At around about lunchtime we will meet up at Wigan North Western Station and set off for a most unusual first visit. At Martin Mere Wetlands Centre there 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. We’ll stop for an early evening meal somewhere before 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 all festooned in Autumn colours - 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. 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.
It’s perfectly placed for all our days outings and is set in relaxing grounds and a tranquil environment. Once the private home of a wealthy local merchant this hotel has been sympathetically restored to preserve the grandeur of a bygone era. A perfect example of how heritage can blend seamlessly with contemporary style – an ideal place to relax. Be warned, there is no lift, but porterage can be arranged.