UK History & Heritage Railway Tour
"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake: the great affair is to move"
On our UK History & Heritage Railway Tour we will travel as Robert Louis Stephenson travelled, to travel for travel’s sake over many heritage lines on the trains over the routes that were mostly commissioned in the 19th Century when steam provided the new means of transport in this industrial age. Reliving that romantic era of travel we will let the train take the strain as we sit back, relax and travel through the heart of the English countryside. Whether you are taking a trip down memory lane or creating a new one, it’s the perfect way to unwind and experience the nostalgic sights, sounds and smells of steam travel from a Bygone age.
This tour is a must for the railway enthusiast wanting to be taken back to the days of steam or for a new disciple wanting to experience steam travel for the first time. To feel the gentle movement of the carriage as the train trundles along the line and then the smell of the smoke as it drifts by the window automatically takes one back to a remembered past or experiencing something for the first time creates a very relaxing aura. We will embark on many heritage railway journeys together and traverse the valleys where the lines were first laid, discover glorious Yorkshire, from the edge of the rugged Dales across the moors to the spectacular coast, pass through market towns, small villages, woodlands and farmland. All this while we sit back, relax and enjoy our journeys.
When we are not on board our trains we will be visiting heritage sites associated with the railway, Didcot Railway Centre with its unique collection of buildings, engines, carriages, wagons and other artefacts, the National Railway Museum in York, at Swindon and Cricklade Railway we will see much restoration being undertaken in the engine shed. We may be able to have our lunch breaks on board the trains or in heritage railway cafes. Much to see and more to do. Each evening at dinner, in our hotels, we will be able to relive the day and look forward to boarding our air conditioned coach next morning to take us to the start of another adventure.
This is a tour developed for the very special purpose that we hope will, in a small way, ensure those keeping this part of our heritage operating being given the support they need as they keep this working history operating for the generations who were not fortunate to have steam trains a part of their everyday life. There are heritage train tours offered around the world, but from our research, we believe that this tour format has never been offered before in Australia or the UK.
Some of the railways that we intend to visit include, the Great Central Railway, Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, Wensleydale Railway, Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and the Bluebell Line to name but a few.
Once we have received your booking, we will request from you information concerning any specific areas that may be important for you to visit. We will do all we can to comply to your request, as long as the site is within the geographical boundary of the tour.
Price: 15 days/14 nights. Based on share twin or share double AU $TBC per person. Single Supplement additional cost AU $TBC.
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Please note: This itinerary has been prepared on a geographical basis to allow us over our two (2) weeks together to visit many Heritage Railways and to ride on the trains over the routes that were mostly commissioned in the 19th Century when steam provided the new means of transport in this industrial age. We will endeavour to visit the individual railways on a day that steam engines operate on the lines, however following contact with each and every Heritage Railway as part of this tour, there are days when Heritage Diesel Engines operate due to maintenance or other factors. It is hoped that by having a programme as broad as appears below, there may be the flexibility to visit specific sites that are of special interest to those on tour. We will travel throughout the beautiful English countryside aboard our air conditioned coach to visit the Variou various Heritage Railways and our time in York will allow us to visit the National Railway Museum, the Home home of both the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard. We will travel on many of the World’s Greatest HeritaHeritage Railways, one being the North Yorkshire Moors Railway with its 40 kilometres of scenery.
