Legendary Luxury Journeys by Train – Belmond Pullman Cars – Step Aboard a Living Legend.

I am obsessed with the Belmond Pullman Train Journeys and haven’t yet plotted to reserve a cross country adventure; creating my itinerary for my upcoming London visit, a light bulb moment, Belmond has day Journeys to Country Gardens, Highclere Castle, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Moving Murder Mysteries, a long list of elegant entertainment on board the British Pullman Train.

Their schedule divulged a Journey, on Mother’s Day!  What could be better? An elegant afternoon within the unique train atmosphere for a Champagne Afternoon Tea! A bubbly day with savories, tea, amid a round-trip through Britain’s beautiful countryside.

Throughout the twentieth century, the Belmond trains have held a distinguished role in the art of continental travel. With grand interiors and chilled cocktails and flowing champagne, they pioneered the most magnificent mode of transport to tour Europe and her finest cities. Each car is a modern masterwork of vintage revivalism, seamlessly blending belle époque luxe​​​​​ with the stylish art deco adornments of interwar Britain.

My Confirmation Promise: Soon you will be transported back to the Golden Age of Travel, to savor impeccable service, exceptional Champagne, and the finest British seasonal produce, all within the splendid surroundings of your authentic Art Deco carriage.  Expect luxury, glamour, and a dash of adventure on an unforgettable outing through the British countryside.

Dress to Impress for an effervescent Journey through Kent, indulging in exquisite champagne and an irresistible afternoon tea.

Board at Victoria Station: Welcome to your afternoon on Belmond British Pullman Minerva Carriage.  No two carriage is the same and each has a story of its own. Every carriage on board the British Pullman is brimming with history and each one has been lovingly restored to its former glory.

After boarding, you’ll be immersed in art deco opulence. A smartly uniformed steward will escort you to your private table, to sink into plush upholstered armchairs. Soak up the vintage details surrounding you.

As the train begins its Journey through greater London and into Kent, an exquisite array of savory delicacies and indulgent pastries will be served with refreshing tea and a bottle of bubbly. Relax, unwind, and appreciate the changing views.

My Carriage, Minerva, named for the Roman goddess of victory, wisdom, and battle, Minerva initially ran for two years on the all-Pullman Devon Belle luxury express line between London Waterloo and Devon, where it served as a first-class parlor car.

Minerva: First class parlor car, 26 seats, built 1927 by Midland Railway Carriage and Wagon Co.  Joined the Devon Belle in 1947 and the Golden Arrow in 1951, being used in the special Festival of Britain rake. Often included in special trains for state visits and royal use in the early 50s.  She was put into storage during World War II and then refurbished in 1951 to join the Golden Arrow service as a parlor car.

As part of the Festival of Britain, train Minerva exclusively conveyed British royalty and visiting heads of state between Dover Marina and England’s capital city. In 1952, as part of the Golden Arrow, it carried guests along the English coast for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.   

Sleek, elegant, and faithful to its original décor Minerva carriage is characterized by its brass furnishings and sylvan color scheme—a subtle blend of viridian, taupe, and gold—as well as its polished veneer and Edwardian marquetry of fleur-de-lys motifs. Do you think this is a Tiara outing or will a couture fascinator be most appropriate?

In every British Pullman carriage, the washroom floors are encased with the breathtaking stone mosaics of the late British artist Marjory Knowles. In two respects, the inlays in Minerva’s washrooms are unique. First, they include the only incomplete mosaic on the train: a sepulchral rendering of the car’s eponymous deity, which remained unfinished at the time of Knowles’ death in 1998.  Second, they feature an original work by modern artist Aimee Harman, who also skillfully restored the mosaics in all eleven British Pullman cars and has since been commissioned for similar pieces on Belmond’s Northern Belle.  

In keeping with the spirit of the rich history, the travel documentation suggests: ‘One can never be overdressed on board.’ Pearls packed, I’ve scheduled an afternoon visit to the oldest hat shop in the World and the oldest British hat shop, Lock & Company Hatters to select the perfect Pillbox hat or a handmade couture headband!

With a history for hosting famed parties and intriguing guests, among them spies, authors, ambassadors and royalty, their Journeys have developed a reputation for memorable connections made over fine dining.

When plotting London, check dates for a Belmond Pullman Train Journey!

