From ancient civilisations in Orkney to a steam train trip on the Jacobite, and from lavish castles to historic whisky distilleries, McKinlay Kidd’s new itineraries promise experiences beyond the end of the train line, discovering the true Scotland.
McKinlay Kidd has expanded its train holidays to include five expert-guided small group rail tours of Scotland. For the first time, guests will enjoy the services of a knowledgeable local tour leader for the duration of the trip, with intimate groups with a maximum of 15 people ensuring McKinlay Kidd’s first-class personal service throughout.
Each of the new Scottish tours involves the majority of travel via train, offering the ultimate in relaxation and the chance to enjoy striking scenery without having to worry about driving on narrow, twisting roads. Hand-picked excursions and locally-owned, characterful accommodation is included – with exclusive use of the entire castle at Kincardine, ensuring that guests enjoy Scotland at its best and discover the heart of the destination.
This new trip encapsulates the best of Scotland by train, starting in Glasgow with a picturesque train ride along the West Highland Line to Fort William, including Rannoch Moor, described as the last remaining wilderness in Britain. The world-famous steam train, the Jacobite Express, is always a highlight as the pristine and glamorously restored engine puffs over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Transfer via ferry to the breath-taking Isle of Skye for a tour led by a true Skye local and a two-night stay. Heading back across the Skye bridge to the mainland, take the Kyle Line, travelling coast-to-coast across the Highlands with superb views including the dramatic Torridon Peaks – a real highlight of the trip.
This trip costs from £1,895 pp (two sharing), including six nights in four-star B&B accommodation, some meals, rail travel throughout, tours of Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye, an informative local tour leader and all transfers. Departure dates in 2019 – on Sundays – are: 19 May, 28 July, 29 September and 13 October.
Speyside is a key player in the single malt whisky market, and this trip incorporates a scenic backdrop of mountains and greenery with distillery visits – plus, of course, tastings! After a train journey from Edinburgh to Aviemore – part of the beautiful Cairngorms National Park – the whisky element of the tour begins with a trip to the 19th-century Tomatin distillery. Enjoy the luxury of whisky distillery tours (and tastings) without being the designated driver over the next few days, including a trip to one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries – Glendronach – and a drive through the village of Dufftown, which claims the title “Whisky Capital of the World”, with no less than six working distilleries.
This trip costs from £1,375 pp (two sharing), including four nights in four-star accommodation, all breakfasts and some other meals, rail travel throughout, distillery tours of Tomatin, Benromach, Glenglassaugh, Glendronach, Aberlour and Glen Garioch, an informative local tour leader and all transfers. Departure dates: Monday 3 June and Monday 23 September 2019.
Promising to encompass Scotland’s essence in landscape, liquid and stone, this tour offers a wide variety of activities at a laid-back pace. Starting the trip with a pretty train journey from Glasgow to Stirling, the first stop is Stirling Castle, complete with Renaissance grandeur and splendid gardens filled with statues of famed royals. Discover Scotch whisky with numerous distillery visits, as well as Scottish culture in the setting for Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Macbeth, at Cawdor Castle. Wander through the ruins of the 14th century fortress, Dunnottar Castle, with fascinating stories about concealing the Scottish crown jewels, then meander through the Iron Age fishing village of Stonehaven before a train journey to Edinburgh for the final night of this quintessential Scottish experience.
This trip costs from £1,795 pp (two sharing), including six nights in four-star B&B accommodation, some meals, rail travel throughout, tours of Stirling Castle, Cawdor Castle, Ballindalloch Castle & Gardens and Dunnottar Castle, distillery tours of Blair Athol, Benromach, Aberlour and Speyside Cooperage, an informative local tour leader and all transfers. Departure dates: Sunday 16 June and Sunday 8 September 2019.
Known as the Highland Capital, Inverness is the start of this guided scenic tour and also home to Loch Ness, where you’ll enjoy a boat trip to learn more about the dark loch waters. The first rail journey is the Far North Line to Wick – sit back, relax and take in the striking Highland scenery on the four-hour trip. At Britain’s most northerly and north-easterly point, Dunnet Head, your guide will share plenty of mysterious stories. Then take the ferry to explore Orkney’s history, including Skara Brae – the hidden village only discovered in a storm in 1850 – and the incredible ancient stone circles, amongst a stunning landscape of peaty hillocks and fields galore, surrounded by a wild seascape. Back on the mainland, a further highlight is a visit to the seat of Clan Sutherland, Dunrobin Castle; resembling a French château, it’s the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses and certainly the largest in the Northern Highlands.
This trip costs from £1,765 pp (two sharing), including six nights in three and four-star accommodation, some meals, rail travel throughout, tours of Dunnet Head, Orkney and Dunrobin Castle, an Orkney Explorer Pass (entry to all historic sites), an informative local tour leader and all transfers. Departure dates: Monday 24 June and Friday 23 August 2019.
Walk amongst royalty such as Mary, Queen of Scots at Stirling Castle, soaking up the architecture before taking a short train ride to the burgh of Pitlochry. Continue the regal theme of the trip with two nights at Kincardine Castle – designed by a student of Sir Aston Webb, responsible for the main façade of Buckingham Palace and V&A museum. This stay is particularly special as the group has exclusive use of the entire castle. Raise a glass with the castle’s Laird and Lady before a very regal dinner in the Grand Hall of the castle. Over the next few days, explore Kincardine’s 3,000-acre estate, and Royal Deeside, as well as visiting more captivating castles and sampling a wee dram or two of Scotland’s finest whisky.
This trip costs from £2,845 pp (two sharing), including six nights in four and five-star accommodation (with dinner and breakfast included), rail travel throughout, tours of Stirling Castle, Royal Deeside and Dunnottar Castle, distillery tours of Blair Athol, Aberlour and Lochnagar, an informative local tour leader and all transfers. Departure dates: Sunday 21 July and Sunday 6 October 2019.
For more details, or to book, visit www.mckinlaykidd.com or call 0141 260 9260 to speak to an expert.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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