Flying Scotsman
Flying Scotsman

The ‘Sunset Scotsman’ Flying Scotsman at the Bluebell Railway

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2023 is the centenary year of Britain’s best-loved steam locomotive, the ‘Flying Scotsman’, and we are delighted to offer the opportunity to ride behind this iconic engine on the Bluebell Railway in West Sussex.

The highlight of our three-day break is a trip on the ‘Sunset Scotsman’, so named as the return trip starts in daylight and ends at sunset, giving the perfect opportunity to experience steam by summer day and atmospheric twilight. Our tickets include full access to the regular services on the Bluebell Railway so you have the option of a bonus ride over the 11-mile track between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead before the big event of the day. We will assemble on Platform One for Pimms and canapés, with time to get up close and view or photograph Flying Scotsman as she simmers at the head of the train, before we depart on the non-stop, return trip to East Grinstead. There is nothing quite like the sound of a massive steam engine easing its train out of the station, then filling the air with steam and exhaust as it accelerates away. When the locomotive in question is the most famous of them all, this is an absolute treat, to be savoured and remembered forever.

Making the most of our time in East Sussex and Kent, we have added a number of other visits of historical and horticultural significance, beginning with Hever Castle, which is part of the very fabric of English history and indeed on the day we visit will be highlighting this with a series of encampments and enactments of historical events from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century. We also enjoy visits to two splendid old gardens, the dream-like landscape of Sheffield Park, originally laid out in the 18th century gardens by ‘Capability’ Brown, and Sissinghurst, the epitome of English gardening perfection, set around the remains of an Elizabethan mansion.

Our hotel: we stay throughout at the four-star Spa Hotel. Set in 14 acres of picturesque grounds close to the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells, the spa town from which its name is derived, the hotel first opened its doors to guests in 1880 and has since built a reputation for style, sophistication, relaxation and fine dining.

Our Tour Manager: local resident and train buff Michael Gill will be in his element here, while ensuring everything runs like clockwork.

Please note: Rail or air connections to Gatwick Airport, and/or overnight accommodation before or after the tour can be arranged on request at a supplement.

Tour highlights:

  • Ride behind Flying Scotsman on the Bluebell Railway
  • Live historical enactments at Hever Castle
  • The historic gardens of Sheffield Park and Sissinghurst
  • Four-star hotel accommodation in Royal Tunbridge Wells
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