Burgundy and gold livery stand out amongst the emerald hues of the Scottish Highlands as Belmond's Royal Scotsman train takes to the tracks each travel season. This luxury train explores destinations throughout the country between April and October, with thoughtful routes from Edinburgh in the south to Keith, Inverness, and Garve in the north; Plockton, Kyle of Lochalsh, and Fort William in the West; and many incredible towns and villages between the nation's craggy coasts. Its routes are as diverse as the land it travels, presenting the best of Scotland one magnificent mile at a time.
Up to forty travelers are invited to experience the train's offerings during each journey, fostering an intimate atmosphere with all the personal service, attention to detail, and quality amenities one could desire. Before you step aboard, learn what makes the Royal Scotsman train Scotland's premier luxury travel option.
While boarding the Royal Scotsman at the Edinburgh station, travelers first notice the sumptuous interior of the train's cars. Polished wood marquetry meets rich fabrics and traditional Scottish tartans. Beautiful window treatments and cozy lighting create an intimate environment for adventure and conversation.
The Scotsman's comfortable common seating areas bleed into homey cabins decorated with the keen eye for detail seen elsewhere on the train. Plush mattresses, efficient floor plans, wardrobes, large picture windows, and en suite bathrooms complete with a toilet, sink, and shower are hallmarks of each private cabin. Bespoke wood furniture, including beds, writing desks, and side tables, blends with thoughtful decorations provide all the luxuries and class of a five-star hotel. These things come standard, regardless of the cabin option guests choose - of which there are three:
- Twin cabins - This floor plan is designed with a pair of travelers in mind. Two twin-size beds line the cabin walls, allowing space for guests to comfortably get in and out of bed and move about the cabin to enjoy its amenities.
- Double cabins - The same size as a twin cabin, but with a double bed for two instead, double cabins offer the most open floor space of all the accommodation options.
- Single cabins - Ideal for a solo travel experience, single cabins come equipped with a single lower-level bed. The quaint cabin becomes a perfect retreat as the train meanders through the Scottish Highlands.
While settling in, guests will notice the unexpected amenities waiting for them in their cabins. Writing paper can be found on the desks, and bottled mineral water is provided. In the wardrobes, bathrobes, and slippers await to ensure comfortable lounging. High-end toiletries, including shampoo, soap, and body wash, are provided in each en suite. But the Royal Scotsman train's amenities extend far beyond the cabin walls.
While aboard, passengers enjoy fresh flowers in the social carriages and all-inclusive drinks and snacks. The train boasts a 3:1 passenger to staff ratio, with the 12 attendants readily available - and easy to spot in their vested uniforms - to top off your whisky or point out interesting sights along the course. Onboard entertainment is included with all of the train's journeys, as are fantastic excursions in destinations along the course.
One enticing extra that seasoned long-distance rail travelers may not be accustomed to comes overnight. Instead of traveling between cities during the wee hours, the Royal Scotsman pulls off into sidings and remains at ease until morning breaks on the horizon. This small detail ensures restful slumber without the rocking and noise often accompanying rail travel.
Gastronomes find themselves just as enthralled as rail enthusiasts when following the train's routes through the Scottish Highlands. After all, one of the most excellent perks of riding the Royal Scotsman is its culinary offerings. Passengers are introduced to authentic Scottish flavors packaged in impressive dishes at breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The onboard chef sources only the freshest local ingredients, which, when paired, create memorable tastes guests cannot help but savor. To enhance their fine dining experience, travelers may choose from various Scotch Whiskeys, fine wines, liqueurs, and hot and cold beverages.
Each dining experience is made even more impressive by the surroundings of the Royal Scotsman train's Dining Cars: Raven and Swift. Both cars are adorned with the quality woodwork, lush fabrics, and timeless Scottish decor for which the train is known. Each place setting - composed of signature china and fine silverware - gleams, the crystal polished to perfection. Guests may dine in either, with the differences lying only in the decor choices and table arrangements.
The beating heart of the train, and a place where conversation and impeccable views flow, the Observation Car is a favorite of travelers. This carriage is the train's social hub and is designed with comfort in mind. A mixture of armchairs and sofas allows guests to get cozy while sipping tea, playing a game, or reading a book. It comes as no surprise that all of the onboard entertainment takes place here. In addition to soaking in the warm atmosphere from within the car and observing the changes in the rolling terrain from its ample picture windows, travelers may step out to the open-air viewing platform - the perfect place to breathe in the fresh Highland air or to photograph the iconic scenery.
For relaxation on the rails, the Royal Scotsman's Bamford Haybarn Spa Car provides a serene retreat after a long day of sightseeing and exploring fantastic locations. The Spa Car, the first of its kind in Europe, is fully equipped for a range of personalized treatment options, from massages to facials and manicures.
The crowning jewels of the train's journeys are the quintessential Scottish experiences that fill them. Weaving through the purple heather, alongside lochs, and in and out of towns filled with heritage presents fantastic opportunities to delve into the local culture. Visits to ancient castles showcase thousands of years of history. Estate tours, where visitors can shoot clay pigeons and tour breathtaking gardens, present a taste of country life. Guests disembark the train to tour traditional distilleries and sample authentic Scotch Whisky. Optional boat and ferry rides and guided hikes to waterfalls are just some other excursions that punctuate these thoughtful expeditions through the Highlands.
Belmond's Royal Scotsman train sits in a category all its own in terms of luxury and access to Scotland's most awe-inspiring sights. Contact a Rail Specialist for tour availability and to see where this prestigious train can take you this travel season.