A classic Yorkshire Rail Tour…

Accompanied by a local guide, get under the skin of some of England’s most fascinating history and arresting landscapes.

Some two-thousand years of history takes hold during this new-for-2023, six-night guided tour. Starting in the bewitching walled city of York, take a tour of the ancient centre, visit the unforgettable Minster and the National Railway Museum. Skirt the Dales by rail on the way to Settle, and tour Herriot country, before heading north for a visit to Alnwick and a fabulous day on and around Hadrian’s Wall.

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

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Additional information

Prices fromAUD$3,136.00 per person twin/double share

07 May 2023 – Open for booking
09 Jul 2023 – Open for booking
03 Sep 2023 – Open for booking

Day One – Arrive in York and Marvel at the National Railway Museum

York 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.

Check into your hotel by the station and head straight for the National Railway Museum a few minutes’ walk away. Meet your guide and fellow travellers here for a tour of this celebration of locomotion and engineering, followed by afternoon tea in the restored rail carriage the Countess of York.

Your Accommodation in York

This grand Victorian station hotel allows you to step off the train, enter under cover, drop your bags and walk to the heart of the city within 10 minutes. Its sturdy sandstone exterior is beautifully complimented by the modern, recently made-over interior, all soft greys and plush carpets, with a touch of dazzle here and there. Rooms are decidedly cosseting, with well-equipped en-suites and plush bedding.

Dining is something of an event, whether fine- or brasserie-style, or even more casually in the bar

Day Two – Discovering Ancient York and the Minster

A packed programme today, taken at a relaxed tempo. Enjoy a fine breakfast, before meeting your local guide and setting off on an escorted walking tour of the heart of York. Clamber the remarkably intact city walls – some of the most complete in England, with Roman sections still in place – while hearing stories of York’s Viking and Roman origins, before a stroll along the mediaeval Shambles, the living relic of 14th-century city life.

Later, drink in the awe-inspiring Minster, whose roots stretch back to the 7th century. For even the non-believer it is a quite staggering display of several eras of architecture.

Take an hour or two at leisure, then enjoy dinner at your own pace this evening, either at your hotel or at any number of great spots within walking distance. Your tour leader will assist with recommendations and reservations.

Day Three – More of Ancient York, then Rail Around the Dales to Settle

After breakfast, stroll back across the river and ascend the steps of Clifford’s Tower, the dramatic keep of Norman York Castle, whose centuries of history include eras as gaol, garrison, folly garden and even cattle shed. Views of the city from its peak are unrivalled. Top off your visit to York with time at the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens, home to a superb collection of archaeological and geological exhibits, and Roman and mediaeval treasures. The gardens present a soothing idyll in the centre of the city, the wide array of plants set against the backdrop of the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey.

Take lunch at leisure then board the train at York and make your way first to Leeds then onward into the more rural Yorkshire Dales. Total journey time is under two hours to reach your next base, in the classic market town of Settle.

On the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, framed by the peak of Pen-y-Ghent and dramatic Castleberg Crag, Settle has been attracting intrepid outdoor-lovers for centuries. The town has skillfully retained its character, with stone-built shops, bars and cafes, and a beautifully preserved Victorian railway station.

Your Accommodation in Settle

Right in the centre of town, your accommodation in Settle is a characterful pub-with-rooms with roots stretching all the way back to the 17th century. You’ll find the warmest of Yorkshire welcomes in the traditional bar, log fire crackling on cooler days, the odd dog flopped in front after a long day on the Dales, with hearty food served in the restaurant and throughout the day in the sun-trap outdoor space. Rooms are modern and comfortable, recently treated to a stylish makeover.

Day Four – A Day of Discovery in the Dales

This morning you set off by private mini coach, heading away from Settle, taking a circular route around the Yorkshire Dales. First, pay a visit to Ribblehead Viaduct, one of Victorian Britain’s great engineering triumphs, with a fairly alarming story behind its construction. Wandering below its 24 towering arches is a genuinely exhilarating experience.

Continue the day travelling deep into Herriot country, amidst quintessential Yorkshire panoramas, on narrow country roads framed by ancient dry-stone walling, pitching and tumbling towards the archetypal Yorkshire village of Hawes. Placed like a honey-coloured jewel between Buttertubs and Fleet Moss, Hawes is one of England’s highest villages set 850 feet above sea-level. Home to 18th-century Gayle Mill and Hardraw Force Waterfall, it boasts an array of proudly independent shops and artisan cafes.

