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  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

  • Edinburgh
  • Scottish Highlands
  • Keith
  • Dundee
  • London
  • Isles of Scilly
  • St Kilda
  • Vestmannaeyjar Islands
  • Reykjavík

20 Days Expedition Voyage
  • Departing:
  • 27 May 2024 Sold Out

Explore the beauty of Scotland’s Highlands aboard the iconic Royal Scotsman train on an exclusive charter, before joining the small expedition ship Silver Wind for a remarkable cruise around the remote British Isles. Rich history, stunning landscapes and extraordinary wildlife encounters are the essence of this journey, reserved for 36 guests.

The Royal Scotsman
The Royal Scotsman

Ride the Royal Scotsman on an exclusive charter

The magnificent Scottish Highlands’ remoteness is best experienced by train, and the iconic Royal Scotsman is our transport of delight. We spend three nights aboard on this exclusive charter journey, seeing the best of the Highlands and delighting in onboard entertainment.

Edinburgh Castle
Gourmet Dining

Exclusive Welcome Dinner at Edinburgh Castle

What an extraordinary venue for our first dinner together. Edinburgh Castle towers over the city and speaks to centuries of Scottish history. We dine in the splendid surroundings of the Queen Anne Room, at the very top of the castle. To cap off our evening, we enjoy a private viewing of the Scottish Crown Jewels.


Cruise amid natural beauty and striking wildlife

Seabirds are a notable aspect of our journey. We visit remote places where the delightful Puffin is found in abundance, along with other birds in great profusion. And we have the chance to walk through history and spectacular scenery, as well as Zodiac cruises to get close to the action.

Orkney Island St Magnus Cathedral

Discover historic Scottish buildings, including Iona Abbey

We travel through places dripping in history, with Iona Abbey at the forefront, having been built in the year 563. We visit churches erected by the Vikings, castles, and lighthouses. And in moving contrast to these majestic buildings, we see the humble cottages abandoned by the people of St Kilda in 1930.


Tour Manager - Antony Philip

As Your Tour Manager, Antony Philip Welcomes You On This Journey

We arrive after lunch in Scotland’s beautiful capital, Edinburgh, and check in to our historic and luxurious hotel, The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, a city landmark since 1903. Our afternoon is at leisure, so we can enjoy the hotel’s facilities or choose to explore the charms of Edinburgh’s Old Town. This evening, a regal treat awaits as we enjoy our Welcome Dinner in the palatial Queen Anne Room within iconic Edinburgh Castle. A private tour of the Scottish Crown Jewels is also on the menu.

After our hotel breakfast, we take a walking tour through the medieval Old Town and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we join our home for the next four days, the fabled Royal Scotsman, a Belmond train, which is exclusively chartered by our Captain’s Choice group. The Edwardian elegance of the train’s historic carriages provides the atmosphere of a grand country house. We leave Waverley Station and cross the iconic Forth Railway Bridge. Regarded as one of the great engineering achievements of the Victorian age, it was one of the first cantilever bridges ever built. We are treated to afternoon tea as we roll through the former Kingdom of Fife, arriving in the market town of Keith. We relax over an informal dinner, then retire to the Observation Car for a nightcap and some local entertainment.

We travel west along the Moray Firth towards Inverness, capital of the Highlands. Lunch is served on the way to our overnight destination, Kyle of Lochalsh, along one of Britain’s most scenic rail routes. We pass Loch Luichart and the Torridon Mountains, and climb to Luib summit and Achnashellach Forest before descending to Strathcarron. The train then follows the edge of Loch Carron through Attadale, Stromeferry and Duncraig. We alight in the picturesque fishing village of Plockton, and take a boat trip to see the colony of wild seals and enjoy magnificent views across the bay to the Applecross Mountains. We pause along the way in the Plockton Hotel to enjoy a traditional Highland welcome and a wee dram or two. We meet the train in Kyle of Lochalsh, gateway to the Isle of Skye. After an informal dinner, there is entertainment in the Observation Car.

