The West Highland Railway has been called ‘the greatest railway journey in the world’ and it’s certainly a trip of superlatives: it starts near Britain’s highest mountain and it passes the country’s most westerly mainland railway station, its shortest river and its deepest freshwater and seawater lochs. But it’s the moment you cross the 21-arch Glenfinnan that will really stay with you. The view takes in Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan Monument, where a single kilted Highlander stands looking over the sweeping glens in a tribute to the final Jacobite Uprising. For a truly magical experience, travel on The Jacobite steam train (May to October).
Day 1: Edinburgh
Before you head out to the beautiful landscapes of Scotland’s countryside, spend the day in its capital city, Edinburgh. It’s known for its world-class festivals and the cityscapes of its Old and New Towns form a UNESCO World Heritage site. There’s plenty of green space within the city too; at its heart is Holyrood Park with three lochs, wildlife and Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, to explore. The Royal Botanic Garden is another green oasis in the city.