Journey by Steam to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in 2021

In May 2021, Steam Dreams are returning to some of the most beautiful lines in Northern Britain with its popular Highlands & Islands Explorer! 

Our popular Highlands & Islands Explorer returns to Scotland in 2021, providing a unique opportunity to traverse the spectacular Highlands landscape by steam. With delicious food on board, specially-selected hotels in some of Scotland’s most sought-after locations and impressive steam locomotives, all with the backdrop of snow-capped peaks and bright sunshine, this holiday promises to be unforgettable.

Read on for details of the full itinerary and fill in a form here to receive an email quote for your holiday.

Thursday 6th – Friday 14th May 2021 

Tour options:

  • Highlands Option: 2 nights in Edinburgh, 3 nights in Inverness, 2 nights in Turnberry or Troon, 1 night in Skipton
  • Islands Option: 2 nights in Edinburgh, 1 night in Inverness, 3 nights in the Outer Hebrides, 1 night in Turnberry or Troon, 1 night in Skipton

Fares from £1,795

Day 1 – London to Edinburgh via York

We leave London Victoria behind a vintage diesel locomotive for a quick run to York, where we will be joined by B1 Mayflower. From here, the scenery just gets better and better. From far-reaching views over the Cathedral City of Durham, the Angel of the North to the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick and the cliffs of the North East coast, the backdrop of our first day sets the tone for the rest of the holiday.

Day 2 – Day at leisure in Edinburgh

After a leisurely breakfast in your hotel you are free to explore this beautiful city which holds two
UNESCO designations. Edinburgh is home to many interesting attractions from its iconic medieval
castle, to an extinct volcano, to Scotland’s crown jewels. Activities range from sipping whisky, hiking up Arthur’s Seat or going underground to explore some of the city’s medieval past. Alternatively, join us on an organised excursion. Excursions are likely to include coach trips to Stirling Castle, Culross Palace and the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Day 3 – Edinburgh to Inverness via Aberdeen

After breakfast in our hotels, we set out mid morning over the Forth Railway Bridge. Our route from here will take us via the beautiful coastal route to Aberdeen. Here we will have a short lunchtime break before continuing to Inverness, arriving in the early evening.

Days 4, 5, 6 & 7 – TWO OPTIONS


Over the next three days you will have a chance to sample some of the most scenic lines in Europe – Inverness to The Kyle of Lochalsh, Inverness to Dunrobin via the Far North Line, the journey south via the Highland Main Line and finally along the Firth of Clyde.

Day 4 – Kyle of Lochalsh with B1 Mayflower

Day 5 – Inverness to Dunrobin Castle or day at leisure

Day 6 –  Inverness to Ayr via the Highland Main Line

Day 7 – Day at leisure at Troon or Turnberry. Here you can enjoy the stunning scenery and coastline as we travel along the Firth of Clyde to Stranraer, with views of The Cumbraes and The Isle of Arran, or enjoy a round of golf at one of the prestigious local courses.


Day 4 – Enjoy a stunning journey to the Kyle of Lochalsh with B1 Mayflower, before we all head by coach over the bridge to Skye then by ferry to the Isle of Lewis, where we spend three nights. Pullman Style Dining passengers and Premier Dining passengers will stay at the stunning Lews Castle, a Victorian era castle built as a country house for Sir James Matheson.

Day 5 & 6 – Over the course of two days, passengers will have the chance to book optional excursions to explore some of the fascinating historical sites on Lewis including the Black House at Arnol, the well-preserved Carloway Broch – a circular, dry-stone, 2,000-year-old fortified tower. Finally, we’ll visit the Standing Stones of Callanish – the most dramatic of the Western Isles’ monuments.

Day 7 – Travel from the Outer Hebrides to Glasgow Prestwick by plane, to meet the rest of the party in Turnberry or Troon

Seilebost, Luskentyre Sands, Isle of Harris

Day 8 – Ayr to Skipton via the Cumbrian Coast

After breakfast, all passengers will set off steam-hauled through the lowlands of Scotland and cross the border to Carlisle for a short lunchtime break.

In the afternoon, we travel along the stunning Cumbrian Coast route, rarely used for steam charters, with nearly 100 miles of stunning views as the railway line hugs the narrow strip between The Irish Sea and the Lakeland Fells. On a clear day you can see distant vistas of the Isle of Man and the Scottish Coast. As the sun starts to set, we head towards the Dales and the area known as Brontë Country where we will be spending the final night of this holiday.

Day 9 – Skipton to London

The last day of our trip dawns, and after breakfast in our hotels we will head South travelling through the heart of England along the Midland mainline, which is an unusual route for Steam Dreams. Once we have passed through the edge of Leeds and Sheffield we pass through the town of Chesterfield with its famous bent spire visible from the train, through the East Midlands and then over the world famous Harringworth Viaduct between Melton Mowbray and Corby before finally arriving at our destination, London Victoria, as the rush hour ends.

For more information, or to book, please call the Booking Office on 01483 209888 or fill in the form below to receive a holiday quote and more information about the trip.

For groups of 7 or more, please call the Booking Office on 01483 209888.

3 thoughts on “Journey by Steam to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in 2021

  1. We had planned to take a trip to Cornwall, but unfortunately this plague hit the world very hard! We are in the USA and God’s will, we hope to take this journey with you. Blessings, Geri and Bib Hager

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Francesca & I have really enjoyed a number of holidays with Steam Dreams – the last was about 5 years ago,

    If the current restrictions are still in place during any time in 2021 when any of Steam Dreams holidays are running, I’d like to know about your on-board seating arrangements, along with the use of masks eg would wearing them be mandatory, except when eating

    For us, wearing a mask at times between eating would be a major problem

    From memory, Francesca & I have enjoyed three 8/9 day & two 4 day holidays with you until 6 yrs ago when our youngest son moved to San Francisco. Since then our annual holidays have been been with him

    I look forward to hearing from you

    Best wishes – Keith


    1. Thank you for writing to us; it’s lovely to hear from you. We are not sure what the restrictions will be next summer, but currently (due to laws set by the Government) passengers are required to wear a mask on board except whilst eating or drinking. We are hoping this will be changed for charter trains and will be in touch if that is the case. You can read our full COVID on board guide here:


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