The Lake District, Edinburgh & the Speyside Whisky Trail
8 day tour

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Soak up the spirit of Speyside whisky, indulge in the views of the Lake District, and spend a few nights in incredible Edinburgh.

Tour map

Places you explore


Ullswater - The second largest lake in the English Lake District is famous for its sublime, tranquil beauty.

Aira Force Waterfall - A lovely stone bridge crosses the fabulously flowing waterfalls.

Lake Windermere - You can choose to wander the shores or put on your sailing hat and go for a cruise.

Edinburgh – So much to see and do in Scotland’s capital city, probably the most dramatic cityscape in the world.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society lunch and tasting - Savour a meal that’s perfectly paired with a dram.

Cairngorms National Park - Gaze in awe at Scotland’s most beautifully rounded peaks.

The River Spey - One of Scotland’s most important rivers for salmon farming and whisky distilling.

Elgin - Visit this town and explore the best little whisky shop in the world.

Four Whisky Distilleries - Compare and contrast the whiskies of four distinctly delectable distillers.

Royal Deeside - Throughout history, the Royal Family have loved exploring this gorgeous region of Scotland.

Your journey

The best things in life take time.

Think about whisky. The oak trees grow for over 70 years before being made into casks. The drink needs to distil for at least three years. And to enjoy it, you must sip it slowly.

And then there’s the Lake District. The beautiful sheep pastures have evolved since Roman times, travellers have etched in the paths for hundreds of years, and you can’t get anywhere in a hurry on the little lanes.

So, on this tour, you take the slow lane and enjoy these two emblems of Britain.

You take the train to the Lake District, stay in Edinburgh, venture through the Highlands, and visit a few of the Speyside Whisky Trail’s finest distilleries.

So, join this tour and enjoy the finer things in life.


Tour Details

Departs
08.45 - London Euston
Returns
18.30 approx. Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Discounts

Students, seniors over 60, and children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old).

Important information
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
  • One 15 kilogram bag, and one carry-on bag per person
  • After booking your tour, we'll contact you about your train journey
  • Collect your ticket from the ticket machines using your bank or credit card and the 'collection reference' number we send you
  • You get picked up by a Rabbie's mini-coach from Penrith Train Station
Tour inclusions
  • Transportation by a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
  • Seven nights' hotel and B&B accommodation
  • A one-way ticket from London to Penrith
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Take as many photographs as you can at ‘England’s most beautiful lake’, Ullswater
  • Relax in the market town of Keswick

You collect your train ticket at the London Euston Station and head north to the historic Cumbrian market town of Penrith. The town’s uniquely coloured castle played a key role in defending the border from its invading Scottish neighbours.

After arriving in Penrith and meeting your Rabbie’s Guide, you enter the Lake District National Park and travel along the northern shores of Ullswater. This lake is often described as England’s most beautiful lake, and it’s here we give you the chance to take a forest walk and see the mighty Aira Force waterfall.

You then travel towards Keswick, stopping outside the town to visit the mysterious Castlerigg standing stones, thought to have been built over 5,000 years ago and a hub of ancient pagan rituals.

You have a short journey into the lively market town of Keswick where you’re dropped off at your accommodation and free to explore the charming town. (**During July/early August this tour stays in Windermere).

Day 2

  • Stare in wonder at the views on an optional boat trip, Lake Windermere
  • Wander around the cosy village of Hawkshead

After breakfast, you take in views of Ullswater as we head along country roads to its southern shores.

You continue further south and travel over the narrow and winding Kirkstone Pass towards the wonderful Windermere. Here you have the option to take a leisurely cruise on the Lake or eat lunch while enjoying sublime views of the surrounding scenery.

After lunch you travel around the southern tip of Windermere and on towards Coniston Water. Your next stop is the picturesque conservation village of Hawkshead, where the poet William Wordsworth attended Grammar School.

After exploring the cosy village, you take the narrow country lanes north towards Grasmere, which Wordsworth described as “the loveliest spot that man hath found”.

There’s free time to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden by the River Rothy. In the late afternoon, you return to Keswick.

Day 3

  • Set your sights on sweeping views from atop the Whinlatter Pass
  • Learn about the slate mines at the Honister Mountain Pass

We pick you up from your accommodation and head for the Whinlatter Forest Park and over the Whinlatter Pass into the most dramatic landscapes the Lake District has to offer.

You journey along winding lanes, past the shores of Crummock Water and Buttermere, and towards the Honister Mountain Pass.

Stopping amongst the mountains you have the opportunity to enjoy the views of the old slate workings, where a small number of Cumbrians continue to make their living.

After refreshments, you continue through the forests of Borrowdale, passing Derwent Water, where there’s free time for lunch and shopping.

Once you’ve eaten lunch, you begin your return journey, heading towards Penrith and north towards the border. After crossing into Scotland, you take a stop in the town of Biggar, a royal burgh since 1415. From here, it’s a leisurely drive through the rolling border hills to Edinburgh.

Day 4

  • Wander over cobbled lanes past medieval window panes and under Gothic spires in Scotland’s stunning capital city, Edinburgh
  • Join our city tour and get to know a few of Edinburgh’s local legends

Today is a free day to explore Edinburgh.

We think you should start with our included Edinburgh City Tour to familiarise yourself with the history, geography, and laugh-out-loud tales of the city.

Lunch is booked for you at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a private members club of whisky enthusiasts from all over the world. A two course lunch will be served in the excellent restaurant, following by a tasting of two special cask whiskies in the members rooms.

And after that, what you do is up to you; You can venture deep under the city on ghost tours, hike to the lofty heights of Arthur’s Seat, or even just relax in the many beautiful gardens.

