2018 Six Wonders of the Waterways

2018 Six Wonders of the Waterways

There are said to be 'Seven Wonders of the Waterways' and on this tour we visit six! Our grand tour begins at the very heart of the industrial revolution at a hotel within the Ironbridge World Heritage site, then explores the masterpieces of Victorian engineering with boat trips and steam trains galore.

10 Days From £1195.00



Saturday 9 June 2018



Begin our tour at a hotel within the Ironbridge Gorge UNESCO World Heritage site

Visit Blists Hill Victorian Village and tour Ironbridge

Steam on the Severn Valley Railway

Get to know Chester on a River Dee cruise

Anderton Boat Lift, marvel of Victorian engineering

Masterpiece of the canals, breathtaking Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Llangollen Steam Railway nostalgia

Cruise along the Manchester Ship Canal, viewing Barton Swing Aqueduct

Steam excursion on the East Lancashire Railway

Visit Burnley Weavers’ Triangle and walk part of Burnley Embankment

Boat trip into Standedge Tunnel, the longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel in Britain

Steam on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway

Visit Saltaire, another UNESCO World Heritage site

Walk the canal lock staircase at Bingley Five Rise Locks


For those booking rail travel with us, we arrive in Telford for the transfer to our hotel for two nights, the Best Western Valley Hotel, a Georgian listed building with a riverside setting within the Ironbridge UNESCO World Heritage site. After an orientation walk with a local guide we enjoy our first dinner together.



Continuing our tour of Ironbridge, we visit Blists Hill, a recreated Victorian town and time capsule of a bygone age. We follow this with a steam excursion on the Severn Valley Railway. Preservation of this historic full-size standard gauge line began in 1965 and we take the scenic 16 mile route closely following the River Severn from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster.

B, D


Departing Telford by train, we arrive in Chester where our hotel is the lovely Queen Hotel, one of the most popular in our programme. We take an afternoon stroll along the ancient City Walls to the Dee for a river cruise and charming views of the town from the water, returning through Chester's attractive city centre.

B, D


We coach across the border to the Llangollen Canal for a breathtaking aerial cruise across our first of our 'Six Wonders', the spectacular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Crossing 126ft above the River Dee, it is the highest and longest aqueduct in Britain and a World Heritage site. We continue by road to Llangollen with time to look around the delightful town before a thrilling return steam train ride along the beautiful Dee Valley to Corwen.

B, D


Our second of our 'Six Wonders' is the Anderton Boat Lift where after taking refreshments we trace the history of canal carrying and engineering, taking the boat trip to descend the lift and cruising the River Weaver. We return to Chester for an afternoon at leisure in the city's charming streets of black-and-white houses, its Roman museum, beautiful Cathedral, and the famous Rows. Walk the towpath below the towering walls, marvel at the massive and ingenious Northgate Staircase Locks, idle away a moment watching the boats in Chester Basin. There's something to see at every turn in Chester.

B, D


This morning we transfer to Wallasey to join one of the scheduled Mersey Ferries Manchester Ship Canal cruises, the mighty waterway that brought ocean-going freighters from around the world into the heart of the city. The route into Manchester passes lofty railway flyover bridges, locks and swing bridges on a breathtaking scale, as well as the third of our 'Six Wonders', the Barton Swing Aqueduct. The modern architecture of Salford Quays welcomes us to the city, after which we transfer for a night at the Best Western Higher Trapp Country House Hotel, overlooking Pendle Hill.

B, D


This morning we steam through the Lancashire hills along the River Irwell on the East Lancashire Railway, before returning to Burnley to visit the Weavers' Triangle, situated on the Leeds Liverpool Canal where many buildings from the cotton industry remain. A local guide takes us along the towpath to walk part of Burnley Embankment, the fourth of our 'Six Wonders', which carries the canal 60 feet above the town centre. Our train from Burnley Manchester Road transports us across the Pennines from Lancashire to Yorkshire and a great railway hotel, Bradford's Midland.

B, D


From Bradford we make the short train journey to Huddersfield, whose iconic station boasts a classical façade, flanked by two grand former booking offices of rival railway companies (now both pubs). Outside the station, a statue of Huddersfield's most famous son, Harold Wilson, looks onto the George Hotel, the birthplace of Rugby League. Changing trains, we climb into the Pennines to Marsden, where a short walk along the towpath brings us to Standedge Tunnels and a boat trip into our fifth wonder, the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel in Britain.

B, D


Our busy final excursion heads first by train to Keighley for a steam ride through Brontë Country on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Our return is punctuated at Bingley for a towpath walk along our sixth wonder, Bingley's Five Rise Locks. Finally, we enjoy some free time at UNESCO World Heritage living Victorian village, Saltaire, where Salt's Mill houses exhibitions from local artist, David Hockney before our farewell dinner at the hotel.

B, D

DAY 10

Bid farewell to Bradford as we make our way homeward.


B=Breakfast, D=Dinner


Best Western Valley Hotel, Ironbridge

A country house hotel situated in the heart of Ironbridge, providing a perfect base for visiting the Ironbridge Gorge Museums. With a riverside setting and breathtaking views of the surrounding parkland, the hotel is a charming 44 bedroom Georgian listed building.


Queen Hotel, Chester

Situated in the heart of Chester, directly opposite the railway station, the Queen Hotel is characterised by its elegance and Victorian heritage. The en-suite bedrooms offer modern facilities including direct-dial telephone, TV with Freeview, tea/coffee making facilities and free Wi-Fi. The hotel features delightful Italian gardens, bar and restaurant.


Best Western Higher Trapp Country House Hotel

Situated near Burnley on the enchanting Pendle hillside, this traditional Country House hotel enjoys stunning views over the Lancashire countryside.


Midland Hotel, Bradford

Built between 1885 and 1890 by the Midland Railway Company, the Midland Hotel was a showpiece for the railway company's northern operations, and is of particular architectural interest, with some of the finest Victorian interiors in the city. Today sees a hotel that has undergone a transformation, with investment to all areas of the building, restoring it to its original greatness.



Fare Region



RC (-)

London: out Euston, in King’s Cross




Greater London




South of England




East Anglia




South West




Heart of England












North East




North West




South Wales




North Wales









Join & Leave at Hotels £1195


Single Room Supplement £275


9 nights’ bed, breakfast & Table d’Hôte evening meal

Rail travel & seat reservations from your Home Station to Tour Base (Standard or First Class)

Rail & coach travel, with transfers as described

All excursions and admissions as detailed

Services of experienced Railtrail Tour Manager

Hotel Porterage

Important – Please select the number of passengers before proceeding to ‘Book Now’

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