The holiday includes the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig
Your Spean Bridge hotel offers cosy accommodation & organic, home-cooked food
The Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge
A first class trip on the Jacobite Express steam train awaits
The Jacobite Express steaming across the Glenfinnan Viaduct
Sail Over the Sea to Skye
The view from your Gaelic hotel in Skye
Readers of Wanderlust travel magazine regularly vote for the West Highland Line as the best railway journey in the world. We created this unique holiday so that you can relax and take in the glorious scenery from Glasgow to Fort William, before enjoying the final section in first class style as the steam train meanders its way from Fort William to Mallaig. But that's not your final destination: from here you take the ferry 'over the sea to Skye' to a beautiful, cosy hotel in a tiny village with stunning coastal views and excellent local walks.
Day One: From Glasgow to Fort William
You start your rail journey in Glasgow travelling north on the Scotrail regular service, past Loch Lomond, over Rannoch Moor and past Ben Nevis, to reach your first base in the highland village of Spean Bridge.
With views toward Ben Nevis, this family-run small hotel is a popular restaurant serving organic, home-cooked food and also has comfortable but informal accommodation. On arrival, you will be greeted with fresh tea and home-made scones. Settle into your room to unwind, or take a stroll down the quiet country lanes for amazing views of Ben Nevis, Loch Lochy and the Great Glen and work up an appetite for dinner. There are comfy sofas and cosy corners in the sitting rooms with a library of books begging to be looked at and, when the need arises, real fires to warm your toes. This is a perfect haven for a relaxing break whatever time of year, where the pace of life slows the minute you arrive.
The hotel is around a mile from the rail station - and you will be picked up and dropped off as required. There are many walking trails close to the hotel, including the Great Glen Way as well as the famous and impressive Commando memorial. Fort William is only 17 minutes away by train.
Day Two: by Steam train to the Isle of Skye
This morning, travel on by train to Fort William then join the Jacobite Steam train for the final section of the West Highland Line; your route will include the spectacular Glenfinnan viaduct and finish at Mallaig, the ferry port for Skye. On the way you will also visits Britain's most westerly mainland railway station (Arisaig), then pass close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain (Loch Morar), the shortest river in Britain (River Morar) and finally arrive next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe - Loch Nevis.
After a short time in Mallaig, it's over the sea to Skye on the ferry with a taxi waiting for you on the other side to whisk you to your waterside hotel.
Sheltered by a gently curving bay, your charming whitewashed hotel sits right on the seashore, enjoying expansive views over the Sound of Sleat to the wilderness of Knoydart. This, the most southerly part of Skye, is an area of great natural beauty often referred to as the "Garden of Skye" thanks to its' abundant bird life and profusion of wild flowers. This is a Gaelic-speaking community and the bar is a convivial meeting place for the locals who mix happily with hotel guests - often to the accompaniment of traditional music and Gaelic song in front of the roaring log fire.
Twelve bedrooms (six in the Garden House) are decorated with pretty cotton and linen chintzes and there are four new suites in the recently restored stables, each enjoying superb views across the water to the lighthouse of Isle Ornsay. Candlelit meals in the wood-panelled dining room reflect the estate's culinary riches, with wonderful shellfish and game featuring prominently on the menu. Langoustines are landed at the old stone pier and oysters come from the hotel's own oyster beds.
Day Three: Relax on Skye
On the little harbour right beside the hotel is the headquarters of "The Gaelic Whiskies", where you can sample an excellent range of connoisseur brands before browsing in the nearby gallery and craft shop.
The surrounding area of hills, moorland, woodland and seashore offers endless opportunities for walking and taking in the magnificent sea views.
Though there is a reasonable local bus service, to see more of the island we would strongly recommend hiring a car for the day or booking our expert local guide for a half or full day tour - ask us for more details.
Today you retrace your steps, back to the ferry then across to Mallaig for an early afternoon crossing and journey by the regular train via Fort William to Glasgow, arriving in the evening.