Just ensure you relax and prepare for your next part of your adventure.

Day 5

  • Travel through the inspirational landscapes of the Cairngorms National Park
  • Sample your first delicious whisky of the tour

Back on the road again and you head north to the historic village of Dunkeld for a short walk through the forest to some dramatic waterfalls.

After lunch in Pitlochry, you can sample the delights of Scotland's highest distillery at Dalwhinnie, near the source of the River Spey. Once you’ve warmed with a little dram of whisky, you continue through the Cairngorms National Park before reaching Grantown-on-Spey, your base for two nights.

Day 6

  • Be amazed by the whisky selection in Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin
  • Understand the craftsmanship of the whisky cask at the Speyside Cooperage

A whole day exploring Scotland’s most famous whisky region. After a scenic drive towards the coast, your first stop of the day is at the family-owned Benromach Distillery, where you can go on a personalised tour.

From here it’s a short distance to Elgin. Here you can visit Gordon and MacPhail, one of the world’s leading specialist whisky bottlers and suppliers.

You travel back up the Spey to Craigellachie for a visit to the Speyside Cooperage, where you see another aspect of the whisky-making process (Wednesday departures only).

After lunch here or in nearby Aberlour, you visit Cardhu Distillery. Cardhu is the most important whisky in Johnnie Walker Black Label. From here you travel back to Grantown-on-Spey.

Day 7

  • Admire the peaks of the famous Cairngorms National Park
  • Walk in the footsteps of the Royal Family in the beautiful Royal Deeside region.

You travel through the beautiful Cairngorm Mountains en route back to Edinburgh. In the morning you visit Glenlivet, which is both a distillery and a beautiful glen with serene walks and wonderful wildlife.

You then enjoy the majesty of Royal Deeside. You pass by Balmoral Castle, and stop in the village of Braemar in the heart of the National Park. From here the route south passes over Scotland’s highest mountain pass, through Perthshire, and back to Edinburgh.

Itinerary and distillery visits are subject to change.

Day 8

You decide what’s next on your travels. You’re welcome to join another one of our tours from Edinburgh. Or if you want to move on, Edinburgh is well connected by coach, rail, and air to the rest of the UK, Europe and the world.

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Accommodation


Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay two nights in Keswick*, three nights in Edinburgh, two nights in Grantown-on-Spey.(*During July/early August this tour stays in Windermere).


How does the accommodation work?

Your tour includes a mixture of our favourite hotel and B&B accommodation. Once you've completed the booking form on this page, we'll send you more details about where you'll get to stay.


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, you can read our FAQs, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, or email rooms@rabbies.com.

FAQs

Where does the tour depart from?

Unlike our other London departures, you depart from London’s Euston Station. You’re then met by a Rabbie’s driver-guide and tour bus at Penrith Station.


How do I get to London’s Euston Station?

Depending on where your London accommodation is located, there are several ways to get the station. You can easily access the station using the underground network, local buses, or a taxi.


What time does the train depart?

Your train departs London’s Euston Station at 9.30am. We recommend that you arrive at 8.45am. Whilst London’s transport system is fantastic, it’s not immune to issues that cause delays or cancellations. Trying to arrive early also gives you time to collect your tickets and purchase refreshments before you board the train.
Your ticket is only valid on the 9.30am departure. If you miss this train, you will be responsible for purchasing new tickets for the next departure. The cost of a ticket on the day is over £100 per person.


Where do I collect my tickets?

Simply insert any credit or debit card into a ticket machine within the train station and enter your ‘collection reference’ number. We send you this number shortly after you book your tour.
If you have problems, please go to a ticket window with your booking confirmation and ask for help. You can also call the Virgin Business Helpdesk on 0121 2990259 for more information.
Station opening hours can be checked at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/.

Please allow at least 20 minutes for ticket collection at stations.


Do we have reserved seats?

In most cases, yes you have pre-assigned and reserved seats. The details of the seating reservation are provided in the ticket wallet. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask any of the Virgin Trains team for help.

If you booked your ticket within one week of departure, you may not have a seating reservation. If this is the case, you can choose from any of the unreserved seats on the train.


Can I buy food and drink on the train?

Yes, you can. Each train has a café on board which provides a limited selection of hot and cold drinks as well as snacks and light meals. If you require anything in particular, we recommend you pick up what you need from one of the various food and beverage outlets at Euston Station.


Which platform does the train leave from?

The platform changes every day. Please keep an eye on the departure boards in the main terminal. Your train is the 9.30am Glasgow Central train. The platform will be announced about 15 – 20mins before departure. The departure gates close five minutes before the train leaves, so please make your way to the train once you have seen which platform the train is departing from.


What happens if the train is cancelled?

If your train is cancelled, your ticket is valid on the next departure at 10.30am, however you’ll not have reserved seats. If this happens, please contact the Rabbie’s customer service team on +44(0)131 226 3133, so we can advise the guide and ensure they’re there to pick you up at the new time.


How long is the train trip?

The train takes three hours from London Euston to Penrith Station.


Where do we meet the tour bus?

Your Rabbie’s driver-guide meets you at Penrith Station with other guests who started the tour in Edinburgh. Penrith Station is small and your guide will be easy to find. Due to traffic and unforeseen circumstances, the guide may be unable to meet you there immediately. But don’t worry, they’ll be there as soon as possible.


How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy Britain and Ireland. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of time to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.


Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.


Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to. We stop in small towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.


Should I tip the driver-guide?

Let's be honest, our driver-guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.


What about travel insurance?

We advise you take out travel insurance.

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or less

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities



BTA_2017.png Green Tourism Award Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 TC_2018_WHITE_LL_R-112x105.png queens-award.png Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars

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