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This page is designed to answer any questions you may have about our train holidays. If you cannot find the information you are looking for then please call our office on +44 (0) 131 610 1210 or email us at enquiries@absoluteescapes.com and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Choosing your Train Holiday

Booking your Train Holiday

Train Travel

Package Inclusions

Accommodation & Meals

Choosing your Train Holiday

What is a self-guided train holiday?

On a self-guided train holiday, you will explore by train, bus, taxi and ferry, using a flexible rover ticket that allows you to travel independently as required by your itinerary. We take care of your travel arrangements and accommodation leaving you free to make the most of each day’s journey.

We include a comprehensive and personalised information pack which will arm you with all the information you need to make the most of your time including daily travel notes, timetables, sightseeing suggestions and restaurant recommendations.

Knowing that all the arrangements are taken care of you can spend your days stress-free exploring medieval castles, sampling culinary delights or taking in wonderful seaside views.

Why choose a train holiday with Absolute Escapes?

Britain has some of the most spectacular railway journeys in the world. On a self-guided train holiday with Absolute Escapes you have the freedom and flexibility to explore the country without renting a car.

Our itineraries allow you to experience the best highlights and attractions – from bustling cities to the breathtaking Highlands and Islands by public transport.

Choose an environmentally friendly holiday, travel stress-free in comfort, and enjoy awe-inspiring views.

How does your tailor-made service work?

On our website you can browse train itineraries for inspiration for your next bespoke adventure. All of these can be tailored into something completely unique to you. To discuss what’s possible within your timeframe and budget, please fill in the enquiry form or give us a call on +44 (0)131 610 1210. It would be our pleasure to create something truly special for you.

When is the best time to travel?

The weather varies considerably throughout the UK and according to the time of year. March and April are best for spring flowers, and views of snow-topped mountains. May and June are usually the driest and sunniest months. The days are at their longest towards mid-summer so you can make the most of long, bright evenings to explore. July and August are the warmest months, though usually wetter. September often brings a period of settled weather, and autumnal colours in September and October can be quite spectacular.

July and August are when UK school summer holidays take place, which in many locations makes them the busiest months. However, in recent years May has been by far the busiest period in many Scottish locations.

Can I travel on my choice of dates?

As this is a self-guided train holiday, there are no set departure dates. We will, however, be able to advise you on which dates work with your specific itinerary.

Some remote communities, like the Isle of Skye, have limited public transportation on a Sunday and are therefore better visited during the week. Unique experiences such as the Jacobite Steam Train and Strathspey Steam Railway can sell out on certain dates during the summer season.

Can I book a private guided train holiday?

Unfortunately we are not able to offer train holidays as guided tours. On our private guided tours, you are accompanied by an expert guide who will take you on a unique journey through our country, bringing the land to life through their personal stories and local knowledge. As part of the experience, your personal guide will provide luxury transportation, meaning we are not able to offer train holidays as guided tours. If you are interested in discovering our beautiful country in the company of a passionate local guide, we recommend choosing this service instead.

Guided day trips are available as part of your train holiday and we would be delighted to provide you with more information.

How long are your train holidays?

Our train holidays are usually a minimum of 3 nights. Additional sightseeing days can be added at the start, during, and at the end of your itinerary.

 

Booking your Train Holiday

How do I enquire about and book my train holiday?

We recommend having a look over the itineraries on our website to gather some inspiration and then getting in touch via our enquiry form or by giving us a call to discuss your holiday.

Our travel experts will work with you to create an individualised itinerary taking into consideration the time you have available, your budget and the places you would most like to discover and explore. We will then send you a proposal and booking code for your holiday.

If you would like to go ahead and book we simply require a deposit of £100.00 per person in order for us to then proceed with making all of the arrangements for your holiday.

How do I pay for my holiday?

Once you have sent us an enquiry you will receive a full proposal by email. This will contain the price, inclusions, and full details on how to pay for your booking. We accept the following payment methods:

1. Bank Transfer – Our account details will be included in your proposal. We ask you to make payment in British pounds sterling (£). If your bank charges you for this service we do ask you to ensure that you settle these charges directly with them.

2. Credit or Debit Card – We accept the following credit or debit cards: Switch/Maestro; Visa; Master/Eurocard. We do not accept payment by Amex.

3. Cheque – Please make cheques payable to “Absolute Escapes Ltd.” Cheques must be made in British pounds sterling (£).

How far in advance do I need to book my holiday?

We generally require at least one month’s notice in order to book a holiday. The further in advance you are able to book your holiday the more likely it is that we will be able to secure you our top choices of accommodation, so we recommend booking as early as you are able.

If you are looking to travel at peak times such as May or during school holidays, please do get in touch as far in advance as possible.

