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Discover the Lake District by steam boat and railway
Cumbria's snow-topped mountains, craggy fells and dramatic lakes
have long been a source of inspiration for writers, artists and
poets. From Beatrix Potter and her much-loved tales of Peter Rabbit
to William Wordsworth's romantic poetry written from his humble
home in Grasmere, the Lake District has captivated the minds and
hearts of those that explore it.
On our brand-new four-day holiday, you can discover the Lakes travelling on a majestic steam engine, touring the countryside on some of England's oldest railway lines, as well as crossing Windermere and Coniston Water by boat. From your luxurious four-star hotel - Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa - on the banks of Windermere, you'll experience life on England's largest lake, the perfect base for exploring the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is your opportunity to discover the lesser-trodden parts of this beautiful corner of the country, and enjoy the evocative sounds and smells that come hand-in-hand with such an exciting way to travel.
Stay in Lake District luxury
You'll spend three nights at the four-star Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa on the shores of Windermere. This comfortable hotel enjoys unrivalled views over the lake and boasts an award-winning restaurant, which serves local, organic cuisine. As well as private boat mooring, Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa has sprawling grounds, which are home to a large pool and well-equipped spa. With stylish rooms and an informal bar, this hotel is the perfect place to return to after a day touring the lakes.
Travel by steam
Journey up into the hills on the Ravenglass and Eskdale route, starting on a narrow-gauge railway originally built in 1875, and pass through some of the region's most stunning vistas. You'll spend an afternoon on board the Victorian-style steam gondola and enjoy a gentle crossing to Brantwood House, home of the Victorian artist and critic John Ruskin. Plus you'll journey on a train of lovingly restored British Railways Mark 1 carriages and wind through contrasting landscapes of lakes and forests in the nostalgic surrounds of these beautifully restored steam locomotives.
You will also stop at Carnforth Station, made famous by the 1945 film Brief Encounter, which has been refurbished to its 1940s glory, and now houses a growing collection of railway memorabilia; learn the story of 200 years of boats and steam during a visit to the new Windermere Jetty Museum; and ride the spectacular 19th-century Anderton Boat Lift, the first of its kind to be successful worldwide.
Reasons to book
Luxury hotel and spa stay
- Three nights' dinner, bed and breakfast at Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa
- Comfortable transport throughout
- Excursions and meals as detailed online
- Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager
Day1Carnforth Station visitCarnforth, United Kingdom
Depart by coach from pick-up points in London, Luton, Northampton, Birmingham and Crewe. Our first visit is to Carnforth Station Heritage Centre, the station used as the location for David Leans's 1945 film Brief Encounter, which has been restored to its 1940s glory. As well as an exhibition on the film, there is a growing collection of railway memorabilia and artefacts relating to the days of steam and a small museum. You can also have a cup of tea ("the sugar's in the spoon") in the Brief Encounter Refreshment Room which has been faithfully restored to resemble the film set where Laura and Alec first meet.
Continue to the four-star Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa just outside Kendal in the Lake District, where you'll also have dinner tonight. You will enjoy free membership of the Health and Fitness Club during your stay, including access to the pool, steam room and gym.
Day2Lakeside & Haverthwaite RailwayWindermere, United Kingdom
Today, following breakfast, depart for Lake Windermere and visit the Windermere Jetty, a spectacular museum showcasing the sights, smells and sounds of life on the lake. Steam launches, sailing yachts, motor boats and record-breaking speed boats are exhibited in the boathouse, on the water, and in exhibition galleries, while at the live conservation workshop you'll be able to see a collection of painstakingly restored historic boats. You'll hear tales of workers and boat owners and discover the fascinating developments in design and technology that drove boat-building in the Lake District.
In Bowness-on-Windermere you'll board a characterful lake 'steamer' for a cruise from Bowness to Lakeside. On arrival at the Lakeside terminus you'll board a train of BR Mark I coaches in 1950s livery for a trip on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, a short section of preserved railway line, operated by steam engines whenever possible, which provides some gentle nostalgia for the pre-Beeching days of old.
Return to the hotel for dinner.
Day3Ravenglass and EksdaleRavenglass, United Kingdom
After breakfast you'll travel to Ravenglass, where you'll begin your journey on the railway originally built in 1875 to transport iron ore from mines around Boot. The scenic route takes you through woodland and up into the hills. If there's more than a hint of 'Thomas the Tank Engine' about this delightful railway it's no co-incidence - the author Rev W Awdry wrote a couple of stories based on his experiences here. On our return to Ravenglass there will be time for lunch (not included) and a look round the museum.
This afternoon you'll take to the water once again, this time on Coniston, the third largest lake in the district. Board the elegant Victorian steam launch "Gondola", an excellent way to enjoy the breath-taking scenery on the way to Brantwood, home of the late John Ruskin. Its medieval-style garden contains an extensive collection of British native herbs and behind the house lies the Linton Fern Garden and the Professor's Garden, s small plot of herbs, cottage flowers and 19th-century varieties of fruit.
Dinner is served in the evening back at the hotel.
Day4Anderton Boat LiftAnderton Boat Lift, United Kingdom
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and begin the journey home, with time for one more visit en route. The magnificent Anderton Boat Lift is a 19th-century equivalent of the Falkirk Wheel in that it provides a vertical link between two waterways. Enjoy a boat trip along the Weaver Navigation as well as an ascent on the Lift itself. After these trips there will be time to look at the special exhibition centre describing the lift and its restoration.
We then continue to our original departure points, beginning with Crewe Railway Station for those with rail connections and arriving back in London in the evening.
Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa
One of the finest 4-star Lake District hotels
Set on the shores of Lake Windermere, England's largest lake, Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa boasts breathtaking views and exceptional facilities. Expect unrivalled natural scenery, pristine lawns, and private jetties and moorings on the lake and a sumptuous spa.