Holidays and tours by rail
“A Tour of Remembrance”, April 26th – May 18th, 2019
Visiting places of interest and fascination relating to World War II, and travelling through France, Germany, Austria, Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia), Poland, Russia, Belarus and East Prussia.
This 23-day tour, timed to mark the 80th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, covers many of the most significant places from Dunkirk in the West, to Moscow in the East. For much of the journey we will travel, and sleep, 1st Class on some of the finest European international trains, evoking something of the pre-war elegance of Continental train travel. But we will also use, where appropriate, road, autobahn and a Rhine Paddlesteamer (with lunch), using superior tourist class hotels – all in the **** or ***** category. The tour is based upon half-board (dinner, bed and breakfast) accommodation both on trains and in hotels, and is inclusive of sightseeing and visits mentioned in the itinerary, the services of multi-lingual tour guides, and guest lecturer(s) specialising in the military and historical aspects of the period.
£5,995 per person based on sharing twin rooms in hotels and double compartments on overnight trains. Single room supplement £1,300 Deposit £500 per person
Click on the link above for detailed day-by-day itinerary.
Christmas Markets 2018 – Cologne!
By Eurostar and Inter-City Express, 3 days in one of the closest German cities to the UK, and with no less than 7 Christmas Markets to visit if you choose!
Right by the railway station (and close to our hotels) is the Cathedral, a remarkable example of Gothic architecture, and of course entrance is free (although you can have a guide for a small charge). At its base is the narrow, lighted Christmas tree, with 160 illuminated stalls to lure Christmas shoppers with hand-crafted goods (in some stalls, you can watch the artisans working) and holiday treats like steaming mugs of gluhwein (mulled wine) or gluhmost (hot apple cider), roasted chestnuts, marzipan sweets, cakes and biscuits. This sprawling, festive Alter Markt is only one of seven Christmas Markets in Cologne, each with its own mood and attraction.
Beyond the twinkling lights of the markets, the city’s charming cafes, museums and entertainment venues add to the experience of Christmastime in Germany.
Click on the link below for full details.
Christmas Markets 2018 – Wernigerode!
Where? I hear you ask? Wernigerode is one of the most delightful olde-worlde half-timbered towns, nestling in the Harz Mountains of what used to be East Germany. OK, it’s a little bit further away than Cologne, but the extra journey is massively worth the effort; and you can even stop over on the return journey for a few hours in the neighbouring town of Goslar, to hear and see the 9 a.m. carillion, recalling the local industries through the ages. And beware of the witches, for which the region is also notorious!
The tour includes a trip by steam train to the Brocken, East Germany’s highest mountain – practically inaccessible by any other means apart from a long and steep hike – a peak out of bounds to foreigners during the Cold War because of a Soviet listening post on top of the mountain. Nowadays you can enjoy the magnificent views, have a drink and a snack at the restaurant at the top, and visit the museum with its viewing platform.
Click on the link below for full details; then click again on the white triangles, for video clips of the steam train to the Brocken, and the Goslar carillion.
Classic Italian Rail tour
By Eurostar and Continental Rail from London back to London, staying in central Venice, Rome and Florence, and visiting Pisa on the way back to the UK.
The classic “Grand Tour” highlights of Italy feel magical even – some might say especially – in Winter. The summer crowds that swarm with selfie sticks are long gone, and you can stroll the storied streets alongside locals, stopping for a glass of wine, taking your time in museum galleries, lingering over dinner. With this tasting menu of a trip, you can enjoy a quiet evening taking in the sunset over Venice’s Piazza San Marco, get up close and personal with Michaelangelo’s David in Florence, spend a morning exploring the Colosseum in Rome, and visit Pisa with its “leaning tower” (and grabbing the classic photo!) all inside a week’s time.
The high-speed trains to and around Italy can stretch a week into something much more generous, less hurried. Take your time, slow down, and indulge a little in la dolce vita.
One week from £599 – brochure.italy- Sample click for full details.
Europe’s “Secret City” – Lodz, Poland
Lodz – pronounced “Woodge” – is actually Poland’s third city, although it is virtually unknown outside the country. You will stay in Lodz’s “Grand Hotel”, on Piotrkowska Street, at 5kms the longest pedestrianised street in Europe, with its beautifully restored turn of the century buildings, and where you can see a bronze statue of pianist Artur Rubenstein, one of Lodz’s most famous sons.
Lodz is famous also as one of the most celebrated film schools in the world, and with its Museum of Cinematography, is known as “Poland’s Hollywood” – stars commemorating internationally known names like Roman Polanski and Andrzej Wajda, are embedded in the pavement right outside your hotel!
This former textile town boasts a fine opera house – the Teatr Wielki – and the former textile factories have been converted into a massive shopping centre, with the central square transformed into a beach, complete with deckchairs!
Winter weekends from £459, with the option to spend 2 nights in Berlin on the way back, for only £90 extra.Includes Eurostar and Continental rail London back to London, and .
Click on the image for full details and itinerary, but please note that some changes are likely when this tour is available for reservation (August 2018) due to major alterations in the Winter 2018/2019 European timetable.
Paris & Venice Opera Tour – January/February 2019
If you are a fan of Verdi, Berlioz, Mozart and Rossini, to name but a few, and you are attracted to the idea of exploring Paris and Venice in the off-season, without the crowds, and without the searing heat that can be so debilitating in high summer, this combination of cities and operas is for you!
Leaving London St. Pancras early Thursday afternoon by “Eurostar” to Paris, the whole evening and all of Friday is yours to enjoy before taking your seats in the modern Bastille Opera House for an evening performance of one of the classic operas. Next day, by high-speed trains to Venice, again with time to explore before a Sunday afternoon opera performance in the beautiful Fenice Opera House (pictured).
Finally, on Monday, almost another full day to explore Venice before boarding the “Thello” couchette and sleeping-car train to Paris, arriving Tuesday morning, with time to cross Paris from the Gare de Lyon to the Gare du Nord (Metro tickets supplied!) for an early afternoon “Eurostar” train to London St. Pancras.
Dates of operation and full details of the opera performances featured will be uploaded when known.