The treats continue as you enjoy time at the award-winning visitor centre at Wensleydale Creamery, home to the world-famous crumbly Yorkshire cheese. The interactive experience channels the thousand-year journey of cheese-making in the Dales. You’ll witness the craft of Wensleydale production from the cheese-making viewing gallery.

You’ll have the chance to take lunch here at in-house Calvert’s restaurant, before boarding your private coach for the journey back to Settle, perhaps via views of Buckden Pike and Malham Moor, arriving in time to spend an hour or two at leisure.

Day Five – Travel the famous Settle-Carlisle Line and on to visit Alnwick Castle

Back on the rails today after breakfast, returning to Settle station and all aboard the train, first to Carlisle. This is one of northern England’s great rail journeys, spearing north through Yorkshire Dales National Park and across Ribblehead viaduct, a wonderful opportunity to see this fabulous structure from the opposite perspective to yesterday’s visit. There’s a quick change at Carlisle where you join the Tyne Valley Line, heading in to Hadrian’s Wall country to complete the journey to Haydon Bridge, Northumberland. Here, you’ll be met by private coach and transferred through gentle countryside to the cobbled market town of Alnwick.

Take lunch at leisure, before a visit to Alnwick Castle, one of the UK’s largest inhabited castles, home to the Percy family for over 700 years. Recent exposure via the Harry Potter films and Downton Abbey has brought a renewed interest in this most fascinating ‘pile’.

Around Alnwick, take a stroll through the wonderful gardens, or lose yourself amid the miles of shelving at Barter Books, a superb bookshop carved from a disused railway station.

Alnwick explored, you’ll return by coach to your hotel in the Northumbrian village of Wark.

Your Accommodation in Northumberland

In the village of Wark on the west bank of the River North Tyne, your accommodation is a family-owned establishment blending traditional country pub, highly regarded restaurant and smart hotel. Here, you’ll find a genuine passion for ales, wine and locally sourced produce, alongside a commitment to making guests feel as welcome and at-home as possible.

Uniquely, the hotel features an on-sight observatory, and while here you’ll enjoy ‘Astronomy for Beginners’ stargazing, in the north of England’s Dark Sky Park. Let’s hope for a cloudless sky!

Day Six – Uncovering Roman History on Hadrian’s Wall

Arguably saving the best till last on this holiday, today you take a deep dive into the story of Roman Britain in the company of a superb local expert guide. The 73-mile-long structure of Hadrian’s Wall marks the boundary of Roman Britannia to the south and staunchly unconquered Caledonia to the north. The tale of its creation is in some ways a telling of the story of the Roman  Empire itself. You’ll explore remarkably intact sections, ruined forts and one or two of the remarkable museums that dot its length. You’ll have the option of lunch at a traditional inn along the way.

In the evening, return to your hotel for a farewell dinner with your fellow travellers and tour leader

Day Seven – Onward Journey Home

Enjoy a last leisurely breakfast. We will then transfer you the short distance to Haydon Bridge station this morning. Onward connections are good from here – please let us know if we can assist with specific bookings for your journey back.

AUD$3,136.00 per person sharing a double/twin room for departures in May, July & September.

The supplement for a single traveller is AUD$1,132.00, based on single occupancy of double/twin rooms.

The price per person includes:

  • Six nights’ bed and breakfast in hand-picked four-star hotels/inns.
  • Afternoon tea in York, farewell dinner in Northumberland.
  • A visit to the National Railway Museum, York Minster, Clifford’s Tower and Yorkshire Museum and Garden in York
  • A private guided walking tour of York
  • Train travel from York to Settle and Settle to Haydon Bridge via Carlisle
  • A private coach tour of the Yorkshire Dales
  • A visit to Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre
  • A private coach tour from Haydon Bridge to Alnwick and entry to Alnwick Castle
  • A stargazing evening in Northumberland
  • A private guided tour of Hadrian’s Wall and entry to two related museums
  • The services of McKinlay Kidd’s tour leader, accompanying the group and providing expert guiding and assistance throughout.
  • Transfers as described.

Not included:

  • Meals other than those described above
  • Drinks
  • 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. Inbound and outbound train-travel can be tailor-made to your requirements for a modest surcharge.

This tour will operate with a minimum of four and maximum of 15 passengers on each departure date.

Hadrian's Wall
Tour Map
Explore York