Enjoy Christmas the heart of Yorkshire
Enjoy all the Christmas cheer that Yorkshire has to offer based in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate. This festive tour includes fantastic rail journeys, historic Ripley Castle, picturesque Fountains Abbey and the medieval city of York, adorned with seasonal decorations.
Make your way to the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, where your group and Tour Manager will be waiting to greet you before dinner together this evening.
Today we travel the short distance to nearby York. Steeped in history we discover more about this walled city as we meet our local guide for a fascinating walking tour around the major sights. Our guide shares their passion for the city as we pass the Minster - York's majestic Gothic cathedral - explore the charming cobbled streets of the Shambles and discover the city's incredible history. Following the tour the rest of your afternoon is free to continue exploring this fascinating city. Why not visit the wonderful National Railway Museum (free entry) where you can see exhibits such as a Japanese Bullet Train and a number of Royal carriages? Take in the view from Clifford's Tower or return to York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. Alternatively enjoy a stroll along the Shambles, regarded as one of the best preserved medieval streets in Europe.
Leaving Harrogate behind, today we head to Settle to join the famous Settle & Carlisle line. The 72-mile route is regularly voted one of the world's top railway journeys, and once we set off it is easy to see why. We climb quickly and travel through the dramatic Yorkshire Dales, past the backdrop of the mighty Three Peaks; Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. Here we cross the spectacular Ribblehead Viaduct, a true testament to Victorian engineering that carries us 104ft above the sweeping valley floor. After crossing the exposed Blea Moor, we head into Cumbria, passing through Dent station, which at 1150 ft is the highest mainline station in England. We continue through the rolling hills of the Eden Valley before arriving in Carlisle. Here you have time to explore and enjoy lunch in the charming border town, before returning along the beautiful railway.
Our excursion on Christmas Eve takes us to by coach to the 700-year-old Ripley Castle. Here we take a guided tour and learn about the colourful history of the Ingilby family, who are one of the oldest families in the country to still live in the same residence. Later we continue to Leeming Bar where we join the Wensleydale Railway. Enjoy a mince pie and warming mulled wine at your seat as we travel through the picturesque countryside of the Yorkshire Dales. For a heritage line, the Wensleydale Railway has had a unique history. The original route ran between Northallerton and Garsdale and was run by two different companies, opening in stages from 1848 to 1878. Both branches of the line were shut down before the infamous Beeching report, and the current section was reopened by a group who wanted to reinstate transport services, using vintage 1950s diesels. After our journey, we return to Harrogate by coach for dinner this evening.
On Christmas Day the emphasis is on food and relaxation. After a leisurely breakfast you are free to wander into Harrogate and along The Stray or visit Valley Gardens. Harrogate has beautiful parks and an abundance of historic buildings, that date back to the time when the town first rose to prominence thanks to its spa waters. We enjoy a full traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. Relax with a glass of sherry and some Christmas cake this afternoon before enjoying the rest of the day at leisure. This evening we enjoy a buffet together in the hotel.
Today we take a coach excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey. Set within a beautiful estate, the largest abbey ruins in the country host an annual candlelit carol service within the Cellarium. This spectacular vaulted room is the only part of the abbey with any ceiling remaining, and is adorned with candles for a beautiful, atmospheric carol service. Fountains Abbey, an area of outstanding natural beauty, boasts ten historic buildings, a water garden and visitor centre all within the grounds. You are free to explore these independently before we return to the hotel.
After breakfast our tour concludes and you are free to make your way to the airport for flight back home.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
For this tour, we recommend arriving into Leeds Bradford airport, which is approximately 12 miles from your first hotel or Manchester airport, which is approximately 70 miles from your first hotel. Our recommended departure airport is the Leeds Bradford airport, which is approximately 12 miles from your final hotel or Manchester airport, which is approximately 70 miles from your final hotel.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
You may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enjoy Christmas the heart of Yorkshire