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The United Kingdom is a fascinating holiday spot no matter the time of year; however, autumn’s ambience adds a little something special to the atmosphere. From the coastlines to the countryside, the UK is filled with destinations in which to peep at the fire-coloured leaves and the brilliant purple heather. For your next holiday, consider one of these six great UK fall getaways.
1. England’s Treasures
Setting out on the England’s Treasures tour as the temperature begins to drop puts the stunning displays and fall traditions of cities such as Liverpool, Bath, Cornwall and London at your fingertips. Enjoy a guided tour of Liverpool, on which the history and nautical past of the city come to life, and a drive through the scenic Lake District that is so picturesque that it was the inspiration for several famous writers. Continuing the drive through England’s rural heartland is a truly enthralling experience, as you are surrounded by the beauty of nature and the charm of small towns. Upon arrival in Bath, impressive architecture and historic sites are uncovered on your guided tour. As you make your way toward Cornwall, enjoy stops at Stonehenge, the medieval town of Salisbury and the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. Cornwall brings even more adventure, as you embark on a guided tour and enjoy a scenic drive down the colourful coast. It is also in Cornwall that you board one of the most iconic railways in England, the Great Western Railway, bound for London - the final stop of this memorable journey through the UK.
2. Castles and Wildlife of Scotland
Two enchanting railways, three majestic castles, wildlife, history and picture-perfect fall scenes: There is only one tour that makes all this possible, the Castles and Wildlife of Scotland. Begin this enchanting journey in London, where you board the Caledonian Sleeper Train for an overnight rail trip to Inverness, Scotland. In Inverness, marvel at the dolphins that call these chilly waters home, as well as brilliant colours of the rocky coast, from your boating excursion through Moray Firth. Following your boat ride, transfer to Tulloch Castle for a guided tour and the first of two overnights. Later on the journey, an excursion aboard the beloved Kyle Line puts the heart of the Scottish Highlands on full display, and your visit to Eilean Donan Castle offers a glimpse at yesteryear. As the tour moves along, the next destination is Alladale Wilderness Reserve, a place where you can take in the unbelievable hues of gold, sienna and wine foliage by both foot and guided 4x4 tour. These tours are the perfect way to capture breathtaking images of the scenery and to get up-close looks at Scotland’s native wildlife. As the tour returns to Inverness, enjoy some time to sightsee through the city before reboarding your overnight train, the Caledonian Sleeper Train, for the return journey to London.
3. Vintage Railways of the Isle of Man
A quaint island with abundant railway history, the Isle of Man is the focus of this incredible 6-day tour, Vintage Railways of the Isle of Man. This tour takes you on the water, on the railways and through incredible locales all over the island for an authentic look at the culture. The holiday begins as you cross the Irish Sea by ferry boat en route to Douglas on the Isle of Man. You arrive with the promise of great adventures to come, such as climbing to the peak of Snaefell Mountain aboard the Snaefell Mountain Railway; taking in views of the sea and the rolling hills covered with fall-time foliage from the Manx Electric Railway; and riding aboard the island’s oldest Victorian Railway System. In between these excursions, enjoy free time to explore the portside town of Peel and to meander through the island’s ancient capital city, Castletown, where a medieval fortress awaits your exploration. As you take in the contrasting views of the colourful deciduous trees inland and the blue water of the sea from the ferry back to Heysham, UK, the tour comes to a close.
4. South Devon & the Dawlish Coast
Featuring the classic beauty of the English Riviera, it is no wonder that the South Devon & the Dawlish Coast tour is one of the six great UK fall getaways. Enjoy the sights and autumnal scenes of Torquay, the Dawlish Coast and the Riviera aboard two steam trains and from a riverboat as you tour this beloved region. The tour begins in Torquay, and your hotel is set in the midst of 25 acres of forests and gardens - all of which are filled with walking paths that put nature’s most brilliant display within reach. We explore Torquay’s scenic coastline as we cruise along the river, and we see the sights of Devon’s seaside from the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway. The journey continues toward the Dawlish Coast, where nature’s beauty is presented on a ride aboard the South Devon Railway. Between these railway excursions, use your free time to introduce yourself to the historical and natural sites of Torquay and Dawlish Warren. The beauty of the English Riviera has never been more accessible.
5. Classic Cornwall Coast & Country
Take in the dramatic terrain of Cornwall on this autumn tour, the Classic Cornwall Coast & Country. Plunging cliffs, charming fishing towns and marvels of engineering are all highlighted as we travel along the coast and through the countryside, with Cornwall as our home base. The first excursion of the trip takes you along scenic branch lines to Penzance and then beyond to St. Ives. There is so much to enjoy on this excursion, including stunning views of St. Michael’s Mount. Moving from nature and history to modern science, exploring the various domes of the Eden Project is certainly memorable. Take in views of the changing leaves as you ride aboard a motorcoach to the North Cornish Coast and to Trevibban Vineyard, where tastings of local varietals further immerse you into the Cornish culture. The last excursion of the holiday takes you back in time with a ride aboard the Bodmin & Wenford Steam Railway, which connects to one of the most scenic rural branch lines in the UK. Complemented by time to stroll through the coastal villages at your own pace, this tour is chock-full of adventure.
6. Highlands By Steam
Immerse yourself in the undeniable beauty of the Scottish Highlands on the Highlands By Steam tour, which features incredible vistas, iconic steam trains and in-depth looks at beloved cities. Your journey commences in Edinburgh, where you are on your own to sightsee through the city. Continuing on, Blair Atholl becomes your home base for exploration. Soak in the quiet serenity of Scotland’s countryside from Queen’s View Lookout and the beautiful contrast of the gardens and the 18th-century architecture of Blair Castle. Cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the Jacobite Steam Train, and look out over the untouched landscape, admiring fall’s colours as they unfold before your eyes. Two more train trips lie ahead on this Scottish expedition: one aboard the Strathspey Steam Railway and another aboard the highest railway in the United Kingdom, the Cairngorm Mountain Railway. The combination of mountain peaks, protected parklands blooming with fiery colours and verdant forests make for postcard-perfect vistas. It is only fitting that the tour comes to a close back in the capital, surrounded by the unique essence of this vibrant county.
When travellers think of fall holidays for leaf peeping, Canada and the United States’ East Coast are the first locations that come to mind. Why not skip the huge crowds this autumn and explore the vivid beauty of the United Kingdom’s displays. Choose any of these getaways, or contact a rail specialist with Holidays By Rail to find your ideal destination.