When will I receive the information pack for my holiday?

We will send your information pack which will include details of your accommodation to you by post 2 – 3 weeks after you have made your final payment. We will also send you a copy of all of the essential documents for your holiday by email. If your booking with us is part of a larger holiday and you will leave home before this date, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate. We can also arrange for your pack to be sent to your first night’s accommodation.

Is my money safe?

In accordance with UK Government regulations, your financial security is guaranteed when you book with Absolute Escapes Ltd. The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 for Absolute Escapes Ltd (membership number 5443). In the unlikely event of our insolvency protection is provided for all money that has been paid for non-flight packages.

ABTOT cover provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if you are abroad. Please note that bookings made outside the EEA are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Absolute Escapes Ltd.

In the unlikely event that you require assistance whilst abroad due to our financial failure, please call the ABTOT 24/7 helpline on 01702 811397 and advise you are a customer of an ABTOT protected travel company. Further details can be found on the ABTOT website.

Do I require travel insurance?

We highly recommend that you take out holiday insurance to cover cancellation, personal accident, illness and loss or theft of personal possessions and/or money.

Can I change the dates of my holiday after I have booked?

It is usually possible to change your start date up to 8 weeks before the start of your holiday although it is not advisable. We charge an administration fee of £50.00 to cover the work involved in cancelling and re-booking your accommodation. Requests for changes made less than 8 weeks before the start of your holiday will be treated as a cancellation of your original booking, and our usual booking conditions will apply.

What happens if I have to cancel my holiday?

If you have to cancel your holiday please inform us by email or letter. The date from which we receive your email or letter is the date from which cancellation fees will be calculated. You can find our cancellation policy on our Booking Conditions page.

 

Train Travel

How flexible is travelling by public transport in the UK?

The UK is the ideal country to explore by train, as the modern railway network connects most of the country – with a little help from ferries and coaches. The rover ticket we include in your package gives you total flexibility on your travel days, allowing you to hop-on, hop-off as much as you like, so you can visit sightseeing attractions.

Together we will create a personalised itinerary for you, so you can relax and discover Britain without worrying about transport. If you want to get off the beaten track, our passionate team would love to assist you. Some experiences might be a short taxi journey away, and in this case, we will provide you with more information.

Is public transport reliable and safe in the UK?

The transport infrastructure in the UK is very good, with public transport serving all major cities and towns, from the South Coast to the Highlands and Islands. The modern network is reliable, safe and accessible. You will find plenty of staff members at bus and train stations and ferry terminals, who can answer your questions and point you in the right direction. Official visitor information desks in the main towns and cities will also ensure you are well-informed.

Absolute Escapes has a 24-hour emergency contact number, which you are also welcome to use if you are concerned about anything.

What are the advantages of travelling by train rather than by car?

You can confidently leave the car behind and embrace an environmentally-friendly way to holiday in the UK without compromising on your experience. You won’t have to worry about driving on the wrong side of the road, navigating hair-raising single-track roads, passing places or Highland cattle, or getting lost with your family in the backseat. Instead you get to sit back and savour the view. You can strike up a conversation with a local, and find out about those hidden gems that only locals know about, or get properly acquainted with the local culture. The time you spend on the train is yours to enjoy.

What if I have a Railcard?

If you have a valid UK Railcard, such as a Senior Card or Two Together, please let us know when you enquire and we will ensure your discounts are applied. Children between the ages of 5 and 15 are also able to receive a discounted travel pass.

Can I upgrade to First Class?

Unfortunately, the travel passes are only valid for Standard Class, as many rural train services only have Standard Class seats. Separate First Class tickets are available on some inter-city services, but we are not able to provide you with these tickets. These can, however, be purchased online or at the train stations. We would be delighted to provide you with more detailed information if this is something you are considering.

What do I do with my luggage?

Most trains will have designated luggage compartments onboard. It’s also possible to store smaller pieces of luggage in the overhead racks and underneath the seats. Some ferries will have designated areas for luggage, but otherwise, you will find plenty of space onboard.

In terms of luggage allowance on trains, each passenger can carry two large suitcases and one item of hand luggage, and there are no weight restrictions. However, we strongly recommend travelling light, preferably with a wheelie suitcase, so you can take your luggage along the platforms and store it away safely without too much hassle.

Can I choose my seat?

With a travel pass, you usually don’t have to make a seat reservation. However, trains on popular rural lines can get busy, so to get a good seat with a view, you may wish to pre-book one. The simplest way to do this is to go to any train station with a ticket desk and ask them to make a reservation for you. Alternatively, you can give them a phone. This service is free.

Some coach services require you to make a seat reservation in advance. We will inform you of this when your holiday is confirmed, so you will be able to do this well in advance.

