Our latest Great Britain Tour is packed with magnificent steam highlights and transports you over iconic landscapes to cultural destinations hauled by classic British steam locomotives.
From London to Inverness, Glasgow to Cumbria and Central Wales to the idyllic South, the picturesque valleys, mountainous landscapes, fields, farms and rivers of the glorious British countryside are laid out for you to enjoy. From the superb comfort of your Premier or First Class carriage you can watch the world slip by while enjoying fine dining and elegant treats. With overnight stops in top class hotels to punctuate the story, the tale of your holiday will be one of great memories and wonderful highlights, truly an adventure not to be missed!
Saturday 29th April
North on the East Coast Main Line with 60103 'Flying Scotsman' and 60009 'Union of South Africa'
Your Grand Tour starts today with a fast run out of London King’s Cross as you head north up the East Coast Main Line (ECML) steam hauled by A3 Class Pacific No. 60103 'Flying Scotsman', recently returned to steam in June 2015 after a heavy overhaul. Your train will run non-stop as you pass through Stevenage, Peterborough and Doncaster to York, including the climb to Stoke Summit, where the A4 Pacific ‘Mallard’ achieved the world record for steam of 126 mph, when travelling south. Here the A4 Class Pacific No. 60009 'Union of South Africa' takes over the haulage for the rest of the trip. At Newcastle your locomotive stops to take on water before steaming on to Edinburgh Waverley Station via Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar. Tonight you stay at a comfortable hotel in Edinburgh.
Sunday 30th April
Over the Forth and Tay bridges to Inverness
You leave Edinburgh Waverley today hauled by A4 class Pacific steam locomotive No 60009 'Union of South Africa'. You’ll first cross the magnificent Forth Bridge, with superb views of the Firth of Forth, and follow the coast along the scenic Fife peninsula heading to Kircaldy. Further north The Lomond Hills are visible to the west as you pass through Ladybank and Cupar, before crossing the wide expanse of the Firth of Tay, on the famous Tay Bridge, and entering Dundee. Here the train reverses and heads west towards Perth, where you join the Highland Main Line. From Perth Union of South Africa is joined by 62005 'Lord of the Isles'. Passing through open fields, picturesque valleys, mountainous landscapes and remote villages, it’s one of the great railways of the UK. You’ll enjoy its mixture of single and double track running across the mighty Cairngorms, and travel over the magnificent Culloden Viaduct en route to your hotel in Inverness, capital of the Highlands, for the night.
Monday 1st May
Round trip to the Kyle of Lochalsh on the Far North and Kyle Lines
Today your train will be hauled by Peppercorn Class K1 No. 62005 Lord of the Isles steam locomotive as you travel initially on the Far North Line from Inverness, on the northernmost railway in the UK. The route runs westwards from Inverness, and pass over the Caledonian Canal on the Clachnaharry Swing Bridge. At Dingwall you take the largely single track Kyle line, passing through the dramatic Highland landscape. The route takes you beside various lochs, through farmland, dense forests, alongside craggy steep rock faces and over numerous streams. Along the way you will see 17 stations, including the one with the shortest platform in the UK! The locomotive stops at Achnashellach to take on water before you descend to the shores of Loch Carron and run close to the seashore to Kyle of Lochalsh. The village is located at the entrance to Loch Alsh and there are fine views across the loch to the centre of the Isle of Skye, a vista dominated by the mountainous Cuillins. The nearby Skye Bridge links the island to the mainland. You return to Inverness, hauled by the steam locomotive, and can then appreciate the wonderful Highland scenery from a different aspect. Overnight accommodation is at your Inverness hotel tonight.
Tuesday 2nd May
Inverness to Glasgow across the mighty Cairngorms
This morning your train leaves Inverness hauled by 60009 'Union of South Africa', assisted by 62005 to travel south over the Highland Main Line. The journey begins with the arduous climb of over 20 miles to the mountain pass at Slochd Summit (1,315ft) in the Cairngorms, the most gruelling ascent on the whole rail network. You then descend through Aviemore before starting the climb to Drumochter Summit, at 1,484 feet the highest in the UK and the main mountain pass between the northern and southern central Scottish Highlands The descent continues through the Highlands, passing Blair Athol and Pitlochry, and then follows the valley of the River Tay all the way south to Perth. At Perth 60009 'Union of South Africa' will continue without 62005 for the climb up to Gleneagles and Dunblane on the way to Glasgow. There are fine views of Stirling Castle here after you pass through Bridge of Allan. You continue south to Glasgow for your hotel and overnight accommodation.
