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Grand Tour of the UK

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4.5 stars(6 reviews)
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Experience the very best of the UK

12 days From £2,595 per person

2023 Tour code: UKS23

About the tour

Imbued with centuries of history and culture, the United Kingdom has some of the most rewarding places in the world to explore by train. We discover the length and breadth of Britain, experiencing ancient attractions, modern cities, and wild landscapes.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - York

Our holiday begins as we meet at our hotel in the historic city of York. Enjoy some time to settle in, and maybe begin exploring, before dinner at our hotel.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – York and Edinburgh

We discover more about the long and fascinating history of York today on a guided walking tour. We see the iconic Minster, one of Europe's largest Gothic cathedrals, and visit the Shambles, a quaint, cobbled street lined with overhanging timber-framed buildings, that is virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages. With free time to explore you could visit the Yorkshire Museum and the ruins of St Mary's Abbey, the city Art Gallery or the fascinating Railway Museum. Later, we take the train to Edinburgh, our base for two nights. We're welcomed in true Scottish style, with a Great Scot's Dinner experience.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Edinburgh

We head out on a guided tour of Edinburgh, taking in the city's main sights. Edinburgh's centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a wonderful melting pot of old and new, with an atmospheric, medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town. With a free afternoon you could visit the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, stroll through the wonderful Botanical Gardens or the Old Town, possibly stopping in a local pub or café for a bite to eat.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 – Fort William

We take the train to Glasgow, where we change and continue to historic Fort William, a delightful port town nestled within the mountains and hills of the highlands. We check into our hotel for the night, where we enjoy dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – The Jacobite

We enjoy a holiday highlight, a journey on the iconic Jacobite to Mallaig. Widely known as Scotland's most scenic railway journey, the train winds past quaint villages through dramatic landscapes of dense pine forests, rugged mountains and shimmering lochs. A highlight of the journey is the 19th-century Glenfinnan Viaduct, famous as the bridge which the Hogwarts Express crosses in the Harry Potter movies. We're free to explore in Mallaig before returning to Fort William by coach. Later, we take the train to Glasgow, where we spend the night.

*Please note: On some early departures, the Jacobite Steam Train may not operate, and we make this excursion on the Scotrail service.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Liverpool

Leaving Glasgow, we travel to Liverpool. A modern and welcoming city with a fantastic cultural heritage, Liverpool is a fascinating place to explore. We check into our hotel where we spend the next two nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 - Liverpool

We get to know Liverpool on a guided sightseeing tour of the city today. Liverpool is fondly regarded as the home of The Beatles, and we're introduced to this musical heritage on our tour, visiting the Cavern Club, known as the birthplace of the band, and Strawberry Field, immortalised in the hit 'Strawberry Fields Forever'. We also take in the Waterfront Pier Head, Penny Lane and the vibrant China Town. After our tour, you're free to explore. There are some incredible museums in Liverpool; you could immerse yourself in the city's maritime history at the Maritime Museum, where there's a fascinating exhibition on Titanic, or visit the World Museum where you'll find a range of historical artefacts. There's a choice of good restaurants for dinner too.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 8 – Bristol

We travel by train to Bristol, our base for the next two nights. An important sea trading port thanks to its location on the Severn Estuary, Bristol has evolved into a dynamic and cosmopolitan city.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Bath

We journey by rail to the historic spa city of Bath, known for its natural hot springs. This Georgian city has a wealth of architectural, cultural and historical heritage, and many eclectic shops, bars and restaurants. We embark on a guided tour, taking in the city's main sights, including the stunning Abbey, which dates back to 1611 and features exquisitely ornamented stonework. We also see the Royal Crescent, a famous semi-circular terrace that's one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in England.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 - Stonehenge and London

Leaving Bristol, we take a coach to the fantastic prehistoric standing stones of Stonehenge. One of the most impressive Bronze Age monuments in the country, this ring of standing stones has long mystified archaeologists. We continue to London, England's vibrant capital, where we spend two nights. Home to the British Royal Family and the Houses of Parliament, London holds a wealth of historical, cultural and artistic heritage.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 - London

Today we witness the Opening Ceremony at the Tower of London. We meet with a Yeoman Warder who gives us a short talk, before the ceremony and time to explore the famous landmark. Built in the 11th century, the Tower has been used as a prison and now houses the Crown Jewels. The rest of your day is free in the capital. You may like to visit one of the city's wonderful museums and galleries, such as the Natural History Museum, the National Gallery or the ever-popular British Museum, before dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 – Home

Our holiday comes to an end today and you're free to depart at your own pace.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Novotel Bristol Centre, Bristol

Novotel Bristol Centre, Bristol

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Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Radisson Blu Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Nevis Bank Inn

Nevis Bank Inn, Fort William

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Hotel Indigo, Glasgow

Hotel Indigo, Glasgow

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NH Kensington Hotel

NH Kensington Hotel, London

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The Malmaison, York

The Malmaison, York

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Trains

Jacobite Steam Train
West Highland Line

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

UK Rail Connections
London Hotels

Reviews

4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 6 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (3)
  2. 4 stars
    (3)
  3. 3 stars
    (0)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Leslie Blake

4 stars

Submitted 01 Oct 2021

The tour was good with excellent local guides, the tour manager Peter Scott had to deal with a number of setbacks very successfully including the Sunday train strike in Scotland and arranging for alternative transport. The only drawback was only staying in hotels for one night and moving on to the next phase, this proved to be quite tiring.

Collected by Trustpilot

Mrs L Janse

4 stars

Submitted 05 Oct 2018

There was just a little too much UK in 14 days. I looked forward to visitng Glasgow, but arriving n the evenimg and departing the next mornng diddn't give much time to do that.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs M Feaver

5 stars

Submitted 04 Oct 2018

Very well organised travel arrangements excellent tour guide very good we were impressed with it all

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr D Berry

5 stars

Submitted 16 Jun 2018

The holiday just flowed, everybody mixed, no problems with anything all down to wonderful work by tour manager Richard Hare

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs T Skeen

5 stars

Submitted 11 Oct 2017

The tour was a nice sample of all that there is to see. I knew I didn't have the time to really explore everything that could take months to do it the way I would want to. The tour was fun we had a great group of people and our tour manager Peter Scott was terrific. Taking care of every need and really bringing to life the history of each stop.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs T Skeen

4 stars

Submitted 06 Oct 2017

The tour guide Peter Scott was in my opinion the biggest reason the tour was such a great experience. The accommodations were very nice. I was very pleased with the tour we got to see a nice sample of the sights in the UK. The tour helped form a new bucket list of places I would like to go back to and spend more time in. Peter our tour manager was terrific he made sure we were all very happy and was a wonderful wealth of knowledge about the history of the UK.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

UK by Rail 2023

UK by Rail 2023

Your guide to our 2023 UK rail holidays.

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