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Northern England's Industrial Revolution

(Tour code: NOH17)Delve into the north of England's industrial past

Delve into the north of England's past as an industrial powerhouse and understand the mechanisms behind its emergence during the Industrial Revolution. We see Saltaire, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and Beamish - as we paint a picture of England's steam-powered past.

Tour Highlights
  • Museum of Liverpool
  • Kittywake cruise from Wigan Pier
  • Saltaire
  • Quarry Bank Mill
  • Museum of Science & Industry
  • Settle to Carlisle Line
  • Beamish Museum
  • Cragside House and gardens
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Standard Class Rail
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
  • Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

On many of our UK & Ireland tours, 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.

Overview - The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was a turbulent yet exciting time in British history, which saw the introduction of machines and new manufacturing processes into the world of production.

Although sometimes controversial, the development of new technology, including steam-powered engines, the spinning jenny and the power loom, allowed for the mass production of goods and gradually led to the improvement of life and livelihood for the British population. This fascinating era also saw the rise of the locomotive, and with it, the beginnings of the British rail network. Although Britain has one of the oldest railways, with its first opened in 1825, it was the Industrial Revolution that spurred on a new wave of network development, allowing for easier transportation of goods for manufacturing.

Working and living conditions of the Industrial era can be see most clearly through Saltaire, a Victorian model village that transports visitors in time, and through its museum - offers guests and unique insight into this period of upheaval.

Day 1

Meet in Manchester

This afternoon, meet your Tour Manager in Manchester and check into the 4-Star Arora Hotel for a two night stay before enjoying a welcome dinner at the hotel's excellent restaurant.

  • Dinner
Albert Docks
Day 2

Museum of Liverpool & Kittywake Canal Cruise

Following breakfast at the hotel we enjoy our first excursion of the holiday, taking the coach to the Museum of Liverpool. This excellent museum set in a dockside location charts the history of Liverpool through various galleries and themes, the one most import to us is of course the Industrial Revolution themed exhibit, the Great Port. Here we learn how Liverpool transformed and evolved from a small tidal inlet of little significance to one of the world's biggest and most profitable ports, leading to the construction of the world's first wet dock in 1715. Other notable initiatives Liverpool ushered in with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution were early canals, the first timetabled passenger railway and the world's first electrified railway line.

The exhibit focuses on the development of Liverpool's dock system and its wider ranging impact on employment in the city and the implications it had for the city's infrastructure. It goes further to explore how the city itself expanded as a result of the Industrial Revolution and the expanding nature of world trade. Following our time at the museum we take the coach to Wigan Pier, an old coal landing station on the Liverpool Canal. On arrival we transfer to our Kittywake canal cruise boat for a cruise along the Liverpool Canal, a former artery in the industrial north of England. Before the explosion of Britain's railway network canals were an invaluable way to transport freight through inland waterways. While aboard our expert speaker will deliver her insight into the importance of industrial canals. After our cruise we transfer back to our hotel, where we enjoy dinner this evening.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Quarry Bank Mill
Day 3

Museum of Science & Industry

Today we begin with a visit to Manchester's popular Museum of Science and Industry. The museum is situated on the site of the world's first railway station, Manchester Liverpool Road - which opened in September 1830. The museum boasts some the world's leading exhibits showcasing development in industry and technology and features a number of aircraft and locomotives. We witness the mighty moving wheels of industry as the largest collection of working steam engines are powered up in a demonstration in the museum's Power Hall. A former railway transit shed, this well equipped space is now home to the museum's working locomotives and rolling stock, boasting one of the largest collections of steam engines in the world. We learn how energy is converted into raw power from the early waterwheel tot he mighty steam engine. Amongst the collection is the impressive 1907 McNaught Engine which powered Firgrove Mill in Rochdale. We also see a tremendous demonstration of how a textile mill worked, 150 years ago. We experience the deafening sounds of the mill machines under load, and understand what life was like for thousands of mill workers. We see how cotton is processed from its raw state into the finished product and how dangerous conditions would be commonplace for the employees, some as young as 5 years old. Later we visit Quarry Bank Mill in neighbouring Cheshire.

One of the best preserved textile mills of the Industrial Revolution, the mill is now a museum showcasing the history of the cotton industry. Built in 1784, the mill was powered by one of Europe's largest waterwheels. Our guest lecturer joins us for a tour and demonstration of this historic site. Learn the rich history of the industry and that of the Greg family; business owners of the cotton industry here. Explore the Apprentice House, which once was the home of the pauper children who completed the dangerous job of working the mill machinery. Following our time here we transfer back to our hotel for the evening, enjoying dinner together.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4


This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Saltaire Model Village. The model village is a self-contained community built in the late 18th century in and around an industrial factory, to provide housing and facilities for the workers. Saltaire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in 1851 by woollen industrialist Sir Titus Salt. As we make our way around the rows of terraced stone housing, we discover the impressive Congregational Church, which is Grade I listed and houses the remains of Sir Titus Salt and other family members within its mausoleum.

After lunch, we are provided with a talk on the history of Salt's Mill. The mill provided the main source of employment for the villagers of Saltaire. Upon its completion in the 18th century, it was the largest industrial building in the world by floor area. Now though, Salt's Mill provides a number of modern facilities, including an art gallery exhibiting the works of celebrated local artist David Hockney.

Later we travel on the famous Settle-Carlisle Railway. 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; Peny- Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. Here we cross the spectacular Ribblehead Viaduct, a true testament to Victorian engineering which carries us 104ft above the sweeping valley floor. After crossing the exposed Blea Moor, we emerge from a mile-long tunnel and pass through Dent station, which at 1150ft is the highest mainline station in England. We then head into Cumbria, passing through the lush, rolling hills of the Eden Valley before arriving in Carlisle. We then transfer by rail to Newcastle, checking into our hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Beamish Museum
Day 5

Beamish & Cragside House

Take a step back in time to 1913 today on a half-day excursion by coach to the living museum of Beamish. This worldfamous open air destination tells the story of what life was like in the north-east of England during the early nineteenth century. Your time here is at leisure and you are free to wander the impressively authentic replicas of The Town, Colliery and 'Rowley Station' for a fully interactive experience, set in 300 acres of stunning Durham countryside. Later we visit resplendent Cragside House, a Victorian country home that was the family home of Lord Armstrong, and was the first house to be powered purely by hydroelectricity.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Departure Day
Day 6

Departure day

Following breakfast at your hotel you are free to depart at your leisure.

  • Breakfast
Guest Speaker Emma Griffin
Guest Speaker

Emma Griffin

Having completed her studies in London and Cambridge, Emma is now a Professor of Modern Britain at the University of East Anglia. She is the proud author of multiple books of Industrial era Britian and has also presented a number of BBC Radio 4 documentaries on the subject. She most recently co-presented the More 4 historical series 'The Real Mill' alongside Tony Robinson.

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.

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