2019 marks 200 years since the death of James Watt, who’s often considered the true inventor of the steam engine. After attempting to repair a Newcomen steam train engine, Watt realised its inefficiencies and sought to improve the design by preventing huge losses of steam. The results were groundbreaking; he’s considered a giant of the Industrial Revolution and the watt (unit of power) was later named after him.

McKinlay Kidd offers three new rail tours of Wales, each full of adventure beyond the train line, combining the magic of steam with charming accommodation, history, nostalgia and breath-taking scenery.

Snowdonia, photo courtesy of Visit Wales

Castles, Gardens & Steam Trains of North Wales
Explore North Wales car-free on this week-long adventure. Meander through the National Trust’s world-class Bodnant Garden, with exotic plants from all over the world, plus pretty flower-filled terraces and secret nooks. Discover the fascinating castles of Conwy and Caernarfon – both UNESCO World Heritage Sites – with strong towers that dominate the skyline to this day. Travel is, of course, by train; soak up vistas of Snowdonia and the picturesque countryside as the rhythm of the train relaxes passengers. The trip costs from £1,165 pp (two sharing), including seven nights’ B&B accommodation, train travel and transfers within Wales, private guided driving tour from Llanrwst and private guided walking tour in Conwy.

Grand Tour of Wales by Train
The ultimate adventure to explore Wales in all of its glory, spend two weeks travelling around the country and experiencing its highlights via rail. From country to coast, enjoy private and small group guided tours of historical hotspots, before resting each evening in characterful accommodation with friendly hosts. Find secret beaches along the scenic Gower Peninsula, explore Cardiff on foot and enjoy a first-class steam train experience in a Pullman carriage on board the Ffestiniog line to Porthmadog.The trip costs from £2,250 pp (two sharing), including 14 nights’ B&B accommodation, train travel and transfers within Wales, private tour/transfer from Llanrwst to Betws-y-Coed, private return transfer to Bodnant Garden, private tour/transfers from Swansea to the Gower Peninsula and Penally to St David’s, private walking tours in Conwy, Crickhowell and Tenby, and a boat tour from St David’s.

Pullman carriage on Ffestiniog Line
Pullman carriage on Ffestiniog Line

Welsh Steam Railway Experience
A short break based in the fairy-tale village of Portmeirion; take a step back in time and enjoy a sentimental steam train journey amidst the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. The observation car offers the best views of the ever-transforming landscape, and the trip also includes an optional stop at the extraordinary Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog for a visit to the Slate Mountain Adventure. Then visit Caernarfon, home to imposing Caernarfon Castle with its proud polygonal towers and immense history. The trip costs from £495 pp (two sharing), including three nights’ B&B accommodation, all transfers and return first-class train travel from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog to Caernarfon.

McKinlay Kidd are award-winning curators of special-experience and tailor-made holidays in Scotland, Ireland, England & Wales. All accommodation and experiences have been personally tried and tested by the McKinlay Kidd team. For more details, or to book, visit www.mckinlaykidd.com or call 0141 260 9260 to speak to an expert. Photo of Conwy Castle, courtesy of Visit Wales.