The Lake District, Edinburgh & Scottish Castles Experience
8 day Rail and Trail Journey

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Take a train from Manchester and explore the dainty homes of the Lake District, the Gothic spires of Edinburgh, and the outstanding castles of Scotland.

Tour map

Highlights

Castles
Palaces
Mountains
Lakes
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Distilleries
Boat Cruises

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 – Visit the castle, savour the food, and explore one of the most beautiful Medieval cities in the world.

Falkland Palace - The palace was the countryside home for many of the Stuart royalty. They would make use of the woodland areas in the vicinity to hunt.

Brodie Castle & Culloden - A 16th-century mansion that belonged to the Brodie Clan until 1980. And Culloden Moor is the resting place of those lost in the final land battle to have taken place in Great Britain.

Dunnottar Castle - This is the archetypical Scottish castle. Mysterious, ruined, and beautiful.

Loch Leven & Castle - Lochleven Castle is the famous prison fort to Mary Queen of Scots.


Your journey

A home can mean different things to different people.

In the Lake District, they can be cottages lined up along little lanes, surrounded by beautiful mountains, and never too far from a swim in a lake.

Whereas in Scotland, castles were some people’s homes. These stone fortifications could contain dozens of families and pose as both a war weapon and a wedding venue.

On this trip, we take you exploring through quintessential British landscapes to some of these unique buildings.

You see the town halls and squares by the Lake District’s famous waters. You see Gothic spires overlooking the cobbled lanes of Edinburgh. And you see castles clinging to dramatic cliffs by the sea.

And maybe by the end of the tour, you’ll have found that little place you’d dream of moving into one day.


Rail & Trail Journey

Travel from England to Scotland on this trip that combines a one-way train journey with two of our tours. Between the tours, you get free time in Edinburgh. Please see the itinerary for more details.

Tour Details

Starts
10:59 - Train from Manchester Airport Railway Station Transport Interchange, 4007 Chicago Avenue, Manchester M90 3DQ
11.22 Train from Manchester Piccadilly Train Station *Train times may vary a little. We'll email you your exact departure time before your tour
Finishes (approx.)
18:30
Luggage
You’re restricted to 14kg (31lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items.
Discounts
  • Children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)
  • Students and seniors over 60
Important information
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
  • After booking your tour, we'll contact you about your train journey
  • Accommodation in Edinburgh sells out fast. But don't worry; when you book your tour, you can ask us to reserve everything for you.
  • This tour combines two of our trips and a free day in Edinburgh. This means you swap your bus and guide during the journey.
Tour inclusions
  • Transportation by a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
  • Edinburgh City Tour
  • A one-way train ticket from Manchester to Penrith
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • Tour accommodation

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 station and head north from Manchester 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.


* Please note all tours that depart on the 13th, 20th and 27th July will stay in Bowness-on-Windermere instead of Keswick

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*.


* Please note all tours that depart on the 13th, 20th and 27th July will stay in Bowness-on-Windermere instead of 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.

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.

Overnight again in Edinburgh.

Day 5

  • Take a self-guided tour of the majestic Falkland Palace
  • Explore the winding streets of the ‘home of golf’, St Andrews

Today you join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to the Highlands. You depart from Edinburgh, travel north, and cross the Queensferry Crossing into the ancient Kingdom of Fife. Your first visit of the day is Falkland Palace. This palace was built in the 16th century and is set in the medieval village of Falkland, which features in the television show, Outlander.

You continue to St Andrews where you have a chance to get lunch and discover the beauty of the cobbled lanes and ancient university buildings.

Travelling north towards Aberdeen, you have a chance to admire the House of Dun, a beautiful Georgian mansion located within a woodland estate.

In the afternoon, you visit Dunnottar castle. This ruined cliff top fortress is one of Scotland’s megastars and adorns the front covers of travel magazines everywhere. So, it’s a great spot to take in the view and test your photo skills.

Day 6

  • Wander through the beautiful gardens of Castle Fraser
  • Relive the mysterious tales of Crathes Castle

Today is spent in the Royal Deeside area, famous for its many castles.

Your first visit is Castle Fraser, one of the grandest of the Scottish baronial tower houses. You can round the visit off with a walk through the beautiful 18th-century walled garden. Later on, you can have an opportunity to visit Banchory where you might be able to see salmon jumping at the Falls of Feugh.

Lunch is at Ballater, before continuing with your afternoon programme. Crathes Castle provides the highlight for the afternoon. Turrets, gargoyles, and the ancient Horn of Leys are just a few of the features of this historic castle.

You’re free to explore the house and stunning gardens at your own pace. Wandering through the outstanding, world-renowned June Borders, beautiful vistas of the castle can be seen through the fusion of colourful flowers.

You return back to Aberdeen for another overnight.

Day 7

  • Admire the ancient tapestries at Fyvie Castle
  • Learn about Britain’s last land fought battle at Culloden

Your tour heads further north and starts the day with a visit to Fyvie Castle. Fyvie Castle dates back to the 13th century and has a fine collection of arms and armour as well as 17th-century tapestries.

You continue, travelling through beautiful scenery and on to Nairn, where lunch will be taken at nearby Brodie Castle. You have time to explore this imposing castle’s unusual plasterwork and art collection.

In the afternoon, you can take the Clan Walk at the Culloden Visitor Centre. The Clan Stone Walkway is designed to commemorate the Scottish Clans and their clansmen who fought at the battle of Culloden.

After the visit, you continue to Forres for your overnight stay.

