You will be met on arrival into Edinburgh at either the International Airport or Edinburgh Waverley railway station.
Transfer is to the five-star Balmoral Hotel located in the centre of Edinburgh close to the Castle and other attractions. It is also the location for our welcome dinner and a night’s stay before departure.
We gather at the Balmoral for a glass of champagne before being escorted by a piper to the train at Edinburgh Waverley station. Tornado will be at the head of the Royal Scotsman carriages, the attendants welcoming us on board.
We steam out of Edinburgh and head for the highlands, crossing the famous Forth Bridge as we take lunch and then skirt along the coast and cross the river Tay into Dundee. After traversing the cliff tops we descend into Aberdeen and then head through North East Scotland to Nairn.
We take a short coach trip to 14th century Cawdor Castle, inspiration for Shakespeare's Macbeth, where we have a private dinner hosted by Lady Cawdor. At the end of the evening we return to the train for the night.
Our day begins with breakfast on board and then we have excursions to Fort George and Culloden, scene of the major battle that ended the last Jacobite uprising in 1745.
Lunch is on board as we travel over the Highland Mainline to Aviemore and the Strathspey Railway. Here we take a vintage train to the end of the private railway and enjoy a tour of the J&G Grant's Glenfarclas Distillery followed by a whisky tasting and dinner hosted by company Chairman, John Grant.
We depart at breakfast time, Tornado hauling us south through the magnificent highland scenery. We pause at Stirling for a visit to the castle or Wallace Monument, and we re-join the train for lunch as we journey to Edinburgh.
The afternoon is available to explore the city before a private visit to Edinburgh Castle and dinner. We then join the train for a night cap and a journey through the night steam-hauled, a rare treat.
We awake to breakfast journeying along the Settle and Carlisle Railway, a masterpiece of engineering over the roof of England as we journey to the City of Chester, a significant border city between England and Wales. Founded as a Roman fortress, from the preserved amphitheatre to the imposing Cathedral, Chester’s rich history is apparent to all who visit the ancient walled city.
Arriving after lunch, we have time to explore Chester before we take a private dinner and wine tasting at the magnificent Peckforton Castle.
Our day today is spent in Wales. Starting from Llandudno Junction Station we take the beautifully scenic branch to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Here our locomotive is 46100 Royal Scot, a type regularly seen in North Wales. At Blaenau we take an historic narrow gauge train to Porthmadog on the Cambrian Coast.
There is time to explore or visit the workshops at Boston Lodge before a take a journey over the stunningly scenic Welsh Highland Railway through the Aberglasyn Pass and onto Caernarfon. We take a short coach stop to Holyhead and join our train with Royal Scot at the head.
We take dinner as we steam along the coast and back towards England.
We head south along the English and Welsh Border with Tornado again at the head of our train. We are heading for the historic spa city of Bath, where there is time to explore the Roman Baths, magnificent Georgian architecture or take a traditional afternoon English tea.
We take dinner on the train as we head for Somerset, where we will stay overnight on the private West Somerset Railway.
After our stay in Somerset we will explore Exmoor before joining our train to travel west along Brunel’s Great Western Railway, including the famous sea wall at Dawlish and the Royal Albert Bridge over the River Tamar at Saltash. We pass through Devon and Cornwall with King Class Locomotive 6024 King Edward I assisting Tornado over the challenging terrain to Penzance.
We retire for the evening and take dinner at our hotel in picturesque St Ives.
The county of Cornwall is rightly regarded as a treasure and there are options to explore the the beautiful and historic St Michael's Mount, explore the many galleries or visit the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, dedicated to Trans-Atlantic cable communications.
In the evening we will enjoy dinner at one of the finest restaurants in Cornwall.
Our return through Cornwall includes a visit to the beautiful branch line to Fowey, a rare treat with steam and still used today for China Clay traffic.
Once back into Devon, we again pass along the sea wall at Dawlish. After a circular tour through Somerset and the city of Bristol, we arrive at Yeovil where we spend the evening, enjoying a sumptuous meal aboard the train.
We journey through the picturesque Dorset and Wiltshire countryside as we head for Salisbury, with its stunning cathedral and historic streets. There is time to explore, or perhaps visit Stonehenge.
We take lunch on the move before a short coach connection precedes an afternoon in Oxford, ‘the City of Dreaming Spires’. Here there is much history to soak up, as well as visiting the University and the Ashmolean Museum.
After our visit to Oxford we take dinner as we travel onto Worcestershire and then via Kidderminster to the Severn Valley Railway.
For early risers there is a chance to visit the substantial steam shed and workshops at Bridgnorth before taking breakfast as we traverse the Severn Valley Railway, resplendent in its autumn colours. Our destination is York, former capital of England, and we make our way via the beautiful Peak District.
York is one of England’s most popular historic cities and is renowned for its exquisite architecture. The city is tightly packed inside ancient city walls and is easy to navigate by foot. York’s impressive Gothic cathedral, York Minster, dominates the skyline and there are many wonderful museums, including the National Railway Museum, Jorvik and the York Castle Museum. The tangles of quaint cobbled streets at York’s heart are full of unusual shops, gourmet cafes and street entertainers, and almost all of the buildings are Medieval, Victorian or Georgian.
On our last evening together we will enjoy a private dinner at the National Railway Museum, enjoying fine dining seated among the steam giants of the past. Our train berths for the night on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, right in the cradle of the railways and where the public passenger railway began.
After breakfast we take time to explore the museum in the former Stockton and Darlington North Road station and see Locomotion No1, the very locomotive that almost 200 years ago hauled the first public train. We also take the time to visit the workshop where Tornado was built and check on progress on P2 Class 2007 Prince of Wales.
Our journey is then along the East Coast Main Line, including running right along the cliff edge as we enter Scotland. A fabulous lunch will be served on board before we arrive back into Edinburgh. We then transfer to the Balmoral Hotel for our farewell dinner and overnight stay.
For your departure, transfers will be arranged to Edinburgh Waverley station or to the International Airport.
If you wish to add extra days to your stay in Edinburgh, or wish to take a different travel option, we will be very pleased to help with those arrangements.