Things to do on a Scotland rail vacation

On the menu

Railway vacation operators more than make up for the lack of food on board Scottish trains by booking you into hotels and guesthouses along the way where local produce and lots of it is most definitely par for the course. Don’t underestimate this. Caledonian cuisine is top class these days and whoever thinks that it is all haggis and deep fried everything is an eedjit, to use the local language. First of all, there is the seafood, which is world famous and, thankfully, no longer all exported around the world. Get off the train along the west coast and seek out mussels and langoustine, oysters and fresh fish.
I love castles, but going right back in history to the ancient chambers and souterrains on Skye made that trip across the water from Mallaig totally memorable.

Castles & combats

Of course there are some colossal castles in Scotland, and railway vacations will take you to some of the greats. These include Urquhart on Loch Ness, Blair Castle near Pitlochry, and urban greats such as Inverness Castle and, of course, Edinburgh Castle, the magnificent overseer of the capital city. For battle sites, you don’t get much more dramatic in terms of history than The Battle of Culloden site near Inverness.
There is some strange correlation between railway fans also being malt whisky fans. Maybe it's the precision, or the fact that they are both informed by Scotland's fine landscapes.

Whisky train

You don’t have to go too far from the train to explore some of the country’s finest distilleries. Myriad malts to be savoured on tours include Talisker on the Isle of Skye, Dalwhinnie distillery which is the highest in the country and just ten minutes walk from Dalwhinnie train station in the Cairngorms or Edradour, near Pitlochry.

Our top Scotland railway Vacation

Scotland by railway vacation

Scotland by railway vacation

Experience authentic Scotland independently and car-free

From £1185 to £1245 8 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made from April to the end of October.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Scotland railway or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Walking is the law

Look down at your fellow rail travelers’ feet. Hiking boots nearly always win over work shoes or high heels. One of Scotland’s many glorious aspects is that walking is enshrined not only in its culture but in law, too, with walkers given the right to roam wherever they like. Accommodations show off their ‘Walkers Welcome’ signs, and even in the haughtiest Highland hotels, they will serve you a whisky in a crystal glass and want to hear all about your route. Talk to your vacation company about including a few good hikes in your railway vacation itinerary. Even better, use the services of a local guide to explore the likes of Old Man of Storr on Skye, Ben Nevis from the railway town of Fort William or up myriad Munros in and around Aviemore station in the Cairngorms National Park.
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: 96tommy] [On the menu: © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins] [Castles & combats: Peter_Glyn] [Whisky train: Bru-nO] [Walking is the law: navinuk2]