Great Rail Journeys, the operator for escorted holidays by rail, has added five new British itineraries for 2010 to bring its choice of UK holidays to ten.
The first UK tour operated in 2008. “The reaction from long-standing customers was immediate,” says managing director Steve Kimber, “and the first departures were sold-out within weeks. As the weak pound makes holidaying at home more attractive, we’ve seen even greater demand this summer.”
The ultimate British holiday by rail is the new 14-day Land’s End to John O’Groats itinerary combining mainline services with branch and heritage lines to explore the country from Cornwall to the Highlands, with journey’s end in Edinburgh. There are four departures between May and October costing from £1,595 and the holiday includes rail travel from London, accommodation in three- and four-star hotels on a (mostly) half-board basis, a full programme of excursions and the services of a Tour Manager throughout.
Other new UK escorted tours are: a circular tour of Yorkshire & Northumberland with the North York Moors and Hadrian’s Wall highlights in an eight-day itinerary starting at £650; a five-day short break to the Edinburgh Tattoo including an evening performance and a West Highland Railway excursion to Fort William, from £395 – the 2010 programme lead-in price; a six-day holiday based in Stratford-upon-Avon from £475; a week-long tour of The English Lake District from £720.
Within Europe, new holidays include a 21-day tour of Scandinavia on the Grand Arctic Circle Explorer holiday. This ‘classic rail journey’ from London to Denmark, Sweden and Norway, crosses the Arctic Circle into Lapland and discovers the fjords by ferry and scenic rail, including the Flåm Railway. With three summer departures, the cost is £3,475.
The iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express joins the programme for the first time as the culmination of Great Rail Journeys’ nine-day, three-centre holiday taking in Paris, Milan and Venice. Guests will return from Venice on the legendary luxury train after an escorted holiday that also includes guided visits to the Louvre in Paris, La Scala in Milan and a tour of Venice by private boat. The holiday costs from £2,625.
The Danube Express also features for the first time, with three nights on Europe’s latest hotel-train included within a 12-day journey from London to Istanbul, including stays in Berlin, Prague and Budapest. This holiday costs from £2,950.
Other changes to the programme include new holidays in the Austrian Tyrol, a new walking itinerary and new rail-cruise holidays.
All holidays can be found online and in Great Rail Journeys’ European Holidays by Rail brochure for 2010.
With 87 different itineraries and departures between March and October, it is the most comprehensive programme on the market.