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.
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.
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.
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. (**During July/early August this tour stays in Windermere).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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 (*During July/early August this tour stays in Windermere).
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.
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.
Changes to accommodation cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability. An amendment charge will apply.
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).
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.
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. 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 - £55 per person per night. A single en suite is £60 - £80 per night.
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. A single is £85 - £130 per night.
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 - £25 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).
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.
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.
If you’re travelling from Manchester Airport Railway Station your train departs at 10.59 am. If you’re travelling from Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station your train departs at 11.22 am. We recommend that you arrive at the station at least 20 minutes before your departure. Whilst Manchester’s public transport system is extensive and reliable, it’s not immune to issues that can cause delays and cancellations. Try to arrive early so you have time to collect your tickets and purchase refreshments before you board the train. Your ticket is only valid to Penrith on the 10.59 service from Manchester Airport Railway Station or the 11.22 service from Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station. If you miss these trains, you’re responsible for purchasing new tickets for the next departure. The cost of a ticket on the day is over £100 per person.
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.
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.
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.
The platform changes every day. Please keep an eye on the departure boards in the main terminal. From Manchester Airport Railway Station your train is the 10.59 service for Glasgow Central train station. From Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station your train is the 11.22 service for Glasgow Central. 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.
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.
The train takes 1 hour and 47 minutes from Manchester Airport and 1 hour 36 minutes from Manchester Piccadilly to Penrith Station.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We advise you take out travel insurance.
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
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