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Lake District re-creates ‘The Grand Circular Victorian Tour’

Visitors to the Lake District can capture all the nostalgia of a bygone age this summer, with the re-creation of ‘The Grand Circular Victorian Tour’.

The tour was regularly used in the 1860s to integrate steam and boat services in and around Coniston and Windermere. Now, it is being brought back to life by the National Trust, with support from the ‘See More’ sustainable transport programme.

Passengers will start their day-long experience by stepping aboard a lovingly-restored vintage steam train on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway. They will chug three and a half miles into the picturesque Leven Valley on part of the Old Furness Line, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide in full period costume.

Arriving at Lakeside, at the southern end of England’s longest lake, they can enjoy two leisurely cruises on a historic Windermere Lake Cruises ‘steamer’ and a traditional wooden launch, before taking a stroll to the newly restored Victorian Viewing Station at Claife – for superb views and a ‘ferryman’s lunch’.

Then it’s time to board a Mountain Goat minibus for the short trip to Coniston and a cruise back in time on the Steam Yacht Gondola. Originally built in 1859 by the Furness Line Railway Company, the Gondola’s opulent saloons and open air decks are the ultimate re-creation of the journey taken by early Victorian visitors to the Lakes. Passenger round-off the day with a final scenic trip on a Mountain Goat minibus.

The Grand Circular Victorian Tour is being supported with funding from the See More sustainable travel programme; its Small Grants Fund aims to develop and promote easy, accessible visitor transport across Cumbria.

See More Programme Manager, Nicola Parker, says, “We hope projects like the Grand Circular Victorian Tour will give visitors the best possible access and experience of car-free travel around the Lakes. It is great to help an organisation like the National Trust work together with local businesses and communities to bring this vintage tour back to life.”

Jane Saxon, General Manager for the Lakes Holidays Portfolio at the National Trust explains, “We’re very happy to be working collaboratively with our Lake District partners to enable our visitors to enjoy the area in a sustainable way whilst also engaging with our rich cultural heritage.

Proposed 2016 dates for the Grand Circular Victorian Tour are:

• Weds 4 and 18 May
• Weds 1 and 15 June
• Weds 6 and 20 July
• Fri 5 and Weds 17 Aug
• Fri 2 and Weds 14 Sept
Tickets for the day-long experience cost £110 per person. Minimum group of 10 people and maximum 30. To book, contact The National Trust on 015394 32733.

For more group travel ideas in the Lake District, Cumbria, visit:

That includes access to four new downloadable group travel guides, developed by the See More programme:
1. Carlisle & Hadrian’s Wall
2. Penrith & Ullswater
3. Keswick & Borrowdale
4. South & Central Lakes


Notes to Editors:

For more information or hi-res images, please contact: Heather Sewell, 01539 825002 / 07795 487003 /

There are five project strands within the See More Cumbria and the Lake District programme covering a wide range of activity, including enhanced visitor transport services, cycle route development, better information about travel options, comprehensive marketing and corridor travel planning activity. For travel information visit

1. Helping international visitors to use buses, trains and water transport, as well as walking, cycling and hiring low emissions vehicles will reduce the impact of their travel on the local environment and community, while making their trip to the area more enjoyable and relaxing.
2. More information about the National Park and the Authority’s work is available on their website
3. For further information on visiting the Lake District and other parts of Cumbria visit

The National Trust is a charity whose mission is to protect and conserve special places forever for everyone. More information about the Trust’s work in the Lake District can be found on their website:

For further information

Contact Reception on
01539 822222 or