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.
Day 1: Edinburgh - Keith. The Royal Scotsman departs Edinburgh Waverley Station 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 Huntly. You then rejoin the train in market town of 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, 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 visit the local art gallery or 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 motorcoach. You return to 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 3: 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 meet Ray Owens, a Highlander who brings to life the stories of Scottish heroes. Listening to Ray, you will gain a true sense of the past and learn how life in the Highlands has changed over the centuries.
Day 4: 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, a guided walk or simply relax by the fire. 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 5: Dundee – Edinburgh – Spean Bridge. After breakfast, the train leaves Dundee and travels back to Edinburgh, arriving mid-morning. Spend a few hours exploring the beautiful City of Edinburgh, known as the ‘Athens of the North,’ at your leisure. Stroll the historic Royal Mile, visit the Castle, take in an art gallery or simply relax with a coffee. You'll reboard the Royal Scotsman this afternoon and head 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 6: 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.
This afternoon enjoy a trip to places of historic interest with Ray Owens, a Highlander who brings to life the stories of Scottish heroes, including the Glenfinnan Monument. Listening to Ray, you will gain a true sense of the past and learn how life in the Highlands has changed over the centuries. 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 7: 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 8: Wemyss Bay - Edinburgh. Depart Wemyss Bay this morning and enjoy breakfast as you travel east towards Edinburgh where your journey ends.
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