Day 1 - LONDON: Tour guests arrive at Heathrow Airport and make their way to our hotel in the airport precinct. The remainder of the day and evening is free to relax and meet other guests. Dinner will be in our hotel. During dinner we will discuss our programme for the next few days. D
Day 2 – LONDON to TUNBRIDGE WELLS: After breakfast at the hotel, our coach will depart our way to Tunbridge Wells and for our first experience of riding a train hauled by a Steam Engine. Our first stop will be at the Epping Ongar Railway and will allow us to let the train take the strain as we sit back, relax and travel through the heart of the English countryside. Following our visit to the Epping Line we will head to our hotel in Tunbridge Wells which will be our base for the next three (3) nights. The format of this first day on Tour will be the model for our days ahead. B/D
Day 3 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS: We will stay in the south east today and visit some of the locations that were most important during those early days of Steam. The Romney Marsh on the Strait of Dover has had the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway operating since the early 20th Century. With a 23 kilometre run alongside the water it is a special to visit. Following that wonderful scenic trip we board our coach and head west to the Kent and East Sussex Railway, the country’s finest example of a rural light railway. We will journey through the unspoilt countryside of the Rother Valley before collecting our coach in the shadow of Bodiam Castle. At this stage we head for home and dinner. B/D
Day 4 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS: Another great day immersed in the History and Heritage of Rail travel as we intend to visit the Bluebell Line. The Bluebell Line was the UK’s first preserved standard gauge passenger railway. It runs on part of the old London Brighton and South Coast Railway. We may stay in the area for dinner before heading back to our hotel. B/D
Day 5 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS to BROADWAY: This morning we say goodbye to Royal Tunbridge Wells as we continue on our way to visit more Heritage sites. Three (3) visits today as we head to the Cotswolds for our next two (2) nights stay. Our first visit is to Didcot Railway Centre which is based around the original four track GWR Engine Shed built in 1932. Here we can also view the collection of GWR steam engines, coaches, wagons, buildings and small relics and also a recreation of Brunel’s broad gauge railway. Following our visit we head to Swindon & Cricklade Railway where there has been active restoration on the railway since its early years, GWR 0-6-2T No. 5637 and Modified Hall No. 7903 "Foremarke Hall" being the best known. A full day that eventually leads us to Broadway, an historic town in the Cotswolds for our two (2) night stay. Tomorrow, more! B/D
Day 6 – BROADWAY: We stay close to home today as we first head off to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. At GWR we will enjoy a 40 kilometre round trip and the line commands wonderful views of the sleepy hamlets and villages as it runs through the beautiful Cotswold countryside. More to see but dinner and a drink awaits. B/D
Day 7 – BROADWAY to DERBY: Today we head further north to Derby, but first we will visit the Severn Valley Railway. For 40 years steam hauled trains have operated along the line running through the Severn Valley hugging the side of the Severn River. A break in the midst of this 25 kilometre run is a must to visit the exhibition steam locomotives from the reserve collection, plus more. This will be our last stop for the day before entering Derby where we will stay two (2) nights. B/D
Day 8 – DERBY: Our visits today take us to two (2) very famous Heritage lines,. Next is the Great Central Railway, voted No. 12 on the list of the 50 greatest railway journeys in the world and is the UK’s only double track, main line heritage railway. . Our visit here will be one of the many highlights for our railway enthusiasts. Home to Derby and a drink before dinner will be a just reward for this big day. B/D
Day 9 – DERBY to YORK: We leave Derby early for today we head north to York where the National Railway Museum is located. As we proceed along our way we will call into the Crich Tramway Village home of the National Tramway Museum. During our tour in 2017 we visited this site and were amazed at the number of heritage trams in use, on display and undergoing restoration. A long day but home for the next four (4) nights will be the historic town of. York. B/D
Day 10 – YORK: Following such a busy few days, today is a free day in York for you to enjoy in this historic town. York is a walled city in northeast England that was founded by the ancient Romans. Its huge 13th-century Gothic cathedral, York Minster, has medieval stained glass and 2 functioning bell towers. The City Walls form a walkway on both sides of the River Ouse. The Monk Bar gate houses an exhibition tracing the life of 15th-century last Plantagenet King Richard III.
So much history and so much to see and then there is the National Railway Museum, the home of the Mallard and the Flying Scotsman. B/D
Day 11 - YORK: Today will be another great day enjoying steam travel, however, we will ride on one line only, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, one of the world’s greatest railway experiences. There will be much to do and see as we board at Pickering Station for our return trip to Whitby. Goathland Station of TV Heartbeat fame, Pickering Station, built in 1847 by GT Andrews, Grosmont where the NYMR engine sheds are located and finally, Whitby, with its quirky narrow streets and bustling harbour. B/D
Day 12 - YORK: After breakfast we head further north as we will be visiting a spectacular heritage railway. Wensleydale Railway has preserved 35 kilometres of the former line from Northallerton to Garsdale that opened in 1878. This line is an authentic heritage line that also serves the community as it traverses the Yorkshire Dales running through unspoilt countryside. Dinner will be in York. At dinner we will discuss the special day that awaits us tomorrow. B/D
Day 13 -YORK to WOODHALL SPA: First we may do a little train spotting and then head off Keighley and Worth Valley Railway with its complement of many locomotives and a lovely line. Also at Haworth is the home of the Bronte sisters and their village is a great place to have lunch. Following our day in the Yorkshire Dales we will head south to Woodhall Spa for a special stay in a Heritage Hotel. A big day that may see us in our new hotel a little late for dinner. B/D
Day 14 - LONDON: After a leisurely breakfast we start the run south towards London. Once we arrive at our hotel in London, the time is yours to enjoy. B
Day 15 - LONDON: Today, after breakfast, your tour ends. B