Scottish man playing bagpipes by the Belmond Royal Scotsman train
Guests talking in a car on the Belmond Royal Scotsman train
staff holding a sign on the Belmond Royal Scotsman train
Guests eating dinner on the Belmond Royal Scotsman train
World’s Top 25 Trains > Belmond Royal Scotsman

Belmond Royal Scotsman

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NEW for 2025! The train will introduce two new Grand Suites (bringing the total of Grand Suites to four) and will no longer have dedicated single cabins. Single travelers will still be able to book a cabin for sole occupancy. With the addition of the Grand Suites, capacity on the train will be lowered from 38 to 36.

Even among our “World’s Top 25 Trains,” Belmond Royal Scotsman always has been a standout.

With the addition of the Dior Spa (formerly known as the Bamford Haybarn spa car), it stands out even more.

A small venue—a maximum of just 38 passengers—Belmond Royal Scotsman is great for those who wish for a more intimate, luxury setting with gourmet, five-star dining, wine-pairing, and superior service.

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Most of the train’s cars are 1960s vintage equipment.  They have been recast into an Edwardian confection of varnished woods, polished brass and fine fabrics. Especially fun is the open-air observation platform.

Simply put, Belmond Royal Scotsman is one of the world’s finest — and one of our favorite — luxury trains.

IRT Exclusive: See our video of IRT President Eleanor Hardy’s trip on the Belmond Royal Scotsman.

IRT Insights: Read about IRT’s most recent experience aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman.


Dining is an elegant production. Meals are multi-course affairs, made with the freshest, finest local produce, seafoods and meats. They’re served either in the newly restored “Swift” dining car or in the second dining car, “Raven.” Seating is open, with tables for four, six and eight.

Carefully crafted by Glasgow native Mark Tamburrini, the train’s head chef since 2010, on-board meals feature local Scottish ingredients, and the presentation is gorgeous. Service is friendly and professional, with fine wines included. Dining is truly a highlight of any journey on the Belmond Royal Scotsman.

Dinners are formal on alternate nights. Ladies wear cocktail attire; men wear dark suit and tie, tuxedo or formal kilt. Kilts can be rented in Edinburgh (ask us for details).

Lounge & Spa

At the end of the train is perhaps the most distinctive carriage, the observation car.

Originally built in 1960 by the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company, the observation car entered service in 1961 as a first-class kitchen car.

In 1989, the car was bought from its private owner, Michael Bailiss, and converted it to its current luxury configuration, with comfy armchairs and loveseats — and of course, a bar. The train proudly serves over 60 types of whisky.

At the back is a favorite spot: the open-air observation platform, for wind-in-the-face viewing of the lovely Scottish scenery.

The observation car is also the location of after-dinner entertainment, featuring talented local musicians and storytellers.

In 2023, the Spa Car got a major facelift. The Dior Spa (formerly the Bamford Haybarn Spa Car) consists of two serene treatment rooms, with three tailor-made treatments on the menu: two relaxing massage options, and one facial. Appointments must be made on board (at additional cost for everyone but Grand Suite guests, who receive one complimentary service each per journey). The therapist impressively maneuvers the moving train while providing treatments — a unique experience highly recommended by IRT.

IRT Insights

Our favorite on-board memory? Enjoying a lovely violinist in the observation car after dinner on the last night, then hopping on to the platform to learn a few reels and jigs with fellow guests.

Plainly said: A few nights just is not enough on this grand train. If time and budget allow, combine two of the itineraries for an eight-day journey. And treat yourself to a unique spa treatment!

Tips for booking: If you are tall, please request a very long bed. There are two (twin-bedded) compartments which have beds measuring seven feet long. This is unusually large for a train.  If you prefer a double-bedded cabin, please request this upon booking. Note they are placed at the far end of the train, farthest from the public areas, perhaps perfect for honeymooners but not for those with mobility issues.

Read about IRT’s most recent experience aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman.

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