The Royal Caledonian

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To book this holiday please contact our Travel Experts directly on


Travel Along Scottish Railway Tracks

Take to the tracks with a remarkable train journey to the Scottish Highlands, immerse yourself in the world of the Royal Family, and delight in the country’s most celebrated natural splendours.

This pleasant taster of the Highlands showcases the United Kingdom’s imperial heritage in the form of visits to Balmoral Castle, Crathie Kirk church, and the Victorian village of Ballater. Train travel is embraced as a hassle-free mode of transport from the beginning, with an overnight journey on the Caledonian Sleeper from London and a ride on the heritage Strathspey Railway through the countryside.

Further nods to the past are seen in outings to a whisky distillery, and the Culloden Battlefield. The hearts of the territory’s prominent towns are also explored, with guided tours across Nairn, Inverness, Aviemore and Edinburgh. Opportunities to immerse yourself in the wilderness encompass a stop-off to view Cairngorm Mountain, a chance to learn about the local reindeer herds, and a cruise across the legendary waters of Loch Ness.

Customer Experiences

Take a look at some of the highlights and experiences shared by our customers


We went on your Caledonian sleeper train holiday on 3 Sept and we had a heat wave! Our guide said he’d never seen such blue skies...

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What does this price include?

  • Six nights’ accommodation at the three-star Carrbridge Hotel (four nights) and aboard the Caledonian Sleeper Train (2)
  • Five breakfasts and four dinners
  • A tour of Nairn
  • A tour of Inverness
  • A visit to the Battlefield of Culloden
  • A tour of Balmoral Castle
  • A visit to Crathie Kirk
  • A tour of Ballater
  • A journey on the steam-hauled Strathspey Railway
  • A visit to the Highland resort of Aviemore
  • A visit to Cairngorm Reindeer Herd Centre
  • A visit to Cairngorm Mountain Visitor Centre
  • A cruise across Loch Ness
  • A visit and tasting at a renowned local distillery
  • A panoramic city tour of Edinburgh
  • Return travel on the Caledonian Sleeper Train from London Euston to Inverness and return from Edinburgh
  • Transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Your Itinerary

View a full breakdown of your holiday to help you plan your trip

  • There is no need for security queues or travelling from the airport to a city during this tour. Instead, you’ll board the Caledonian Sleeper Train at London Euston Station, get settled into your cosy, well-equipped cabin, and travel to Scotland.

  • After a relaxing night aboard the train, you’ll arrive at Inverness in the morning.* A light breakfast can be enjoyed in your cabin before you disembark and meet your tour manager at the station.

    From here, you’ll head to the small market town of Nairn, an ancient fishing port and seaside resort known for its unspoilt beaches and wealth of wildlife – keep an eye out for seals, whales, and dolphins.

    The tour will then continue to Inverness, a city on Scotland’s northeast coast and the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands near Loch Ness. You’ll be guided around the old town, with its 19th-century cathedral, charming indoor Victorian Market, and hill-top castle, overlooking the Ness River.

    Your final excursion of the day will be to the Culloden Battlefield – the site of the last battle of Jacobite Rising. During your visit here, you’ll learn about this moving location in the interactive visitor centre, with artefacts and informative displays.

    In the late afternoon, you’ll check into the old-world, family-run Carrbridge Hotel set in a pretty village, where you can unwind until dinner.

    *The 17 September 2023 departure will arrive in Edinburgh. 

  • Enjoy breakfast this morning before venturing on a morning drive to the famous Balmoral Castle, the Scottish holiday home of the Royal Family since 1852.

    You’ll get to enter the castle to see the ballroom (the largest room in the castle), view the exhibitions and wander the gardens. The castle’s ballroom is the only area open to the public and where many members of the Royal Family have been pictured hosting events. Near the castle is Crathie Kirk, a small parish church in the village of Crathie. Best known for being the regular place of worship of the Royal Family, this church was built in 1895 and looks over the Dee River.

    The tour will then continue to the beautiful Victorian village of Ballater, located near Cairngorms National Park. You can stroll around the speciality shops and seek out one of the delightful cafés for lunch (on your own account). This evening, you’ll have time for dinner and to relax.

  • After breakfast, you’ll head to Aviemore for another rail journey. You’ll join your tour manager and fellow guests to board the Strathspey Railway, a splendid reminder of the golden days of steam.

