Scotland, the land of whisky without an ‘e’ and home to the remote and rugged Highlands. This is one of the top travel destinations for whisky fans because Scotch whisky is utterly unique.
Not only in the fact that it differs from American or Irish whiskey (spelled with an ‘e’), but also in the way that there are key flavor distinctions from region to region. A Scotch whisky discovery has surprises around every corner, and our luxury train tours are one of the best ways of exploring these remarkable whisky making destinations in a short space of time.
Long distance train travel in Scotland is rarely ever about getting from A to B. But train travel is a must for anyone wanting to get a different perspective of this natural paradise. The scenery alone is enough to make every minute worth it, but our tours also bring all the five stars measures to make your journey as extravagant as possible. Fine dining with two course lunches and four course dinners, an extensive wine list and plenty of whisky tasting are some of the other reasons that make our tours so coveted. Together with the outstanding service from staff on board and the amazing destinations along the way, our luxury train tours are a perfect crash course on Scottish culture.
Board the train and watch the views from your private cabin, order fine wines by the glass, or share a wee dram or two with like-minded guests who are just as whisky mad as you are. Whether you’re here for the sights, tours or whisky tasting, your journey is bound to be epic.
There are so many ways to embrace the wild and rugged landscapes of Scotland. The Highlands is the most sparsely populated area in the United Kingdom, and seeing it by train can be a wonderful experience.
Our Belmond Royal Scotsman train tour offers an intimate experience that combines key stops such as Glamis Castle and Gardens, Rothiemurchus Estate, Tomatin Distillery, Glenlivet Distillery, Tullibardine Distillery, and Mount Stuart. Spanning Edinburgh, Kyle of Lochalsh, Oban, Wemyss Bay and Nith Valley, this train journeys you to some of Scotland’s most vibrant, exciting, quaint and charming destinations.
It doesn’t matter what your interests are or if your family or group have mixed ideas about what a dream Scottish holiday should be either. There are multiple train routes to choose from with the Belmond Royal Scotsman. Choose from the ‘Scotch Malt Whisky Tour’, the ‘Taste of the Highlands’, the ‘Clans, Castles and Isles, ‘Grand Western Scenic Wonders’, or ‘Scotland’s Classic Splendors’.
All Belmond tours travel through the majestic countryside with mind blowing vistas of the Scottish wilderness. On board, you can enjoy the sights in style as your every whim is catered for. Guests will enjoy fine dining in an opulent dining car, with each meal celebrating the best of fresh Scottish ingredients. From rich game and wild salmon to steamed Scottish mussels, you’ll be able to sample some of the country’s classic dishes. A selection of fine wines, liqueurs and malt whiskies are an ideal accompaniment to your food, and a beautifully appointed suite awaits at the end of the day.
There are so many things to see and do on a train tour of Scotland. Our Belmond Royal Scotsman experience includes stops at local whisky distilleries where you can learn more about the unique Scotch production process and sample some varieties yourself.
Scotch whisky is made from peat-smoked, wholly malted barley, which has rich flavors of malt and grain, and this is what sets Scotch apart from some of the other whiskies in the world. Irish whiskey, for instance, is made from kiln-dried, raw and malted barley and is produced by vatting. A lot of American whiskies, including bourbon, is made from corn. So the flavor profiles are completely different.
But what makes whisky tasting in Scotland such an adventure is the variations based on location. From buttery and chocolatey to smoked, there are great distinctions across the regions. As well as whisky tours and tastings, the Belmond train will take you to historic castles or golf courses. Other activities that can be arranged for you are evening stargazing in Scotland’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites or water based activities such as white water rafting.
There really is no bad time to visit Scotland as there’s always something to see and do. But if you’re a whisky enthusiast looking to tour the distilleries, be aware that Scotland tends to have a silent season. This is when distilleries cease production for a few weeks every year to allow for water sources to replenish. This usually happens in the driest month in the summer, and everything will be shut down in the distillery. This is also a time to conduct routine repairs, but tours are still possible at this time.
In terms of weather, summer is very popular for those who wish to spend their days hiking and exploring on foot. But spring promises lush greenery out in the Highlands as well as flowers in full bloom. While autumn adds a touch of romance to every photograph with the gorgeous golden hues and falling leaves in its many castles, estates and gardens.
Generally speaking, Scotland doesn’t experience temperature extremities, even in the depths of winter. From November to February, the average temperature is cold yet manageable at 2°C, though Belmond trains do just run from April to October so if you want to join one of our train experiences it would need to be within this period.
Wine Paths creates bespoke food and whisky holidays for our clients. If you would like to book a luxury train tour, or combine train tours with other activities in Scotland, get in touch.
Q: What is the size of a typical overnight train cabin?
Private cabins are lavishly appointed and quite spacious, with single, twin and double cabins available. The Belmond Royal Scotsman provides a full length wardrobe in each, as well as en-suite bathrooms, high quality toiletries and fluffy white towels.
Q: Will whisky be served on board?
As well as stopping off at local distilleries, a whisky tasting experience can also be enjoyed on board.
Q: Are children welcome on board?
Children under the age of 12 are permitted travel with parents or guardians. But this should be arranged in advance so please contact Wine Paths with your exact details.