In Style

South West England in Style

8 to 17 July
United Kingdom

Join us on PTG’s first ever tour to South West England and we are doing it “in style”. A 10-day three centre holiday starting in Bath, continuing to Devon and concluding in Cornwall. It will give the opportunity of visiting many of the regions preserved railway lines, travelling on main and branch line trains and visiting a number of National Trust properties and gardens. There are many highlights of this tour with behind-the-scenes access at some of the preserved lines, and similar behind-the-scenes access to a number of National Trust properties with such unique events as an evening meal together in Agatha Christie’s dining room at Greenway in Devon. The hotels are all top quality four star hotels and gourmet food is included throughout our tour. You can choose to arrive at our hotel in Bath by train or car and for those travelling by car secure free car parking is available for your car to remain there whilst we take our travels through the South West and we will return from Cornwall by mainline train on the final day of the tour to either continue on by rail or pickup your car in Bath.

This unique opportunity to experience some of the best features of the South West “in style” will be truly memorable.

Highlights

  • Excellent hotels
  • Top class dinners included every night
  • Behind the scenes at National Trust properties
  • Behind the scenes at steam railways
  • Three centres – Bath (3 nights), Bovey Castle (3 nights), Falmouth (3 nights)
  • Britain’s last coal-fired paddle steamer

Tour Manager: Stephen   smart@ptg.co.uk 

Itinerary

Day 1 Monday 8 July (T, D) To start the tour we will assemble at our hotel on the outskirts of Bath for 3 pm. For those arriving by train it’s 10 minutes by taxi from the city centre for those who joined by car there will be secure parking at the hotel for the length of the tour and we will return to the hotel at the end of the tour for you to collect your car. It will be possible, if you are travelling a distance, to stay at the hotel the night prior to the tour or after the tour to make it more relaxed. We will travel into the centre of Bath to enjoy our opening function, tea in the exclusive Bath Pump Room to the accompaniment of the classical quartet. Returning to the hotel by taxi we enjoy our welcome meal together in a private dining room.

Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath presents some of the finest architectural sights in Europe. The finest collection of Georgian buildings in Europe.

Day 2 Tuesday 9 July (B, D) There is much to explore in the environs of Bath. Starting with an open top city tour to get the layout of the city before free time to explore your chosen options within the city which could include the Abbey, the costume Museum, the Holbein Art Gallery or a tour of the Georgian areas. After free time for lunch we will head off for a private opening of Beckford’s Tower on the outskirts of the city before continuing to the National Trust Dyrham Park for a private tour before returning to the hotel for dinner.

Day 3 Wednesday 10 July  (B, D) Today we explore further afield with a visit to Brunel’s historic HMS Great Britain in the centre of Bristol for a private tour before continuing to the National Trust property at Tyntesfield for a private tour of both the house and gardens.  Following on from afternoon tea in the restaurant there we will return to our hotel in Bath for a final night and a meal together in the restaurant.

Tyntesfield, was not built as a bold and extravagant statement of wealth, power or politics. Its purpose was simple; to serve as a family home. Once hidden and inaccessible, the ordinary and extraordinary lives and possessions of four generations of the Gibbs family are now accessible thanks to the National Trust which secured the property, and its unique collection of objects, in 2002.

Day 4 Thursday 11 July (B, D) A morning departure by train to enable us to get to the West Somerset Railway in Taunton for a train to Minehead. Our coach will meet us there to take is on for a private tour of the National Trust Dunster Castle. We will then continue on to the unique hotel Bovey Castle in Dartmoor. Steeped in rail history it was originally built as the country residence for WH Smith, who made his fortune with his stationery shops on railway platforms and subsequently owned by the Great Western Railway, there is much in the residence to remind one of its previous ownerships. Pre-dinner drinks will be served in the Mortonhampstead Car Museum before we dined together in a private dining room at the hotel.

Day 5 Friday 12 July (B, D) A day full of contrasts starting with a paddle steamer journey from Dartmouth up to Totnes where there will be time to familiarise yourself with this town dominated by its hilltop castle before continuing by open topped bus to Paignton and catching a steam hauled train down to Kingswear. From there we will continue to a private opening of Coleton Fishacre the holiday home of the D’Oyly carte family now in the care of the National Trust for a tour of the house and gardens, followed by a dinner at Greenway Agatha Christie’s family home before returning to the hotel.

An historic town, with its roots in Elizabethan times, Totnes has a reputation for welcoming alternative lifestyles. Consequently it is a place full of contrasts. It is the second oldest borough in England and is full of interesting diversions for the visitor. There are museums, a riverside with steamer quay and a multitude of historic buildings, with examples of properties dating back to Norman, Medieval and Tudor times. There are 66 houses in Totnes dating to before 1700.

Day 6 Saturday 13 July (B, D) Today we will have a private tour of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway and a charter train on the short stretch of line which has been restored. Returning close to our hotel we will have a visit to Castle Drugo for a private tour and tea in the restaurant before returning to our hotel to dine together.

The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway opened as an independent railway in May 1898. It was a single track, 1 ft 11 1⁄2 in narrow gauge railway and was slightly over 19 miles long running through the rugged and picturesque area bordering Exmoor in North Devon, England. The last train ran on 29 September 1935. In recent years a scheme to reopen the whole line has gathered pace and sections of the trackbed are gradually being purchased back from the current landowners. Replica of the original locomotives and carriages that ran on the line have been built (see photo) and more are in the pipeline.

Day 7 Sunday 14 July (B, D) Today we head into the far South West crossing into Cornwall; we will stop at the Launceston Railway and the standard gauge Bodmin and Wenford Railway before continuing to our hotel on the seafront in Falmouth. We will dine in a seafood restaurant close to the hotel.

The enchanting narrow-gauge Launceston Railway offers train rides through the unspoilt countryside of Cornwall.  All trains are hauled by lovingly restored Victorian Steam Locomotives – some from the old slate railways of North Wales.

Day 8 Monday 15 July (B,D) The Gulf Stream has a dramatic effect on the climate in this part of Cornwall; enabling semitropical plants to flourish, today we will visit a number of gardens close to Falmouth with private tours with the gardening staff. By way of contrast we will then go on to the Lizard Peninsula and the National Trust owned area, where a warden will give us a talk on of the unique wildlife to be found there. We will return to the hotel for an evening meal together.

Day 9 Tuesday 16 July (B, D) Today you have the option of staying in Falmouth to visit the attractions there including Pendennis Castle or coming with us by branch line train to St Ives a unique artist orientated town on Cornwall’s northern coast. We will arrive and depart in St Ives by train with time to explore its many sites including the Tate Art gallery. We return to Falmouth for our final evening meal together.

Day 10 Wednesday 17 July (B) A morning departure for out return to Bath by Intercity train along the famous Brunel GWR route. This will enable you to pick up your cars or train connection or stay over at the hotel prior to departure the following day.

Place(s) available

For more details please email Stephen at smart@ptg.co.uk

There are a range of prices and options for this tour so please contact us on 01235 227288 to discuss the various options.