Breakfast is served as we leave Kyle and retrace our route as far as Dingwall, with enchanting views of Plockton. Disembark in Garve to visit Glen Ord Distillery, one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, founded in 1838. Glen Ord continues to malt its own barley and practice centuries-old long fermentation and slow distillation methods. Enjoy a tour of the distillery and a private tasting and nosing session. After lunch on board, we visit the baronial castle known as the ‘Pearl of the North’, Ballindalloch Castle. Surrounded by hills, and with the Spey and Avon rivers running through its grounds, Ballindalloch is the family home of the Macpherson-Grants, and houses a fine collection of 17th-century Spanish paintings, a sumptuous dining room, vaulted hallway and impressive library. We re-join the train in Boat of Garten in the early evening and, as it makes its way to Dundee, prepare for a formal dinner to mark our last night on board. After our celebratory feast, we may feel inspired by our musicians to partake of some lively Scottish country dancing on the station platform.

After breakfast we arrive in Edinburgh and say farewell to the Royal Scotsman before boarding an express train to London Kings Cross Station, arriving mid-afternoon after lunch on board. In London, we transfer to the ultra-luxurious Silver Wind, berthed majestically at instantly recognisable Tower Bridge. We settle into our suites, have dinner aboard, and then spend the night in this unforgettable setting.

The Silver Wind weighs anchor at 6.30am, bound for the Channel Isles. A day at sea allows us to become acquainted with the facilities aboard our ship, spend time reading, visiting the library, attending a lecture, or just relaxing. All meals are served on board.

We dock at 9am in St Peter Port, Guernsey’s picturesque capital. Once French – its original name is St Pierre Port – the town is at least 800 years old. 

Here, we choose from three Your World experiences: 
— The first is a coastal walk along a part of the island where Renoir painted in the summer of 1883. We enjoy the same views that inspired him, and pass bird-watching hides, World War II bunkers and a monument erected in honour of a former Governor of the island. The walk ends at Jerbourg Hotel, where you can enjoy a Guernsey cream tea. 
— At La Valette Underground Museum we explore Guernsey's military past and discover the hardships of life under German occupation from 1940-45. The island’s concrete towers, gun emplacements and bunkers were ordered to be built by Hitler as a precursor to an invasion of Britain. 
—The final option is a guided half-day walk through St Peter Port, followed by a visit to 800-year-old Castle Cornet and its museums. Castle Cornet, which originally was built on an island and is now reachable by a raised walkway, sits on the site of Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements and guards the entrance to Guernsey harbour. 

We all return to the Silver Wind for its 7pm sailing.

We dock at Tresco this morning. Scattered offshore from England’s most south-westerly point – Land’s End – the Isles of Scilly are home to rich wildlife, and green land sloping to powdery white beaches. Isolated and serene, life here hums along at its own pace in this archipelago's bubble, which enjoys the UK’s mildest climate, and some of its most spectacular beaches. We explore Tresco’s famous Abbey Garden, home to thousands of exotic plant species from 80 countries. Plant collector Augustus Smith began the gardens in the 1830s on the site of an old Benedictine Abbey. We have the option of visiting the garden with our Expedition Team or independently, crossing by Zodiac to the island. Smith had three terraces carved from the rocky south slope and maximised the benefits of Tresco’s mild Gulf Stream climate, and at all times of the year hundreds of species are in flower. We depart aboard Silver Wind again in the early evening.

We arrive at Port St Mary on the Isle of Man at 07:30am. Located in the Irish Sea, between England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency. The mix of Norse-Gaelic, Celtic and English influences in the region resulted in the establishment of the Manx ethnic group, which largely make up the island’s population. 

We disembark our ship and choose from the following Your World experiences:
— Leave the harbour behind and follow a section of the Raad ny Foillan (The Way of the Gull) coastal path. Meander your way along the golden beaches, clifftop paths and through the woodland and villages making up some of the spectacular scenery here. 
— Board a vintage steam train to see the magnificent Castle Rushen. The 800-year-old castle is said to have been at least partially destroyed during an attack led by Robert the Bruce in 1313. Explore the narrow streets and historic buildings that make up Castletown. 
— See the thatched, whitewashed cottages of Cregneash, a small hamlet that is one of the last strongholds of the traditional Manx way of life. Look for seals basking on Kitterland (Islet in the Sound), as well as the migrating birds that pause for rest on the Calf of Man. 
—  Depart for Rushen Abbey and Gardens, which once housed monks of the Sauvignac Order. Stroll its verdant gardens, set on four acres of grounds enclosed by 14th-century stone walls. Manx traditions are further revealed here, as you explore the site’s well-preserved ruins.

