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A family firm with an ethos of honesty and integrity. Our passion for delivering quality escorted holidays by rail at great value fares along with consistently excellent customer service has stood us in good stead for over 40 years.

Big on Quality, Small Enough to Care

01538 382323
Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm

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Grand Tour - Six Wonders of the Waterways

Rail holiday to explore the six wonders of the waterways Take a unique rail journey with Railtrail's Grand Tours. Explore Six Wonders of the Waterways including Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Anderton boatlift, Ironbridge Gorge and more!

View Dates & Book

10 days from £1515



Saturday 8 June 2024

Saturday 14 September 2024



  • 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

  • Discover the country’s last remaining open-pan salt works, now preserved as a museum

  • Masterpiece of the canals, breathtaking Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

  • Journey on the nostalgic Llangollen Railway

  • Cruise along the Bridgewater Canal, viewing Barton Swing Aqueduct

  • Steam excursion on the East Lancashire Railway

  • Visit Burnley Weavers’ Triangle and walk part of Burnley Embankment

  • Discover Queen Street Mill, the last surviving 19th century steam powered weaving mill

  • 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


Also included in your Tour Fare:

  • Dinner every evening plus 1 afternoon tea

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

  • Services of experienced Railtrail Tour Manager

  • Hotel Porterage



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 journey on the Severn Valley Railway. Preservation of this historic full-size standard gauge line began in 1965 and we take the scenic 16 mile rail 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, convenient for the railway station. 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


The first 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. In the afternoon we visit the nearby Lion Salt Works, an award-winning industrial heritage museum telling the fascinating story of the country's only remaining open-pan salt making works.

B, D


We coach across the border to the Llangollen Canal for a breathtaking aerial cruise across the second 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


Today we head North West and enjoy a relaxing Bridgewater Canal cruise. Constructed over 250 years ago by the Duke of Bridgewater, it is considered to be the first true canal in England. Our route passes through Morton, Patricroft, and Barton crossing the Manchester Ship Canal via the famous Barton Swing Aqueduct, the third of our ‘Six Wonders’. Onboard we enjoy afternoon tea as we listen to the interesting commentary bringing to life this important feat of navigational engineering. We then travel by road to Bury for a steam journey on the East Lancashire Railway, alongside the River Irwell. After this, we make our way to the Best Western Oaks Hotel in Burnley for one night.

B, D


This morning we visit the Weavers' Triangle, situated on the Leeds Liverpool Canal where many buildings from the cotton industry remain. Our local guide escorts 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. We then continue to nearby Queen Street Mill Textile Museum and learn of the days when cotton was king at the world's last surviving 19th century steam powered weaving mill. Following our fascinating guided tour, we travel by private coach across the Pennines from Lancashire to Yorkshire and arrive at a great railway hotel for our last three nights, 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 rail 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.

** We reserve the right to travel by heritage diesel train should the steam locomotive not be available / timetabled at the time of our visit.


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 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, tea/coffee making facilities, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel features delightful Italian gardens, bar, and restaurant.


Best Western Oaks Hotel, Burnley

The Oaks Hotel in Burnley is set in relaxing grounds and a tranquil environment. It was once the private home of a wealthy local merchant and has been sympathetically restored to preserve the grandeur of a bygone era. Both the restaurant and bar are in the ‘old house’ and are perfect examples of how heritage can blend seamlessly with contemporary style with grand ornate ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.


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



London: Out - Euston, Rtn - Kings Cross



Greater London



South of England



East Anglia



South West



Heart of England









North East



North West



South Wales



North Wales






*Please note: Some local and regional train services are Standard Class only, so First Class ticket holders will travel in standard class accommodation for these sections of journeys.


Join & Leave at Hotels £1,530


£15 tour discount for holders of National Railcards


Single Room Supplement £285


SEPTEMBER Departure Supplement £30


9 nights’ bed, breakfast & table d’hôte evening meal plus 1 afternoon tea

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

Rail & coach travel, with transfers as described

All excursions & 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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14 Sep 2024 £1,545.00 Loading

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Contact Us
Railtrail Tours Limited
21 The Smithfield Centre, Leek
Staffordshire Moorlands, ST13 5JW
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