Royal Deeside & The Tornado Steam Train
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With visits to 2 of Scotland's most charismatic cities, Edinburgh and Dundee, we immerse ourselves in the local flavour with tastings of some local specialities; Arbroath smokies and whisky. The highlight of this holiday has to be a First Class journey on the Aberdonian Tornado Steam Train.
We meet at our hotel in the centre of Edinburgh today, where we have our first dinner together this evening.
After breakfast at the hotel, we walk to nearby Edinburgh Waverley Station to embark on a memorable journey aboard the Aberdonian Steam Train, hauled by an iconic Tornado steam engine. Newly launched in 2019 by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, this nostalgic rail journey transports us back in time to a golden age of rail travel, as it steams through the scenic landscapes of Scotland.
We sit back and relax in our First Class carriages, soaking up ever-changing panoramas from the large windows as we traverse the landscapes between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, passing leafy countryside, rugged cliffs, and charming coastal towns. A particular highlight comes as we cross the dramatic Forth Bridge, a striking red industrial bridge which dates back to the late 1800s and was once voted Scotland's greatest man-made wonder. The pioneering bridge spans Firth of Forth estuary, and was designated UNESCO World Heritage status in 2015 due to innovations made in style, scale and materials during its construction. We are treated to a delicious brunch on board, served at our seats while we take in the passing scenery.
Our extraordinary journey comes to an end as we roll into Aberdeen and transfer by coach to our hotel, the 4-Star Mercure Ardoe House Hotel. Nestled within 30 acres of lush grounds just outside of Aberdeen city centre, this castle-style hotel is located in a beautiful 19th-century mansion house.
We transfer into the heart of Royal Deeside, to join the Royal Deeside Railway for a wonderful heritage rail journey along the banks of the River Dee. From Banchory, we travel in lovingly restored vintage carriages on a short but scenic 1-mile journey, taking in delightful views of the pretty Scottish countryside.
This afternoon, we continue to Ballater on the edge of Cairngorms National Park, pausing at Balmoral Castle for a photo opportunity. The estate has been the Scottish holiday home of the royal family since it was bought for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, and is a splendid example of Scottish baronial architecture.
We transfer to the Royal Lochnagar Distillery to indulge in a quintessential Scottish pastime - a wee dram of whisky. We explore the distillery on a fascinating guided tour, uncovering the history behind this famous Scottish drink, before enjoying a tasting of an award-winning,12 Year Old Single Malt.
Later, we travel by coach to the 4-Star Malmaison Hotel, located by the waterfront in the heart of the vibrant city of Dundee, enjoying dinner here together this evening.
We discover the charms of the coastal city of Dundee on a short walking tour this morning. Dundee has undergone a considerable resurgence in recent years, largely due to a redevelopment project which has transformed the waterfront into a hub of art, culture and stunning architecture.
Our tour ends at what is perhaps the jewel in the crown of the waterfront, the contemporary V&A Museum of Design, which we have some time to explore at leisure. Opened in 2018, the V&A is the first museum of its kind in Scotland, and showcases the very best of the country's design heritage, all housed in a striking building designed by award-winning Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
After some free time to grab lunch in Dundee, we visit the coastal town of Arbroath. Arbroath is known for its idyllic harbour, long sandy beaches, historic abbey and famous delicacy, the 'Arbroath smokie' - salted haddock which is smoked over a wood fire. We find out more about this traditional Scottish specialty with an informative talk and cooking demonstration, discovering how the smokies are prepared using methods which date back to the late 1800s before being smoked over wood chips in a whisky barrel. We have the chance to sample mouthwatering smoky fish fresh from the barrel, before transferring back to Dundee by coach for an evening at leisure.
The 4th largest city in Scotland, Dundee is a somewhat overlooked treasure which combines medieval history with an unpretentious charm and a flourishing food and drink scene. There are a number of fantastic eateries which you could choose visit, from stylish restaurants to humble cafés and traditional pubs serving typical Scottish fare. Perhaps take the opportunity to try haggis, Scotland's most emblematic dish, and a fitting way to end our Scottish adventure.
After breakfast we walk to the station for the train to Edinburgh, where our tour ends. You are free to depart at leisure, or to continue exploring further.
Edinburgh, Scotland's lively capital is one of Europe's most splendid cities, and is a delight to discover. There are a myriad of things to do here. You could stroll along the Royal Mile in the heart of the colourful Old Town, visit imposing Edinburgh Castle, or simply indulge in a spot of retail therapy among the excellent shops and boutiques which line the historic streets.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Step back in time with the Aberdonian Tornado Steam Train