|Trains and Treasures of England, Scotland and Wales
26 August to 16 September 2018
Our 2018 tour gives you the opportunity to visit all three countries on the British mainland, or you can choose the part that
most interests you. The tour offers a balanced view of what this beautiful island can offer the rail enthusiast, as well as anyone
interested in history and scenery. Photographic opportunities abound and the tour should satisfy your interest in railway,
landscape and street photography.
Travel in a group of no more than 20 like minded guests, hosted throughout by Geoff Cooke. Ride in executive motor
coaches, on interesting trains and in boats as we travel from the English channel to the Scottish highlands.
All aboard for an exciting ride!
London and the south west of England
Day 1. Sunday, 26 August 2018
Your tour starts this afternoon with a familiarisation tour around the city. An included dinner will be at a nearby restaurant, followed by a tour of the
London Underground railway that visits some of the best known stations with your guide giving you a fascinating history and anecdotes related to
the world’s first underground urban railway.
Your hotel is conveniently located adjacent to London Paddington Station. Paddington station is the city terminus of the Heathrow Express train, it
is also on the underground line that terminates at Heathrow.
Overnight: Mercure London Paddington Hotel. Meals: Dinner
Day 2. Monday, 27 August 2018
Travel by train from London to Bristol this morning over Brunel’s Great Western Railway route. On arrival at Bristol’s Temple Meads Station,
transfer by coach to your hotel and from there to Bristol docks. After a break for lunch, visit Brunel’s famous ship, the SS Great Britain - the first
steam powered trans-Atlantic passenger ship. There will be time to wander down the historic dockside, see the preserved ships and visit the
Bristol Industrial Museum.
Overnight: Mercure Hollland House Hotel, Bristol. Meals: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 3. Tuesday, 28 August, 2018
Travel by coach from Bristol to Bishop's Lydeard, where you will board a West Somerset Railway steam train bound for the seaside town of
Minehead. This is the longest and one of the busiest standard gauge preserved railways in England, a delightful ride in traditional carriages
through Somerset's beautiful countryside. Re-join the coach to drive through the scenic Exmore National Park to your second steam train ride, on
the narrow gauge Lynton and Barnstaple steam railway. This is a short but scenic preserved railway with grand ambitions to re-create one of
Britain’s most iconic railway routes between it's namesake towns. At present, it does not serve either Lynton or Barstaple, but one day that will
change as they lay more track and following the completion of a replica of one of their original Baldwin steam locomotives. Continuing by coach to
Exeter and your hotel, opposite the central station.
Overnight: Mercure Exeter Rougemont Hotel. Meals: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 4. Wednesday, 29 August, 2018
This morning, take a modern commuter train ride along the famous Dawlish sea wall to the coastal town of Paignton, where we change to the
standard gauge Paignton and Dartmouth steam railway. On arrival at Dartmouth, cross the River Dart by ferry to the town of Kingswear for lunch
and possibly to see the interesting atmospheric steam beam engine that is preserved there. This afternoon, join a boat for a trip up the river to
Totnes where a short walk will take you to the station and a train back to Exeter, once more taking in the dramatic scenery of the sea wall.
Overnight: Exeter. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 5. Thursday, 30 August, 2018
This morning, take a train from Exeter to Portsmouth via the city of Salisbury. After hotel check-in, visit the Royal Navy’s Historic Dockyard, home to
Nelson's HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, the first iron battleship, Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose, the last remaining World War 1 Monitor ship and
much more. This is an area steeped in maritime history, as well as a working port for the Royal Navy that can be seen from an included boat trip.
Overnight: Portsmouth. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 6. Friday, 31 August, 2018
Take a foot ferry from Portsmouth over the Solent to the Isle of Wight, arriving at Ryde Pierhead. You will be met at the end of the pier, perched over
the sea, by an electric train that started its life on the London Underground. Ride the electric railway to Smallbrook Junction, where we change to
the Isle of Wight Steam Railway for a ride to Wooton and back. After a break fro lunch, retrace your steps back to Portsmouth where we will spend
a second night.
Overnight: Portsmouth. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 7. Saturday, 01 September, 2018
Travel from Portsmouth to London by rail this morning, arriving shortly before lunch.
Your South West of England Tour ends on arrival in London. If you are continuing with Geoff’s Trains, enjoy a free afternoon in the city.
If you are interested in the legacy of Engineer I K Brunel, builder of the Great Western Railway and the SS Great Britain, Geoff will be happy to
show you some of his London landmarks, including a small museum dedicated to him and located in a shaft of his original Thames tunnel, now
part of the Underground railway system.
England’s east coast and Scotland
Day 1. Saturday, 01 September, 2018
Welcome to the second part of our around Britain tour.
If you are joining us today, make your way to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. We will be happy to book pre-tour nights in London if
you would like to arrive early.
