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Explore the diversity and history of England by train, visiting York, Hadrian's Wall, the Lake District, Chester, Penzance and Bath.
Featuring two UNESCO World Heritage sites and some of the country’s finest historical attractions, this carefully curated holiday gives a wonderful overview of the best that England has to offer. Traverse the English landscape by train, ride a steamer on Ullswater and enjoy guided excursions around Hadrian’s Wall, the Lake District, Penzance and Bath.
We’ve designed this tour of England by train to begin with a railway journey from London to York, though we can easily tailor-make this to suit you.
Whichever route you choose, you will arrive at one of the UK’s most atmospheric destinations.
Your Accommodation in York
Owned and run by a friendly family, your accommodation in York is a recently created guest house of rare quality and comfort set around 14 minutes’ walk from the Minster and an easy stroll from many of the city’s main attractions.
The walled City of York, set at the confluence of Rivers Ouse and Foss, has seen major political events played out on its doorstep over its entire 2000-year existence. From ecclesiastical powerhouse, to industrial hub, to major tourist attraction – visitors flock here from all over the world, drawn by a rich heritage. The jaw-dropping gothic Minster provides an impressive centrepiece to the city.
While here, you’ll enjoy use of a York Pass, allowing entry to all of York’s major attractions and alleviating the need to queue for tickets at each. We’ll also include our own tips and recommendations to help you make the most of your time.
On a train journey of just over two hours, you’ll traverse some of northern England’s finest scenery, emerging from North Yorkshire into Northumberland, skirting the North Pennines and arriving at the village of Haydon Bridge.
Your Accommodation in Haydon Bridge
Conveniently placed within walking distance of the railway station, your guest house in Haydon Bridge is a cosy and inviting residence of endless appeal. This family-owned spot features simply adorned, comfortable rooms, while the traditional breakfast, served unhurried in the charming dining room, provides all the zip you need to get the most from your morning.
This morning you’ll be met after breakfast by our specially chosen local guide and taken on a full-day tour of Hadrian’s Wall. Stretching 73 miles across the northern tip of England, Hadrian’s Wall is the largest Roman artefact in existence – too big to tackle without insider knowledge. You’ll be guided by a friendly and knowledgeable local and taken to the most significant points of the wall.
A fairly short train journey this morning, from Haydon Bridge to Penrith, gateway to the north lakes. Arriving at Penrith, you’ll be met by private transfer and dropped at your hotel in an evocative and historic village on Ullswater.
Ullswater is one of our favourite spots in the Lake District. In the shadow of Helvellyn, England’s third-highest peak, Ullswater is regarded by many as the most beautiful of the lakes, and who are we to argue? Stretching for nine miles, surrounded by classic English countryside and ancient settlements, Ullswater is the best of the Lake District in miniature, and a place to which we never tire of returning.
Your Hotel by Ullswater
Set within one of the Lake District’s most historic villages, your hotel on Ullswater has been a part of village life since mid-Victorian times, variously blacksmith’s workshop, post office and now a stylish and comfortable, family-owned residence with acclaimed bistro-style restaurant and popular bar. The rooms have touches of the surrounding nature about them, with individually styled timber details complimenting the modern beds and bathrooms.
This morning you’ll be met at your hotel and taken on a private guided tour of the best of the Lake District with our specially chosen, local driver-guide. Gorgeous towns and villages, dramatic scenery, twisting mountain passes and a stop for lunch at a country inn all make for a terrific day out.
This morning, enjoy a terrific breakfast before taking a short stroll to the lakeside and boarding a classic Ullswater steam vessel for what could be, if you wish, a whole day on and around the lake. Bring your walking boots, and a packed lunch (available at your hotel) and hop on and off the boat as much as you wish at any of its four stopping points around the lake, or simply stay put on the boat and enjoy the scenic sail around this most beautiful part of the Lake District.
Your tour of England by train turns south today. Transfer back to Penrith station this morning and catch a train to your next base, the historic and picturesque city of Chester, which is sure to tempt you back for future visits time and time again.
Your Accommodation in Chester
Your hotel in Chester is a fairly new purpose-built property on the edge of the city centre, overlooking the famous racecourse.
