Top Five Train Journeys Around the World
Belmond Royal Scotsman
Belmond Royal Scotsman is probably the finest luxury train in the world. Offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Scottish Highlands in style, a journey aboard Belmond Royal Scotsman will take you back to the romantic age of travel.
At a Glance
Once-in-a-lifetime experience on arguably the world's finest luxury train
Flawless service and a genuine country-house-on-wheels atmosphere
Itineraries really immerse you into the culture and landscapes of the Highlands
Exquisite fine dining and hotel-quality accommodation
Highly exclusive - each journey carries a maximum of 40 passengers
A journey aboard Belmond Royal Scotsman is a voyage back in time to a more genteel age of refined luxury and gracious hospitality. From the moment that you are welcomed aboard by a piper at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station to the moment you return, you will experience sumptuous comfort and the very best of British service. Gliding through the Scottish Highlands past heather-clad mountains, castles reflected in mirror-like lochs and golden glens, you will feel as if you are a highly honoured guest at a private country house party.
Belmond Royal Scotsman is the last word in companionable exclusivity, with a maximum of 40 guests aboard at any one time. The train itself is formed of nine re-designed 1960s Pullman cars, and you will have plenty of time to get to know your fellow guests. The social hub of the train is the lounge car with armchairs, sofas, coffee tables, a bar serving 30 different malt whiskies, and an open-air observation deck. If you prefer a little more solitude, settle down with a good book or simply let the beauty of the Scottish landscape wash over you.
Your wood-panelled stateroom comes with two single beds (there are also a few single rooms with one bed) and, although compact, offers all the facilities of a good hotel room including an en-suite shower and bathroom, desk, table, writing paper, wardrobe, mineral water, bathrobe and slippers, and fluffy towels. The train is always stabled in a siding or quiet platform for the night, so you won't have to sleep on the move.
There are two dining cars aboard Belmond Royal Scotsman – Raven and Swift which seat up to twenty guests in each. Both offer world-class fine dining and carefully selected wines which are all included in the price. At least one dinner on each journey is formal, so don’t forget to bring a jacket and tie. Afternoon teas offer further opportunities to share stories with your fellow guests as the train journeys on.
For the ultimate on-board relaxation, the Belmond Royal Scotsman contains two treatment rooms in the truly unique Bamford Haybarn Spa. With a contemporary, natural design using sustainable wood from Scotland and the Cotswolds, this is the perfect place to unwind as you enjoy a massage and watch the beautiful scenery pass by.
Belmond Royal Scotsman operates from April to October. Itineraries range from two to four nights, and can be combined to make week-long itineraries. The most popular is the 4-night Highland Classic, which follows the east coast up to Keith, continuing on through the Highlands to the picturesque west coast village of Plockton, before returning to Inverness and then south to Perth. However if it’s remote mountain scenery you’ve come to see, the three-night Western Tour along the West Highland line is one of the world’s truly great journeys.
Off-train excursions might include (depending on the tour) a Highland safari, touring a whisky distillery, clay pigeon shooting on a Scottish laird's estate, visits to ruined castles, seal spotting off the west coast, a private ceilidh or a guided walk through forests of scented Caledonian pine. In the evening over after-dinner drinks in the lounge car, you may be lucky enough to listen to Highlander Ray Owens talk about Highland life in the seventeenth century, a topic which he can bring alive like no-one else, before retiring to your stateroom to dream of the next day's adventures.
Cabins aboard Belmond Royal Scotsman are cosy, comfortable, and flawlessly designed to maximize space whilst remaining in keeping with the traditional style of the common areas and exterior of the train. As with any Belmond property, rooms are furnished with high quality fabrics and furniture, and luxurious toiletries and towels are provided.
There are 14 twin cabins, two doubles and four singles; all come with a private en suite which has a constant flow of hot water and a good sized shower. Each room is also furnished with a dressing table, full-length wardrobe, fans and heating, making your stay on board as comfortable as possible.
No specific child care facilities are available aboard Belmond Royal Scotsman, and the train has a decidedly more grown-up feel.
Regional specialties are the order of the day, enjoyed from the on board Dining Cars. Hearty and wholesome, expect succulent Aberdeen Angus beef, delicious wild salmon and freshly caught game, served up with locally sourced vegetables and accompanied by fine wines, liqueurs and malt whiskies. Alternate nightly between formal and informal dinners and enjoy evening views over pretty harbors and sweeping valleys.
Activities are very much dependent on the journey you embark upon, but with a smattering of castles dotted around the picturesque highlands, distilleries aplenty and reams of wildlife spotting opportunities, guests aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman can expect a varied and exhilarating itinerary. Highlights include a round of golf in the grounds of Ballindalloch Castle, a boat trip in Plockton to see wild seals, afternoon tea with views over the beautiful Loch Lomond and clay pigeon shooting on the Rothiemurchus Estate. After an invigorating day exploring the Scottish countryside, return to the train to unwind with a treatment in the Belmond Royal Scotsman's serene and tranquil Bamford Haybarn Spa.
Location & Directions
Belmond Royal Scotsman is located in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, setting off from Waverly Station. The station is a 20-minute drive from Edinburgh International Airport.
When to go
It is very difficult to predict the weather in the United Kingdom - in the summer from May to late September is generally seen as the most pleasant time to visit. Rainfall is difficult to predict - but the UK does not receive as much as many are led to believe! The Belmond Royal Scotsman departures run between April and October.