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Edinburgh, Loch Ness and Highlands by train - 3 days

Guided tour to Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands

Fully guided tour to Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands. Travel from London by fast train and stay in city centre accommodation. This tour departs fromLondon every week throughout the year. 

Click here for details of our special Easter tour 

 

 

Edinburgh Tour Highlights
Come with us across the border to Bonnie Scotland, to an ancient land of mountains, lochs and glens and to its historic capital city of Edinburgh.

Hear the history of Holyrood Palace and Mary Queen of Scots, walk along the Royal Mile, climb to the monuments on Calton Hill, see Edinburgh Castle (admission is not included in the tour price, we would advise you to buy your own ticket online to avoid queues during peak months of June-September), and the new Scottish Parliament building. Experience the breathtaking scenery of the Scottish Highlands and see if you can catch a glimpse of the mysterious Loch Ness Monster (Loch Ness & Highlands day trip must be booked as an optional upgrade).

Day 1
We travel north from London by high speed train with reserved seating. A journey of four and a half hours means you can have breakfast in England and lunch in Scotland. Once we have crossed the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-on-Tweed we travel above the cliff edges overlooking the North Sea as we make our final approach to Edinburgh’s station.

On arrival in Edinburgh city centre our guide will transfer us to the coach for a fantastic coach sightseeing tour of Scotland’s capital city. We will head to the Royal Mile that links the Palace of Holyrood House with the ancient castle on top of an extinct volcano. We will see the High Kirk of St Giles (the cathedral), the old Parliament Square and the Castle Esplanade. At the foot of this famous street we will stand outside Holyrood House and learn of  Scottish Royalty, of King David, Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots.

We journey from the Old Town towards the New Town and climb Calton Hill to see the National Monument and admire the view towards Arthur’s Seat, a 250m high rocky crag that lies within the whole city. Learn of Scotland’s writers, Robbie Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson, view their memorials and see where they lived.

After a guided drive through the elegant 18th century squares and terraces of the New Town we transfer you to your nearby accommodation, a chance to have a late lunch and explore some of the excellent free museums your guide will have talked about on the tour. Perhaps a visit to the National Museum of Scotland or one of the many free art galleries. Later on there is a chance to meet up with your guide and the group in one of Edinburgh’s atmospheric old inns to sample some local ales and whisky. A great opportunity for you to get to know some other fellow group members on the tour and we promise you’ll enjoy our evenings just as much as the sightseeing.

Day 2
If you have chosen our upgrade option to the Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness prepare to see some amazing scenery. We operate a full day out into Scotland’s wild and rugged landscape leaving city life far behind as we head into the mountains!

Firstly we head along the Forth Valley towards Stirling, entering William Wallace (Braveheart) country. We pass the famous battle site of Bannockburn (1314) then onto the land of Braveheart. Our guide will point out Stirling Castle and the National Wallace Monument where we will hear of his famous victory over the English at Stirling Bridge in 1297.

We follow the River Teith to Callander and the Highland Boundry Fault, rising up into the mountains to the land of Rob Roy. Entering the Trossachs National Park we pass the still waters of Loch Lubnaig, the crooked loch. Climbing even higher above Loch Earn towards Crianlarich we find ourselves on the windswept isolated desolate Rannoch Moor with nothing but marsh grass and distant mountains as far as the eye can see. After crossing one of Europe’s most sparsely populated areas we come across Glen Coe, the ‘weeping glen’ and learn of the bloody fate of the MacDonald clan at the hands of their bitter enemies, the Campbells.

Next, descend to the coast, to sea lochs with salt water and fishing boats and on to Fort William and Spean Bridge with a stop for lunch and a chance to buy souvenirs. We now enter the Great Glen and follow the Caledonian Canal in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britian’s highest mountain. The huge fault line of the Great Glen is filled with deep lochs such as Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and the most famous of all, Loch Ness. We follow the banks of this huge body of water looking for a glimpse of the famous monster as your guide tells you tales of sightings and encounters of this elusive beast. Fact or fiction? You decide.

Next stop at historic Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness and after a leisurely break there we continue to our northernmost point, Inverness the Capital of the Highlands before turning south through the Cairngorms and our return to Edinburgh.

Day 3
There is plenty of free time on the final day until our coach transfers us from the hotel to the train late afternoon. However if you choose our optional upgrade tour on day three (Whisky & Borders short day tour) we will have further surprises in store. Here we will learn about the making of Whisky by taking you a Whisky distillery and Scottish border town of Melrose.
Please note the Whisky & Borders day tour will require minimum of 8 people to run on day three; price of the excursion is inclusive of admission of Glenkinchie distillery. 

On this tour we head south to the Scottish Lowlands to Scott’s View, without doubt one of the most breathtaking views in Britain, and gaze over the River Tweed below our feet to the distant Eildon Hills, a place so admired by Sir Walter Scott. The tour continues to Melrose Abbey, a 12th century Cistercian house where the heart of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland is buried. After our departure from Melrose, we travel further through the scenic Border landscape and make our way to the delightful Glenkinchie Distillery to learn how the finest Single Malt Whisky is produced. Nestled in a narrow glen and founded in 1837, we drive through the 'model village' built to house workers and down to the Kinchie stream where we leave the coach and enter the distillery itself. After spending some time in the Old Maltings building to see the exhibition on the history of whisky production in Scotland, you will then enjoy a guided tour and ssee how the malted barley, water and yeast are turned into Classic Single Malt Scotch Whisky. At the end of your tour of the distillery you will have time to taste the finished product before spending some time in the Glenkinchie Whisky Shop where their own brands plus many others are available to purchase. A short journey from the distillery will take us back to Edinburgh by approx. 4pm, just in time for our return train back to London. 

