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Escorted Rail Tours to Utrecht

A vibrant Netherlands city of medieval masonry, museums and modern malls

Although settlements in the area can be traced to the Stone Age, Utrecht, like so many cities, rose to prominence with the arrival of the Romans who built a fort near the banks of the River Rhine around which a settlement grew. Remains of the original Roman city wall can still be seen today.

By the twelfth century Utrecht had become an important centre for trade thanks to its position on the Rhine, and was granted city status in 1122. Many of Utrecht's most historic buildings, and particularly churches and the city's magnificent Gothic cathedral date from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and form what is now known as the city's Medieval Centre.

This is where Utrecht's almost unique inner-city wharf can be found, on the Oudegracht Canal which runs through the heart of the city. Today the ancient merchant's storehouses have been converted into shops, restaurants and cafes with attractive canal-side terraces.

Whilst admiring Utrecht's outstanding architecture - both historic and modern - and exploring its many museums are fine ways to pass time in the city there is plenty more to see and do. Hiring a bicycle offers an enjoyable means of exploring this vibrant and colourful university city, and for many visitors an open-topped boat cruise along the picturesque canal is a must.

Utrecht's sights and attractions

St Martin's Cathedral
The construction, in the Dutch-Gothic style of St Martin's Cathedral (also known as the Dom Church) began in 1284 and ended in 1520. Its separate bell tower, the 112 metre tall Domtoren is the tallest in the Netherlands and can be climbed to obtain spectacular views, with the distant cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam visible on clear days.

Utrecht's historic split-level canal system (street level and canal level) is both hugely picturesque and fascinating to explore whether on foot - the old part of the city is largely pedestrianised, or from the water itself where boat-trips and water-bicycles can be obtained.

The Rietveld-Schröderhuis, built in 1924 by Utrecht architect Gerrit Rietveld is a UNESCO-listed site and a remarkable building. Constructed in the contemporary and abstract De Stijl architectural style, which dictates only the use of primary colours, squares, rectangles and straight lines, Rietveld-Schröderhuis is an avant-garde architectural curiosity.

Fort Hoofddijk Botanic Gardens
Fort Hoofddijk, part of the campus of the University of Utrecht, features beautiful botanic gardens where visitors may admire more than six thousand different species of plants and flowers, collected over 350 years. Highlights include a ten-metre high Alpine rock garden and waterfall, and a collection of plants from the rainforests of South America.

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Tulips CruiseTulips Cruise

Five-Star Tulips Cruise

Discover the magnificent floral displays of the Keukenhof Gardens and enjoy a talk onboard ship from television personality Charlie Dimmock on this wonderfully diverse cruise on the enchanting Belgian and Dutch waterways. 

On this tour we uncover the beautiful historic cities of Amsterdam, Ghent and Antwerp as well as the Battlefields of Ypres, the spectacular Keukenhof tulips and the Hoorn-Medemblik steam train. We also enjoy a talk from army veteran and battlefields expert Colonel Piers Storie-Pugh OBE on this memorable river cruise.

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8 days from £1,395 pp

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