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Welcome to Railtrail Tours

A family firm with an ethos of honesty and integrity. Our passion for delivering quality escorted holidays by rail at great value fares along with consistently excellent customer service has stood us in good stead for over 40 years.

Big on Quality, Small Enough to Care

01538 382323
Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm

<img src="dartmouthtrainshutterstock.jpeg" alt="Dartmouth Train"/>

Grand Tour - Coastal Nostalgia in the Sunny South

A unique Grand Tour by Rail brimming with seaside charm, heritage steam railways, and stunning coastal vistas. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane and journey along the stunning south coast staying in Kent, Dorset, and Devon visiting many of our favourite nostalgic attractions.

View Dates & Book

10 days from £1859



Friday 26 April 2024

Friday 13 September 2024



  • Discover the beautiful and contrasting coastlines of Kent, Dorset, and Devon

  • Ride the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Heritage Railway

  • Uncover the secret Wartime Tunnels at Dover Castle

  • Take a tour, tasting and dinner at Britain’s oldest brewery

  • Climb aboard historic warships

  • Explore the ancient streets of Canterbury and England’s oldest Cathedral

  • Steam on the Kent & East Sussex Railway

  • Enjoy a scenic tour by vintage bus on the Isle of Wight

  • Travel back in time on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

  • Hop on board the Purbeck Breezer and admire the coastal vistas

  • Journey on the nostalgic Swanage Railway

  • Experience the famous Seaton Tramway

  • Relax on a scenic Dartmouth River cruise

  • Steam along the English Riviera coastline on the South Devon Steam Railway


Also included in your Tour Fare:

  • Dinner every evening

  • Rail travel & seat reservations from your Home Station to Tour Base (Standard or First Class)

  • Services of experienced Railtrail Tour Manager

  • Hotel Poterage



For those booking rail travel with us, we arrive in Ashford and transfer to our hotel for three nights, the Ashford International Hotel. You may wish to relax in the hotel's leisure club ahead of dinner this evening in the hotel restaurant.



We begin our day in the ancient city of Canterbury where we visit the oldest Cathedral in England and can also explore the extraordinary atmospheric streets and many boutique shops. We continue to Chatham Historic Dockyard and discover 400 years of history as we explore the architecture, historic warships, and people that shaped British maritime innovation, engineering, and design. Our day concludes at Shepherd Neame Brewery where we enjoy a guided tour, ale tasting, and two-course brewer’s supper.

B, D


This morning we travel by private coach to the attractive village of Tenterden to journey on one of Kent's finest heritage railways, the beautiful Kent & East Sussex Railway. We can look around the Colonel Stephens Museum who built this and many other light railways before we enjoy a steam train journey along the picturesque route to Bodiam, where we meet our coach and continue to Dover Castle. Here we step inside the Great Tower and immerse ourselves in the history of this great castle before enjoying a unique visitor experience in the Secret Wartime Tunnels where the dramatic rescue operation of the 1940's 'Miracle of Dunkirk' is vividly bought to life. We take a fascinating tour of the atmospheric WW2 Underground Hospital before returning to our hotel.

B, D


We commence our transfer day travelling by private coach to Hythe for a journey on the superb Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway - the world's smallest public railway (15" gauge). The exhilarating journey takes us to Dungeness. We continue aboard our private coach to Brighton where we enjoy free time for lunch before we head to Brighton station to board our train via Southampton Central to Bournemouth. On arrival we transfer to The Carlton Hotel for the next three nights where our luggage will be waiting for us.

B, D


Transferring to Lymington, we join the Wightlink ferry to transport us the short distance to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. Our vintage coach awaits for a scenic ride along the western side of the island, around the southern tip to Shanklin. We take the Island Line service to Smallbrook Junction. Due to the low ceiling of Ryde Tunnel towards the northern end of the 8 mile stretch of track, normal size trains cannot operate on the island, which led to the Island Line using refurbished London Underground trains. At Smallbrook Junction we switch onto the nostalgic Isle of Wight Steam Railway, crossing the island’s heart through picturesque countryside to Wootton. Returning from Wootton to the railway’s Haven Street station, we transfer by vintage coach to Yarmouth for our ferry and transfer back to Bournemouth.

