Wild Scotland: Royal Estates and Conservation
PRESERVING THE WILDERNESS
One of the last corners of genuine wilderness in Europe, a journey through the Scottish Highlands feels like travelling through an otherworldly landscape. The journey includes unforgettable access to to private castles and unique experiences on the world-famous Balmoral Royal Estate. Track rare Golden Eagles, and participate in the country’s inspiring commitment to conservation, with exclusive visits to rewilding projects in some of Scotland’s finest nature reserves.
Curated alongside Lord Eddy Downpatrick, explorer, travel journalist and member of the Royal Family, this experience spotlights the scale of this nation’s progressive approach to environmental projects, in the company of estate managers and rewilding experts.
DAY 1 - ON THE RIVERBANKS OF SCONE PALACE
A private transfer from Edinburgh arrives at Scone Palace – the ancient crowning place of Scottish kings, and family home to the Earls of Mansfield for the last 400 years. Stand on the spot where Macbeth, Robert the Bruce and other Scottish Kings were crowned; and if you like, elevate your experience with a private lunch with the current custodians, Lord and Lady Mansfield.
Enjoy a private tour of the palace grounds and lunch, before perfecting your fly-casting technique on the estate, fishing for salmon on the River Tay with an expert ghillie. Come late afternoon, depart for The Cairngorms to settle into your hotel or highland retreat, and spend the rest of the evening at leisure. The Luminaire recommends The Fife Arms, now owned by the Hauser and Wirth gallery, a unique stay, turning heads for its innovative but traditional hospitality.
DAY 2 - CONSERVATION AT THE CASTLE
Balmoral was the late Queen Elizabeth’s private haven, where she would visit every summer to escape and spend time with her family. The estate will feel like yours for the day to roam, experiencing unforgettable access to Balmoral in the company of one of the King’s Conservation Managers, learning to forage responsibly as you explore the 50,000-acre estate. How is the Scottish home of the Royal Family joining environmental efforts and committing to a more sustainable future?
A truly unforgettable experience unfolds over lunch - a field-to-table meal is prepared in the forest, served under the shelter of one of the picnic huts often enjoyed by the late monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
DAY 3 - OFF ROAD AND INTO THE WILD
Mount a 4x4 Land Rover Defender and discover the extraordinary beauty of the Cairngorms National Park at Mar Lodge Estate, the largest national nature reserve in Britain. Venture off-road on a guided wildlife expedition with a Park Ranger, tracing rare, majestic and endangered birds including the iconic Golden Eagle and Scotland’s smallest bird species, the Goldcrest, as you cross between dramatic mountainscapes. Return to your hotel and unwind with an evening at leisure.
The Luminaire can organise dinner at the Fife Arms, now known for its open-fire cooking, with hero dishes including Scottish sea bass with smoked potato dauphine, locally smoked haddock and Oscietra caviar.
DAY 4 - RESTORING THE LAND
Continue north with your private driver to Inverness and the working Tomatin Distillery, which dates back to 1897. Tomatin is not on the tourist trail – so expect an authentic and real experience as you are welcomed by Master Distiller Graham Eunson for a private tour that takes in its giant copper stills, operating around the clock. The visit culminates with an exclusive tasting of rare and valuable fine whiskies. Expect to leave with a bottle, courtesy of Graham.
The journey ends at South Clunes Estate, a traditional sheep and cattle farm, but what sets this farm apart is a colony of beavers, one of the few remaining in the Birtish Isles. Capture these curious and photogenic animals and watch them in their natural habitat. A local sustainable farming expert shows you how they are reintroducing several rare species back into this wild corner of Scotland. Enjoy lunch overlooking Loch Grant, before a private transfer to the travel hub of Inverness or Alladale Wilderness Reserve to extend the journey.
From a private design-forward luxury cottage, to a renowned, art-filled 5-star hotel, discover recommended addresses for this journey.
FROM £11,950 PER PERSON
For four days, based on two people sharing.
Three nights’ accommodation with breakfast at renowned 5* Hauser and Wirth hotel, The Fife Arms.
Unforgettable access to Balmoral Estate with one of the King’s Conservation Managers, followed by a field-to-table lunch at Queen Elizabeth II’s former retreat - a picnic cottage.
Explore the ancient crowning place of Scottish kings with a private tour of Scone Palace and Estate, followed by a lunch.
An expert ghillie leads a private salmon fishing experience on the banks of the River Tay, in the grounds of Scone Palace, home to the Earls of Mansfield.
In an off-road Defender, accompanied by a Ranger, explore Mar Lodge Estate, the largest National Nature Reserve in Britain. Trace rare and endangered wildlife, including Golden Eagles.
An exclusive tasting of rare and valuable fine whiskies with the Master Distiller at the Tomatin Distillery, with a private tour.
Understand rewilding efforts and the evolution of sustainable farming at the South Clunes Estate, with a private tour, followed by lunch overlooking a loch and the Estate's beaver colony.
Private Land Rover with driver throughout.
Airport transfers and local transfers to activities and meals as mentioned.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
Magnificent in all seasons.
Balmoral is closed to the public from late August until early September each year.
Flights to/from Edinburgh or Inverness.
Excursions, meals and drinks other than those mentioned.
ENHANCE YOUR EXPERIENCE
An exclusive private tour of Holyrood Palace with a curator of the Royal Collection Trust, exploring its association with Scotland’s historic figures such as Mary, Queen of Scots.
Alladale Wilderness Reserve is a 23,000-acre private estate in the Caledonian Forest of the Scottish Highlands. A fully-catered week on the estate includes participating in one of its many conversation projects, including wildcat rehabilitation, red squirrel reintroduction, and riverbank and peatland restoration.
An exclusive private tour of Castle Leod with the Earl of Cromartie, Clan Chief of Mackenzie, and an expert on Jacobite history.
A private aircraft to the Scottish Hebrides for an exclusive tasting of rare Islay whiskies.
LORD EDDY DOWNPATRICK
Explorer and member of the Royal Family, eldest grandson of HRH The Duke of Kent, cousin of Her Late Majesty. The Luminaire has worked with Eddy to design this journey through Scotland, calling upon years of experience as an explorer and travel entrepreneur, and his deep knowledge of some of the country's most inspiring conservation efforts, Royal Estates and nature reserves.