Private Group & Special Interest Tours
Ffestiniog Travel provide travel expertise for numerous interest and travel groups who wish to pursue their hobbies and activities further afield or visit a particular country, event or railway. Numbers can range from small parties of just 5 to up to 30 or more depending on destination. As an escorted tour operator we regularly deal with large groups of travellers requiring block bookings on trains, planes and at hotels to destinations around the world. We have a very busy rail and flight Ticket Only department which allows us to create tailor made tours for groups of all sizes who want to plan their own route, sightseeing venues and departure dates. We can also provide a tour leader if required.
The train is a great way for groups to travel through Europe. We can arrange reserved seating, allowing travellers and groups to travel in a comfortable, sociable atmosphere whilst sitting back and admiring the views. A major benefit of group travel is the ability to arrange private charters for day excursions where possible.
We have particular specialism in arranging holidays for rail enthusiasts who want to explore heritage railways around the world. We also provide a service to wider special interest groups, arranging travel and accommodation for organisations such as geology and music groups, gardening clubs, history and art societies. Most groups have their own tour guides who are experts in their field of interest.
Here are examples of tours we have arranged for groups:
Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways “Behind the Scenes”
This specialist tour will appeal to rail enthusiast groups as it offers an amazing opportunity to enjoy sights not normally seen by the average passenger. A chance to “access all areas” of the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway. Ride on footplates and learn about the history of this fascinating railway.
Private Group Tours to the Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is one of the UK’s hidden gems with vintage transport systems that literally take you back in time. Ffestiniog Travel has been running tours to the Isle of Man for over 20 years as it boasts wonderful, old-fashioned transportation, from steam railways, trams and even horse drawn trams. We run tours that explore the island and focus on its culture and history or for transport enthusiasts we can arrange ‘behind the scenes’ tours of the working railways and trams.
Private Group Tours to Scotland
Travelling around Scotland by train is one of the most rewarding ways to see the very best of this wild and beautiful country. You can sit back and enjoy some incredible views and experience some unforgettable journeys, including a ride on the West Highland Line, made famous by the Harry Potter films, and named best rail journey in Britain in 2019 for the second year running by top travel magazine Wanderlust.
Germany’s Harz Mountains – Heritage, Scenery and Steam Railway Tours
Ffestiniog Travel has been escorting groups to Germany’s stunning Harz Mountain region for nearly 20 years – it provides an interesting peak behind the former ‘Iron Curtain’ where a picturesque landscape, enchanting medieval towns and a fantastic steam railway provides a wonderful nostalgic journey into Germany’s past. An ideal destination for private groups from rail enthusiasts to history lovers.
England’s Heritage Railways - Short Tour Breaks
Heritage Railways around the world have become major tourist attractions, drawing in over hundreds of thousands of visitors annually who wish to immerse themselves in lovingly recreated time capsules and travel through some scenic landscapes. England boasts many historic railways across the country and they provide a wonderful backdrop from which to create short breaks for groups and organisations that wish to tour and explore the various regions of England by heritage railway.
Group Rail Tours to Switzerland
Switzerland has so much to offer travel groups - majestic mountain views, lakeside landscapes and picture postcard cities and towns. Ffestiniog Travel has a special connection to Switzerland as our very first overseas escorted tour was to the Swiss Alps back in 1974 and we have continued to explore the country by train several times each year ever since.
Specialist Tours to Romania
Variously described as “Europe’s last wilderness” and “Europe’s best kept secret”, Romania is a true gem of a destination. With a rich and varied history, stunning mountain scenery and a rural way of life unchanged for centuries, it has a charm of its own and yet is almost unknown. Amongst its many attractions is Transylvania with its castles and unspoiled forests and mountains, still home to bears, wolves and other rare fauna.
North Wales, Snowdonia & Steam Engines
Ffestiniog Travel’s roots lie in North Wales and as a sister company to the world famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways we are perfectly placed to offer short private group breaks to this beautiful north west corner of Wales and provide an opportunity to experience its many steam railway gems. Below are just a few options to consider or we can create an alternative, bespoke itinerary based on your criteria, length of trip and the number of travellers in your group.
