With seven nights aboard, this is one of our favorite trips: Enjoy the Belmond Royal Scotsman and Scotland to the full. The Grand North Western tour combines the Classic and Western itineraries for a comprehensive exploration of Scotland. First, travel along the east coast to Keith, then west to the picturesque west coast village of Plockton, before returning to Inverness and then south to Perth.
Enjoy the many highlights along the way, including a personal invitation to visit Ballindalloch, with its magnificent house and gardens. Relax and experience the magnificent West Highland scenery and a private view of Mount Stuart, one of Britain’s most spectacular Victorian Gothic houses.
This itinerary also allows plenty of time to relax on board enjoying the train’s wonderful meals, service and other amenities.
IRT Exclusive: Click here to see our video of Society President Eleanor Hardy’s trip on the Belmond Royal Scotsman.
Day 1: Dundee – Edinburgh – Spean Bridge
The train departs from Edinbugh in the early afternoon and heads west, skirting Glasgow and on to Craigendoran, the starting point for the majestic West Highland Line. Enjoy afternoon tea as you travel along the edge of Gare Loch, and watch for views of Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) with its distinctive peak.
Passing Arrochar you will get your first view of Loch Lomond. The train descends almost to the water’s edge at Ardlui, and then has a hard climb up Glen Falloch, whose many waterfalls provide an impressive display. There are spectacular views of Rannoch Moor before arrival in Spean Bridge where the train stables overnight. After a formal dinner, head to the observation car for evening entertainment.
Day 2: Spean Bridge – Bridge of Orchy
Breakfast is served as your journey continues west, passing through Fort William with views of Ben Nevis (Britain’s highest mountain). Traveling by the side of Loch Eil you then pass Glenfinnan and Lochailort, before turning north along this stunning coastline until reaching Arisaig. Here you can disembark for a romantic walk along the beautiful Morar Sands, a magnificent expanse of gleaming white sand, where you can enjoy excellent views across the Sound of Sleat to the beautiful Isle of Skye with its awe-inspiring Cuillin Mountains. Or you may choose to stay on board for a history of the fascinating West Highland Line by a local expert.
Lunch is served as the train retraces its route towards Fort William. Disembark here enjoy a trip to places of historic interest with our Highlander who brings to life the stories of Scottish heroes, including the Glenfinnan Monument. After your visit, enjoy afternoon tea at the elegant Inverlochy Castle Hotel. Alternatively, a guided hike is available (weather permitting). A mountain ranger guides you through scenic Nevis Gorge to Steall Waterfall, the second highest in the UK.
After your trip you will return to the train and enjoy an informal dinner as you head south towards Bridge of Orchy where you stable overnight.
Day 3: Bridge of Orchy – Wemyss Bay
Today’s destination is the charming Isle of Bute, reached by ferry from Wemyss Bay. The island embraces a variety of landscapes; seashore, moorland, farmland and forest. Mount Stuart is Britain’s most spectacular Victorian Gothic house, and it houses what is arguably the finest privately held collection of family portraits in Scotland. Explore this magnificent house, its tranquil Rock Garden, the Wee Garden containing rare plants from the southern hemisphere, the Kitchen Garden and the Victorian Pinetum.
You return to the mainland and rejoin the train in Wemyss Bay where a formal dinner is served and the train stables for the night.
Day 4: Edinburgh – Keith
After an early departure from Wemyss Bay, enjoy a leisurely breakfast as you travel east towards Edinburgh where this first part of your Grand North Western journey ends in Waverley Station. There is time to sepnd your morning in Edinburgh by joining a guided tour and enjoying a light lunch before returning to the train for the next part of your journey.
The Royal Scotsman departs Edinburgh early afternoon, and travels north across the Firth of Forth by means of the magnificent Forth Railway Bridge. Enjoy afternoon tea as you journey through the former Kingdom of Fife and across the Tay Bridge. Following the east coast, passing through Arbroath, Montrose and Aberdeen before arriving in the market town of Keith. In the evening enjoy an informal dinner and overnight stabling.
Day 5: Keith – Kyle of Lochalsh
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast as the train departs Keith and travels west towards Inverness, capital of the Highlands, which you will pass through before heading on to Muir of Ord where you disembark to visit Glen Ord distillery. Guests are treated to a private tour and a tasting.
Returning to the train, lunch will be served as you travel towards Kyle of Lochalsh, on what is arguably the most scenic route in Britain. At Plockton you will have the opportunity to explore this picturesque Scottish Highland village as you wish. Perhaps take a boat trip to see the colony of wild seals, and relish the magnificent views across the Isle of Skye to the Applecross Mountains. There is also a woodland walk, which leads to a viewpoint overlooking the loch. Alternatively you may prefer to simply wander through this charming village.
We’ll rendezvous at the Plockton Hotel, where there is time to enjoy a dram or two before rejoining the train in Kyle of Lochalsh for overnight stabling. Dinner this evening is formal and will be followed by entertainment in the Observation Car. Marvel at the view from the train’s veranda as you gaze over Loch Alsh to the Isle of Skye.
Day 6: Kyle of Lochalsh – Boat of Garten
After your breakfast the train departs Kyle and retraces yesterday’s route as far as Dingwall, then continues to Carrbridge. Here you’ll disembark for a visit to Ballindalloch, one of Scotland’s most romantic castles, and with its wonderful gardens. Set in the magnificent surroundings of the Spey valley, Ballindalloch has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546.
Return to the train at Boat of Garten on the private Strathspey Railway for overnight stabling. A formal dinner is served on board. This evening our Highlander brings to life the stories of Scottish heroes and demonstrates some authentic weap
Day 7: Boat of Garten – Dundee
The day begins with an excursion to Rothiemurchus Estate where you can choose from a number of activities which may include fishing, clay pigeon shooting, or touring the estate.
You rejoin the train in Kingussie and enjoy lunch as you journey south through Blair Atholl and Pitlochry to Dunkeld, where you disembark for your visit to Glamis Castle, Seat of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and childhood home of the late HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. After rejoining the train in Perth, relax and enjoy an informal dinner on board.
Day 8: Dundee – Edinburgh
Breakfast is served as the train leaves Dundee and crosses the Tay Bridge into the former Kingdom of Fife and on to Edinburgh where your journey ends at Waverley Station.
2017 Dates:April 17, 28
May 1, 5, 15
June 9, 12
August 18, 21, 25, 28
September 15, 18
2018 Dates:April 16, 27, 30
May 4, 7, 11, 14
June 8, 11
July 13, 16
August 17, 20, 24
October 1, 5
For approximate exchange rates, visit http://www.xe.com.
£7,155 – £8,745
£7,155 – £8,745
£6,614 – £9,095
£6,614 – £9,095
Prices are per person.
Pricing varies based on availability and date. Prices are subject to change daily. Contact us to confirm pricing and availability for your desired departure.
Note: Prices are per person and include all table d’hôte meals, all alcoholic and other beverages, all sightseeing excursions as shown in the itinerary and accommodation on board based on two people sharing a twin compartment or one person in a single.
The pricing shown is discounted about 10% from the cost of the Classic and the Western combined.
Latest News: Click here to see our video of Society President Eleanor Hardy’s May, 2012 trip aboard the Royal Scotsman.
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