Silver Wind approaches the Scottish mainland, our destination Girvan. The coastal town leads to an abundance of walking trails through lush forest, while its many castles and historic buildings are nicely juxtaposed against the area’s scattered wind turbines. Over the course of a short walk, we can enjoy the harbour of this traditional fishing village while, nearby, neat rows of terrace houses sit before a backdrop of undulating green hills. Just offshore, meanwhile, we spy the tiny island of Ailsa Craig, which was mined for its granite until the 1970s. We cruise due north along the Firth of Clyde this evening.

On the edge of Gare Loch, we find the waterfront town of Helensburgh. Wander undulating landscapes alongside tranquil lochs and steep cliffs on the Three Lochs Way. Along the waterfront, see attractive, tree-lined boulevards and market stalls, as sailboats populate the water. 

While here, explore further with a Your World experience:
—  Head inland to Glasgow to absorb all the history and traditions of Scotland’s biggest city. Join a tour of Glasgow Cathedral, which dates to the 13th century. The Lower Church is a fine example of Gothic architecture. From here, take a drive to Kelvingrove Museum, the UK’s largest civic museum and art gallery. 
— Witness the untamed beauty and peaceful atmosphere of Loch Lomond. Stop at Duck Bay Marina for photos along its idyllic stretch of water, before hearing tales of Rob Roy, who took part in many battles throughout the surrounding valleys. Continue on to Glengoyne Distillery for a tour and tasting at this historic producer.

We begin our westward voyage this evening as we cruise to Arduaine.

Overlooking the Slate Islands, Arduaine is a tiny hamlet that leads to the renowned gardens bearing its name. The gardens enjoy the warming effect produced by the North Atlantic Drift and boast an array of exotic plant species. Admire the garden’s collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias. After a guided tour, enjoy the coastal views of the Sound of Jura or relax at the water garden. 

We set sail again early this afternoon, before anchoring at Duart on the Isle of Mull. Enjoy an in-depth exploration of Duart Castle, visiting the dungeons where officers from the Spanish Galleon were held captive by the chieftan of clan Maclean. The castle is still owned and occupied today by Sir Lachlan Maclean, 28th chief of the clan. After our tour, we again depart aboard Zodiacs to return to our ship. 

Our vessel anchors off the tiny island of Iona early this morning. Explore Iona Abbey, one of Scotland’s most treasured historical sites, during a short, guided tour. Afterwards, visit the museum, which houses the country’s finest collection of early medieval carved stones and crosses. 

Boarding our ship once more, we cruise north to Lunga, the largest island in the Treshnish archipelago, enjoying lunch on board. The great attraction of this uninhabited island is the delightful puffin, which breeds in profusion on the island’s plateau. 

While here, we have three Your World experiences to choose from:
— The first is a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline to see puffins and shags up close, in the water and in the skies above us.
— Another option is a challenging climb and hike to get a closer look at the puffins. This is an adventurous hike and not for those who are not sure-footed or able to climb over rocks unassisted. 
— You may prefer to set out in a kayak to see the puffins and shags from the water.

We set sail this evening for the Shiant Islands.

Reaching the remote Shiant Islands, we are captivated by the tall, hexagonal columns which populate the landscape. These ancient rock formations are the result of volcanic magma that has cooled and eroded over millions of years. The islands are also home to a range of seabirds, among them black-legged kittiwakes.

Explore the area from your preferred perspective with a Your World experience:
— Join the Expedition Team and discover the rugged geology and seabird colonies from aboard a Zodiac.
— Perhaps you’d prefer the more relaxed pace of a kayak to take in more of the spectacular coastline and wildlife, including white-tailed eagles, Atlantic puffins and gray seals. 
We make our approach to the Scottish mainland early this afternoon. Loch Ewe, the only north-facing loch in Scotland, had a strong naval presence during World War II. It served as a strategic meeting point for vessels taking the voyage to Russian ports as part of the Arctic Convoy campaign. While here, we take a tour of the flourishing Inverewe Garden, where an estimated 2500 exotic plants and flowers can be found. Enjoy some free time for further exploration this afternoon before we rejoin our ship.