If you are intending on travelling over Easter, please see our special 4 day Itinerary!
(please note that if you book the easter tour, we only offer a 4 day tour and not 3 days)


City Centre Accommodation Options

All accommodation on this tour is based on staying in a centrally located traditional Scottish family run hotel/guest house in rooms with private shower, toilet, television and tea/coffee making facilities. Properties featured on this web page are with 20 minutes walking time of Princes Street. During peak season (July and August), other accommodation of equivalent standard may also used, including university halls and quality hostels. It is essential for customers to get in touch with us first in regards room availability if you have a specific room preference (double/twin/single) during the peak tourist season. 

Standard Package includes value Bed & Breakfast - Elas Guest House (or similar) 1 Star Guest House/small hotel - Bed & Continental Style Breakfast

Traditional family run accommodation close to the centre of Edinburgh. Our value accommodation offers single, twin, double and multi bedded room options. The basic price includes multi bedded accommodation but you can select an upgrade to single, twin or double. If you do not select an a room upgrade you will automatically be placed in a multi-bedded room with customers of the same sex. These rooms are exceptionally good value for money, especially for single travellers who do not want to pay for single room upgrades, and a great way to meet your fellow travellers.

Typical International Friends 3 Star Upgrade Guest House - Ecosse International - Bed & Continental Style Breakfast

This is a traditional family run guest house, which offers fantastic service and a great location. All rooms have private bathrooms are decorated to a high standard. This guest house has a lounge and free wifi.

Room types available

Other Hotel Upgrades
If you would like a quotation on upgrading to 3 or 4 star accommodation, please contact our office and we will be happy to provide you tailor-made price.

Please note on the following weekends:
13th-15th June; 20th-22nd June & 26th-28th September 2014
our standard multibedded accommodation will be at the Smart City hostel, 4 and 6 bedded ensuite.

Travel to/from Edinburgh

Travel to/from Edinburgh by comfortable high-speed train from London.

 Northbound Train (first day)  Southbound Train (last day)
 Depart London Kings Cross  07.00am  Depart Edinburgh Waverley 17.00pm
 Arrive Edinburgh Waverley   11.32am  Arrive London Kings Cross 21.50pm

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to regular maintenance work carried out on East Coast Mainline railway, we have been informed that some of our dates will be affected. Therefore, Da Vinci Code tour may not be available on these dates due to earlier train we have to get on. Please click here for specific dates.

We also offer minibus transport to join this tour from the following locations:

  • Cambridge Parkside (outside Police Station) 04.15am
  • Ramsgate Train Station 04.00am
  • Canterbury East Train Station 04.25am
    Return transport to the above locations is also provided and coincides with the return train.
This tour normally ends by 10pm in London. If you are travelling onwards to Cambridge, Ramsgate, Canterbury or Oxford, the final arrival time will vary, as the feeder service that we provide links in with our other tours.  If we are unable to transfer you by our own transportation, we will provide free rail or coach transfers to Cambridge, Canterbury or Ramsgate. In the event that public transport (rail or coach) does not offer a practical and convenient service, International Friends will provide travel by taxi, minibus or coach.

Option to make your own travel arrangements to Edinburgh - Save £30 per person
If you would like to make your own travel arrangements to Edinburgh but still join this tour, we offer a £30 per adult or child reduction. If you would like to take up this option, please enter notravel in the promotion code box, after you have entered your name(s).


Our tours to Scotland include:

Standard Tour Price (no upgrades selected)

  • A two hour professionally guided tour of Edinburgh
  • Traditional Scottish Guest house/hotel accommodation in muti bedded rooms in central Edinburgh with breakfast. If you require a twin/double or single you MUST select an upgrade in the Book this Tour box.
  • Services of Tour Manager for entire duration of the tour  
  • Return travel in standard class from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh by train

Loch Ness & Highlands Upgrade - £44 extra
Same as above but also including a 1 day tour into the Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness with one of our day trip partners in Edinburgh, using local, professional driver/guides in an air-conditioned executive coach.

Whisky & Borders day tour - £36 extra
Same as Standard Tour but including a 1 day trip to Glenkinchie whisky distillery and the Scottish Borders

Our tours to Scotland don't include:

  • Food, except breakfast at your hotel/guest house
  • Entrance fees to attractions (unless otherwise stated)

NB. The typical group size on our 3 day weekend breaks to Edinburgh is 30-45 people. You will travel by luxury air-conditioned train in what will be an excellent, shared experience with one of our professional tour managers 


No passport or visa required 

You do not need a passport or visa to travel to Scotland from England, as Scotland is part of the UK.


What other people have said about this tour:

This trip was really more than I expected. The driver is so nice, the city guide's dress was typically as a Scottish guy.The hotel was very well located and everything was perfect. I hope to see everybody again. Thanks, Aline Lazzarotto, from Brazil - Edinburgh and The Scottish Highlands

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