Day 1 Saturday 27 July, 2019 Departure
This morning we depart on our flight to Glasgow.
Day 2 Sunday 28 July, 2019 Oban, Scotland
This morning we arrive in Glasgow. After clearing customs we board our luxury coach and travel into the western highlands of Scotland.
Day 3 Monday 29 July, 2019 Aviemore, Scotland
Today Ian will take you on the Jacobite Steam rail journey from Fort William to Mallaig. One of the greatest railway journeys in the world, we travel along the Glenfinnan viaduct famous from the Harry Potter films. We continue north near the coast from where, on a clear summer’s day, we can see the “Small Isles” of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and the southern tip of Skye. We take the return journey on the train to Fort William before travelling to Aviemore.
Day 4 Tuesday 30 July, 2019 Aviemore
We will be taken back in time today to a ten mile-long 1950s branch line between Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill where, remarkably, little has changed since 1863 when the Victorians brought a railway to this splendid area of the Highlands. Later we travel to Dufftown, to ride the Keith & Dufftown Railway (The Whisky Line), a heritage railway running for 11 miles from Dufftown railway station to Keith Town via Drummuir. Originally part of the former Great North of Scotland Railway line linking Aberdeen with Elgin, the line, reopened by volunteers during 2000 and 2001, passes through some of Scotland’s most picturesque scenery, with forest and farmland, lochs and glens, castles and distilleries.
Day 5 Wednesday 31 July, 2019 York, England
This morning we will travel by train from Aviemore to York. Upon arrival we are transferred to our city hotel. Enjoy the scenery of Scotland and England as we travel to Edinburgh and then on to York.
Day 6 Thursday 1 August, 2019 York
This morning Ian will take you to visit the National Railway Museum with a collection that has been built up over the past 80 years. It has over 100 locomotives and nearly 200 other items of rolling stock, telling the story of the railway from the early 19th century to today. The rest of the day will be free for independent sightseeing.
Day 7 Friday 2 August 2019 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Today we take the train to London where we connect with the Eurostar to Amsterdam that travels through the Channel Tunnel. On arrival we will be transferred to our hotel.
Day 8 Saturday 3 August, 2019 Amsterdam
Today we will travel to Hoorn to ride on the Hoorn–Medemblik heritage railway, operated by the Museumstoomtram Hoorn Medemblik, a distance of about 12 miles. The engine whistles and the fireman shovels coal into the firebox. Wooden partitions creak, wheels sing and steam hisses. You will experience a story from a different era. Between the historic Zuiderzee towns of Hoorn, Medemblik and Enkhuizen, steam trams meander from village to village across the Westfrisian.
Day 9 Sunday 4 August, 2019 Amsterdam/Embarkation
This morning we enjoy a city canal cruise of Amsterdam with fantastic views of the 17th-century buildings lining the canals. We will then transfer to the port to board MS Rotterdam for our voyage around the British Isles.
Day 10 Monday 5 August, 2019 At sea
A day at sea to relax, explore and enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon join Ian for a talk about railways.
Day 11 Tuesday 6 August, 2019 Portland, England
Portland is not really an island but is reached over a narrow causeway from Chesil Beach. It is a huge block of limestone, measuring 4.5 miles by 1.75 miles and rising to a height of 400 feet above sea level in the north. The famous Portland Stone quarried here has been used for many well-known buildings. These include both St Paul’s Cathedral and the United Nations Building in New York. On arrival we travel to Taunton to travel on the West Somerset Railway, the longest heritage line in the United Kingdom. The line is situated four miles outside the county town of Taunton, starting at Bishops Lydeard and finishing at Minehead. The line meanders through the Quantock Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and along the Bristol Channel coast. There are 10 stations along the line, each having something different to offer. There are various historic sites, including Crowcombe Heathfield station, the location for the filming of the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night and scenes from The Land Girls.
Day 12 Wednesday 7 August, 2019 St Peter Port, Guernsey
This morning we arrive at St Peter Port, Guernsey’s main town, built into a steep valley leading down to the harbour, with spectacular views across to Alderney and the other islands. We have a comprehensive sightseeing tour of the island to see the delightful rural and coastal scenery. The granite buildings now occupied by shops were once the homes of the town’s wealthy and the High Street still has its original cobbles. The town was put on the map in 1855 when Victor Hugo, exiled from France, made his home at Hauteville House and where he wrote Les Miserables.
