Courier January Courier - Page 45

Ireland and the United Kingdom COMPILED BY KENDALL FLETCHER Hop aboard with Great Rail Journeys With more than 290 individual tours visiting 50-plus countries, Great Rail Journeys has spent 44 years becoming the largest operator of escorted-group rail tours in the world. The company offers a variety of railway excursions through the United Kingdom. “It’s an incredibly diverse group of islands with so much history and natural beauty to uncover,” says Group Marketing and Sales Director Alex Roberts. “From rolling coastlines to cosmopolitan cities to stunning mountain ranges, there is something to suit every taste. Discovering the U.K. by rail is easy and the rail network is vast, allowing you to travel effortlessly through the country whilst experiencing some of the most spectacular scenery.” Roberts says there’s a trend emerging among American travelers toward rail holidays in Scotland, where the famous Jacobite train, also known as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express, is just one of the available rail options in the region. Two of the other tours include the following: Vintage Railways of the Isle of Man: The destination is famous for its stunning coastline, superb sandy beaches, spectacular scenery and gentle pace of life. This charming island also boasts some of the most impressive heritage railways found anywhere in the British Isles, not to mention the historic horse-drawn trams. N. MCNAB The Loch nan Uamh Viaduct in Scotland carries the West Highland Line. Yorkshire and Northumberland: Rail journeys bring to life the history and wild, natural beauty of Yorkshire and Northumbria on this eight-day tour. Passengers follow in Viking and Roman footsteps visiting historical York, Chester’s Roman Fort, Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne and Alnwick Gardens. For more information, contact Roberts at alexroberts@ greatrail.com or visit greatrail.com. Celebrate the Mayflower’s quadricentennial with Select Travel Service SELECTTRAVEL.COM As an endorsed partner in the Mayflower 400 project, Select Travel Service is offering tours to England designed around the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. “This is a story of adversity and welcome, the Pilgrim fathers, the origins of Thanksgiving and lots more,” says Manager of Business Development Keith Somers. The Pilgrim Roots group tour includes an eight-day itinerary designed to lead travelers in the footsteps of Pilgrim ancestors with a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s hometown); a stop in Lincoln to see the Magna Carta of 1215; a stay in Nottinghamshire, where groups can tour Pilgrim villages; and a free day in London. The Mayflower Explorer is an 11-day group tour that mixes stops on the Pilgrim Roots tour with a guided tour of Southampton, a river cruise in Dartmouth, a stay in Plymouth (which was the final departure point of the Mayflower), and a visit to Harwich, the hometown of the ship’s captain Christopher Jones. Select Travel Service also offers tailor-made tours to fit a group’s specifications. “We are keen to work with adult leisure groups and those specifically interested in following the origins of a particular family, plus special interest student groups and special groups interested in anything from ship building to textiles to theater to faith,” Somers says. He also says travelers should start their Mayflower-related expeditions now, not only in the anniversary year of 2020, as Plymouth is a small city with limited accommodations. For more information on the Mayflower 400 project, contact Somers at keiths@asla-select.co.uk or go to selecttravel.com. NTAonline.com 43