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The Mayday Caledonian


Friday 4 May to Bank Holiday Monday 7 May 2018

A WONDERFUL SPRINGTIME ADVENTURE TO SCOTLAND ABOARD THE FABULOUS NORTHERN BELLE!

The pleasure of your company is requested aboard a fabulous four day long weekend to the West Highlands and Royal Deeside.

This time there is a difference! In response to the positive feedback from our 2017 adventure, all meals will be enjoyed in the sumptuous surroundings of the Northern Belle rather than in a hotel, allowing our chefs to show off their amazing culinary skills to the full. We believe this adds enormously to the quality experience.

FRIDAY:  Guests are welcomed aboard the Belmond Northern Belle at London King’s Cross. Alternatively you can join at Stevenage or Peterborough. Coffee and pastries will be served as the train heads northwards.

A glass of Champagne heralds the start of a superb four course lunch with your choice of wine included. During our journey north you will glimpse such famous landmarks as York Minster, Durham Castle and Cathedral, Antony Gormley’s striking ‘Angel of the North’ statue and the contrasting Tyne Bridges.

We cross the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick and within just a few minutes we will no doubt raise a glass as we cross the border. There are fine clifftop views out to sea as the rolling countryside of southern Scotland unfolds.

A light supper rounds off our first day’s explorations and we reach Glasgow Central station at around 19.30. Here coaches are waiting for the transfer to the Beardmore Hotel, our home for the coming three nights. This modern well-appointed luxury hotel has become a regular favourite among UK Railtours clients, located in a peaceful spot right alongside the River Clyde. If the weather is kind you can enjoy a quiet riverside stroll before retiring.

SATURDAY: Coaches are provided for the journey from the hotel and once aboard the Northern Belle at around 08.00 our chefs will present brunch. We pass Stirling Castle and historic Perth, with views across the Tay Estuary as we approach Dundee. More coastal vistas follow as we run via Montrose and we duly arrive in the ‘Granite City’, Aberdeen.

We transfer to coaches for the highly picturesque journey through Royal Deeside, through the Victorian village of Ballater. We are now in the glorious scenery of the Cairngorms National Park and our destination is Balmoral Castle, the holiday home of Her Majesty the Queen. Admission is included and you will be able to view the formal gardens, the informative exhibitions in the stable area and largest room in the Castle, the Ballroom. The gardens, which were started under the supervision of Prince Albert, have been expanded and improved by successive members of the Royal Family. We have a break of a couple of hours and refreshments are available.

Rejoining the Northern Belle, we take a slightly longer route back so as to cross both the Tay and the Forth Bridges. During the journey, of course, Champagne precedes a lavish four course dinner with your choice of wine and we should be back in the hotel at around 21.30.

SUNDAY: Today we explore the extraordinarily scenic West Highland Line, surely the most dramatic railway in Great Britain. We board the Belmond Northern Belle in Dumbarton at around 08.15 and brunch is served. At Helensburgh we reach the West Highland Line and we are treated to evocative views of towering mountains reflected in shimmering lochs. We keep close to romantic Loch Lomond for several miles, with waterfalls gushing for hundreds of feet into the waters below.

At the junction station of Crianlarich we strike north and soon encounter the dramatic terrain of Rannoch Moor, a stark Highland wilderness over ten miles from the nearest public road. Our destination is the West Highland capital of Fort William.

You will have a couple of hours to explore the West Highland ‘capital’ and we will also provide a short coach tour to the Commando Memorial, dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II. Situated on high ground around a mile from  Spean Bridge village, it overlooks the training areas of the Commando Training Depot established in 1942 at Achnacarry Castle. Unveiled in 1952 by the Queen Mother, it has become one of the United Kingdom’s best-known monuments, both as a war memorial and as a viewpoint for  Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr. Few people are not moved by the experience of this poignant place.

The highlight of the day is a magnificent seven course banquet dinner, with Champagne and wine, enjoyed as we head back through the West Highlands to Dumbarton, arriving at around 21.00, for transfer back to the hotel.

BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY:  We say farewell to the Beardmore Hotel and we depart from Glasgow Central at around 09.00. A glass of bellini heralds the Northern Belle brunch as we head south through the lovely hillsides of South-West Scotland.

But the excitement is far from over. Once over the border and through Carlisle, we enjoy a journey over the famous Settle & Carlisle Railway. Some say the scenery here is a match for anything to be found north of the border and the train will slow as we cross the line’s most famous landmark, Ribblehead Viaduct. What finer backdrop could there be for a delicious four course lunch, complete with Champagne and wine. We descend through Settle, Hellifield and Skipton to Leeds and rejoin Friday’s outward route at Doncaster.

The all-inclusive price is £1,485 per guest, which we believe is remarkable value for money for a long weekend on such a splendidly well appointed train. This includes your journey on the Northern Belle on all four days with meals, wine and Champagne as described, three nights at the Beardmore Hotel with two guests occupying a twin or double room and off-train activities as outlined. A few rooms may be available for single occupancy, price on application.

The supplement for a guaranteed ‘table for two’ on all four days is £155.

A deposit of £100 per guest secures your booking, the balance being payable eight weeks prior to departure. There are special terms and conditions applicable to tours longer than one day’s duration, please see our website.

All timings are provisional and intended only as a guide.

StationDepartArrive
London King's Cross09.45 Friday19.55 Monday
Stevenage10.25 Friday19.20 Monday
Peterborough11.30 Friday18.30 Monday