Soak up the spirit of Speyside whisky, indulge in the views of the Lake District, and spend a few nights in incredible Edinburgh.
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 – Scotland's Medieval capital city boasts spectacular architecture and fascinating history.
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.
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.
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.There are so many options available here - why not take one our city tour to familiarise yourself with the 'old' and 'new' towns of the city.
No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to her medieval castle.Sitting on a volcanic plug there is no other city in Europe to offer a setting quite as unique as that of the castle rising high above the majestic Princes Street gardens.
Lunch is booked for you at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a private members club of whisky enthusiasts from all over the world. A three-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.
Today you join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Speyside. With your new companions 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.
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.
After lunch in nearby Aberlour, you visit Cardhu Distillery, which is the first distillery pioneered by a woman, Helen Cumming. Today, Cardhu is the most important whisky in Johnnie Walker Black Label. From here you travel back to Grantown-on-Spey.
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.
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, and two nights in Grantown-on-Spey. (*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.
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.
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 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.
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 fewer
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