JOURNEYS

Scotland’s Royal Luxuries

A large Castle with a fountain in front.

Scotland may conjure up images of craggy cliffs, medieval castles, and cobblestone streets, but it’s also a country that loves all that is fine—and regal.

Get ready for an indulgent five-day tour that will make you feel like royalty. You’ll wander the halls of The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh—the 16th-century home of Mary, Queen of Scots and current residence of Queen Elizabeth II of England when she’s in town. You’ll nibble on tea cakes and five-star Scottish cuisine at mansions-turned-Michelin-starred restaurants. You can tee off at some of the world’s most splendid golf courses or try your hand at falconry in Perth. At the day’s end, retire to your luxury suite in a bona fide castle and sip on Scotch whisky.

Ignacio Maza of the Signature Travel Network and a member of the AFAR Travel Advisory Council is ready to help you book a luxurious trip to the highlights of Scotland.

A Castle over the water

TRIP HIGHLIGHT

Sleep in Castles

Spend a night in a castle, or two: Inverlochy Castle and Crossbasket Castle have both been reborn as luxury hotels, letting guests live like a laird during their stays.
A Purple Flower-like Logo

TRIP DESIGNER

VisitScotland

VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourist board, works to ensure that visitors experience the very best of Scotland—its famous sites and best hotels, resorts, restaurants, and more. The organization provides information and inspiration to travelers ready to discover Scotland’s unique music, language, dance, culture, and cuisine. Whether you want to walk in the footsteps of famous Scots—from Rabbie Burns to Macbeth—as you explore historic castles, stone circles, and other landmarks, or experience the best of contemporary Scotland, VisitScotland will help you plan an unforgettable visit.
A clock tower and castle at sunset

DAY 1Edinburgh

Kick off your tour on Edinburgh’s Princes Street and at The Balmoral Hotel. A landmark located in the center of the capital, the hotel’s enviable location, impeccable amenities, and views of Edinburgh Castle are divine. After checking in, it’s off to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and The Palace of Holyroodhouse. Today, this is the residence of the royal family when they are in the city, but it’s probably more famous as the 16th-century home of Mary, Queen of Scots. An audio tour will lead you through a series of impressive royal apartments, into Mary’s Bedchamber, and to the Great Gallery with its portraits of Scottish kings.

Next, head over to Parliament Square and into the Signet Library for proper afternoon tea. Then, it’s back to The Balmoral for an exquisite dinner at the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant.
A seaside town from the water

DAY 2St. Andrews

On day two of your adventure, travel about 50 miles north from Edinburgh to the seaside town of St. Andrews. The town is an international pilgrimage for golf enthusiasts and home to the world’s most famous golf links, the Old Course. It’s also home to the famous University of St. Andrews—where Prince William and Kate Middleton met as students.

After checking in at the stately Old Course Hotel, take a trip to the fascinating St. Andrews University. Founded in 1419, this is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English-speaking world. Wander around campus and explore St. Salvator’s Chapel, a scintillating example of late Gothic architecture. Then, hit the green on one of the town’s golf courses and sit down at the Michelin-starred Peat Inn for a delectable Scottish meal.
a Rail Bridge over a river

DAY 3Perth

Head to the “Fair City” and check in at the palatial Gleneagles Hotel, located on the manicured, 850-acre Gleneagles Estate. Since the iconic King’s and Queen’s golf courses were first opened here in 1919, this sprawling estate has attracted both the golf world’s elite and discerning lovers of the outdoor leisures. Spend the day riding miniature ponies, gamebird shooting on the spectacular grouse moor, toeing the line on the archery range, or trying your hand at falconry.

After you’ve had your fill of the countryside, prepare for a modern Scottish meal at Michelin-starred restaurant Andrew Fairlie, also located at Gleneagles. Five-star dishes such as roast breast of Goosnargh duck will not disappoint.

DAY 4Scottish Highlands

The landscape of Scotland’s Highlands offers the ultimate royal escape. Grand medieval castles riddle the countryside and tonight, you’ll spend the night in one. The luxurious, 19th-century Inverlochy Castle is arguably Scotland’s finest country hotel. Nestled in the foothills of the Ben Nevis mountain, each of the hotel’s 17 suites offers spectacular views of the grounds and the private loch. If spending the night in a castle isn’t regal enough, indulge in fine tweeds and tartans with a shopping spree at the House of Bruar.

Another excellent way to experience the Highlands is aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman luxury train on the Taste of the Highlands tour. If you love trains, any one of the decadent multi-night journeys is a must.
A tall building across a sweeping lawn

DAY 5Glasgow

On the last day of your adventure, arrive in Scotland’s biggest and most spellbinding city—Glasgow. It’s hard not to feel sophisticated when surrounded by so much incredible architecture, excellent restaurants, and the Glasgow Cathedral and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Up the luxury ante by staying at Crossbasket Castle, a stunning, 17th-century castle that simply oozes luxury.

After exploring the city’s museums, boutiques, and trendy eateries, be sure to stop by the Corinthian Club for cocktails. Sip a perfectly mixed cosmopolitan while you appreciate your 18th-century surroundings, or head over to the lauded Salon at Blythswood Square and savor a Highland whisky. Regardless where you wander, toast your royal Scotland journey and then head back to the Crossbasket Castle for a meal fit for a king, or queen.