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THE ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO 2023


Friday 11 August - Sunday 13 August 2023

UK Railtours have long been known for our extended weekend excursions, commonly referred to as ‘Land Cruises’. For our 2023 excursion we once again return to Edinburgh for the annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, undoubtedly the highlight of our summer season. This three day excursion brings together a journey to Scotland aboard our first-class only train, two nights at one of Edinburgh’s finest hotels right next to the fashionable Princes Street and plenty of opportunity to explore Scotland’s wonderful capital city during the fascinating festival period.

FRIDAY 11 AUGUST

Guests are welcomed aboard at London King’s Cross, Potters Bar, Stevenage and Peterborough and The Great British Breakfast is served as we begin our journey north. The wide-open Lincolnshire landscapes give way to the rich Yorkshire farmlands as we approach York for our first stop in the early afternoon, a leg-stretching pause of a little over two hours. Why not take a wander through The Shambles, visit the National Railway Museum or grab a light snack in one of the many bars, cafes and restaurants?

After we re-board the train we continue onward to Newcastle, then as we proceed through Northumbria and into Scotland we travel adjacent to the East Coast with spectacular views over the North Sea as a four-course dinner is enjoyed. We arrive in Edinburgh in the evening, and take the short walk to check in at the InterContinental The George – don’t let the clumsy name concern you, this is a hotel we have used many times in the past and is a firm favourite. The George won Best Hotel in Scotland in the 2022 Prestige Hotel Awards and we are extremely lucky to have secured our rooms here during the Festival season. You now have the rest of the evening to yourselves – the hotel itself is a wonderful place to spend an evening, and is conveniently located on George Street, parallel to the shops of Princes Street and close to several pubs and bars.

SATURDAY 12 AUGUST

Breakfast is taken at the hotel, after which you have a free day until the Tattoo performance in the evening. The atmosphere of Edinburgh during the festival is magical, with street performers and musicians lining the Royal Mile. There are few better locations in the UK for some retail therapy than Princes Street, or hop on an open-topped bus tour to take in the grandeur of the city from a better vantage point. The former Royal Yacht Britannia, now moored in the Ocean Terminal, gives a vivid impression of Royal life at sea in bygone decades and the bus tour stops right outside the entrance. Alternatively…

Saturday Daytime Options

There are three Saturday activities available, should you wish for something a little more organised. These are included in the base fare for the tour and can be added to any booking, and if members of your party wish to do different activities that’s no problem. All three options include road transfer by coach from the hotel, and will have you back in plenty of time to prepare before you make your way to the castle for the Tattoo performance.

The Falkirk Wheel

This dramatic rotating boat lift is a wonder of modern technology and has to be seen to be believed. It connects two canals with a height difference of eighty feet. You can board a canal boat which will be raised or lowered by the wheel. The Visitor Centre offers superb views.

 

The Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway

This is a standard gauge preserved steam railway located on the banks of the River Forth. You will enjoy a ten mile round trip with opportunities for photos. Bo’ness is also the home of the Museum of Scottish Railways, which is also included.

 

Three Bridges Cruise

A 90-minute cruise on the Firth of Forth. Take in the spectacular views of the Three Bridges, the beautiful panoramas of the Edinburgh skyline to the south and the Kingdom of Fife to the north, the island of Inchcolm with its medieval abbey, and the islands of Inchgarvie, Inchkeith, and Inchmickery. We have specially chartered the M.V. Forth Princess for our cruise.

 

THE EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO

Based on your feedback from previous years our seats are reserved for the early performance of the Tattoo, in one of the superior sections giving views the full length of the Esplanade. Please note that an uphill walk is required to reach the Esplanade, the streets are cobbled, and the nearby streets are closed to vehicles – so give plenty of time to reach the stands and take your seats! The performance begins (with a bang!) at 18.15.

The Tattoo, staged on the floodlit castle esplanade, is the highlight of the Festival season. A unique celebration  of music, dance and military pageantry performed by hundreds of musicians, pipers, singers, dancers and military personnel. This unforgettable spectacle is brought to a poignant close as a lone piper, high on the ramparts, plays a haunting lament. Spectacular fireworks and a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne conclude a truly memorable event.

The show runs for around 90 minutes, after which the rest of the evening is yours to enjoy. As the options are almost limitless we have not included an evening meal in today’s itinerary, giving you the freedom of the entire city to choose from, before or after the Tattoo itself.

SUNDAY 13 AUGUST

We bid farewell to the hotel at a leisurely time and, after checking out, we make our way back to Edinburgh Waverley to board our special train for the return journey. The Great British Breakfast is served as we head south-west, passing through Carlisle as we head onto the spectacular Settle and Carlisle Railway.

For the 19th Century engineers the prospect of building the Settle and Carlisle presented a tremendous challenge to their ingenuity, skills and abilities. More than one eminent engineer had stated that it was not possible to build a main line railway in such bleak and inhospitable yet undeniably beautiful terrain. Building the S&C nearly broke the Midland Railway but the result is truly spectacular. Look out for Ribblehead Viaduct, along with dramatic features such as Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang Edge. We pause for a leg stretching break in scenic Skipton, where we have around 90 minutes to explore and take in the incredible scenery whilst the train is serviced.

After boarding the train for the final time we head south, the bucolic countryside gradually giving way to more urban vistas as a final four course dinner is served. Sadly all good things must come to an end, and after calling at Peterborough, Stevenage and Potters Bar the train draws to a stop at London King’s Cross, concluding a truly memorable weekend.

First Class Dining includes The Great British Breakfast and a four-course dinner on both travelling days, two nights hotel accommodation and breakfast in the hotel on the Saturday, as well as your reserved seat for the Tattoo itself as well as your choice of activity on the Saturday. Different members of the same booking can take different options.

Please note that there is no such thing as a ‘level’ walk in Edinburgh and the itinerary does include a certain amount of walking – particularly to reach the Castle Esplanade for the Tattoo itself. The old streets around the Royal Mile and the castle itself are particularly unsuitable for wheelchairs and those less steady on their feet.

Prices are based upon two people sharing a twin or double room at the hotel. A very limited number of single-occupancy rooms may be available, for a supplement of £295. A seat at a guaranteed table for two on the train may be reserved for a supplement of £60 per person. A table for four may be reserved for the exclusive use of two guests for a supplement of £240 – please note this is only available for bookings of two passengers.

Places for this tour are reserved on payment of a deposit of £250 per person, with the balance payable eight weeks before the departure date, at which time we will send you a reminder. Should you wish to pay in full at the time of booking please call the office to book by phone.

Please review the Booking Information page prior to placing any booking, as there are specific terms and conditions for our long weekend excursions.

ClassPriceAvailability
First Class Dining£1,349Good
First Class Dining Party of Four£5,356Good
Guaranteed Table for Two (per person)£60Good
Exclusive use of a Table for Four for Two People£240Good
Single Room Occupancy Supplement£295Waiting List

All timings are provisional and are intended only as a guide.

StationDepartArrive
London Kings Cross09.4520.00
Potters Bar10.0519.40
Stevenage10.2519.20
Peterborough11.1018.40

 

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