The Belmond Royal Scotsman — Scotland’s only luxury sleeper train — is essentially a country house on wheels. Think “Downton Abbey”, and you’ll know what to expect. And adding that extra touch of thrill to what is already an exclusive experience, the iconic brand now offers its guests a unique opportunity to create bespoke adventures in the highlands of Scotland. With excursions that involve stargazing, hiking, canoeing and even golfing in some of the most scenic settings of the country, it’s a chance to finally go off the rails. Literally.
“Our guests are increasingly looking to personalize their experience and we hope these options give them the flexibility to see the Scotland of their choice,” says Gary Franklin, vice president, Trains & Cruises Belmond. “The experiences showcase some of the real highlights of Scotland and allow guests to connect with nature through incredible Scottish landscapes.”
Creating memories is what it’s about. Whether for enthusiastic explorers seeking a rush of adrenalin, whiskey connoisseurs in search of that perfect amber-gold liquid or even lovers desiring a romantic night under the stars — the Royal Scotsman has something for all its guests.
Blessed with remarkably clear skies, the Scottish Highlands offer one of the most popular stargazing sites in the world. A private night-excursion in the Cairngorms National Park, which includes an astrologer and a picnic, is the perfect way to relax under the twinkling stars.
Adventure seekers can opt for whitewater rafting or try gorge walking in Aviemore, or take to the skies by paragliding over Fort William. Guests can even embark on a quest for the elusive Loch Ness Monster on a boat cruise or go dolphin spotting in the Moray Firth.
Everyone knows Scotland boasts some of the world’s most prestigious golf courses. Whether you fancy yourself as the next Tiger Woods or not, you can still take in a leisurely round at Gleneagles, Royal Donorch Golf Club, Castle Stuart Golf Links and Kingbarns Golf Links. And for those who want to enjoy their picturesque environs at a slightly more energetic pace, biking and hiking tours are also available.
For guests interested in treating their palates, whiskey opportunities abound in Scotland. And private tours to some of its most reputed distilleries, such as Glen Ord and Glenlivet, present visitors an insight into the making process from the master blenders. The special tasting at the end is, inevitably, a big hit with everyone. And for those who miss the tour, there are 60 varieties of world-class Scottish whiskey to be enjoyed on board the train.
Departing from Edinburgh’s Waverly Station, the Royal Scotsman embarks on it circuitous routes, offering its guests the choice of any of its two-, three- and four-night itineraries. Since the accommodation extends to only 40 people at a time, it’s not difficult to believe that one is actually a guest at one of the great house parties of old.
Images provided by Belmond Royal Scotsman.