Overnight: Mercure London Paddington Hotel. Meals included. Breakfast (only if you are on the South West of England tour.) Dinner.
Day 2 (8). Sunday, 02 September, 2018
After breakfast, travel by train from King’s Cross Station in London to the historic city of York along the East Coast main line. This afternoon we will
visit the National Railway Museum in York followed by a fun dinner at the Sidings restaurant, located alongside the east coast four track main line
between York and Darlington.
Overnight: Park Inn York City Centre, York. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 3 (9). Monday, 03 September, 2018
Drive from York to Beamish, the living museum of the north. Explore the museum that includes a working tram system and a narrow gauge
railway before motoring across the border to South Queensferry on the outskirts of the city of Edinburgh, capital of Scotland.
Overnight: Dakota Hotel, South Queensferry, Edinburgh. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 4 (10). Tuesday, 04 September, 2018
This morning, enjoy a tour of Edinburgh. Experience the grandeur of Scotland’s brooding capital with an excursion accompanied by a local guide,
journey by coach to the city’s main attractions such as the formidable Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Accompany your guide on a stroll
along the Royal Mile and through Old Town, the city’s oldest quarter strewn with historic landmarks.
Dinner tonight will be in a restaurant in the shadow of the famous Victorian Forth Railway Bridge on the banks of the Firth of Forth.
Overnight: South Queensferry. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 5 (11). Wednesday, 05 September, 2018
Motor to the Highlands of Scotland this morning. Your first visit will be a distillery at Pitlochry to find out how whisky, Scotland’s well known drink, is
made - and try a dram. This will be followed by a tour of Blair Castle and a chance to learn about Britain’s only private army. Stop at the resort
town of Aviemore for the standard gauge Strathspey Steam Railway. Our train ride includes high tea served in a dining car as we steam to
Broomhill and back. Continue our road journey to the city of Inverness where we will spend the night.
Overnight: Royal Highland Hotel, Inverness. Meals included: Breakfast. High Tea. Dinner.
Day 6 (12). Thursday, 06 September, 2018
Ride a main line train this morning over the attractive Kyle Line from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, one of Scotland’s most scenic railways. Drive
over the Sky Bridge to the Isle of Sky for lunch before visiting Eilean Donan Castle. Later this afternoon, continue over the scenic road to Fort
Overnight: Nevis Bank Inn, Fort William. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 7 (13). Friday, 07 September, 2018
Ride first class on the ‘Jacobite’ standard gauge steam train from Fort William to the small fishing town of Mallaig, one of the most scenic
railways in the world with the most famous landmark being the Glenfinnan Viaduct – if you are a Harry Potter fan, you will know all about it! There
will be time for lunch and a visit to the fishing harbour before returning to Fort William.
Overnight: Fort William. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 8 (14), Saturday, 08 September 2018
This morning, enjoy a scenic coach trip up the dramatic Glencoe Pass and over the remote and rugged Rannoch Moor to Stirling Castle. Find out
how this magnificent castle changed hands between the Scottish and English before the Act of Union and how it has maintained a significant role
in Scotland since then. Later this morning continue to the famous Falkirk Wheel boat lift, a millennium project and a fine example of modern
engineering. Later, take a mainline train down the West Coast main line to Carlisle over the border in England.
Overnight: Hallmark Hotel, Carlisle. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 9 (15), Sunday, 09 September 2018
This morning, motor to Whitehaven to visit the place where John Paul Jones invaded England in the American war of independence. Americans in
the group may like a photograph alongside the statue of the famous patriot before we continue to Ravenglass to ride the 15 inch gauge
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, a small train doing a big job in dramatic scenery. Continue your journey along the scenic coastal road to
Haverthwaite, terminus of the standard gauge Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. A steam train will take you to the shores of Lake Windermere,
where you will transfer to an historic lake boat, originally a steamer but now diesel powered, to continue your journey to Bowness near
Windermere in the Lake District National Park. Continue by coach to your hotel at Kendal.
Overnight: The Castle Green Hotel, Kendal. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 10 (16), Monday, 10 September 2018
After a leisurely breakfast, drive to Manchester Airport. Drop off at the Hilton Hotel or the airport terminal if you are leaving us today. If you are
continuing on to Wales tour, we will leave the Hilton hotel after a break for lunch.
The North-West of England and Wales
Day 1 (16), Monday, 10 September 2018
If you are joining the tour today, meet at the Manchester Airport at 14h00 for a coach journey to Betws y Coed in north Wales, a pleasant journey
that will take you along the Dee estuary, Colwyn Bay and the Conwy river valley.
Overnight: Royal Oak Hotel, Betws y Coed. Meals included: Breakfast if you are continuing from the Scotland tour. Dinner.
