Embark on a cruise across the rivers of the Netherlands and Belgium, uncovering enchanting towns, sombre battlefields and the floral displays of the Keukenhof Gardens, with a talk from the BBC's Charlie Dimmock. This tour is operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys.
Meet your Tour Manager at our London St Pancras Departure Office and board the Eurostar Service to Amsterdam. Here, you board your vessel and settle into your cabin and your new surroundings. Enjoy a welcome drink in the lounge before a sumptuous 5-course first dinner in the restaurant.
After waking up to your first morning and breakfast on board, you are given a choice between two fascinating excursions. Your first option is a guided sightseeing tour of Amsterdam, taking in all the sights which make this enigmatic port city one of the most loved in Europe. Discover the Royal Palace, Dam Square and the pretty canals for which Amsterdam is famous. Your second option is a visit to the town of Hoorn where you embark on a nostalgic steam train trip aboard the wonderful Medemblik Steam Railway.
Our vessel arrives in Ghent today, in Flemish Belgium. This morning, Colonel Piers Storie-Pugh comes aboard to deliver a fascinating talk about the battlefields in the region, using his impressive expertise in the field to take us back in time. In the afternoon, our excursion takes us to the infamous Ypres Battlefields, a key battlefront in the First World War. We are accompanied by experts who take us through some of the most poignant sites including Tyne Cot Cemetery where many of the combatants were buried. Return to the ship later for dinner.
Discover the attractive town of Ghent this morning as you venture into the narrow streets and pretty boulevards for a guided tour. Built in an instantly identifiable style, the architecture lends an elegant grandeur to the buildings here, and we discover some of the finest examples on our tour which include the ever impressive St Bavo's Cathedral and the Belfry. After lunch, we pay a visit to the fairytale city of Bruges. An exceptional example of a medieval town proud of its history, Bruges is truly an enchanting city with winding streets opening up to large squares which are often filled with locals enjoying the local cafés serving many Belgian delicacies. Here we discover the canals, churches and noble old town-houses which are famous across Europe. Later, after our day in the towns of Belgium, we enjoy another delicious dinner on board our vessel. The ship sails overnight to Antwerp.
This morning, our cruise arrives in the diamond town of Antwerp in the far north of Belgium, near the Netherlands. A superb city of magnificent colour and style, Antwerp is famous for its role as the world's leading diamond authority. It is estimated that around 70% of the world's diamonds are sold and bought here. We visit the diamond district and more on a guided tour of the city's medieval streets. Later in the afternoon we depart from Antwerp, sailing along the Rhine and the Scheldt-Rhine Canal. This man-made stretch of water was created to serve trade routes along the Rhine. We discover more about the history of the canal from our Cruise Director
We arrive into Arnhem this morning. After free time, you have another choice of two excursions. Your first option is to visit the excellent Hartenstein Airborne Museum in nearby Oosterbeek for a guided tour. This institution focuses on the fierce Battle of Arnhem in WWII, the setting of the war film 'A Bridge too Far'. The museum features a collection which includes various artefacts from the battle itself. Alternatively, you may wish to join the excursion which visits the interactive Netherlands Open Air Museum, recounting the storied history of this proud European country. Tonight we sit down to an elegant gala dinner with our captain.
This morning we arrive back in Amsterdam, and are joined on board by the wonderful Charlie Dimmock, star of the BBC's Ground Force. We enjoy a talk and a question and answer session with her, learning about her time at the BBC and her tips on horticulture and garden care. Later, we experience a true highlight of the tour, visiting the magnificent kaleidoscope of colour that is Keukenhof Gardens. Lined and filled with all manner of glorious tulip displays of all sizes and varieties, this is one of the best floral displays in Europe and indeed the whole world. In the evening we are serenaded back on board by a Dutch sea shanty choir.
On Day 8, you disembark the ship in Amsterdam from where you travel back to London with your Tour Manager.
Whether you are planning a holiday in the UK, mainland Europe or further afield, a Rail Discoveries tour offers you a superb way to experience some of the world's most beautiful destinations. You can watch the wonderful and ever-changing scenery glide past; after all, rail journeys often go where no other form of transport can.
Rail Discoveries believe that experience counts – and as part of the Great Rail Journeys group, they have over 45 years of it. They create interesting and exciting holidays, combining the best or most scenic rail journeys with conveniently located hotels and inclusive excursions so that you enjoy the journey out and back as much as your time exploring each new destination.
One of the most important features of a Rail Discoveries holiday is the added value that the friendly, helpful and knowledgeable Tour Managers bring to every tour, allowing you to sit back, relax and enjoy your holiday with the knowledge that everything is in capable hands.
You have the peace of mind of 100% financial protection when you book with Rail Discoveries. Their price promise provides transparency and ensures once your booking is confirmed, they won’t increase the price of your holiday, even if their costs go up. They are members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators and flight-inclusive holidays are ATOL or ABTOT protected, while non-flight-inclusive holidays are protected by ABTOT.
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