July 10, 2017 | Ffestiniog Travel
With so many wonderful places to explore worldwide, it can be easy to overlook the delights on your doorstep or to dismiss them as something that can be done anytime. Rail holiday specialist Ffestiniog Travel believes that ‘anytime’ is now, offering two delightfully relaxing itineraries that explore some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes – The Western Isles of Scotland and The Far West of Ireland – without ever having to board a plane…
Extend that summer holiday feeling with an early September escape to The Western Isles of Scotland, travelling the length of the spectacular Outer Hebrides before exploring the magical Isle of Skye and returning to the mainland to enjoy iconic rail journeys and visits to some of the country’s cultural jewels.
Visiting the remote islands of Barra, Harris, Lewis and Skye, as well as taking a scenic drive across both North and South Uist, this 13-day itinerary is the perfect antidote to busy modern life. Wander on deserted white sand beaches, framed by the pretty wildflower ‘machair’ (grassy plain) that is unique to the exposed western coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Explore the mystical Callanish Standing Stones and well-preserved Broch (a prehistoric circular stone tower) at Carloway on the ancient isle of Lewis, potter in the colourful harbour town of Portree on Skye and visit the castles of Dunvegan (Skye), Kisimul (Barra) and Eilean Donan (in the Scottish Highlands) as well as Abbotsford House (Sir Walter Scott’s ‘romance of stone and mortar’), the elegant ruin of Melrose Abbey and the lavishly-decorated Rosslyn Chapel.
As if all this wasn’t relaxing enough, enjoy Scotland’s unique scenery from the comfort of your seat during unforgettable rail journeys. Travel along the country’s most famous mainlines: the Kyle line (across the Highlands to Inverness), the West Highland (along the shores of Loch Lomond and over Rannoch Moor to Fort William) and the Highland Main (crossing the famous Forth Rail Bridge), and enjoy a return journey on the famous Jacobite steam train: an 84-mile round trip that includes the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct which overlooks Loch Shiel and the striking Jacobite monument.
Departing 7 September, the price is from £2,355 pp (two sharing) including 12 nights’ B&B (one each in Glasgow and Inverness and two each in Edinburgh, Fort William, Lochboisdale, Tarbert and Portree), ten evening meals, rail and road journeys and excursions as per the itinerary, and the services of a tour leader throughout.
What better way to set yourself up for autumn than with a foray to The Far West of Ireland, where superb scenery, fascinating history and a warm welcome await? Ffestiniog Travel’s ten-day escorted tour explores the Emerald Isle by train, combining journeys on Iarnród Éireann’s modern fleet with heritage rail experiences and much more.
As well as ample free time to explore the characterful cities of Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork, this tour visits the scenic Dingle Peninsula, Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum (to learn more about the pioneering days of aviation and passenger travel across the North Atlantic, and the rich maritime history of the River Shannon), Kilrush’s enchanting Vandeleur Walled Garden and Blennerville Windmill, Co. Kerry’s distinctive landmark and a living reminder of Ireland’s rich industrial past.
Travel by train across the centre of Ireland to Galway, a journey that, on a clear day, affords stunning views from Galway Bay as far as the hills of the Burren. Ride the Western Rail Corridor to Ennis before transferring by road to Moyasta Junction, headquarters of the West Clare Railway, where steam train enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the nostalgia of times past. Experience a unique form of rail transport at the Lartigue Monorail in Listowel, the only monorail of its type to operate successfully on a commercial basis – from 1888 to 1924, when it carried passengers, livestock and freight – and follow in the tracks of the old Tralee & Dingle railway. Keen to venture even further afield by rail? This holiday also includes a ‘5 in 15 Day Explorer Pass’, three days of which can be used for independent travel during free days in the itinerary.
Departing 21 September, the price is from £1,465 pp (two sharing) including nine nights’ B&B (three in Dublin, two each in Limerick & Cork, one each in Galway & Tralee), return ferry (Holyhead to Dublin), rail and road journeys and excursions as per the itinerary, a 5 in 15 Day Explorer Pass and the services of a tour leader throughout.
Itself based in a beautiful part of the world (Gwynedd in north-west Wales), Ffestiniog Travel is owned by a Charitable Trust, the profits from which go to support the world-famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. Established in 1974, the company offers escorted tours and tailor-made itineraries – including short breaks and group holidays for special interest clubs and societies – across the UK, Europe and worldwide.
For more information on Ffestiniog Travel’s tailor-made rail holidays, ticket-only service and escorted tours – in the UK, Europe and worldwide – call 01766 772 030, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ffestiniogtravel.com.
It has never been so easy to book with Ffestiniog Travel. All of its escorted tours can now be booked online via the website www.ffestiniogtravel.com at the touch of a button.