Throughout August and September, ScotRail are running Summer Steam Train Trips from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders. We turned back the clock on Sunday and let engine No 46100 Royal Scot take the strain as it puffed its way through the glorious Borders countryside. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast on the way, toured the former home and gardens of Sir Walter Scott and then were served a delicious cream tea on our journey back – what a treat!
I had never been on a steam train before and was extremely excited as we approached Waverley Station giving a wee nod to Sir Walter Scott’s statue knowing we would be visiting his former home later.
As we arrived at Platform 7 there was quite a commotion. Trainspotters from far and wide along with curious non-spotters had gathered to pay homage to this Derby built 1927 steam locomotive – one of only two in its class remaining. It was lovely watching the crew getting organised and the puffing steam gave plenty of photographic opportunities for the gathered crowd. Photographs taken we found our seat in 1st Class (we thought we were archie!) and settled down for breakfast and our hour and a half trip to Tweedbank station.
We were welcomed on board with a glass of Prosecco and some fresh orange or grapefruit juice to get us started as we perused the breakfast menu.
I chose honey crunch granola with almonds, apricots and natural yoghurt and it was a great way to start breakfast although a bit more yoghurt wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Raymond chose the dish that Boys who eat Scotland should always choose – porridge served with a wee nip of Scotch Whisky. If it’s possible to have breakfast envy – I had it! The porridge looked amazing – served steaming with a covering of cream and a good sized dram to pour over it. Prosecco and Whisky before 10am – at this rate the train wasn’t going to be the only thing steaming in the Borders!
Click here for the whisky pour!! IMG_4021 2
Next on the menu was “The Bread Basket” with its selection of white and wholemeal toast, oatcakes, morning rolls and croissants. The menu said that the bakery selection was served with a selection of marmalades, preserves, honey and marmite but we could only see marmalade on the table which suited us fine.
For the main event there was a choice of Poached Finnan of Haddock or Full Scottish Breakfast with back bacon, grilled tomato, fried free-range hen’s egg, tattie scones, black pudding, lorne sausage, baked beans and corned beef and potato hash. We both decided to have the full Scottish and it was excellent. The breakfast items were delivered to the table by silver service and were piping hot and really delicious. We were so impressed at standard of the food coming from the old girl’s kitchen!
Tea and coffee were served throughout breakfast ensuring you always had a piping hot drink to accompany your meal.
Not long after finishing our breakfast we arrived in the Borders and made our way to the waiting coach to take us to Abbotsford House. The stunning house is only a five minute drive from the station and guided tours of the house are available to book along with different dining options. We had a very informative tour of the house by Joyce and an enjoyable wander through the colourful gardens situated next to the River Tweed. Part of the house is now used as luxury holiday accommodation so the tour concentrates on a number of key rooms on the ground floor.
A number of other excursions are also available to book via the ScotRail website such as a visit to Sir Walter Scott’s courtroom in Selkirk or lunch at Seasons restaurant in Melrose. We recommend investigating the options before you go and booking ahead as Tweedbank station is about a 20 minute walk from Abbotsford and a 45 minute walk from Melrose. The train is on a tight schedule so whatever excursion you decide to do make sure you are back in plenty of time as it won’t wait for you!
On our return journey we enjoyed a selection of sandwiches – savoury cheese, egg and ham along with a warm fruit scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Just what was needed after our trip around Abbotsford House.
A continuous supply of tea and coffee was available once again.
We had a fantastic day onboard The Royal Scot steam train and would thoroughly recommend the trip. The sun shone throughout and the Borders looked beautiful. If you would like to go on one of the Summer Trips, Scotrail have another 6 morning and afternoon journeys planned before the end of September. Full details are available on the Steam Dreams website.
Thanks to Scotrail for the invitation to enjoy Premier Dining on the Royal Scot Steam Train.