    This scenic run takes you through unspoilt Highland scenery, passing great sweeps of the Spey River, moorland, and ancient forest. You’ll then return to Aviemore, where you’ll explore this famous resort town backed by the Cairngorm Mountain Range and have lunch (on your own account). The next stop is the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd Centre, home to around 150 reindeer, which you can see up close with their handlers.

    After this excursion, you’ll drive through twisting mountain roads to the Cairngorm Mountain Visitor Centre, where you can take in spectacular views of the surrounding region. There will also be time to ride the Cairngorm Mountain Railway, Scotland’s only funicular railway and the highest in the UK. Dinner will be enjoyed back at the hotel.

  • Tuck into breakfast before travelling to the famed and mysterious Loch Ness.

    You’ll then board a two-hour cruise across the legendary waters, learning about the loch’s intriguing history and observing the historic Urquhart Castle and wildlife on the banks. You can even keep an eye out for the Loch Ness monster with the vessel’s onboard sonar.

    Back on land, you’ll pay a visit to the Glen Ord Distillery – the only remaining single malt scotch whisky distillery on the Black Isle. You’ll then tour the distillery, learning about the art of whisky-making and the Singleton’s signature ‘Slow Craft’ process before tasting three unique Singleton expressions. You’ll then return to the hotel for dinner.

  • You’ll have breakfast, check out of the hotel and be driven to Edinburgh, Scotland’s cosmopolitan capital and the ‘World City of Literature’ for a guided city tour.

    This three-hour excursion will cover the atmospheric, cobbled streets, lined with famous sights and landmarks. Roam along the Royal Mile and Princes Street, and pass by the Castle, St Giles Cathedral, the National Museum, and the Sir Walter Scott Monument.

    There will also be plenty of time for you to mosey around on your own, discovering the galleries, quirky shops, Arthur’s Seat, and perhaps visiting the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the King’s official residence in Scotland and the home of Scottish royal history. In the evening, you'll have dinner at your leisure before taking the Caledonian Sleeper Train back to London.

  • This morning, the train will arrive back at London Euston Station, concluding your Scottish Highlands escape.

Dates & Prices

To book this holiday please contact our Travel Experts directly on

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Carrbridge Hotel, Carrbridge

Set on the banks of the Dulnain River, and boasting spectacular views of the Cairngorm Mountains, this charming, family-run hotel was originally established in 1803 as an inn for travellers. It has been extended and refurbished over the years, and now has 100 bedrooms of varying shapes and sizes. 

View Hotel

Further Information

  • For 2025, your accommodation in Scotland will be at the Ben Wyvis Hotel in Strathpeffer. The itinerary will also include a visit to Holyrood House and a farewell dinner at the Renowned Scotsman in Edinburgh.

  • Accommodation on the overnight Caledonian Sleeper Train is based on the Classic Room type, which includes twin bunk beds, an in-room wash basin, Wi-Fi, charging points, temperature control, and dimmable lights. Please speak to a consultant for upgrading to the Club Cabin. The Caledonian Sleeper service to Inverness departs from London Euston Station and stops enroute to Inverness at Crewe, Preston, Stirling and Dunblane stations.

  • In the unlikely event of a steam locomotive breaking down on the Strathspey Railway, we reserve the right to substitute the engine with a diesel locomotive. All train journeys are single journeys.

  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

  • Please note that the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre has closed for building renovations; reopening should commence Autumn 2024. A visit to the Cairngorm Alpacas has been arranged as an alternative

  • On the 4th September 2024 departure, we plan an included visit to Balmoral Castle & Estate. At this time, Balmoral are yet to release their opening hours for the summer season and therefore we would like to assure you that alternative plans are being put in place should the royal family be in residence at the time and the estate closed for your departure date. As soon as the opening schedules are released, we will be back in contact with you with an update.

  • Rules may have changed since you last travelled to European Union countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The following are useful guidelines which will help you prepare for your next adventure. You do require government issued passport to travel.

    Names - It is very important that all passenger names are exactly as per your passport although we do not require middle names.

    Passport - Your passport must meet two requirements to travel to an EU country and to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It must be: Less than 10 years old on the day you return home (please check the "date of issue") and valid for at least 3 months after the day you return home (please check the "expiry date").

    Visa - You do not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

    European Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS) - Commencing in late 2023 or 2024, all citizens of the United Kingdom will require a ETIAS electronic form completed prior to their arrival into the EU and Schengen member countries. The cost for this travel authorisation will be €7.00 per person with exceptions for under 18’s and over 70’s. The latest information and further details can be found at www.etias.com.

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