Accompanied by a local guide, experience the very best of seductive southwest England.
Some of the UK’s most evocative locations await on this new-for-2023 small-group guided rail tour. Arrive in the classic city of Bath, home to millennia of enthralling history and some of the country’s most elegant architecture. Experience Stonehenge and the secret corners of Somerset on a day-long private tour, then head south by rail to coastal Devon, for a ride along one of the UK’s best steam railways between Dartmouth and Kingswear. Stay in a stunning castle hotel in the middle of dramatic Dartmoor before a visit to the historic ocean city of Plymouth on your way to captivating St Ives, from where you’ll explore some of Cornwall’s most bewitching landmarks, including Land’s End, Mousehole and St Michael’s Mount.
With a maximum of 15 passengers per group, you can be sure of highly personal service from your knowledgeable, local tour leader on this carefully-designed McKinlay Kidd small-group rail tour. Early booking is strongly advised as places are strictly limited.
Operated by: McKinlay Kidd
A UK Small Group Rail Tour.
|Prices from||AUD$4,113.00 per person twin/double share|
This tour begins in the city of Bath with two nights in a hotel near the centre, followed by one night in a castle-style hotel in Dartmoor and three nights in St Ives.
Day One – Meet and Greet in Bath
Bath is a simple city to reach via rail, even if arriving by air from outside the UK. We’ll be delighted to help with your travel plans.
Today you check in to your hotel just 10-minutes’ walk from the Roman Baths. Perhaps arrive early and make a day of it, discovering a little of the city under your own steam. In the evening, meet your tour leader and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner at the hotel, a chance to get to know one another before a fun week together.
Your Accommodation in Bath
On one of Bath’s classic tree-lined avenues, in a peaceful residential area, your accommodation in Bath is a colourful and stylish hotel enjoying views of the Abbey and across Bath’s famous rugby ground. There’s an arty feel throughout, with a bold palette contributing to the cheerful feel to rooms and lounging areas.
There’s a tempting range of dining, too, whether on the terrace or in the Alpine-style lodge, with local, seasonal and fresh produce front and centre.
Day Two – Stonehenge and the Secret Corners of Somerset
Take a hearty breakfast this morning in preparation for a full day out. You’ll enjoy travel by private coach, alongside an expert local guide, heading first for Salisbury Plain and legendary Stonehenge.
The story of these world-famous mystical stones is brought to life by your guide, and you’ll have time to take a moment or two’s contemplation to yourself. Onward, settle into a journey through hidden Somerset, away from the tourist trail.
This is a corner of lush landscapes, mediaeval ruins, country gardens and ancient architecture; at a relaxed place, take in classic villages and lunch at leisure in a 14th-century hostelry.
You’ll be back in Bath by late afternoon, perhaps in time for a refreshment in one of the city’s ancient pubs or tea-rooms, and dinner at leisure in the evening.
Day Three – A Day on the Devon Rails
Breakfast at your hotel before waving goodbye to Bath as you board the train to the south Devon coast. The journey wends its way to Bristol, around the Mendips to the Somerset coast, skirting the Blackdown Hills and spearing through Exeter on the way to Paignton.
You’ll be relieved of luggage at Paignton and have an hour or so to take lunch, then embark on one of this trip’s highlights as you board the fabulous classic rolling-stock of Dartmouth Steam Railway.
This wonderful railway steams its way along the gorgeous coastline of Torbay, past pastel-painted beach huts and golden sand, across Victorian viaducts through rolling Devon countryside and overlooking the River Dart, to the village of Kingswear.
At Kingswear, board the ferry for the short crossing to the glorious hillside town of Dartmouth. Rich in maritime and industrial heritage, picturesque Dartmouth features galleries, gardens, riverside architecture and the world’s first operating steam engine, still running to this day at the town’s visitor centre. You might wish to treat yourself to some irresistible Devon ice-cream along the way.
Returning by ferry to Kingswear and steaming back to Paignton, you’ll be met by private coach (containing your luggage) and transferred to the heart of Dartmoor and your castle hotel for the night.
Your Accommodation in Dartmoor
Opened by Great Western Railways in 1930 as a hotel and golf resort, today this imposing castle delights guests with its jaw-dropping setting amidst 275 acres of rich parkland, as well as its inviting bedrooms, award-winning dining and attentive service. You’ll enjoy dinner here alongside your fellow travellers and guide, before a restful night in your castle-style room.
