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Scenic railways and luxury coaches make getting to your destitation all the more fun

Or sit on a luxury coach as you enjoy the stunning landscapes of the Lake District or Spain’s Camino de Santiago. TRISHA HARBORD brings you our top ten rail and coach tours.

Moor to enjoy

HAVE a great family day out travelling on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway – one of the world’s greatest heritage railways. Steam and old diesel trains take you along 24 miles of stunning National Park countryside with services running daily between Pickering and Whitby with stops along the way.

You can discover the history of the railway in the visitor centre at the Thirties-style Pickering station. Stop off at an even older station, Levisham, and walk about a mile to Skelton Tower for fabulous views of the valley. Then get back on the train to Goathland, known as the “celebrity station” after being the original Hogsmeade Station in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and featuring in TV’s Heartbeat.

If you fancy another walk through the countryside, take the Rail Trail to Grosmont station where all the trains are stored and maintained.
Continue by train to the pretty seaside resort of Whitby and enjoy fish and chips on the harbour front.

The railway is open until November 4, tickets from £11.20 for adults and £5.60 for children. There are also special events including Santa Specials.
See nymr.co.uk for more details.

High life in highlands

SCOTLAND’s West Highland railway holds the secret to majestic mountains, steep-sided lochs, moors of heather with an added bonus of wildlife including red deer roaming the remote land.

The line, which opened in 1880, divides at Crianlarich, to run to Oban or via Fort William to the fishing port of Mallaig – a total journey of five hours 30 minutes covering just over 200 miles with 33 stops.

From Fort William, you’ll travel on one of the most famous tracks in the world across the Glenfinnan Viaduct, used in the Harry Potter films as part of the route to Hogwarts.

One-way ticket from £23.50. See scotrail.co.uk.

Join Spanish pilgrims

TAKING a coach trip does not mean sitting on your bottom all day. Far from it, if you walk part of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail, in Spain.

On this seven-night trip for beginners, you’ll be walking about five miles a day along some of the most picturesque spots in northern Spain, including the stunning coastline of Cathedrals Beach – named because the wind that whistles through the giant rock formations sounds like organ music.

The Camino del Norte Walk & Coach, departing May 25 costs from £1,080. See caminoways.com. Flights to Bilbao and returning from Santiago cost around £200 with easyJet.com.

Treat in Cotswolds

IF gardens are your thing, this is the coach trip for you. And you could get a glimpse of Prince Charles digging his plot on this five-day coach break.

A visit to the royal’s private gardens, which he has spent 38 years creating at Highgrove, Gloucs, are included.

Your base is the 4H Heythrop Park Resort Hotel, which has a golf course and spa, in Chipping Norton.

The Gardens of the Cotswolds tour, departing from various UK destinations on selected dates between April and August next year, including four nights’ half-board, costs from £380pp. See shearings.com.

Swiss roll delight

THE seven-day train and coach tour, Mont Blanc & The Matterhorn, starts with a Eurostar journey from London to Paris and then on to your hotel base in the Swiss mountain village of Leysin.

During the week, you will visit Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva and the Swiss valley resort of Zermatt, with the Matterhorn as a backdrop.

The highlight has to be a trip on the Mont Blanc Express, which climbs up to the amazing heights of Chamonix Mont Blanc.

The escorted tour including six nights’ half-board in a 3H hotel and rail and coach travel, departing St Pancras on January 6, costs from £1,195. See arenarailholidays.co.uk.

Paradise in The Pyrenees

THE mountain range between France and Spain is blessed with spectacular short rail trips.

Colourful carriages with panoramic windows wind their way through remote villages, valleys and over viaducts, so you’ll need a head for heights.

And they can all be enjoyed on an eight-day Little Trains of the Pyrenees train and coach tour – which also includes a trip on a tiny “road train”.

The tour including seven nights half-board in a Roses hotel for departures between April and October next year, costs from £799pp.
See arenarailholidays.co.uk.

Ski safari in Norway

TRAVEL between ski resorts by train. The eight-night Fjords & Mountains Ski Safari starts in the vibrant capital of Oslo where you board the Bergen Railway, the highest mainline railway in Northern Europe.

Seeing spectacular waterfalls along the way, you stop in Gello, with gentle skiing terrain for families and beginners.

Continue to Voss for the quiet slopes of nearby Myrkdalen and then comes the highlight – a trip on the famous Flam railway, Europe’s steepest standard-gauge railway, boasting views over Norway’s deepest fjord.

The final destination is Bergen, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The safari, including return flights from Gatwick, accommodation and transfers in January and March next year, costs from £1,199pp. For details, see skisafari.com.

Autumn gold in the lakes

ON this three-day coach tour with a train ride thrown you can witness autumn colours as you travel through Derbyshire’s Peak District, calling at Matlock, Bakewell and Miller’s Dale.

Then steam up on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway to the pier at Lakeside before cruising on the Windermere Steamer to Bowness-on-Windermere, then on to Chester.

Autumn Gold In The Lakes – with coach pick-up points across the UK on Oct 26 and including two nights’ accommodation with half-board – is from £189pp. See newmarketholidays.co.uk.

Hopping around America

IF you don’t want to drive, you’ll love Busabout.

The flexible travel expert is launching its hop-on hop-off coach network on America’s West Coast so you can create your own adventure. A pass gives access to eight destinations, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, with coaches leaving each place every other day between June and August next year.

You can stay for as long as you like in accommodation recommended by Busabout or choose your own. The unlimited pass costs £439pp. Busabout also has guided trips to the US and Canada lasting from three days to three weeks, including a 22-day West to East Road Trip.

The three-day West National Parks Adventure, including B&B, starts from £539pp. See busabout.com for details.

Australian adventure



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