The Lake District, Edinburgh & the Whisky of Islay
8 day Rail and Trail Journey

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Contrast the intense flavours of Islay whisky with the smooth views of the Lake District National Park.

Tour map

Highlights

Literature
Boat Cruises
Mountains
Lakes
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Distilleries
Beaches
Ferry

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.

Oban - This Victorian harbour town offers excellent seafood and a charming intimacy.

Bowmore - Journey to the home of Islay’s oldest distillery, this charming place lies on the shores of the picturesque Loch Indaal.

The Islay Single Malt Whiskies - On an island known locally as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’, there is a regal quality to the distinctly peaty style of its single malt whiskies.

Sandy beaches of Islay - Stroll some of the most beautiful and rugged beaches in the UK along Islay’s West Atlantic coast.

Loch Lomond National Park - Enjoy the dramatic splendour of one of Scotland’s most famous lochs and the beautiful national park that surrounds it.

Your journey

In the Lake District, they competitively run up mountains and paint their cottages white. In Edinburgh, they shoot a cannon at one o’clock and spit on a stone heart. And in Islay, they produce a whisky that tastes smokier than any drink you’ve ever tasted.

These regions boast incredible traditions; and on this tour, your expert guide takes you through the regions and landscapes that carved these curiosities.

You spend a few days walking through the lanes and market squares of the mountainous Lake District. Here, you can soak up the local treats and the beautiful lake views.

You saunter through the Gothic heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town where you’re never far from a ghost story or an amazing museum.

And you journey over sea to the Isle of Islay. Where you can taste many of their famously delicious whiskies.

Hop aboard a train, join a tour, and explore the Lake District, Edinburgh, and Islay.


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.

Les Détails

Départ
10:59 - Train from Manchester Airport Railway Station Transport Interchange, 4007 Chicago Avenue, Manchester M90 3DQ
11.22 Train from Manchester Piccadilly Train Station
Retour
19:00
Bagage
Vous ne pouvez transporter que 14kg maximum de bagages par personne lors de nos circuits, sous la forme d'un bagage similaire à un bagage cabine pour avion (environ 55 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm) . Vous pouvez également garder avec vous un petit sac léger pour vos effets personnels.
Discounts

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
  • This tour combines two of our trips and a free day in Edinburgh. This means you swap your bus and guide during the 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.
  • Unfortunately we don't carry anyone under 18 years old on this tour
Tour inclusions
  • Transportation by a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • All ferry and bridge crossings
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
  • A one-way train-ticket from Manchester to Penrith
  • Whisky lunch
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • Tour accommodation

Itinéraire

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. (**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
  • Enjoy exclusive lunch and whisky tasting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

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.

Day 5

  • Explore the delightful harbour town of Oban
  • Venture through the sights and stories of the Loch Lomond National Park
  • Try and spot dolphins and whales as you travel by ferry to Islay

Today you join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Islay. You head west with your new companions to Stirling and into the Highlands with a short stop in the holiday town of Callander for refreshments.

After travelling through the mountainous part of the Loch Lomond National Park, you arrive in the busy harbour town of Oban. You have a couple of hours here with the chance to visit the Oban Distillery and sample some local seafood for lunch.

You then depart Oban mid-afternoon for the journey to Kennacraig to catch the evening ferry to Islay. The sail is just over two hours and you should look out for wildlife such as dolphins, whales, and seabirds. On arrival on Islay, it is a short drive to Bowmore for your three-night stay.

Day 6

  • Sample Scotland’s peatiest whiskies
  • Discover the modern distillery of Kilchoman

Today you explore Islay’s beautiful viewpoints, white sand beaches, and famous whiskies.

In the morning you take the short drive to the west of the island, where you visit the Kilchoman Distillery, the newest and smallest on the island. After lunch in the distillery, we continue to the scenic Rhinns of Islay to visit Bruichladdich for another chance to taste delicious single malt whisky.

You head back to Bowmore where you have the chance to visit the distillery or relax and explore the village.

Day 7

  • Savour some of the boldest tasting whiskies in Scotland

Another day in paradise! Today, you explore the southern side of the island, home to the smokiest and peatiest of all whiskies – Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

You first visit Ardbeg for a tour, tasting, and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy local produce as well as some unique whisky.

We follow this up with a visit to Laphroaig and if time allows, a short stop for a tasting at Lagavulin. On most tours it’s also possible to visit the ruins of Kildalton church and see its famous 8th-century Celtic cross.

Alternatively, we may stop in Bridgend where you could visit the community craft producers at Islay House Square or take a walk through the woods along the nearby River Sorn.

Day 8

  • Walk among the mysterious standing stones in Kilmartin Glen
  • Get a sense of the old history of Inveraray

This morning, you take the ferry back to the mainland and travel the short distance to Kilmartin Glen where we have lunch. There are more than 350 prehistoric monuments within a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin. And you have the chance to see the mysterious stone circles and standing stones and visit the community museum.

From here the tour continues round the coast to the beautiful little village of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne. The town is full of historic buildings with old ships in the harbour and a great whisky shop! We travel past Loch Lomond before arriving in 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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Le Logement

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, and three nights in Bowmore**. (*During July/early August this tour stays in Windermere).


**We reserve rooms in the beautiful Bowmore Distillery Cottages. The cottages have between three and six twin bedrooms. Due to the shared nature of the accommodation, individual bedrooms don't have lockable doors. The kitchen and lounge facilities are shared with other passengers, and basic self-service breakfast ingredients are provided. Full Scottish breakfasts are available at the nearby hotels if you prefer, payable locally. Prices are £45 per person per night for twin share or £79 per night for a single. For this option, please select 'B&B en-suite' as your first choice when booking the tour online. When these rooms are full, we book you into a nearby B&B. Rooms at the cottages are limited and are reserved on a first come first served basis. Local B&B charges are £50 per person per night.


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?

Changes to accommodation cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability. An amendment charge will apply.


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. 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

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.

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 - £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).


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.


Questions Fréquentes

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?

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.


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 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.


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. You can click here for excellent rates.

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