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Steam through the Scottish Highlands by rail
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Follow in magical footsteps as you travel on the Jacobite steam train over the spectacular 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, as seen in the Harry Potter films. Overlooking Loch Shiel, this location is also where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745. The viaduct is one of many incredible sights on the famous Road To The Isles in the shadow of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis. It is also just one attraction on this new steam-powered break, exclusive for Prima readers, which includes journeys on two other scenic Scottish railways.
You'll stay just north of Inverness in Dornoch for three nights, and travel back in time to the golden age of rail travel. On the Strathspey Railway, you'll cross heather-covered moorland with views of the Cairngorms and stop at Broomhill, which doubled as Glenbogle in the BBC's Monarch Of The Glen. You'll also travel to Kyle of Lochalsh, on what is considered the most picturesque railway line in the British Isles.
Visits to the 13th-century Eilean Donan Castle, the most photographed castle in Scotland, and the atmospheric Baxters Highland Village, which overlooks some of the finest salmon waters in the world, are also included on this great-value four-day break.
Reasons to book
Ride on the Jacobite
Stay in the Highlands
Baxters historic Highland Village
- Fly from London Stansted to Edinburgh on return flights, with other airports available on request
- Spend three nights at the Dornoch Hotel in the Scottish Highlands with dinner, bed and breakfast
- Relax on comfortable coaches
- Take a scenic rail journey from Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh
- Enjoy a round trip on the Jacobite from Fort William to Mallaig
- Travel by train from Inverness to Elgin
- Journey on the Strathspey Railway from Aviemore to Broomhill
- Visit Eilean Donan Castle
- Experience Baxters Highland Village
- Count on the services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager
Day1Arrive in Edinburgh and ride on the Strathspey RailwayEdinburgh, United Kingdom
Depart this morning from London Stansted Airport on a morning flight to Edinburgh. We continue by coach to Aviemore and the Strathspey Railway. We will board the maroon-liveried coaches which will evoke memories of train journeys in the 1950s and 60s and the train will be hauled by a lovingly restored steam locomotive from the collection which is housed in the engine shed adjacent to the station here. The line crosses heather covered moorland with the Cairngorm Mountains beyond, scenes which have changed little in the last hundred years. The train stops at Boat of Garten, a village created by the former railway companies that served the area and Broomhill, which doubled as 'Glenbogle' in the popular BBC TV series, Monarch of the Glen.
The train will then return to Aviemore, from where we continue our journey by coach to our accommodation in Dornoch, north of Inverness.
Dinner is served in the evening.
Day2Train to Kyle of Lochalsh and visit Eilean Donan CastleKyle of Lochalsh, United Kingdom
After breakfast today we transfer to the station at Dingwall, where we join the scheduled diesel train service to Kyle of Lochalsh, generally considered to be the most scenic railway line in the British Isles. Our route takes us west through Strath Bran and the isolated little station at Achnasheen, on into Strath Carron to the head of Loch Carron, passing Stromeferry, the one-time terminus of the line, before we reach the current terminus at Kyle of Lochalsh.
We have time here to stretch our legs and enjoy the stunning views across to the Isle of Skye before continuing on by coach to the 13th-century castle, Eilean Donan. This must be one of the most photographed castles in Scotland, with its impossibly romantic setting on Loch Duich. The beginnings of Eilean Donan Castle reach back into the early mists of time - evidence of a pictish fort was found in vitrified rock uncovered during excavations, some of which has been kept for visitors to see.
We return to the hotel for dinner.
Day3Journey on the JacobiteFort William, United Kingdom
After an early breakfast we travel through the Great Glen to Fort William, where we join 'The Jacobite' steam train and experience one of the most memorable and spectacular railway journeys in the world - to Mallaig on the famous 'Road to the Isles'. 'The Jacobite' combines the romance of the steam era with the opportunity to drink in the stunning views of this wild and historic part of Scotland. From the slopes of Ben Nevis the line runs through rugged mountains, past sea and inland lochs and onto the shores of the Atlantic at Mallaig. The route takes you over the massive Glenfinnan viaduct overlooking Loch Sheil, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745. After some free time in Mallaig we rejoin the train and return to Fort William.
Thereafter we return by coach to our hotel in time for dinner, after a long but rewarding day.
Day4Baxters Highland Village and return homeFochabers, United Kingdom
Following breakfast we transfer to the railway station in Inverness and take the scheduled diesel train service to Elgin. We alight here and continue by coach to Baxter's Highland Village at Fochabers, overlooking some of the finest salmon waters in the world. Baxter's began in 1868 when George Baxter open a small grocery shop where his wife began making jam and jellies "through the back". Over time Baxter's became one of the great commercial successes of North East Scotland. Today we can still visit the 19th Century grocery store, complete with leather-bound ledgers and quill pens, a long mahogany counter, glass jars and bottles and all the other shopkeeper's accoutrements of a bygone age. Refreshments are available here (not included).
In the afternoon we return to Edinburgh Airport, travelling via Strathspey where we will say remnants of the former railway line, in time for our evening flight back to London Stansted.
Charming hotel surrounded by spectacular landscapes
Set in its own grounds in a truly historic corner of the Scottish Highlands, overlooking the esteemed Royal Dornoch Golf Course and bordered by pristine beaches and forestry walks, The Dornoch Hotel offers 105 comfortable bedrooms, two restaurants, and spectacular views.
The hotel is within easy reach of the historic town of Dornoch, home to a spacious square and winding streets, as well as its impressive 13th-century cathedral. It's an ideal base from which to explore the Highlands and some of Scotland's most beautiful coastline.