The steam engine, the world’s first pedal cycle and even tarmac — you might be surprised to learn about the sensational Scottish inventions that have had an impact on the world of transport...But from our first day on tour, we’ve no doubt that you’ll start to get very comfortable with the idea of Scotland as a centre of remarkable innovation, and as the home of some of the most wonderful methods of transport to utilise them.
Out here, steam is king — and as we chug steadily along the Borders Railway, starting from the urban tangle and clamour of Edinburgh’s Waverley station and forging a route to the riverside burgh of Galashiels, you’re sure to be held completely in its thrall.
Get better acquainted with the mechanics of travel at the Museum of Flight in East Fortune, and Glasgow’s award-winning Museum of Transport, the latter housed behind the instantly recognisable jagged facade of the Riverside Museum.
And speaking of riversides, what transport tour would be complete without a glide on the Firth of Forth, to see three magnificent bridges from three centuries, and a visit to Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia?
- Boat trip on the Firth of Forth viewing three generations of bridges
- A tour of the Clyde-built former Royal Yacht Britannia
- Trip on the new Borders Railway
- Historic aircraft including Concorde at the Museum of Flight
- A whiff of steam at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway
Enter a wonderful world of planes, trains and automobiles on our Scottish Transport Heritage tour. Topflight museums in buzzing cities and laid-back towns, fantastic landscapes, and a dazzling array of ways to discover them — if ever there were a tour for the transport enthusiast, it’s this, and if there were ever a place, it’s bonny Scotland.
Sunday 3 September 2017
We depart from our pick-up points and head for Edinburgh, where we will visit the former Royal Yacht Britannia at its permanent mooring next to the Ocean Terminal in Leith, where there will be an opportunity for lunch (not included) prior to our visit. Built by John Brown & Company on the Clyde in 1953, HMY Britannia served as the royal yacht of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from 1954 until she was decommissioned by the new Labour government in 1997. During her 43-year career, this elegantly proportioned ship travelled more than a million nautical miles around the globe and her last foreign assignment was as to convey the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, and the Prince of Wales back from Hong Kong after its handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. The interior of the ship remains exactly as it was when it served both as a venue for trade and diplomatic receptions and as a retreat for the Royal Family, who spent many enjoyable private holidays aboard her, mainly off the west coast of Scotland. The cabins and public rooms are modestly decorated (there are no gold-plated taps here) and the crew’s quarters are rather cramped and Spartan, yet the ship provides a fascinating glimpse into the private life of The Queen and her family.
Following our visit we continue to our comfortable hotel in Dunfermline, where dinner will be served in the evening.
Monday 4 September 2017
We return to Edinburgh after breakfast this morning in time to catch a morning train from Waverley station to Galashiels on the Borders Railway, which opened in 2015. The single track line (with three passing loops) largely follows the alignment of the original double-track ‘Waverley Route’ which was controversially closed in 1969 under the Beeching cuts and many of the old structures such as bridges and tunnels have been re-used. Travelling at a leisurely pace, the train passes through the rolling hills of the Borders countryside to its present terminus at Tweedbank, though there are hopes that the line may be continued to Melrose and Hawick and eventually even to Carlisle. We will alight at Galashiels, the penultimate stop, where there will be time for a look around and some refreshments (not included).
We will then return by train as far as Gorebridge, where we will rejoin our coach and travel across the farmlands of East Lothian to the Museum of Flight at East Fortune, which has a collection of civil and military aircraft unsurpassed anywhere else in the UK. A site steeped in history, in 1919 the R34 Airship took off from East Fortune on its record-breaking first east-west transatlantic flight. The star attraction is undoubtedly Concorde, which represents the pinnacle of Anglo-French aeronautical achievement. The Museum’s chosen representative of the fleet is G-BOAA, who made her final flight on Saturday 12 August 2000 when she flew from JFK New York to London Heathrow, and in her career flew for a total of 22,768 hours and 56 minutes, landing 8,064 times and going through 6,842 supersonic cycles. A new exhibition tells Concorde’s story and visitors will be able to learn about the people who designed, built, worked and travelled on this unique aeroplane. There will be plenty of time to view the rest of the Museum’s collection of around 50 complete aircraft, ranging from Britain's oldest surviving aeroplane, Percy Pilcher's 'Hawk' glider of 1896, to modern passenger airliners and supersonic jet fighters, making the collection among the most comprehensive in the UK. Lunch (not included) will be available here on arrival.
We return to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.
Tuesday 5 September 2017
Following breakfast we cross the Forth once again as we head to the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, one of Scotland’s premier heritage railways and headquarters of the Scottish Rail Preservation Society. The railway evokes the sights, sounds and smells of the golden age of rail travel in Scotland and operates a total of over five miles of track along the route of the Slamannan and Borrowstounness Railway that became part of the former North British Railway. A variety of steam and diesel locomotives haul trains formed primarily of the once-ubiquitous Mark I carriages in period liveries. After a round trip from Bo’ness to Birkhill and back there will be time to look around the SRPS Museum which contains a large collection of vintage locomotives, carriages and wagons as well as assorted railway paraphernalia.
Following our visit here we travel a short distance back along the shores of the Forth to the historic town of South Queensferry, where there will be an opportunity for lunch (not included). We will then assemble at the Hawes Slipway for our boat trip on the Firth of Forth. This 90-minute cruise will give us a sea-level view of three generations of bridges – the massive cantilever Forth Bridge from 1890, still a vital link in the Scottish rail network; the original suspension Forth Road Bridge which replaced the centuries-old ferry in 1964, and the new Queensferry Crossing, due to open in May 2017, a highly impressive structure which has changed the whole appearance of the Forth estuary, with its three 207m-tall towers supporting triangular sets of cables, like the masts and sails of a massive sailing ship.
We then return to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.
Wednesday 6 September 2017
We check out of the hotel and drive over the Kincardine Bridge to Glasgow for our last visit, which is to the Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel. Glasgow was once at the forefront of transport technology and built thousands of ships, railway locomotives and road vehicles throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum, which moved from its previous site adjacent to the Kelvin Hall to this purpose-built site on the banks of the River Clyde in 2011, celebrates this rich industrial heritage with an extensive collection of more than 3000 objects that includes trams, buses, cars, motorcycles, majestic steam locomotives and finely detailed models of Clyde-built ships. There is also a recreated life-size street from 1895 to 1930, plus two additional display areas depicting shops from the 1930s right through to the 1980s, giving visitors a fantastically detailed insight into Glasgow's distant and more recent past.
We then return to our original points with arrival due in the evening.
- 3 nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the comfortable Pitbauchlie Hotel, Dunfermline. All rooms have private facilities
- Comfortable coaching throughout
- Visits to the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Museum of Flight, the Museum of Scottish Railways and Riverside Transport Museum; trip on the Borders Railway (Edinburgh-Galashiels-Gorebridge); return trip on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway; boat trip on the Firth of Forth
- Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager
- Single room supplement £105.00
- Insurance £21.00 (under 65); £42.00 (65-74); £63.00 (75-90)
- Rail/air connections and/or overnight accommodation in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Perth before or after the tour available on request
Aberdeen (Skene St) 0900 2200
Dundee (Discovery Point) 1030 1830
Perth (Canal St) 1100 1800
Kinross (Moto Services, M90) 1215 1700
Dunfermline (Carnegie College) 1230 1645
Edinburgh (Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Rd) 1300 1615
Glasgow (Millennium Hotel, George Sq) 1145 1500
Please note the pick-up in Glasgow will be by feeder coach, subject to minimum numbers. All timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.