Day 13 Thursday 8 August, 2019 Falmouth, England
Today we travel to Launceston, to travel on the Launceston Steam Railway, which links the historic Cornish town with the hamlet of Newmills, running for two and a half miles through the glorious Kensey Valley, along the trackbed of the old North Cornwall Railway, where express trains from London Waterloo once thundered along. We then travel on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, originally part of the Cornwall Railway opened between Plymouth and Truro in 1859. It had a station at Bodmin Road and became part of the Great Western Railway in 1876.
Day 14 Friday 9 August, 2019 Ilfracombe, England
Today we travel on the South Devon Railway, the longest established steam railway in the south west of England. The South Devon Railway, or SDR, is a seven mile former Great Western Railway branch line, built in 1872, which runs along the stunning valley of the River Dart between Buckfastleigh and Totnes (Riverside). This afternoon we travel on the The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, which operates a narrow gauge train at Woody Bay in beautiful Exmoor National Park.
Day 15 Saturday 10 August, 2019 Snowdon Railway
Arriving in Liverpool today we travel by coach to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the Welsh town with the longest name in the world. We will stop for photos before travelling to Llanberis, to ride on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Soon after the train leaves Llanberis station, the track crosses the first of two viaducts across the Afon Hwch river and a wonderful view of the waterfall plunging into the gorge below can be seen. As the train emerges onto open ground, we will have a first glimpse of the peak of Snowdon. The train starts climbing before one of the world’s great panoramas is finally revealed at the summit of Snowdon. We then return to Liverpool and the ship. One of the highlights of the tour!
Day 16 Sunday 11 August, 2019 Dublin, Ireland
Today we arrive at Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland and well known as being a place of friendliness and ‘craic’, and a city well over 1000 years-old. We are transferred to Heuston Station to board our train for Limerick on the west coast of Ireland. We have a sightseeing tour of the town before we board our train for the return trip to Dublin. Day 17 Monday 12 August, 2019 At sea A day at sea to relax, explore and enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. Join Ian this afternoon for a talk about trains and comedy.
Day 18 Tuesday 13 August, 2019 Portree, Isle of Skye
This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Isle of Skye. We will see the magical landscape of Fairy Glen the Old Man of Storr, a rocky pinnacle on Trotternish Ridge and the Cuillin Mountains. We then travel across the bridge to Kyle of Lochalsh on the Scottish mainland, for a spectacular train ride past lochs and mountains to one of the most scenic towns in Scotland, where we have some free time before returning by train to Kyle of Lochalsh and the ship.
Day 19 Wednesday 14 August, 2019 Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
Today we call into the Orkney Islands. Kirkwall, located on Mainland, the largest of the Orkney Islands. On our sightseeing tour today we will see the striking 12th-century sandstone Norse St Magnus’ Cathedral. We also see some Europe’s finest archaeological sites, including the 5,000-yearold chambered tomb of Maes Howe, the mysterious Standing Stones of Stenness and the Stone Age Ring of Brodgar. Touring around the island we also see the dramatic natural scenery including the rugged cliffs and the prolific birdlife.
Day 20 Thursday 15 August, 2019 Invergordon, Scotland
Today we take Britain’s most rural railway, the Far North Lines is run by Abellio Scotrail and connects Inverness with Thurso and Wick at the northern limits of the Highlands. The journey leads you through hundreds of miles of beautiful varied landscapes, from peatland bogs and minuscule hamlets to the gates of the magnificent Dunrobin Castle. We travel up to the town of Thurso on the North Coast of Scotland before returning to Invergordon and the ship. A fantastic day!
Day 21 Friday 16 August, 2019 Edinburgh, Scotland
Today we visit Edinburgh, the royal and ancient capital of Scotland. On our sightseeing tour we see the ancient Royal Mile with its cobbled streets forms the backbone of the medieval Old Town and leads from the Palace of Holyrood all the way to Edinburgh Castle. Later we will travel on the Borders Railway, the longest new domestic railway to be built in the UK for over 100 years. The 30 miles of track sees passenger trains running from Edinburgh, through Midlothian and into the Scottish Borders to Tweed Bank for the first time in almost half a century. This evening we transfer to the amazing Royal Edinburgh Tattoo held in the courtyard of Edinburgh Castle. A highlight of the trip!
Day 22 Saturday 17 August, 2019 At sea
A day to enjoy the facilities of the ship. This afternoon Ian will give a talk about trains.
Day 23 Sunday 18 August, 2019 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This morning we arrive in Amsterdam. After disembarking, we travel to the city where there will be time for some last-minute shopping or sightseeing before we are transferred to the airport to board flight back to Australia.
Day 24 Monday 19 August, 2019 Arrive Australia
The tour group arrives in Australia and the tour concludes.