Britain's longest standard gauge heritage railway looks to offer combined days out with local attractions
(02/11/2011 @ 15:09:00)
The twenty mile long West Somerset Railway which runs between Bishops Lydeard near Taunton (M5, Junction 25) and Minehead has built up a very successful trade in the Group and Coach travel market during its 35 year history, offering a "pink-knuckle” relaxing ride. A one way journey takes 80 to 90 minutes and the train passes through the Quantock Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and along the Exmoor Coast, giving passengers a chance to enjoy some of the finest scenery in Britain.
Many groups are happy to explore the area for themselves once they have reached their chosen destination but the WSR has been developing links with other local attractions so that visitors can have an even more enjoyable full day out in this most attractive of areas. For those based in Minehead or the Greater Exmoor area one possibility is to travel to Bishops Lydeard station where they can be met by their coach for an onward journey to the wonderfully restored gardens at Hestercombe House near Taunton. Depending on the choice of trains passengers can enjoy some three hours at Hestercombe, giving plenty of time for gardens, shop and the all-important tea room.
If you are heading west from Bishops Lydeard there are the seaside town attractions of Minehead where the station is directly across the road from the beach and at the edge of the town centre, but for more "mature” groups a good possibility is to have the coach meet them at Dunster Station for the transfer to the medieval village of Dunster, dominated by the Castle. The WSR and the Castle work together and discounted Castle admission is available to visitors arriving via the Railway. For those looking for a relaxing full lunch the Railway has reached an exclusive arrangement with the 3 Star "Yarn Market Hotel” in Dunster village whereby the Hotel will specially open its restaurant at lunchtimes for pre-booked groups from the West Somerset.
Prices for all these combined outings will be quoted on application to the Commercial Department at the Railway (01643 700383).
For smaller groups of up to 22 people another add-on is an old style "Mystery Tour” around the beauties of Exmoor. The group is met at Dunster station by Martyn Babb of Blue Motors of Exmoor who as well as coach driving is something of an expert on the Moor and also a story-teller and singer. The package includes return train travel from Bishops Lydeard to Dunster and back plus the coach tour and costs a flat rate of £375. There is a lunch stop at an Exmoor pub but that is not included in the price.
More ideas for Group Outings can be found on the WSR website at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk or Group Travel information packs can be obtained by ringing 01643 700383 or 700384. The Railway is also happy to offer familiarisation tickets for 2 people and to obtain these please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR COMMENT AND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY CONTACT: David McCubbin, Commercial Manager via 01643 700383 or email@example.com