All Aboard Ultimate Whiskey Odyssey – Belmond Royal Scotsman

All Aboard Ultimate Whiskey Odyssey. From the moment the Royal Scotsman, a luxury Belmond Train, draws out of Edinburgh’s Waverly Station, you’re embarking on a truly unforgettable experience. Sail into a magic realm where, history, nature and whiskey combine! 

Life onboard the train is relaxed and indulgent, blending gastronomic dining with the unmistakable air of Celebration among good friends. An ecocative exploration of the ‘water of life’.

22 OCTOBER 2023. Join us aboard Royal Scotsman for an evocative exploration of the ‘water of life’ in collaboration with two iconic whisky distilleries – Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

Your whisky epic adventure awaits. From Edinburgh, head north to reach Aviemore and Tain, where you will visit the Glenmorangie Distillery. Later, travel back to Dundee to take a private jet to Islay for a tour at Ardbeg Distillery. Get back onboard in Paisley and pass through Kilmarnock, before reaching your final destination Edinburgh.

Discover hallowed distilleries and time-honored heritage in the company of two revered whisky experts – Charles MacLean, awarded an MBE for services to Scotch Whisky in 2021, and Dr. Bill Lumsden, a pioneer in the malt industry and the genius behind the creations at both and Glenmorangie.

Journey across this spellbinding land in complete luxury, the Royal Scotsman your moving sanctuary of Edwardian elegance. Along the way, be immersed in rugged Highland beauty, age-old fables, and modern Scottish culture as you jet to islands for private tours, revel in exclusive tastings and taste some of the world’s best whisky.

Inclusions: 3 nights on board Royal Scotsman luxury train, with 24- hour steward service.  Clay pigeon shooting, fishing, or a guided tour of Rothiemurchus Estate. Special nosing and tasting with whisky expert Charles MacLean.

Your whisky epic adventure awaits. From Edinburgh, head north to reach Aviemore and Tain, where you will visit the Glenmorangie Distillery. Later, travel back to Dundee to take a private jet to Islay for a tour at Ardbeg Distillery. Get back onboard in Paisley and pass through Kilmarnock, before reaching your final destination Edinburgh.

EDINBURGH As you depart Edinburgh Waverley Station, prepare to embrace dramatic landscapes and vivid elements in all their glory. On board, elegant Edwardian interiors wrap you in the warmth of cashmere and tartan, allowing you to explore the Highlands surrounded by the finest modern comforts.

Your journey begins in the early afternoon as you travel north to the ‘Fair City’ of Perth. Enjoy afternoon tea as the train continues the Highland line through Dunkeld, Pitlochry and Blair Atholl with its imposing castle.

Make your way to the Observation Car for an exclusive nosing and tasting with whisky expert and prolific author, Charles MacLean. Whether novice or aficionado, Charlie as will guide you through the mysteries of the ‘water of life’.

Your destination this evening is the peaceful Boat of Garten on the private Strathspey Railway, where an informal dinner is served. Our Chef’s inventive menus use the finest local ingredients, such as day-caught wild salmon, hand-dived scallops and Aberdeen Angus beef. Chanterelles, wild garlic and bitter cress are foraged straight from Scotland’s wild larder. After dinner, enjoy lively entertainment in the Observation Car where musicians and performers will join you, blending sweet, slow Gaelic songs with lively folk melodies.

WHO: CHARLES MACLEAN MBE An old-school bon viveur and author of 18 books — including Malt Whisky, winner of the Glenfiddich Award — Charles MacLean’s grasp of the history and heritage of the whisky industry is second to none. The great raconteur will entertain your Whisky Odyssey as you travel north into the dramatic hills and valleys of the Cairngorms National Park.

DAY TWO ROTHIEMURCHUS AND GLENMORANGIE After breakfast, travel by coach to Rothiemurchus Estate in the heart of the Cairngorms — one of the largest and most important remnants of the native Caledonian pine forest. Choose from several activities including clay pigeon-shooting, fishing or a guided tour of the estate with one of the rangers.