Day 2 (17), Tuesday, 11 September 2018
After a relaxed breakfast, take a service train to Blaenau Ffestiniog where you will change trains and gauges to the narrow gauge Ffestiniog
Railway. Your trains will probably be powered by a double Fairley articulated steam locomotive on your journey to the Irish sea at Porthmadog.
After lunch, take a train on the narrow-gauge Welsh Highland Railway, this time probably operated by a Garratt articulated steam locomotive for a
25 mile journey through the Snowdonia national park to Caernarfon. Transfer to our hotel, a short drive from Caernarfon. Your luggage will be
transferred by road between hotels.
Overnight: Seiont Manor Hotel, Caernarfon. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 3 (18), Wednesday. 12 September 2018
Make a short coach journey inland to one of the main slate quarries of north wales at Llanberis, scenically located at the base of Mount Snowdon,
the highest mountain in Wales. Join the Snowdon Lily, a steam train to the top of the mountain on the 3ft 6in gauge Snowdon Mountain rack
railway, the only rack railway in Britain. Your lunch break will be at the National Slate Museum, a fascinating museum built into the original quarry
workshops that were powered by the largest waterwheel on mainland Britain. The waterwheel is still there, as are the original machine tools and
forges. This afternoon, ride the 2ft gauge Lakeside steam railway along the shore of Lake Pardarn. This railway uses steam loco-motives that
previously worked on the terraces of the Dinorwic slate quarries, high above the present line.
Overnight: Caernarfon. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 4 (19). Thursday. 13 September 2018
Before we leave Caernarfon this morning, visit the castle to discover the reason for its very existence, why it was built in such a distinctive shape,
how it was defended and why it is still important today. Later this morning, travel by coach to Porthmadog to visit the Boston Lodge workshops of
the Ffes-tiniog Railway. This amazing workshop opened the 1830’s, and has been the engineering headquarters of the Ffestiniog Railway since
then. This afternoon, take a train on the Cambrian Coast line from Porthmadog to Fairbourne. Hugging the coastline, the line offers spectacular
views and a crossing of the Mawddach Estuary over an unusual swing bridge and wooden trestle. Ride a 12 inch gauge steam train across the
beach on the Fairbourne Railway that has been running from Fairbourne village to the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary, connecting with the ferry to
Barmouth, for over 100 years.
Overnight: Aber Park Hotel, Aberystwyth. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 5 (20). Friday. 14 September 2018
Travel by coach this morning to Tywyn, where our first stop will be the Talyllyn Railway’s railway workshops at Pendre. Watch the first steam
locomotive of the day being prepared before travelling to Tywyn station to join a train from there to the end of the line at Nant Gwernol before
returning to Dolgoch Falls where you will have a photo opportunity. Leave the train for a short coach ride past Talyllyn lake and up the mountain
pass to the village of Corris, home of the Corris Railway. Enjoy tea and welsh cakes in the Corris railway museum before boarding a steam train
bound for Maespoeth, the line’s depot and workshops and presently the end of the line. This short 2ft 3in gauge railway is probably the shortest
you will ride, but it is a firm favourite with many. Return to Aberystwyth by coach.
Overnight: Aberystwyth. Meals included: Breakfast. Dinner.
Day 6 (21). Saturday. 15 September 2018
This morning, take a tour of the Vale of Rheidol workshops before riding the 2ft gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway to Devil’s Bridge, a scenic line that
was originally built to serve lead mines up the valley, but has now become a popular tourist attraction. There will be time to visit Devil’s Bridge,
where three bridges have, over many centuries, been built one on top of the other. Arrive back in Aberystwyth in time for lunch and an afternoon
exploring the attractive seaside promenade dominated by a ruined castle and a Victorian pier at one end and a funicular cliff railway up
Constitution Hill at the other, which we will ride. Dinner tonight will be in a restaurant on the pier, perched high over the Irish Sea.
Overnight: Aberystwyth. Meals included: Breakfast Dinner.
Day 7 (22). Sunday. 16 September 2018
This morning, travel by coach from Aberystwyth to Welshpool. Join a steam train on the narrow gauge Welshpool and Llanfair railway to Llanfair
Caereinion and back.
On arrival back in Welshpool, transfer by coach to the city of Wolverhampton’s station on the West Coast Mainline.
Your tour ends on arrival at Wolverhampton, but it is assumed that you will wish to book onward train travel and Geoff will be happy to arrange this
for you and assist with your onward planning. Options include a Virgin high speed train to London Euston station, one departs at 15h45 and
arrives in London at 17h38.
It is also easy to reach Manchester Airport, Birmingham city and Birmingham airport as well as other destinations in Britain.
|Page updated on
01 March 2018
£300 price drop
for full tour!
|For a more detailed,
printable tour programme