If Scotland is known for two things, it’s stunning scenery and its most luxurious export fine malt whisky. Combine the two in a fabulous overland odyssey onboard one of the world’s most elegant traditional trains and there can be no arguments the trip will never be forgotten. On the Classic Whisky Journey you will have the opportunity to visit some fantastic distilleries, take in iconic sights and landmarks, and stay on the Belmond Royal Scotsman- a vehicle every bit as wonderful as the route.
Board the Belmond Royal Scotsman in Edinburgh at Waverley station, departing early-afternoon you will pass through some fine countryside, crossing the Firth of Forth on the magnificent Forth Railway Bridge. Afternoon tea will then be served as you take in the surrounds of the former Kingdom of Fife, before you enjoy a wee dram of whisky and receive an introduction to the expansive world of Scottish malts.
Next, as the train continues east enjoy views of Carnoustie, Arbroath, and Aberdeen before arriving in the historic market town of Keith, right in the heart of the world-famous Speyside whisky region. Later, an informal dinner will be served before you are free to either retire for bed, or enjoy the traditional Scottish entertainment in the Observation Car with a relaxed coffee or nightcap.
Departing Keith mid-morning you will travel west and on towards Inverness, the Highland capital. Leave the train behind at Muir of Ord to visit the Glen Ord Distillery, amongst the oldest in the country. A private tour will show you how the single malts are made and prepared, and offer the chance to taste some of the fiery produce direct from the cask, including a glass of 12-year-old Singleton of Glen Ord.
Back onboard the train late lunch will be waiting for you en route to Kyle of Lochalsh, which is one of Britain’s most scenic stretches of railway. Passing Loch Luichart and the Torridon Mountains- thought to be older than life on Earth- after meandering through Achnasheen the Belmond will then begin the climb to Luib Summit and Achnashellach Forest, before making its way back down to Strathcarron, following the line on the edge of Loch Carron, with Attadale, Stromferry and Duncraig passing by too.
Arriving into Plockton, you will have the opportunity to take a boat trip and watch wild seals, and enjoy the views across to the Applecross Mountains. Or, alternatively, partake in a woodland walk, if a gentle stroll through the seaside village itself doesn’t appeal- complete with a stop at the charming Plockton Hotel where another dram of whisky awaits. Finally returning to the train early-evening, a specialist single cask whisky will be offered in the Observation Car, before a formal dinner will be served along with entertainment to round off a busy day.
Wake to find yourself surrounded by elegant countryside, with an option to join fellow early risers for a short, scenic trip to Eilean Donan Castle a true icon of Scotland. Departing from Kyle, breakfast will be served as you pass by Plockton once more, providing ample opportunity to take pictures of the beautiful whitewashed architecture, cosy cottages and abundant fishing boats and yachts.
En route to Carrbridge lunch will be served, then disembark the Belmond Royal Scotsman for a tour of the Glenlivet Distillery, home to the single malt that inspired the entire Speyside region. For those after something less alcoholic, an alternative is to spend the afternoon at Ballindalloch Castle, a truly romantic location where the private golf course is ready for you to play a few holes.
Back on thr train at the Boat of Garten, part of the private Strathsprey Railway, enjoy a formal dinner, and then later enjoy a trip into the past as a Highlander recounts tales of Scotland’s rich history and colourful heroes.
Following breakfast, jump on the coach to Rothiemurchus Estate, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park- a place of outstanding natural beauty- where a number of rural pursuits are on offer, from clay pigeon shooting to a tour of the estate. Return to the train at Kingussie for a leisurely lunch as you head south, passing Blair Atholl and Pitlochry en route to Dunkeld.
Your next stop is the Tullibardine Distillery in Blackfort village, with a full VIP tour including nosing straight from the cask and tastings of three Tullibardine Highland Single Malts. Alternatively, there is also the chance to visit Glamis Castle as part of a private tour group, seat of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. Rejoining the train in Perth, enjoy an informal dinner en route to Dundee, where lively Scottish music provides the opportunity to dance into the night, or the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s incredible range of tipples will ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
Breakfast will be served as the train departs Dundee, crossing the majestic Tay Bridge into the former Kingdom of Fife. Sit back, relax and enjoy the splendid views as you approach the Scottish capital, pulling into Edinburgh where your journey ends, albeit not before a visit to the Vaults at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.