Long Weekend in the Black Forest for the 37 Club
Ffestiniog Travel has been proud to arrange a steam-focused weekend from London to the Black Forest for the ’37 Club’ The 4-day package started with a Eurostar service from St. Pancras and Ffestiniog Travel arranged all travel, accommodation and sightseeing excursions including:
- 3 night’s accommodation at Hotel Linde in Donaueschingen
- Outward rail travel via Eurostar to Paris and TGV to Strasbourg, then regional services to Donaueschingen
- Returning via Karlsruhe, ICE train to Paris and Eurostar to London
- Scheduled steam train return journey on the Sauschwänzle Bahn from Blumberg Zollhaus to Weizen
- Lake Constance cruise
- Tickets for one of the periodic regular public steam trains on the Schwarzwaldbahn main line between Villingen and Hausach
Tour of Scotland for the French Heritage Railway Association
Ffestiniog Travel was privileged to arrange a tour of Scotland for 42 members of the FACS Voyages, led by two of our tour leaders. This 7-day group tour began when they boarded a train at Kings Cross and Ffestiniog Travel arranged all travel, accommodation and sightseeing excursions including:
- City sightseeing and tram tour of Edinburgh
- Journey across the Forth Bridge to the Falkirk Wheel for a boat excursion
- Return steam train trip and museum visit at Bo’ness
- Tours of Abbotswood House, Summerlee and Culzean Castle
- Private steam charter with dinner and shed visit on the Strathspey Railway
- Cairngorm and funicular ride, Inverness
- Fort William and a return Jacobite steam journey to Mallaig in Ayr and a visit to Glasgow
- Visits to Aviemore, Tweedbank, Glasgow
Zermatt Travel Group Tour of Wales
Our base in North Wales and our close connection with the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways make us best placed to arrange quality tours to the region. This expertise includes escorting groups from overseas, including the Zermatt Travel Group in Switzerland, for whom we have arranged four departures of the same tour itinerary of North Wales. We arranged all travel, accommodation and sightseeing excursions during the 9-day tour which included;
- Walking tour of Chester and afternoon tea at the Grosvenor Hotel
- Trips on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, Llanberis Lake Railway, Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, Talyllyn Railway, Vale of Rheidol Railway to Devils Bridge and Llangollen Railway
- Penrhyn Castle and Gardens, Conwy Castle (photo stop only and brief talk), Caernarfon Castle and Powys Castle
- Visits to Electric Mountain, Trefriw Woollen Mills, Great Orme Tramway, Bodnant Gardens, Llechwedd Slate Mines
- Aqueduct Cruise with lunch on the Llangollen Canal
- Services of a local Blue Badge guide throughout the tour
IMechE Railway Technical Tour
Ffestiniog Travel has helped arrange the annual Railway Technical Tour (RTT) on behalf of the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE) for several years. The tour provides an opportunity to study the technologies and operations of railways outside the boundaries of the UK. Previous Technical Tours have visited Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Holland, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain and France. The main benefit of attending an RTT is professional development and acquisition of know how that may be of relevance to the UK railway industry. In 2018 the tour visited Florence, Pistoia, Milan, Bergamo, the Bernina Pass, the Albula Tunnel and Landquart.
- Florence’s Brunelleschi’s Dome
- The ‘Museum of Railway Objects’ in Florence
- In-depth tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Rhaetian Railway
- Ride the Bernina and Albula railway lines
- Explore Milan’s transport systems
- Visit the WEGH factory and research facility
Wild Flowers of Majorca
Majorca, largest and most diverse of the Balearic Islands, is home to an extensive flora, seen at its best in Spring. We ran a specialist annual tour to the Island over several years, led by an expert guide from the Wilmslow Guild. The tour was popular among those interested in gaining knowledge of flowers further afield.
- Stay on the Island’s quiet and beautiful north coast
- Wide range of natural habitats - marshland, mountain valleys, rocky shores, sand dunes
- Tour formal gardens and Neolithic sites
- Learn about plants native to Britain that have adapted to a Mediterranean climate
- Study unique plants that bear witness to the island’s 30 million year old history
- A wonderful way to appreciate this beautiful Balearic Island
Music Tour – Venice
Venice, well known for its beauty, art and maritime history also has a long and distinguished musical past. We helped arranged an 8-day tour with music specialist Roger Wilkes from the Wilmslow Guild, who shared his passion and knowledge for music and Venice, himself having sung mass in St Mark’s Basilica and led previous music tours to France, Spain, Italy and the Holy Land
- Visit Venice’s famous landmarks
- Local English speaking guide highlights Venice’s musical influences
- Joined Roger Wilkes at Solemn Mass at the Basilica di San Marco
- Listen to the choir perform music by Venetian composers including Monteverdi
- A stunning cultural experience
The Geology & Scenery of Anglesey
The popular holiday destination of Anglesey has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a UNESCO Geopark of GeoMôn, for its unique geology. The ancient rocks which underpin this beautiful island were formed more than 600 million years ago in deep oceans towards the South Pole. We help arrange accommodation for this 7-day self-drive Study Tour, led by Dr Christine Arkwright, a geology tutor with the Open University
- Explore the island’s stunning beaches
- Learn about Anglesey’s interesting natural history
- Study the complex patterns of folds and faults in the cliffs around Rhoscolyn & Holyhead
- Learn about the formation of sandstones and fossiliferous limestones of eastern Anglesey
- A tour led by an expert in running geology field trips and study tours
The Aldeburgh Festival
- The Aldeburgh Festival is a music lovers ‘must go’ event
- Roger Wilkes is a Cambridge, and London University music graduate and expert music tour leader
- Learn about the Aldeburgh Festival history, founded in 1948 by Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Eric Crozier
- The 2013 Festival was a special occasion to mark the centenary of Britten’s birth
- Highlight of the festival was a performance of “Peter Grimes” in the open air setting of Aldeburgh Beach