Compare and contrast the best of Scotland and England on this six-day tour from Manchester.
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.
Cairngorms National Park - Gaze in awe at Scotland’s most beautifully rounded peaks.
Urquhart Castle - This dramatic ruined castle once protected the boats upon 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 Manchester 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 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.
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 rest in the many beautiful gardens.
Just ensure you relax and prepare for your next part of your adventure.
Today, you join our two-day Loch, Ness, Inverness & the Highlands tour. You leave Edinburgh and head north across the River Forth towards the Highlands.
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 reaching 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.
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 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
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