Perhaps the best known of Scotland’s islands, Isle of Skye possesses some of the country’s most rugged and dramatic scenery. We anchor in Dunvegan, situated within a sheltered loch on the north-western coast. 

Explore Dunvegan with a Your World experience:
—  Climb aboard a Zodiac and cruise to Dunvegan Castle, which will be otherwise closed to the public during our exclusive visit.
— Hike to the Old Man of Storr, one of the isle’s most distinctive landmarks. A challenging walk will enable you to absorb several other examples of the region’s staggering geology along the way.

We wake this morning to the spectacular sight of St Kilda. While endemic animal species are rife, St Kilda has not been peopled since 1930, when the last residents chose to depart an island where life had become unsustainable. Their dwellings are now being restored, with St Kilda the holder of the UK’s only dual World Heritage status, in recognition of its Natural Heritage and Cultural Significance – one of only 39 such sites in the world. 

A Your World experience lets us get to know the area a little better:
— Explore the abandoned village, with its many stone-built stores known as cleits. Visit the museum in one of the restored houses, which tells the story of the remarkable people who lived in this breathtaking setting, then spend some time exploring independently.

This afternoon, we cruise around the neighbouring island of Boreray. The island is home to Britain’s rarest sheep breed, which remained as a wild flock when the last people left the region. We keep watch for these sheep grazing along the hills, and also view some of the countless birds, including northern gannets, northern fulmars and Atlantic puffins, which thrive on the island and its rock stacks.

A day at sea provides the perfect opportunity to relax or take advantage of the ship’s facilities. You may like to spend some time in the gym or spa, do some whale watching, or simply catch up on some reading.

This morning, we dock at Heimaey, the largest of the Vestmannaeyjar Islands. Set spectacularly along the cliffs and featuring two volcanoes, Heimaey is home to around 4000 people.  

A range of Your World experiences are available today:
— Join a tour of Heimay, whose harbour is populated by puffins, fulmar and guillemot. Drive into the Herjólfsdalur Valley to see ruins of Viking houses which date back to 900AD. Pass between the island’s two volcanoes, Helgafell and Eldfell. The latter’s eruption in 1973 led to the evacuation of the island’s entire population safely to the mainland. 
— On a hike through the island’s volcanic region, witness the small stave church Skansinn. Continue to the lava fields of Eldfell and the Eldheimar museum, which documents the experience of residents in response to the eruption of Eldfell. 
— Embark a boat for a cruise of Heimaey, sailing past its sea cliffs and bird colonies, and into caves which can only be approached by boat. While out on the water, keep watch for orcas, dolphins and porpoises. 
— Climb aboard a RIB boat for an adventurous safari tour of Heimaey’s sea caves and rock formations. Cruise to Stakkabót, part of the Westman Islands, which boasts the world’s greatest population of puffins. 
— Put on some protective gear and hold on tight as you explore the island’s dramatic and volcanic coastline aboard an ATV. Your guide will point out significant landmarks, including Prestvik beach and Eldfell, and you will have the opportunity to drive around the lava and into the volcano itself. 

Following our exploration of Heimaey, we briefly cruise around the tiny remote island of Surtsey, which was born as a result of volcanic eruptions and only discovered in 1963.

Arriving in Iceland’s capital today, we discover a vibrant city, full of colour and charm. A creative atmosphere pervades Reykjavíks streets and a culinary flair inhabits its many fine restaurants. 

Choose from the following Your World experiences to round out your journey:
— Head out on Iceland’s famous Golden Circle route, which takes in the astonishing Thingvellir Naitonal Park, as well as the Gullfoss waterfall, whose waters plunge in a two-tiered cascade. Nearby, the Geysir geothermal area features an otherworldly topography of boiling mud and exploding geysers. Relax after your explorations and treat yourself to some of the local tomato schnapps at Fridheimar Farm. 
— Ease yourself into the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa whose mineral-rich waters are also responsible for the distinctive hue that it’s famous for. The spa’s 37-degree temperature is perfect for soothing tired muscles and minds. Finish with a leisurely lunch at LAVA restaurant before returning to Reykjavík.

This evening, celebrate our journey during a Farewell Dinner, before enjoying a final overnight stay at Canopy by Hilton Reykjavík City Centre.

Our journey across these wondrous lands concludes this morning. We farewell fellow travellers and new-found friends as we join our transfer to the airport.


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