This small-group tour of the Scottish Highlands offers a historical spin on the region; your guide regales you with tales of the Jacobite army, which led several 18th-century rebellions in Scotland under the exiled court of King James II. Along with visits to Loch Ness, Dunkeld and Mallaig, you’ll enjoy a Jacobite steam train ride, aka the Hogwarts Express.
Travel in the personalized comfort of a minivan, and stay overnight at a hotel or B&B accommodation in Fort Augustus, including breakfast.
Day 1: Edinburgh – Fort Augustus Departing from central Edinburgh by minivan, your small-group tour commences with a photo opportunity at the world's first major steel bridge (the Forth Railway Bridge) before continuing on to the quaint village of Dunkeld in Perthshire. Take a woodland walk around the village where Jacobite battles raged in bygone times.
En route north, you will pass the breathtaking Drumochter Pass, skirting the dramatic peaks of Cairngorm National Park. Stop At Culloden Moor, scene of the last Jacobite battle before heading straight to the shores of Loch Ness for a photo opportunity, to try and catch sight of the fabled Loch Ness monster. Your first day ends in Fort Augustus, roughly an hour away from Loch Ness.
Overnight: 3-star hotel or B&B in Fort Augustus
Day 2: Fort Augustus – Mallaig – Edinburgh (B)After breakfast, start the morning on board the famous Jacobite steam train, featured in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts Express. Regarded as one of the world's greatest train journeys, its route passes a list of impressive extremes. Starting in the shadow of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, the train journey passes the deepest lochs, shortest river and most westerly train station in Britain. You'll cross the viaduct featured in the Harry Potter films and the Glenfinnan Monument where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard at the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite rising.
Depart the train at Mallaig, a pretty fishing village on Scotland's west coast and take time to sample Scottish seafood for lunch (own expense). Your return journey includes a stop at Glencoe, a narrow glen framed by wild mountains and steeped in Jacobite history. Marvel at the remaining beauty of the highlands as you pass Rannoch Moor and Stirlingshire on your way back to Edinburgh.