Blackpool Steam Railway Holidays
As the clocks change and summer draws to an end it’s time to celebrate the passing of a season. In Munich they have the Octoberfest; in The States it’s trick or treat; in Ireland it’s the last public holiday before Christmas and in good old Blighty we have… the Blackpool Lights! This period also signals the start of hibernation for the UK preservation movement. Most lines will now mothball until the spring with the exception of the now customary Santa Specials. So, this is our last opportunity of the year to tempt you away for an autumn dose of steamy nostalgia.
At around about lunchtime we’ll meet up at Wigan North Western Station and set off for a most unusual first visit. At Martin Mere Wetlands Centre are birds from all over the world. One can walk around themed areas to see the wildfowl of Europe, Asia and elsewhere as well as the locals and even playful otters. Later on it’s a very short drive to the, ever-so friendly, West Lancashire Railway for privately hired steamy fun.
Our “local” steam railway features this morning as we enjoy journeys in the Irwell Vale with the East Lancashire Railway. A pleasant 12 mile journey, links Heywood with the mill town of Rawtenstall passing through Bury and Ramsbottom on the way. We blend old with new as we take to the streets with the Manchester Metro tram system and visit one of the most interesting museums in the country, the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry. Lunch is included today as tonight will involve simply grabbing some fish and chips (or something!) on Blackpool seafront after the holiday highlight of a journey through the famous illuminations aboard an historic, privately chartered, tram.
Yorkshire is just down the road and so are two super steam railways. So with passports at the ready we cross the border for a morning of rabbit spotting with the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. Later, we find ourselves in Bronte country at the Keighley and Worth Valley. This is a super line with great scenery and attractions at each of the stations – one of the best there is. There may even be time to visit the pretty town of Haworth where the Bronte family hail from.
Scenically this trip just gets better and better. Today we head north for the most famous rail journey in England as we travel the Settle/Carlisle line. But we like to do more than just that and so our support coach will take us into the Dales for visits to iconic places such as Ribblehead and Hawes. Enjoy a relaxed day taking in the finest scenery in the land – dry-stone walls, farmsteads, rolling hills and plunging dales – magic!
Our final morning and we’ve a super one in store to finish off with. A coach/rail/bus combination takes us to Leyland via Bamber Bridge. Here, in part of the once mighty Leyland Motor Works, is an exceptional museum. The British Commercial Vehicle Museum houses vehicles ranging from trams to buses and field gun haulers to a popemobile (yes, really!). Homeward bound journeys commence from nearby Preston around lunchtime.
The Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa, Clayton Le Moors
The Dunkenhalgh Hotel is a striking building whose rich and intriguing history can be traced back to the 13th century. The heritage of the Dunkenhalgh (or ‘The Dunk’ as it is affectionately known) has been preserved during it’s transformation from a historic countryside mansion house to a fine hotel set in 17 acres of Parkland. It will be a real treat to stay here and don’t forget your swim stuff if you fancy a splash!