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.

If you organise group excursions for special interest groups, organisations or educational institutions contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01766 512400 to discuss your requirements.

Here are examples of tours we have arranged for groups:

Mallorca Narrow Gauge

 

Palma's Gothic CathedralMultiple dates

We have been escorting travellers to Mallorca for the past 10 years and have created a popular tour that allows visitors to explore this beautiful Mediterranean island using its wonderful narrow gauge railway network. It provides the basis for a fabulous private group tour enabling members to discover the stunning scenery, culture and hospitality that this Balearic island has to offer.

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See the Republic of Ireland by Train

 

Slea Head, Dingle PeninsulaMultiple dates

How would you explore Eire as a private group? There is so much to see from the Causeway Coast to the Wild Atlantic Way and the sunny South East with 11 cities in between! Why not consider taking the train – we can arrange all transport from ferry crossing, train travel to coach sightseeing trips and accommodation to help you experience the scenic wonders, history, hospitality and magical myths of the ‘Emerald Isle’.

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Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways “Behind the Scenes”

 

Palmerston crossing Snowdon StreetMultiple dates

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.

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Private Group Tours to the Isle of Man

 

Castle Rushen - © Isle of Man TourismMultiple dates

The Isle of Man is one of the British Isles 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.

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Private Group Tours to Scotland

 

Eilean Donan Castle - © Kate BerryMultiple dates

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.

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Germany’s Harz Mountains – Heritage, Scenery and Steam Railway Tours

 

Harz RailwayMultiple dates

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.

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England’s Heritage Railways - Short Tour Breaks

 

Bluebell Railway - © Nicola Pulham/shutterstockMultiple dates

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.

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Group Rail Tours to Switzerland

 

Glacier Express on the Landwasser Viaduct, Graubuenden. - © swiss-image.ch/Andrea BadruttMultiple dates

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.

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Specialist Tours to Romania

 

Peles Castle, RomaniaMultiple dates

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.

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North Wales, Snowdonia & Steam Engines

 

Llangollen Railway - © David WilcockMultiple dates

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.

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Long Weekend in the Black Forest for the 37 Club

Schwarzwaldbahn steam train - © Ulrich WillmunderFfestiniog 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

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Tour of Scotland for the French Heritage Railway Association

Jacobite Steam TrainFfestiniog 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

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Zermatt Travel Group Tour of Wales

Welsh Highland RailwayOur 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

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IMechE Railway Technical Tour

Hitachi Plant, PistoiaFfestiniog 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

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Wild Flowers of Majorca

MajorcaMajorca, 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

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Music Tour – Venice

The Grand Canal, Venice - © John RobsonVenice, 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

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The Geology & Scenery of Anglesey

Penmon Point, AngleseyThe 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

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The Aldeburgh Festival

Historic Building in AldeburghThis was a very successful tour that we helped organise with the Wilmslow Guild as part of their music appreciation courses and was led by Roger Wilkes.

  • 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

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Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

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