your carriage awaits
Great Rail Journeys invites you to discover the German heritage of the British Royal Family, tracing their origins from the House of Hanover to the union of both crowns 300 years ago.
During a tour of the region you can admire splendid Baroque palaces and discover delightful gardens celebrated across Europe for their beauty. You can sample the culture at the Bückberg Court Riding School and explore charming Fulda and elegant Hanover. A major highlight is the chance to see the Crown Jewels of the Kingdom of Hanover, on display for the first time in almost 150 years.
We leave London St Pancras and take the Eurostar to Brussels, where we will change trains and travel via Cologne to Hanover, the former seat of the Hanoverian royal family. We will spend four nights at the Maritim Grand Hotel. On Day 2 we will visit the Palace and Baroque gardens of Herrenhausen for a guided tour. The gardens are divided into many sections, such as the George Garden - named for George III, who bought the gardens when he ruled Hanover. Despite the pleas of the British monarchy, the palace was flattened during WWII, but has since been carefully restored - while the pretty gardens remain as glorious as ever.
Day 3 is free for you to explore Hanover. Visit the Town Hall and take a stroll around Lake Maschsee, or perhaps visit Hamelin, best known for the legend of the Pied Piper. On Day 4 we will head to Bückeburg, home to Germany's only Court Riding School, located within the grounds of the magnificent Renaissance Bückeburg Palace. The school is 400 years old and houses stallions of several different breeds. It is an active riding school, where exceptional students study enhanced riding skills. We will watch a riding display showcasing a range of skills from across the centuries, performed to classical music.
Day 5 features a visit to Marienburg Castle, a summer residence of the Guelph Kings of Hanover. Our guided tour includes the elaborate state and private rooms of the royal family. Here you can visit the "on the way to the Crown" exhibition, which marks the 300 years since the Kingdom of Hanover united with the British throne. The Hanoverian Crown, together with its sceptre, is on display for the first time since 1866. The exhibition tells the story of the Guelphs and their journey to the head of the British Empire. Lunch will take place in the Palace Restaurant, then the tour continues to Fulda for three nights at the Maritim Schlossgarten, located in the picturesque palace park.
On Day 6 we will travel to Gotha, a capital of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. We visit Friedenstein Palace, Germany's oldest Baroque palace, with its ornate theatre – now the world’s oldest surviving Baroque theatre – and the idyllic surrounding parkland. On Day 7 we will be visiting Coburg and Rosenau Palace, the castle where Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert was born. Surrounded by forest, the castle has been greatly restored in the last 30 years. Later, we will visit the vast neo-Gothic palace Schloss Ehrenburg. Our tour ends on day 8, when we travel by rail via Frankfurt to Brussels and then join the Eurostar to London.