Day Four – Dartmoor, Plymouth and Onwards to Cornwall
After breakfast overlooking the castle’s rolling grounds, board your private coach and travel south amidst the tors, bogs and granite of glorious Dartmoor. This uniquely rugged, intimidating landscape, home to deep river valleys and enthralling wildlife, never fails to leave its mark on visitors. There’ll be plenty of photo stops along the way, as you spear through the moor on your way to ‘Britain’s Ocean City,’ Plymouth. Here, pay a visit to The Box, the southwest’s award-winning, recently created museum, art gallery and archive, featuring permanent collection and installations as well as world-class visiting exhibitions.
Take lunch here, then board the train at Plymouth, rising away from Devon and across the length of Cornwall bound for Britain’s southernmost station: Penzance. Here, you’re met by coach and transferred the short distance to your fine clifftop hotel at St Ives.
Your Hotel in St Ives
Perched in a commanding position overlooking town, your hotel in St Ives enjoys stupendous views of the golden ribbon of Porthminster Beach, the rooftops of the town itself, St Ives Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Rooms are calming and bright, with ocean blue and gleaming white continuing a nautical theme that starts in the lobby. As well as a colourful restaurant, from which you can view fisherfolk who supply the menu’s fine seafood, there’s a beachfront spa featuring a heated pool and the opportunity to soothe away any lingering knots.
Day Five – Uncover the Cornish Coast
Drink in those heartstopping views over breakfast, before boarding your private coach on a voyage of discovery around the coast of Cornwall. You’ll visit some richly evocative locations, including hidden smugglers’ coves, snaggly outcrops and abandoned tin mines. Along the way, enjoy a visit to England’s westernmost point at Land’s End, incredible cliffside Minack Theatre and Porthcurno, as well as the classic Cornish village of Mousehole. Later, traverse the causeway (or take the little boat) to St Michael’s Mount, to clamber its castle and explore this tiny, atmospheric tidal island. Return to your accommodation by late afternoon and take dinner at leisure, either at the hotel or at one of any number of great spots in St Ives.
Day Six – Stroll and Relax in St Ives
A more relaxed timetable today; in the morning, get to know some of the secrets of St Ives on a guided walking tour. Stroll the tangle of cobbled streets and discover the history of industry and intrigue that emanates from every brick and corner. Hear about the many artists and historic figures who’ve made this jewel of a place their home, before taking the rest of the day to yourself. Perhaps enjoy a little shopping, lunch at a classic inn, a visit to world-class Tate St Ives or a laze on the beach, before joining your guide and fellow travellers for a farewell dinner at your hotel.
Day Seven – Onward Journey Home
Travel the short distance to Penzance station by coach in time to catch your train. We’ve assumed travel back to London but for a surcharge will be happy to assist with your specific onward plans.
AUD$4,440 per person sharing a double/twin room in September and AUD$4,113 per person in October.
The supplement for a single traveller is AUD$1,792, based on single occupancy of double/twin rooms.
The price per person includes:
- Six nights’ bed and breakfast in hand-picked four- and five-star hotels.
- One welcome dinner in Bath, one farewell dinner in St Ives.
- A private guided coach tour of Somerset.
- Train travel from Bath to Paignton, Plymouth to Penzance and Penzance to London. (Let us know where you wish to travel to and we can help with arrangements and advise of any change to your holiday price).
- Return trip on the Dartmouth Steam Railway and return ferry from Kingswear to Dartmouth.
- Coach travel from Paignton to Dartmoor, Dartmoor to Plymouth and Penzance to St Ives return.
- A private guided coach tour of Cornwall.
- Entry to St Michael’s Mount.
- A private guide walking tour of St Ives.
- The services of McKinlay Kidd’s tour leader, accompanying the group and providing expert guiding and assistance throughout.
- Transfers as described.
- Meals other than those described above
- Gratuities and tips
All accommodation is carefully-selected and researched by us; contact us for more detailed information. We will do our best to accommodate room preferences subject to availability at individual properties. This tour will operate with a minimum of four and maximum of 15 passengers on each departure date.
Limited to only 15 guests per departure – hurry – BOOK NOW!
24 Sep 2023 – Open for booking
08 Oct 2023 – Open for booking
For a quote or to make a reservation please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org