Maybe it’s the slower pace or the endless scenery that has sparked the recent revival of rail travel. Wanderlusters, wishing to focus on the journey as much as the destination, are turning to luxury trains for their travels. And the trend is taking off. If you need a little inspiration, Belmond Royal Scotsman, Scotland’s only luxury sleeper train, recently announced bespoke excursions that take you off the rails and into the wilds of Scotland. You can now tailor your itinerary by choosing from a range of activities including stargazing under some of the darkest skies in Europe, in the Cairngorms; hiking the gorges of Aviemore; canoeing on Loch Ness; clay pigeon shooting at Rothiemurchus Estate or teeing off for golf at some of Scotland’s most famous links courses.
Gary Franklin, Vice President, Trains & Cruises, Belmond comments, “… These new experiences appeal to everyone from adrenalin junkies to whiskey enthusiasts, and we are very excited to be able to offer to stargaze.”
Departing from Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, Belmond Royal Scotsman travels on circular routes through the heart of the Highlands. With only 40 passengers on board, the train replicates a ‘Country House on Wheels’ and has two, three- or four-night itineraries. If you’re considering a luxury rail getaway brimming with exciting opportunities along the way, here are a few of our favorite options to get you started.
The Scottish Highlands offers a rich cluster of Dark Sky Discovery Sites and is fast becoming one of the best places in the world for stargazing. Explore the night skies with a private stargazing excursion in the Cairngorms National Park complete with a certified astrologer while a late-night picnic is served under the stars.
FOR ADRENALINE JUNKIES
For those with an adrenaline streak, activities now on offer include white water rafting, gorge walking in Aviemore, paragliding in Fort William or traditional Scottish outdoor pursuits such as clay pigeon shooting, falconry or quad biking at the famed Rothiemurchus Estate. You can also choose to make the most of the outdoors and the breathtaking Scottish scenery with active excursion options such as guided cycle tours, guided hikes, and opportunities for running tours.
FOR WATER BABIES
The lochs of Scotland are an iconic part of the Scottish scenery, and there are plenty of water-based activities to choose- from spotting the mythical ‘Loch Ness’ monster on a boat cruise, kayaking in Clachnaharry Works Loch, dolphin spotting in the Moray Firth or a quiet fishing trip on the Atholl Estate in Pitlochry.
SCOTLAND’S BEST GOLF COURSES
Golf enthusiasts can choose to add a round of golf into their itinerary with tee times at Gleneagles, Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Castle Stuart Golf Links, and Kingsbarns Golf Links.
FOR A WEE DRAM
Scotland is known for its whiskey, and consequently, its distilleries – Belmond Royal Scotsman itself serves over 60 varieties on board. Those with a taste for the finest malts can choose to visit some of the Highland’s best-known distilleries. Including Glen Ord, one of the oldest in Scotland, Glenlivet Distillery, home of the iconic malt that inspired the Speyside Region; and Tullibardine Distillery in Blackford village where guests can join a tour led by the distillery’s master blender.
Make your next getaway about the journey. Pause. Explore. Live the moments just waiting to be discovered along the way.