All Posts

The Royal Scotsman’s Grand Tour-One Man’s Impression

By Owen C. Hardy

IRT Society members dine aboard the Royal Scotsman, 2005.

Eleanor and I joined 17 IRT Society members in 2005 for an incredible week on the Royal Scotsman. As I’ve said elsewhere, the train ranks as one of the top three in our “life-list” of luxury trains collected over our 27-year career in this business.

But…we have not done the “Grand Tour of Great Britain.” And we’re envious of those who have.

Based on the reports we’re getting, this week-long jaunt  through Scotland, Wales and England looks fantastic. Looks to me like the Orient-Express company wants to make this tour an iconic “must-do,” much like the annual Paris-Istanbul run of their much acclaimed Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

IRT Society traveler Sam Hall did the trip this year and told me: “It’s one of the best trips I ever had. The staff was superb. And I was really impressed with the itinerary.”

Meanwhile, here’s how one of the Royal Scotsman staff, Train Host John Gritten, described the 2010 Grand Tour:

“This unique tour was without question the most memorable of my five years as Host with The Royal Scotsman. It was the train’s first ever journey around Scotland, England and Wales and the 33 guests, from nine countries, enjoyed many exclusive experiences throughout the seven-night trip. Many of the guests mentioned that unannounced ‘surprises,’ such as the Male Voice Choir at Gwydir Castle and Raymond Blanc’s personal welcome at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, were highlights of the journey. We are already thinking up new and unexpected special events for next year’s tour.”

Over the next few days, I’ll post Mr. Gritten’s day-by-day commentary of the 2010 Grand Tour, with appropriate links.