Wednesday 3rd May
Optional excursion to Fort William and the magical west coast of Scotland
Today you can have a fabulous excursion to Fort William, hauled by 62005. The journey takes you along the world-famous West Highland Line, and Scotland’s wild and wonderful west coast is yours to savour as you head toward the gateway to the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Leaving Glasgow, the urban landscape is quickly replaced by lush glens, soaring hills and tranquil, contemplative lochs. You’ll skirt along the banks of the River Clyde, passing Dumbarton and Helensburgh before following the Gare Loch to the town which bears its name. The route then turns inland again, travelling by Loch Long towards a rendezvous with the northern edges of Loch Lomond. You’ll be able to take in wonderful south-facing views across the water as you make the short hop to the north east and Crianlarich where the line divides. From Crianlarich there will be the option to travel to Oban by road coach or continue with the train steam hauled to Fort William. You return later diesel hauled to Glasgow and can enjoy the landscape once more.
Thursday 4th May
West Coast Mainline to the English Lake District
You leave Glasgow hauled by No. 46233 Duchess of Sutherland, a London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) Princess Coronation Class 4-6-2 Pacific-type steam locomotive built in 1938 by Crewe Works, and join the West Coast Main Line (WCML). After ascending to Carstairs you begin climbing up the Clyde Valley through the Southern Uplands, culminating in a steep gradient to Beattock Summit. You then descend through Lockerbie and Gretna Green before leaving Scotland and entering Cumbria, en route to Carlisle. On leaving Carlisle the route follows the valley of the River Petteril to Penrith and then climbs up to Shap Summit, the highest point on the WCMR from London to Glasgow, at 914 ft above sea level. The descent from Shap is through Tebay and along the idyllic Lune Gorge, before arrival at Oxenholme Lake District Station. Here you transfer to your hotel in Windermere for an overnight stay.
Friday 5th May
Steam-hauled through Central Wales to Bristol
After an early transfer from your hotel to Grange over sands you travel on the Furness Railway line across the north shore of Morecombe Bay, hauled by Jubilee Class steam locomotive No. 45690 'Leander'. Heading south through Carnforth and through Lancaster the train passes Preston and Wigan on its way to Warrington. From there it’s south to Frodsham, where your locomotive takes on water, then to Chester and across the river Dee to Wrexham. The rolling Welsh countryside flashes past as Shrewsbury, Leominster and Hereford are gained. There is a climb up Llanvihangel Summit to savour before Abergavenny, then the train continues to Pontypool and down the Welsh Marches. Your epic day of steam hauled travel ends via Newport and the Severn Tunnel before entering Bristol, where you will stay at a vibrant city hotel this evening.
Saturday 6th May
Double-headed steam on the Great Western Railway
You leave Bristol Temple Meads station heading for Bath double-headed by Royal Scot Class steam locomotive No. 46100 'Royal Scot' and West Country Class pacific loco, no 34046 Braunton on the Great Western Railway. The line follows the valley of the Avon then diverts south to Trowbridge and on to Westbury, nestled under the northwestern bluffs of Salisbury Plain. You cross the Somerset Levels en route to Taunton and then climb to Whiteball Summit before descending through the picturesque Culm Valley to Exeter. From Exeter the route runs to Truro via Plymouth. Overnight accommodation is in Cornwall this evening.
Sunday 7th May
Return to London via Taunton and Newbury
Today you transfer to Penzance and are again hauled by 46100 Royal Scot and 34046 Braunton back to Truro and on to St. Austell, once the centre of the china clay industry. You cross the River Tamar at Saltash and enter Devon and head south to Plymouth. Your train then leaves Plymouth and climbs Hemerdon Bank to Wrangaton Summit, crossing the southern edge of Dartmoor. You descend to Totnes and then climb Dainton Bank from the west, before the descent to Newton Abbot. The train runs beside the River Teign Estuary before hitting the scenic stretch along the sea wall to Dawlish, then up past the Exe estuary to Exeter. You leave Exeter and climb to Whiteball Summit, then race down Wellington Bank to Taunton. From Taunton your train heads to Bristol then via Swindon onto Reading before reaching Paddington and the end of your magnificent tour in the evening.
All prices shown are per person.
Tables for two can be guaranteed in Premier Class and First Class for a supplement of £185 per person (subject to availability).
Please note: The Oban tour is optional and priced per person.