Afterwards, enjoy a warm welcome from your hosts as refreshments are served in their hunting lodge and you discover some of the rich history of this family-run estate. Return to the train in Carrbridge for lunch as the train travels north towards Inverness. Late afternoon, visit Glenmorangie, the distillery that produces one of the whisky fraternity’s favourite drams across all corners of the globe. The gleaming swan-necked copper stills are the tallest in Scotland and play a vital role in allowing only the lightest and purest spirit to make it into the final malt. Meet Dr Bill Lumsden, a legend in the whisky world and the genius behind the creations at Ardbeg and Glenmorangie.

Your tour concludes with a private tasting in the 17th -century Glenmorangie House with Dr Lumsden. Re-join the train in time for pre-dinner drinks. Dinner will be served as the train travels south, retracing the route through Inverness and Aviemore. Afterwards, indulge in a nightcap while enjoying the evening entertainment in the Observation Car.

WHO: DR BILL LUMSDEN The man behind the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg whisky bottles, Bill Lumsden is a recognised name in the world of single malt Scotch — throughout his illustrious career, the pioneer has crafted whiskies that have truly changed the industry. Hop on an adventurous Whisky Odyssey journey and side with the expert as he offers a rare experience to learn about new developments at Glenmorangie.

DAY THREE ARDBEG After an early breakfast, leave the train and travel to nearby Dundee airfield to take a private jet to Islay. Here, you will enjoy a private tour and tasting at Ardbeg Distillery, sister distillery to Glenmorangie. Located in the south of the island, it is famous for producing a heavily peated whisky that is coveted worldwide. Abundant soft water, fertile soil and acres of precious peat make the island a place of pilgrimage for whisky enthusiasts. Once more, meet Dr Lumsden who will guide you through a masterclass and a tasting of rare, single-cask whiskies and distillery-only bottlings.

Lunch will be served at the distillery, followed by a chance to sample oysters on Ardbeg’s own private pier, breathing in the fresh sea air and Ardbeg’s peaty aroma.

Transfer to Islay airfield late afternoon to take your private plane back to the mainland, and re-join the train on the outskirts of Glasgow for your final night on board. Enjoy a Gala dinner as you journey south towards Kilmarnock for overnight stabling, followed by evening entertainment in the Observation Carriage.

DAY FOUR EDINBURGH After an early departure from Kilmarnock this morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast aboard Royal Scotsman as you travel east towards Edinburgh Waverley Station and your Whisky Odyssey’s journey ends.

FINE DINING All meals aboard the train: full Scottish breakfast, two-course lunch, three-course dinner including cheeseboard, coffee, tea and petits fours. All beverages including alcoholic drinks.

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT Traditional ceilidhs, informal dinners, evening entertainments in the Observation Car and a gala dining experience

LIFE ON BOARD THE CABINS The Edwardian-style cabins, fitted with mahogany marquetry, provide a cozy opulent haven in which to relax. Royal Scotsman has four singles, fifteen twin and three double cabins available. All private cabins are equipped with an ensuite shower room, a wardrobe, a desk, and a picture window from which to savor the unfolding Scottish countryside.

THE NEW GRAND REFLECTION OF HIGHLAND EXCELLENCE A seamless symphony of timeless Scottish tradition and a pioneering vision of luxury, two new Grand Suites joining the rake will take your Highland adventure to new heights of indulgent excellence. The new Grand Suites will complement the existing Twin and Double cabins.

DINING The wood paneling and rich upholstery that adorn the two dining cars, Raven and Swift, set the scene for an unforgettable onboard dining experience. Their expert chefs use their inimitable flair to create imaginative dishes using the freshest local produce.

Life On Board ENTERTAINMENT Enjoy traditional Scottish entertainment after dinner in the Observation Car including music from local players.

OBSERVATION CAR The splendid Observation Car is your window on Scotland’s stunning scenery. Soak up the views from the comfort of the interior or breathe in the fresh air from the exhilarating open veranda. Choose from an array of drinks at the bar, including over 50 whiskies.

DIOR SPA ROYAL SCOTSMAN Highland-inspired and relaxing beauty rituals on the move. Completely dedicated to wellness, the spa carriage boasts two lacquered treatment rooms, styled with Christian Dior’s iconic burgundy toile de Jouy motif. Step into the Dior Spa Royal Scotsman to relish, unwind and rejuvenate in a tranquil space as the train meanders through Scotland’s awe-inspiring peaks and dramatic valleys.

Whiskey Odyssey is a single event, but golf tours can be added as well.