Join respected British gardening writer Sue Chivers and photographer Patsy Floyd on a memorable rail journey around some of Scotland’s finest country homes and gardens. Enjoy personal tours given by members of the family, as well as welcome drinks in their homes and walks through their beautiful gardens.
With the Belmond Royal Scotsman luxury train as your rolling, five-star hotel, visit Brechin Castle Gardens, Foulis Castle of Clan Munro, Attadale, Rothiemurchus Estate, Pitmuies Garden, among other stops. Journey length: 720 miles.
IRT Exclusive: Click here to see our video of Society President Eleanor Hardy’s trip on the Belmond Royal Scotsman.
“I like to brag to my friends that we have the best agent when we travel and give out your information to everyone who asks for it.”
— J. Fiorilla, following his Royal Scotsman Country Homes & Gardens tour, June, 2015
Day 1: Edinburgh-Keith
You are welcomed aboard the Royal Scotsman by respected gardening writer Sue Chivers and photographer Patsy Floyd. The train departs Edinburgh early afternoon and travels north across the splendid Forth Railway Bridge. Disembark in Montrose to visit Brechin Castle Gardens — one of the finest private gardens in the country. Enjoy its 13 acres in full spring bloom and its rose-covered garden walls. Rejoin the train in Stonehaven and continue up the east coast through Aberdeen and then into Speyside, stopping in Keith for an informal dinner and overnight stabling.
Day 2: Keith-Kyle of Lochalsh
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast as the train departs Keith and travels west towards Inverness and Invergordon, where you will disembark for a visit to Foulis Castle. This 18th-century castle is built on the site of the seat of the Clan Munro for 700 years and is still occupied by the family. And who better to tell the history of their wonderful home and clan than Mrs. Munro of Foulis and her son, Hector, the Clan Chief. After their welcome, wander around the castle’s grounds and tour Mrs. Munro’s delightful courtyard garden. Alternatively, join Hector in the drawing room for a whisky tasting.
Once you have returned to the train, a late lunch will be served and you will travel towards Kyle of Lochalsh on what is arguably the most scenic route in Britain. At Plockton, you disembark for a visit to Attadale on the west coast. This massive, 30,000-acre estate has been home to the Macpherson family since the 1950s. It boasts a Water Garden, Japanese Garden, and Sunken Garden among other treasures. You return to the train in Kyle of Lochalsh for overnight stabling. A lavish dinner is followed by entertainment in the Observation Car.
Day 3: Kyle of Lochalsh-Boat of Garten
Disembark after breakfast to drive across to the Isle Of Skye and the 20,000- acre Clan Donald estate on the Sleat peninsula. Visit the magnificent restored historic gardens, and the beautiful walking trails threading through the 40 acres of woodland around the ruined Armadale Castle. You can also spend time in the award-winning museum and discover the history of the Highlands and Islands through the story of Clan Donald or the MacDonalds, the Lords of the Isles.
Return to the train in Kyle of Lochalsh and enjoy a leisurely lunch as you retrace part of yesterday’s route as far as Dingwall. The train continues south to Carrbridge where you disembark for your visit to Ballindalloch, one of Scotland’s most romantic castles, with its wonderful gardens. Return to the train at Boat of Garten on the private Strathspey Railway for overnight stabling. Enjoy a late informal dinner followed by a nightcap in the Observation Car.
Day 4: Boat of Garten-Dundee
After breakfast, motorcoach to Rothiemurchus Estate, where you can tour the hunting lodge and parkland, or enjoy some of the outdoor activities at this beautiful site beneath the Cairngorm Mountains. Rejoin the train in Aviemore and enjoy lunch as you journey south through Blair Atholl and Pitlochry to Dunkeld, where you disembark for your visit to Ruthven House with its traditional Scottish gardens. Enjoy afternoon tea here as you talk with the hosts of this thriving working estate. The final visit of your tour is to Pitmuies Garden near Forfar. This is a gem of a final visit for your journey, with two semi-formal walled gardens, a long border of herbaceous perennials, old-fashioned roses and many rare plants. Return to the train in Dundee for your final night on board and a formal dinner and after-dinner entertainment in the Observation Car before stabling overnight.
Day 5: Dundee-Edinburgh
After breakfast, the train arrives into Edinburgh Waverley Station where your journey ends.
2021 Dates:May 31-June 4
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Prices are per person.
Please note there are a limited number of single cabins (without single supplement) on every Belmond Royal Scotsman departure. Contact us for pricing for sole occupancy of twin cabin.
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: All 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.
Golfing Option: Golf is available as a private tour, at an additional cost. Contact us for more details.