 

Package Inclusions

What’s included when you book with Absolute Escapes?

Our train holidays include a flexible rover ticket that allows you to travel on trains, ferries and a selection of coach services throughout the UK as required by your itinerary. All our packages include hand-picked accommodation, personalised information pack, and 24-hour support from our dedicated team. We love the opportunity to design a bespoke train holiday for you based on your interests using our first-hand, specialist knowledge of Britain.

Your train holiday includes:

  • Carefully selected en-suite accommodation including traditional cooked breakfast
  • Comprehensive information pack and local visitor guidebooks
  • Personalised itinerary with our recommendations for the best places to eat and drink and sightseeing suggestions
  • Touring map with our recommended route
  • Travel passes covering all rail, ferry and bus journeys as per this itinerary
  • 24-hour emergency contact number
  • Full financial protection

What’s not included in the package price?

  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches and evening meals

Do you include tickets for tours and attractions?

The information pack for your holiday is packed full of sightseeing suggestions for each day of your holiday based on our own experiences exploring each destination. With a couple of exceptions, we generally do not include any specific tickets in your package as we have found that our clients prefer greater flexibility in their holiday itinerary and being able to choose how they would like to spend each day.

Do let us know if you have any specific interests and we would be delighted to include some recommendations to match these.

Can you book flights for me?

We are more than happy to advise you of the best routes, however, we do not arrange flights.

 

Accommodation & Meals

What kind of accommodation do you offer?

We know that after a busy day of sightseeing an exceptional place to stay makes all the difference. We are proud to work with a fantastic range of B&Bs, Guest Houses and Hotels, a number of which we have worked with for many years. In each of the accommodations we use, we look for hands-on owners whose dedication to a high-quality client experience rivals our own.

Each accommodation included in your itinerary is hand-picked based on your individual requirements and many are off the beaten track in superb locations. In the cities, we work with slightly larger hotels in order to ensure a high-quality experience for our guests where a central location is often a priority.

To simplify the booking process, we offer four accommodation categories:

  • Budget – 3* B&Bs & Guest Houses
  • Standard – 4* Guest Houses & 3* Hotels
  • Premium – 4* Gold and 5* Boutique Guest Houses & 4* Hotels
  • Special Places to Stay – A collection of unique, often privately owned exclusive retreats and intimate hotels situated in spectacular locations.

If you wish to combine these categories, or perhaps upgrade for a special occasion, please let us know in your enquiry and we would be delighted to assist you.

How do you choose my accommodation?

Our team of experts are dedicated to seeking out the highest quality accommodation available in the UK and we only book you into places where we would be excited to stay ourselves. Over the years we have built up a fantastic knowledge of the best places to stay and a great relationship with many accommodations throughout the UK.

We look for high standards of personal service, attention to detail and excellent food and many of the places we use have hands-on owners, who ensure our guests are extremely well looked after.

Where is my accommodation located?

For clients travelling by public transportation, we prioritise central accommodation near train or bus stations, close to shops, amenities and restaurants. In most cases, it will be possible for you to walk to your accommodation, although you may wish to take a short taxi journey, which will be the easiest way to travel with your luggage. We will provide you with contact details for local taxi operators and you will also be able to find taxis waiting outside the stations ready to assist you.

Can you tell me the names of the accommodation you use?

As we prefer to handpick each of your accommodations based on your individual requirements and availability at the time of booking, we cannot say prior to booking which accommodation you will be staying in. We would be delighted to send some examples of the accommodation we use to give you an overview of the quality on offer – do just ask us!

As soon as your holiday is confirmed we can also send a full list of your accommodation.

Will my accommodation be en-suite?

Yes, we always book accommodation with en-suite bathrooms on our train holidays.

What meals are provided?

Breakfast is always included, and will generally consist of sausage, bacon, eggs etc. Cereals, fruit, toast, and tea or coffee will also be available. Lunch and dinner are not included, however, your personalised itinerary will include recommendations on the best pubs and restaurants to eat and drink in each evening.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

Please tell us about your requirements when booking. It is almost always possible to accommodate dietary requirements, but please check with us first before booking.

Train Holidays

Scotland by Train

From £1125pp

Train Holidays
Duration 9 Nights
  • Jacobite Steam Train - one of the Great Railway Journeys of the World
  • The magical Isle of Skye and the Cuillin Mountains
  • Mystical Loch Ness & Inverness, the Highland Capital

Great Scottish Railway Journey

From £1145pp

Train Holidays
Duration 10 Nights
  • Travel on the Jacobite Steam Train across the breathtaking Glenfinnan Viaduct
  • Discover the spectacular wild landscapes of The Cairngorms National Park
  • Cross the historic Forth Bridge to Edinburgh - Scotland’s majestic capital city
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