Why the Belmond Royal Scotsman is More Magical Than the Hogwarts Express
Still holding out for that letter from Hogwarts? Pass the waiting time aboard the muggle-run Belmond Royal Scotsman. It may not depart from Platform 9 3/4, but we still think it's pretty charming. Here's why.
Riding in Style
Decked out in rich mahogany with quilted cotton bedcovers, the train's en-suite cabins offer a dignified, if cozy, place to retire. All 14 rooms feature full-length wardrobes, private bathrooms, and individually controlled heat, no incindio spell required.
Magic Frogs may not be on the menu, but don't slight the sweets in the dining car. The galley prepares around 2,700 shortbread biscuits per season. Wash them down with a drink; 600 bottles of whisky and 1,000 bottles of champagne are consumed over the course of six months.
Men in Kilts
Aboard the train, guests are expected to look the part for formal dinners, but leave behind those dress robes. For men, that means donning the traditional Scottish garb. No kilt in your closet? No problem. Through October, travelers will receive a complimentary rental, or, if you prefer a custom outfit, Kinloch Anderson can create tailor-made Highland Dress for an additional fee.
A Room with a View
Besting the Hogwarts Express, the Belmond Royal Scotsman is the only train in the UK to have an outside viewing veranda, so guests can take in the scenery, en-route.
Depending upon your journey, luxury excursions could include clay pigeon shoots, nine holes on Ballindalloch’s private golf course, whisky distillery tours, and ancient castle visits, including a trip to one where Harry Potter (and Downton Abbey) were filmed.
For itineraries, pricing, and more, head to belmond.com.
Caroline Hallemann is the associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @challemann.