This twin centre holiday features Spean Bridge and the Isle of Skye. The holiday starts and finishes in Glasgow. We can also customise this to include Edinburgh - less than an hour's rail journey from Glasgow. We can also arrange travel from London by Caledonian Sleeper or other daytime services.
£500 per person for May, June & September, £510 per person for July & August, based on 2 people sharing a room for 3 nights, one with dinner, bed & breakfast and two on a bed & breakfast basis. This includes train travel from Glasgow to Fort William on the regular First Scotrail service, travel by Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig first class, a return ferry to Skye as foot passenger and return taxi transfers to the hotel on Skye. The return from Mallaig to Glasgow will be on the regular Scotrail service.
The supplement for a single traveller is £80 per holiday, based on single occupancy of double/twin rooms.
To explore the Isle of Skye, as local bus services are quite limited, we strongly recommend either hiring a car or taking a guided tour, with one of our local guides.
To hire a car during your stay on Skye costs an additional £130. The car would be collected from and returned to the ferry port on Skye.
A private guided tour of the Isle of Skye costs £195, for approximately 6 hours. This can be tailored to suit your interests. Please do not hesitate to ask us for more details.
All our touring holidays include a map of Scotland with recommended routes from your specified starting point, suggestions on places to see and visit depending on your personal interests and our expertise to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £8 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday. We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value.
All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
Check availability for: West Highland Line to Skye
In 2015, the Jacobite Steam train will commence on 11th May and finish on 23rd October.
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us on 0844 873 6110 from the UK, or toll-free from USA & Canada 1 866 922 8538 and +44 844 873 6110 for all other countries.
We will respond to you within one working day. Please not that we do not offer online availability because all our holidays are planned and booked individually.
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Fantastic! All of the hotels were superb. I like the fact that I let McKinlay Kidd know where I would like to visit and you do the rest. I have previously booked through you and know that all of the accommodation will be of a high standard. On this trip the ferries were also booked. I also like the fact that you send lots of relevant info relating to the trip, the attention to detail is excellent. There is everything in the pack and laid out in a very organised and easy to use style.
The trip went reasonably smoothly and was very enjoyable. Very professional and contactable.
Everything was extremely well organised and I enjoyed myself, no fuss, all arranged by you for me.
Everything was well planned and the details were covered with great care. We were able to see a lot of the area in comfort without any stress. The steam train portion was lovely, but the personal tour of the Isle of Skye was wonderful.
Everything ran like clockwork and we were very happy with all communications. I would be happy to recommend you to anyone.
All travel connections with McKinlay Kidd went smoothly. Nicely done and I would recommend for first time travelers to Scotland or Ireland.
Thanks for a very well organized trip. No hiccups. Really enjoyed all aspects of trip as it was a good way to see some of Scotland in a short time.
The overall impression at every turn was the friendly nature of the individuals I met. Starting with representatives of McKinlay Kidd and ranging from dining partners on the train, to employees in commercial establishments, it felt like people genuinely wanted to be helpful and provide a good experience in Scotland. I had contact with so many kind representatives of McKinlay Kidd who all helped make this a delightful one-of-kind holiday! Communication appeared seamless and everyone was very courteous, efficient and responsive when I called. Thank you !
The combination of rail and ferry through the glorious Highlands was terrific. The railway journey in both directions was spectacular.
I felt very comfortable in my dealings with McKinlay Kidd staff. Everything was dealt with very sympathetically and efficiently, with itineraries etc. arriving on time and as promised. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend your firm.
I was very much impressed with the attention to detail on our holiday which meant that everything went very smoothly and according to a well organised plan. Travel arrangements were excellent, especially the train travel with pre-booked seats. The accommodation was excellent and suffice to say the variety was marvellous.
Fantastic service and most helpful when holiday was booked.
The McKinlay Kidd train route map, with interesting snippets of information, was excellent. Really liked the personalised approach. Fitted exactly the specification given.
The arrangements worked really well, taxis and pick-up/ferry arrangements excellent.
We had a wonderful short break. Everything went smoothly and the scenery at all times was just amazing.
The whole experience went like clockwork. One of the best organised holidays we have been on.
We really appreciate the personal touch. We cannot praise you all enough,