Scenic rail journeys bring to life the history and wild, natural
beauty of Yorkshire and Northumbria on this wonderful 7-day tour.
Follow in Viking and Roman footsteps with visits to historic York,
Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne, and Alnwick Gardens before basking in
the verdant beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.
The spa town of Harrogate
Guided walking tour of York
Scenic rail journey on the North Yorkshire Moors Railroad
Journey to Carlisle on the famous Settle-Carlisle Railroad
Guided tour of Alnwick Gardens
Visit to Bamburgh Castle
Trip to Lindisfarne including a visit to the Priory
Our vacation begins as you arrive at your hotel in Harrogate, at
the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. We spend four nights here at the
Cedar Court hotel. One of England's most attractive towns,
Harrogate retains many Georgian and Victorian features including
its original spa buildings. After time to discover your new
surroundings, and to perhaps visit the famous Betty's Tea Rooms,
this evening we meet for dinner in the hotel.
Day 2 - Historic York
This morning, we travel by rail to York, which we discover on a
guided tour, seeing the incomparable Minster, one of Europe's
largest Gothic cathedrals. This stunning sandstone building is
covered in wonderful examples of Gothic architecture, and has stood
in its current position, as an icon of the York skyline, in one
form or another for the past 2,000 years. We also visit the
medieval Shambles, which has remained almost unchanged since the
Middle Ages. The narrow cobbled street is overlooked by a patchwork
variety of houses built in the traditional style of the time.
The rest of your day is at leisure to explore more of this
ancient Viking city. Perhaps visit the amazing National Railroad
Museum, which contains an incredible amount of locomotives from all
around the world - from a hospital train used in World War I to an
ultra-modern Japanese Shinkansen.
Day 3 - The North Yorkshire Moors Railroad
Today, board the coach for today's excursion to Whitby, one of
the east coast's most popular seaside resorts. On the way to this
iconic Yorkshire location, disembark at Goathland, better known as
'Aidensfield' in TV's Heartbeat. Your journey continues through
hidden valleys and open moorland as the coach makes its way to the
charming fishing port of Whitby. Crowned by its brooding Abbey, the
town is famous as the inspiration behind Bram Stoker's Dracula,
which incorporated local folklore to heighten the authenticity of
this spooky tale. Also known for its beautiful Whitby jet
jewellery, there are dozens of shops selling authentic jet
The older part of the town, located on the East Bank, is a maze
of narrow medieval streets with a rich history just waiting to be
explored, while the newer town is found on the opposite bank. Enjoy
your time and explore the charm of the quaint cobbled streets that
lead down to its handsome harbor. If you're feeling adventurous,
why not climb the 199 steps up to glorious Whitby Abbey? Here, you
can enjoy unimpeded panoramic views of the coastal town. And last
but not the least, Whitby is home to some of the UK's finest fish
and chip restaurants, which you have free time to sample before you
join the nostalgic North Yorkshire Moors Railroad for the return
journey by steam* railroad.
*Steam-hauled where possible.
Day 4 - Settle & Carlisle Line
Leaving Harrogate behind, today we travel on the famous
Settle-Carlisle Railroad. The 72-mile route is regularly voted one
of the world's top railroad journeys, and once we set off it is easy
to see why. Cross over the wonderful Ribblehead Viaduct that cuts
through the Yorkshire Dales and is overlooked by the mighty
Whernside. The line also skirts the North Pennines, designated an
Area of Natural Beauty for it's breathtaking examples of the glory
of nature. Once in Carlisle we transfer by rail to Hexham. On
arrival, we continue by coach to our hotel - the historic White
Swan Hotel in Alnwick.
Day 5 - Alnwick Gardens
This morning we enjoy a guided tour around the beautifully
landscaped Alnwick Gardens. The gardens are a vibrant haven where
magnificent architecture and lovingly-tended plants and flowers are
brought to life alongside a variety of water features. From large
fountains that rise in tiers in an elegant display one would expect
to see gracing the gardens of Versailles, to tiny little walled
gardens that are intimately calm in their beauty. There is also an
enormous wooden treehouse, looking to the world like a small castle
from a fairy tale, and the Poison Gardens to explore which feature
many 'deadly' plants. The huge iron gates bear a stern warning;
'These Plants Can Kill'.
Day 6 - Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne
Today we cross the wild Northumberland countryside to Bamburgh,
a scenic coastal town dominated by magnificent Bamburgh Castle,
which overlooks the gorgeous sandy coast. A fort of some kind has
been set on this strategic location since the 5th century, and
buildings have been risen and raised numerous times over the
generations. The current castle was restored during the 18th and
19th centuries, much to the pleasure of thousands of visitors to
the castle since then all those who've visited it.
We enjoy some free time here before continuing the famous island
of Lindisfarne. Often known simply as 'Holy Island', this remote
spot has been inhabited since the 6th century. As an important
center of Christianity in Celtic Britain, it was invaded and
ransacked by the Vikings during the early years of their English
invasions. Now the island is home to both ruins and castles and is
a truly spectacular place to spend our last afternoon. We are
treated to a tasting of local mead before we return to the hotel
for a farewell dinner to celebrate the last night of our
Please note that due to tidal variance, the time of the
visit to Lindisfarne is subject to change.
Day 7 - The journey home
After breakfast in the hotel, we transfer to Alnmouth station
where we join the LNER rail service back to York (First Class).
From here, you can continue to Harrogate if you would prefer. You
are then free to depart at leisure.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature
the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown
We recommend that for this tour you arrange flights to and from
Manchester Airport (MAN), which is approximately 70 miles from your
base in Harrogate or approximately 83 miles from York if you decide
to end your tour here.
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.
Problems with rail travel on several occasions; cancelled and late trains and Great Rail did not book seats on the travel from home to Leeds
Submitted Sep 06, 2019
Marred by poor food in Harrogate hotel
Submitted Aug 28, 2019
Very enjoyable well balanced program.
Submitted Aug 27, 2019
I would have liked more info in the brochure about the very early starts on two of the days. Once I'd done my own research, having got the tour booklet giving times of trains, but not the leaving times of the connecting coach, I realised that we needed to be having breakfast around 6.45 am or 6.30 am. Even though I'm an early riser, I did find this quite difficult.
Mr R Le Cornu
Submitted Jul 30, 2019
the tour was interesting and the hotels were good with good food.
Submitted Jul 27, 2019
Excellent vacation with very good excursions and free time.