote northern Highlands and alongside Loch Carron
  • Journey on the steam-hauled Strathspey Railway through unspoilt Highland scenery and alongside the River Spey
  • Cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct, as seen in the Harry Potter films, on a train ride from Fort William to Mallaig
  • Visit the famous Highland resort of Aviemore
  • Travel past island-studded Loch Eilt
  • Explore Mallaig, a charming fishing village at the very end of the West Highland Line
  • View the magnificent Eilean Donan Castle
  • Enjoy a photo stop at the legendary Loch Ness
  • Visit to Isle of Skye town of Kyleakin
  • Marvel at the views from the Cairngorm Mountain
  • Learn about the lives of reindeers

Our Price Includes

  • Four nights' dinner, bed and Scottish breakfast accommodation at the Carrbridge Hotel, Carrbridge
  • Rail trip from Inverness to Kyle
  • Strathspey steam rail journey to Aviemore
  • West Highland Line rail journey
  • Return flights to Edinburgh or Inverness, with coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
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Accommodation

Carrbridge Hotel, Carrbridge -

★★★

Set on the banks of the Dulnain River and boasting spectacular views of the Cairngorm Mountains, this charming, family-run hotel was originally established in 1803 as an inn for travellers. It has been extended and refurbished over the years and now has 100 bedrooms of varying shapes and sizes.

Facilities & Amenities
A casual, cosy restaurant and bar, with a log fire and patio seating, serves classic pub fare. There is lift access to the first floor, and guestrooms on higher floors are accessed by stairs.

Highlander Hotel, Newtonmore -

★★★

We're sure that you will be delighted with the friendly service and warm hospitality that are the hallmarks of a stay at the Highlander, which is always popular with Newmarket guests.

Facilities & Amenities
The rooms in this comfortable hotel are located in two blocks just a short walk from the main hotel reception, restaurant and bar area.
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Other Information

Reindeer Centre closure

Please note that the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre has closed for building renovations; reopening should commence Autumn 2024. A visit to the Cairngorm Alpacas has been arranged as an alternative

Hotel transfer times

The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately three hours from Edinburgh airport and one hour from Inverness airport.

Combining hotel transfers

We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.

Train journeys

It may be necessary to amend the order of excursions as detailed or the direction in which the railway journeys are taken. All train journeys, with the exception of the Strathspey Railway Steam Railway, are on scheduled First ScotRail services using diesel-powered engines. In the unlikely event of a steam locomotive breaking down on the Strathspey Railway or the Steam engine being replaced due to a Gala festival, we reserve the right to substitute the engine with diesel locomotive.

Special requirements

If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

Disabled access

The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Itinerary changes

Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

Airport development fees

An Airport Development Fee has been introduced at a few UK Airports. You will be required to pay this charge at the following airports prior to checking in for your flight: Blackpool, Newquay and Norwich. The amount varies from airport to airport, but it is generally between £5 and £10 per person. Please visit the airport's website for further information.

Travelling to Europe

Rules may have changed since you last travelled to European Union countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The following are useful guidelines which will help you prepare for your next adventure. You do require government issued passport to travel. Names - It is very important that all passenger names are exactly as per your passport although we do not require middle names. Passport - Your passport must meet two requirements to travel to an EU country and to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It must be: Less than 10 years old on the day you return home (please check the "date of issue") and valid for at least 3 months after the day you return home (please check the "expiry date"). Visa - You do not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any rolling 180-day period. European Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS) - Commencing in late 2023 or 2024, all citizens of the United Kingdom will require a ETIAS electronic form completed prior to their arrival into the EU and Schengen member countries. The cost for this travel authorisation will be €7.00 per person with exceptions for under 18’s and over 70’s. The latest information and further details can be found at www.etias.com.

Terms and conditions

15% off discount applies to all 2024 and 2025 departures for long and short haul holidays. This offer applies to new bookings only booked between 15 February and 29 February inclusive. This offer does not apply to holidays with late availability pricing and excludes, Ocean Cruise, River Cruise, Andre Rieu events, Lapland and Wimbledon. This offer cannot be combined or used in conjunction with any other discount, promotion or concession. 15% off must be redeemed through the use of the promo code FEB15. The discount applies to the full tour price (excluding extras and holiday insurance) at the time of booking. This offer is subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time. Newmarket Holidays reserves the right to cancel, change or amend any tour. Holidays booked with Newmarket Holidays, are financially protected in accordance with ABTA, ATOL & ABTOT regulations. Newmarket Holidays Limited is a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 02238316.

Holiday code

N035

Holiday provided by Newmarket Holidays

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: fully flexible booking policy, covid-19 cancellation cover insurance as standard and 100% protection with ABTA & ATOL. This holiday is sold and operated by Newmarket Holidays (ABTOT 5509, ATOL 2325, ABTA V7812), you can be 100% sure that your money is safe.

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