B, D


Today we hop on board our Purbeck Breezer Bus at Bournemouth and travel along the coastal road past the stunning multi-million-pound properties of Sandbanks via the short ferry crossing to the Isle of Purbeck before reaching our destination of Swanage. During our time in Swanage, we enjoy a return journey on the nostalgic Swanage Railway, which operates along six miles of track from Swanage past the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle. We return to Bournemouth via the Purbeck Breezer bus and enjoy dinner at the hotel.

B, D


After breakfast we commence our transfer to Torquay travelling by train along the scenic route from Bournemouth to Weymouth where our private coach awaits to transfer us into Devon and the seaside resort of Seaton. Here we board our heritage tram for a delightful return journey on the famous Seaton Tramway along the former railway branch line. After a lunchtime break, we re-board our private coach continuing westwards to Exmouth. From Exmouth we travel by local train for one of England's great railway journeys alongside the River Exe to Exeter before joining the mainline along the famous coastal route through Dawlish and onto Torquay and our hotel for the next three nights where our luggage will be waiting for us.

B, D


Today is free to relax in beautiful Torquay or independently explore the stunning English Riviera. Perhaps visit the neighbouring town of Babbacombe, famed for cliff railway built in 1926 and model village or take the short ferry ride across the bay to the small fishing town of Brixham, home of the 'Golden Hind' replica of the iconic Tudor ship.

B, D


We travel by steam train alongside the English Riviera coastline to Churston, then on through the wooded slopes of Long Wood bordering the Dart Estuary to Kingswear. We take a short ferry crossing to the historic resort of Dartmouth where there is free time for some sightseeing and a gentle circular river cruise viewing Bayards Cove, Kingswear and Dartmouth Castles, Britannia Royal Naval College, Dittisham Village, and Sir Walter Raleigh's Boathouse. We return by steam train to Paignton and onwards to our hotel.

B, D

DAY 10

Bidding farewell to the beautiful South Coast we make our way homeward.


B=Breakfast, D=Dinner


Ashford International Hotel, Ashford

The Ashford International Hotel is conveniently located for visiting the many attractions that Kent has to offer. The modern en-suite bedrooms are decorated in a contemporary style and offer TV, tea/coffee making facilities, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a stylish restaurant and comfortable bar plus a superb leisure club with gym, jacuzzi, swimming pool, sauna, and steam room.


Best Western Carlton Hotel, Bournemouth

Located on Bournemouth’s famous East Cliff and built in the Victorian era, the Carlton Hotel offers dramatic views across the bay and is just a 15-minute stroll along the seafront from the shops and pier. The hotel offers a restaurant with wonderful sea views, bar, outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers surrounded by gardens and palm trees, indoor swimming pool, gym, and sauna. The en-suite bedrooms all feature free Wi-Fi, TV, and tea/coffee making facilities.


The Livermead House Hotel, Torquay

The elegant Livermead House Hotel was built in 1820 and has a picturesque seafront location. It is ideally situated just a short walk from the train station and a level walk along the promenade to Torquay town centre. The Livermead House offers a traditional flavour, outstanding sea views, and high standards of cuisine. There is free Wi-Fi in all public areas. The hotel has lovely gardens with seating and an outdoor swimming pool plus a snooker room, squash court, gym, indoor bowls, and sauna.



Fare Region



London: Euston



Greater London



South of England



East Anglia



South West



Heart of England









North East



North West



South Wales



North Wales






*Please note: Some local and regional train services are Standard Class only, so First Class ticket holders will travel in standard class accommodation for these sections of journeys.


Join & Leave at Hotels £1,889


£30 tour discount for holders of National Railcards


Single Room Supplement £280


SEPTEMBER Departure Supplement £20


9 nights’ bed, breakfast & table d’hôte evening meal

Rail travel & seat reservations from your Home Station to Tour Base (Standard or First Class)

Rail & coach travel, with transfers as described

All excursions & admissions as detailed

Services of experienced Railtrail Tour Manager

Hotel Porterage


Important – Please select the number of passengers before proceeding to ‘Book Now’

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13 Sep 2024 £1,879.00 Loading

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Contact Us
Railtrail Tours Limited
21 The Smithfield Centre, Leek
Staffordshire Moorlands, ST13 5JW
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