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Six Wonders of the Waterways

<img src="pontcysyllteheritage.jpeg" alt="Pontcysyllte Aqueduct">

There are said to be ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’ and on this great railway holiday 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 £1275



Saturday 5 June 2021

Saturday 18 September 2021



  • 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


Also included in your Tour Fare:

  • Dinner every evening

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

  • Services of experienced Railtrail Tour Manager



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


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


The 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 than make our way to Bury for a steam journey on the East Lancashire Railway, alongside the River Irwell.

B, D


This morning we 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 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. 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. 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 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.


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


Best Western Oaks Hotel

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: Euston



Greater London



South of England



East Anglia



South West



Heart of England









North East



North West



South Wales



North Wales







Join & Leave at Hotels £1290


£15 tour discount for holders of National Railcards


Single Room Supplement £285


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

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

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