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Lakes and Dales by Steam

3.8 stars(44 reviews)

Enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the spectacular north of England

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
5 days From £349 per person

2021 Tour code: 21LKL

About the tour

From your base in Carlisle, travel on heritage railways, enjoying the rugged countryside in the north of England, including the world-famous Lake District.


What’s included


Day 1 - Carlisle

Begin your holiday at the Hallmark Hotel in Carlisle, where you meet your Tour Manager. Close to the Scottish border, Carlisle is a city surrounded by beauty. With the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, and Hadrian's Wall just a train ride away, this is the perfect place from which to explore.

Carlisle dates back to Roman times and boasts a myriad of ancient buildings and beautiful architecture. Carlisle Castle, a sturdy fort built during the reign of William II, son of William the Conqueror, is well worth a visit. Many of the streets are also infused with more modern history, thanks to Carlisle's place as a centre of textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, when Carlisle also became a hub for the railways. Your hotel is situated just outside the gorgeous Grade II listed station.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Windermere

Journey by steam train from Haverthwaite to Lakeside today, which sits on the southern shore of stunning Windermere. A delightful railway trip, the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway winds through the beautiful sights of the English countryside, on a route that was part of the Furness Railway when it opened in 1869.

On arrival in Lakeside, board a boat and sail across the lake to Bowness. Windermere is one of the Lake District's most famous bodies of water and is recognised by UNESCO for its outstanding natural beauty, which has been inspiring artists and writers for centuries. Soak up the sights of sloping hills swathed in woods and moorlands.

You have free time in Bowness, famous for inspiring the fictional town of 'Rio' in Arthur Ransome's most famous series of novels, 'Swallows and Amazons'. There's also an attraction here dedicated to one of the Lake District's most renowned inhabitants, Beatrix Potter. On your way back to Carlisle, make a stop at the pretty village of Grasmere. Sat next to Grasmere Lake, the village was once home to William Wordsworth. Take a wander here, and perhaps treat yourself to a local specialty - some award-winning Grasmere Gingerbread, which has been made here using an authentic Victorian recipe since 1854.

  • Breakfast
Day 3 - The Settle to Carlisle Railway

Enjoy a spectacular journey on the wonderful Settle to Carlisle Railway to Skipton. It took seven years to complete this route before its opening in 1875, as the varied landscapes through which it travels made work difficult for construction workers. Cut through hills, mountains, and valleys, over marshland and rivers; the very scenery that made the line difficult to complete is exactly what makes it so worth experiencing today.

Enjoy miles of untouched beauty from your carriage as the line enters the Yorkshire Dales and passes over the majestic Ribblehead Viaduct, one of the undoubted icons of the Yorkshire landscape today. Watched over by atmospheric Whernside, one of Yorkshire's highest peaks, the viaduct opened in 1876 and stretches more than 1,300 feet over the boggy land below. After some free time in the pretty market town of Skipton, return to Carlisle by rail.

Please note: For departures 21LKL05,06,07,08,09,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,18,19,21,24,26,28,30 Days 3 and 4 have swapped around.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

After travelling to Ravenglass by train, take a steam-hauled rail journey to Dalegarth aboard the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. One of the oldest minimum-gauge heritage railways in England, the line originally opened in 1875 and boasts some truly incredible scenery. Enjoy fantastic views across undulating hills and the highest mountain range in England, before disembarking in Ravenglass.

This afternoon, transfer to Muncaster to visit its castle. Owned by the Pennington family for over 800 years and set in picture-perfect surroundings, this fortress is almost Arthurian in appearance, with square towers topped by parapets. Enjoy some free time to explore before returning to the hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Carlisle & home

After a final breakfast, your holiday comes to an end.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

On many of our UK & Ireland tours, you may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Carlisle Station Hotel, Sure Collection by Best Western, Carlisle

Carlisle Station Hotel, Sure Collection by Best Western, Carlisle

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Haverthwaite Railway
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
Settle to Carlisle Line

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UK rail connections
Door to door luggage from £50
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3.8 stars3.8 / 5 · 44 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

R Smith

1 stars

Submitted 21/Jun

if there was a minus star then that's what I would have given this holiday. The holiday, even taking in the fact of Covid19 was a complete let-down from start to finish. All but one of the trains were changed to diesel engines and the one steam train we went on, was a narrow gauge train built for midgets or children. The hotel was one of the worse I have come across. I can stand 'shabby chic', I can't stand absolute filth. My advice don't do it

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Alan Radford

5 stars

Submitted 20/Jun

This trip is excellent as it combines regional and cultural experiences with trips on both preserved and main line rail travel with the latter used several times which does not seem to occur on other holidays. It also is based out of a hotel right next to Carlisle main line station which is excellent for railway enthusiasts and is also in the city of Carlisle itself which is also a bonus! An altogether good experience and I must mention the hotel staff. Their attention to us was exceptional, the meals excellent and after such a difficult time for the their trade and for their personal lives thanks to the scourge of covid, their upbeat enthusiasm had to be seen to believed. I do hope even more of these holidays are based at the same hotel to help recognise the determination and commitment of the staff. Thank you all. A final thanks to Tom the group leader. His quiet approach but very high level of availability at the key moments during the trip was very encouraging and reassuring. Thanks Tom. A good experience and well recommended. Regards to all, Alan Radford

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Brian Mclean

4 stars

Submitted 19/Jun

Very good a lot was put into the tour

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Judith McPherson

3 stars

Submitted 18/Jun

Shame the hotel was so shabby, disorganised and poorly stocked, with booked twin room not available on arrival first night, hence three star rating. However, we were lucky with the weather and thoroughly enjoyed the lovely scenery together with the varied and interesting Itinerary. The tour guide was helpful and the trips were efficiently organised.

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Mr Alder

4 stars

Submitted 18/Jun

we enjoyed our first experience on Rail Discoveries based at Carlisle. the hotel was just gearing up after being closed for a year and they appeared to improve as the days passed. Tom, our guide was very helpful and made sure we all got on trains and coaches at the right time. The 2 steam railways were particularly good and Muncaster Castle is a gem and well worth discovering!

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Customer Tony at East Bierley Cricket Club

4 stars

Submitted 18/Jun

A great few days, thank you. It was however very tiring. Maybe this was due to the early starts each day, but on the whole very well worth it. We even visited placers I had never heard of before, what a wonderful place Britain is. Our Tour Manager Tom Harforth worked tremendously hard with the Covid restrictions making his job even harder. Our only criticism was the hotel. More than a little tired and need of some renevation. The quality of the food was to say the least poor. The staff on the other hand were brilliant, and a quiet word of complaint was accepted and worked on to correct things by the next day. A big improvement by the end of the holiday. So 4 stars overall, with one knocked off for the food.

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Europe & UK Escorted Holiday by Rail 2021

Europe & UK Escorted Holiday by Rail 2021

The definitive guide to European, Worldwide and Cruise rail tours and holidays by rail.

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Lakes and Dales by Steam

Enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the spectacular north of England


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