Day 8

  • Sample whisky in the area it’s casked at the Dalwhinnie Distillery
  • Travel by boat to visit the imposing Lochleven Castle

You travel south through some of the most stunning scenery Scotland has to offer.

You pass Kingussie where you may have an opportunity for a quick photo stop at the Ruthven Barracks. From here, you continue to Dalwhinnie Distillery where you have the chance to taste the ‘Water of Life’. Dalwhinnie is the highest Distillery in Scotland and takes its waters right from the source of the River Spey.

After a lunch stop in Pitlochry, you head to Loch Leven. In the middle of the Loch you find Lochleven Castle, a late 14th-century tower, which was the setting for the most traumatic year in the life of Mary Queen of Scots.

You can enjoy a boat ride over to the island and explore at your own leisure before we return back over the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh.

Once you've booked your tour, let us know if you want us to book this evening's Edinburgh accommodation.

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Accommodation

What are the overnight locations on this journey?

Our Rail & Trail journeys are a combination of two our tours. You have a break between the trips where you spend free time in Edinburgh.

You stay two nights in Keswick*, two nights in Edinburgh, two nights in Aberdeen, one night in Forres.


* Please note all tours that depart on the 13th, 20th and 27th July will stay in Bowness-on-Windermere instead of Keswick


How does the accommodation work in Edinburgh?

When you book online, there’s no option to select Edinburgh accommodation preferences.

But don’t worry, we’ll contact you once you’ve made your booking and give you an option to book Edinburgh hotel rooms with us. You’re welcome to book the accommodation we suggest or arrange your own Edinburgh overnights.


How does the accommodation work on tour?

When you book online, we’ll ask you for your accommodation preferences and get to work making reservations on your behalf. You’ll pay your accommodation directly to hosts on tour (excluding Edinburgh). Most don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.


What if I want to change my accommodation booking with Rabbie’s?

Plans can change, so we let you alter your accommodation choices for free within the first 48 hours of booking. After this time, amendments aren't guaranteed and carry a surcharge. Please contact rooms@rabbies.com if you have any questions.


I booked my own accommodation is there anything I need to do?

You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central (excluding Edinburgh).


What if I cancel my tour at short notice?

You may be liable for the cost of your first nights’ accommodation for each separate accommodation booked. If you cancel less than three days before departure, you may be liable for all your accommodation costs.


What are the accommodation types?

The prices below are for guidance only and exclude Edinburgh accommodation.

We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre. We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard.


B&B (Bed and Breakfast) Standard

The toilet and showering facilities are shared with at least one other room in the house, and the price includes breakfast. The cost is £35 - £40 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single standard room is £40 - £60 per night.

B&B En suite

The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £45 - £60 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single en suite is £60 - £80 per night.

Hotels

Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £70 - £85 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single is £85 - £130 per night.

Hostels

A hostel consists of dormitory rooms with 4 to 16 bunk beds. The bathroom facilities are a short distance from the dorm room. Kitchen facilities are equipped so you can make your own meals. The cost based on dorm beds is £19 - £27 per person per night.

Please note that SYHA hostels only offer same gender dorms. Some independent hostels will offer mixed rooms (males and females together).


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 Manchester tour departures, this tour departs from either Manchester Airport Railway Station or Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station. From either of these stations, you catch an Express service train and meet one of our driver-guides at Penrith Railway Station.


How do I get to Manchester Airport Railway Station or Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station?

Depending on where your Manchester accommodation is located, there are several ways to get to these stations. You can easily access these stations using the local or Intercity rail network, local buses, or by taxi. If you’re travelling from Manchester Airport Railway Station you’re within walking distance of the following hotels: Clayton Hotel, Radisson Blu, Crowne Plaza, Hilton Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, Marriott Hotel, Premier Inn. Manchester Piccadilly Station is in central Manchester and is within walking distance of many major hotel chains.


What time does the train depart?

The departure time of your train will vary depending on availability and season. We will email you with details of the exact train departure and arrival times prior to your tour. We recommend that you plan to arrive at the train station at least thirty minutes before your train departs. This will allow for travel delays should they occur on the way to the station and give you enough time to collect your tickets, locate your platform and purchase refreshments. It’s important for you to arrive early because if you miss your train, you will be responsible for purchasing new tickets for the next departure.


Where do I collect my tickets?

In advance of your tour, we send you a unique ticket collection reference code. Please take this confirmation code with you when you collect your tickets. To collect your tickets at either railway station, just insert a credit or debit card into a ticket machine and enter your Ticket Collection Reference. If you have problems collecting your tickets, please go to a manned ticket window with your booking confirmation.


Do we have reserved seats?

In most cases, yes you have pre-assigned and reserved seats. 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. The majority of services between Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly and Penrith have a refreshment trolley service. If you require anything in particular, we recommend you pick up what you need from one of the various food and beverage outlets at your station of origin.


Which platform does the train leave from?

The platform changes every day. Please keep an eye on the departure boards in the main terminal. From both Manchester Airport Railway Station and Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station, your train is the service for Glasgow Central train station. The correct departure time will be printed on your ticket, and correspond to the time on the departure board. The platform will be announced about 10 minutes before departure 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, 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 1 hour and 47 minutes from Manchester Airport and 1 hour 36 minutes from Manchester Piccadilly to Penrith Station.


Where do we meet the tour bus?

Your Rabbie’s driver-guide will meet you outside Penrith Station with other guests who started the tour in Edinburgh or London. Penrith Station is small, and you will see your bus waiting for you just outside the station. If you do have problems finding your bus just give us a call on +44(0)131 226 3133.


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 fewer

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

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities



BTA_2018.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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