Compare and contrast the best of Scotland and England on this six-day tour from London.
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.
Cairngorms National Park - Gaze in awe at Scotland’s most beautifully rounded peaks.
Urquhart Castle - This castle once protected the ships of Loch Ness from pirates.
Inverness - The ‘Capital of the Highlands’ blends Victorian architecture with a lively modern lifestyle.
Loch Ness - Take a chance to go on an optional boat cruise (April - October) or wander around the shores of this alluring and eerie loch.
Glencoe - Be moved by the sheer beauty and tragic tale of one of Scotland’s most famous landscapes.
There’s a friendly rivalry between Scotland and England.
This makes their football matches feisty, reveals two different versions of history, and ensures they have plenty of inappropriate jokes about each other.
So, on this trip, we let you join in on the fun and pit these two unique countries against each other.
You take the train from London and visit the Lake District. This is where you find England’s most marvellous mountains, quaintest cobbled villages, and loveliest lakes.
And after spending time in Edinburgh, you head off to discover the best of Scotland. You learn the tragic history of Glencoe, take in the slopes of the Cairngorms, and even get a chance to spot the Loch Ness Monster.
So, join this tour and decide which country will win over your heart.
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.
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 visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage, taste the legendary gingerbread, or 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.
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're rested and ready for the next part of your adventure.
Today you join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to the Highlands. With your new companions you leave Edinburgh and head north across the River Forth towards Inverness.
You make a short stop in one of the quintessential Scottish towns bordering the Highland Fault Line, before crossing into the Cairngorms National Park.
There are numerous options en route including a famous whisky distillery, stunning Caledonian forest walks, ancient standing stones, world-changing battlefields, and beautiful lochs. What you do today will be decided by your group and the ever-changing Scottish climate. Ample time for lunch will be given en route.
You then continue north and arrive in Inverness, where you’re dropped off at your accommodation.
The evening is free for you to explore the capital of the Highlands.
After a leisurely breakfast, you’re picked up from your accommodation and taken into the surrounding countryside.
You travel to Loch Ness where you have the chance to take a boat trip along the loch or stay on shore and visit the impressive ruins of Urquhart castle overlooking the loch.
Our journey continues south through the Great Glen past Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK and Fort William. You stop for lunch along the way before arriving in Glencoe.
The return journey continues over the wild and remote Rannoch Moor and into the Lowland scenery around Stirling, before finally reaching our starting point of Edinburgh.
Once you've booked your tour, let us know if you want us to book this evening's Edinburgh accommodation.
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 one night in Inverness.
*Please be aware that Keswick is busy. You may need to be flexible with rooms we're able to reserve for you here. If you'd prefer to find your own accommodation for this location, please choose the 'book your own accommodation' option when you book your tour.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
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.
The prices below are for guidance only and are based on 2022 rates. We’re working with suppliers to bring you the most up to date pricing for tours departing in 2023.
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 - £50 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single standard room is £40 - £70 per night.
B&B En suite
The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £45 - £65 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single en suite is £75 - £90 per night.
Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £75 - £90 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single is £90 - £150 per night.
* The cost of accommodation in Inverness is higher, it's £70 - £100 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single is £100 - £175 per night.
Please note, we're unable to book hostels for this tour at the moment. You may still be able to book hostel accommodation yourself if you choose to the option to book your own accommodation for your tour.
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 - £30 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 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.
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.
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 forty 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.
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. Station opening hours can be checked at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/.
Please allow at least 20 minutes for ticket collection at stations.
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 the station staff 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.
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.
The platform changes every day. You will be disembarking the train at Penrith Station but the name of your train service on the electronic departure boards will be for Glasgow Central. Please watch these boards to find out your platform number. 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 15 – 20mins before departure. The departure gates close five minutes before the train leaves, so please make your way to the train once you’ve seen which platform the train is departing from.
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.
The train takes three hours from London Euston to Penrith Station.
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.
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
You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back
Guaranteed departures: We’ll never cancel your tour because of minimum numbers
Our eco-friendly tours support local communities