The alluring rooms are stylishly furnished and feature large windows with views over the city. Dining here is something of an event, especially in the fifth-floor, fine-dining brasserie, while more casual fare can be enjoyed in the ground-floor bar.
Founded as a Roman fortress in the first century AD, and enclosed by extensive Roman walls, Chester is as charming a city as you’ll find anywhere. Rich in historical attractions including the wonderful Norman/Perpendicular Cathedral, the Tudor ‘Rows’ shopping district, the delightful River Dee and the impressive Roman Gardens, spend a couple of days getting to know the city with a little help from McKinlay Kidd’s tips.
Take a taxi this morning the short distance to Chester station and board the train to Bath. On the way, your train will flirt with the border between England and Wales, traverse the Shropshire hills and skirt the Brecon Beacons, with a change at Newport before arrival at Bath Spa station.
One of the most attractive cities in England, Bath retains an enormous number of sites of significant historical interest, its Georgian terraces giving way to Roman remains, while colourful structures cling to the hillsides surrounding the city, from the top of which simply magnificent views can be enjoyed.
Your Accommodation in Bath
Set just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of town, yet secluded on a quiet street overlooking one of Bath’s peaceful parks, your accommodation in Bath is a superb guest house of outstanding quality. Independently owned by a family whose love of Bath they are only too happy to share, the house has been subjected to recent upgrades to rooms, guest lounge and dining room, making this one of the city’s most appealing places to stay.
After breakfast, take a short walk to the centre of town to meet your local guide, joining a small group saunter around this most beautiful and ancient city. Along the way you’ll hear about some of the most significant Georgian architecture, the 12th-century abbey, the Roman baths, Pulteney Bridge and much more. Later, you’ll have plenty of time to continue exploring at your own pace.
Heading today for the southwestern extremity of the UK rail system, you board the train at Bath bound for Penzance in Cornwall. The train wends its way through Somerset and Devon before arriving at this ancient town of smugglers and pirates.
Your Accommodation in Penzance
A short taxi-ride from the station, your accommodation in Penzance is a gorgeous Georgian townhouse, perched about Penzance’s working harbour and filled with a superb collection of antique, mid-century modern and carefully chosen modern furniture and art. Bedrooms feature indulgent beds and high-spec ensuites, and your friendly host offers home-cooked kitchen suppers on selected evenings.
Enjoy breakfast this morning, before a visit from a friendly local guide who will take you off on a guided walk, uncovering the most ancient and fascinating details of Penzance. Rich in stories of smuggling and piracy, and with a host of hidden historical detail, your guide will bring much of it to life on this easy guided stroll.
Take a final hearty breakfast this morning, before a taxi back to Penzance station to board the train to London.
This holiday is part of our ever-growing collection of public transport-based holidays, enabling you to reach destinations around England without the need to drive. We feel strongly that true sustainability also means promoting and helping to maintain a way of life in areas where the economic benefit of tourism can make a genuine difference to the local community, which is why we have used locally owned small accommodation and a local guides on this holiday.
Spend three nights in York, two in Haydon Bridge, three in the Lake District, two in Chester, two in Bath and finish with two nights in historic Penzance.
The tour is described here as starting and ending in London, but we would be delighted to customise it to suit.
£2595 per person in March & November, £2675 per person in April, £2735 per person in May & October, £2795 per person in June, £2845 per person in July to September.
Prices are based on two adults sharing a double or twin en-suite room for 14 nights on a bed and breakfast basis in our hand-picked selection of small hotels and guest houses; standard-class train travel from London to York, York to Haydon Bridge, Haydon Bridge to Penrith, Penrith to Chester, Chester to Bath, Bath to Penzance and Penzance to London; transfers in the Lake District; a York Pass; a small-group day out on Hadrian’s Wall; a private guided tour of the Lake District; a ‘Round the Lake’ pass for Ullswater; and walking tours of Bath and Penzance as part of a small group.
For a supplement, we would be happy to upgrade train travel to first class where available.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
You are requesting availability for
This holiday can be arranged from March to November.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
Hidden down one of Bath’s quaint cobbled lanes is the oldest dwelling in the city, established in c.1482. This historical site has been the home to ...
There were many highlights...it is difficult to choose one favouriteKen & Priscilla , North Carolina
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