The classic journey from London to Rome

The Grand Tour

LONDON  |  PARIS  |  LAUSANNE  |  VENICE  |  FLORENCE  |  ROME

11 days, first-class journey including four-star boutique hotels, VIP arrival service with private guides, chauffeurs and water taxis, private city walks with local insiders, and flight home to London from Rome.  |  Departure every day.  |  From only £2600 per person

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Byron, Shelley, Keats – and just about every other 18th and 19th century young British man of sufficient means and rank – embarked on this legendary adventure: The Grand Tour from London to Rome. Now, Silver Tray invites you to follow in their footsteps.

You travel the traditional Grand Tour route and explore the same cultural and historical highlights that served as an educational rite of passage for the upper-classes centuries ago: High culture in Paris, mountain scenery in Lausanne, “decadent allure” in Venice, Renaissance masters in Florence, and ancient ruins in Rome.

The Grand Tour in epic style

But no Duke or Earl ever travelled in the same style and comfort as you will on this 21st century version: In first class on some of Europe’s best and fastest trains. Always directly from city to city, and never more than several hours at a time. Enjoy a light meal served at your seat as you journey under the Channel. Speed across France on a TGV. Savour the views over Lake Geneva and the snow-capped peaks of the Alps from a dining car. Disembark the train in Venice to find a private water taxi awaiting to sail you down the Grand Canal. Glimpse the Tuscan hill-towns as your steward serves you a drink on the Italian high-speed flagship train.

Private guides and chauffeurs in every city

The Duke may have travelled with a host of servants, but you outdo even this with a parade of private guides. They stand ready to welcome you the moment you step off the train in a new destination. Chauffeured cars whisk you to perfectly located four-star boutique hotels, and local insiders invite you on privately guided city walks in each city.

The original Grand Tourers would have been amazed to learn that you can complete this journey in a relaxed ten days (part of the secret is that we fly you home from Rome). They often spent weeks in Paris with lessons in dancing and fencing – but so can you! As with every Silver Tray journey, this Grand Tour can be tailor-made with as many extra nights in one or more cities as you desire.

The journey

London – Paris – Lausanne –Venice – Florence – Rome
Includes flight from rome to London
From only £2600

This ten nights / 11 days individual journey serves you two nights in each city – with the opportunity to extend your stay wherever you wish. You travel in first class on direct trains, with journey times between two and six hours only. In each city, enjoy Silver Tray’s VIP arrival service with a private guide and chauffeured car, followed by a privately guided two-hour city walk with a local insider. You stay at carefully curated four-star boutique hotels that are perfectly located. Breakfast is included every day. On your final day, a chauffeured car will whisk you to the airport for your included flight home. Departures from London every day year-round.

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Day 1
London - Paris

Welcome onboard one of the most important and historic rail journeys in Europe – the fulfilment of the centuries-old dream of connecting England with the continent. You travel under the Channel at high speed and in great comfort. We seat you in first class – called Standard Premier here. During the journey, your steward will serve you a light meals and drinks at your seat.

Upon arrival you will be met by your private guide who will escort you to your waiting chauffeured car and join you for the ride to your four-star hotel.

Then, she will invite you on a privately guided two-hour city walk. As a local insider, they have an excellent idea of what to show you. But remember: This your private guide, so feel free to mention anything you would like to experience on the walk.

Travel first-class under the Channel on Eurostar high-speed train
Light meal and drinks served at your seat
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 2
Paris

Allow us to quote the late Anthony Bourdain, expert in travelling off-the-beaten-track, who had this to say about visiting Paris: “Please, make the most of it by doing as little as possible. Walk a little. Get lost a bit. Eat. Catch a breakfast buzz. Have a nap. Try and have sex if you can.”

His point was, you do not experience the real Paris by following the crowds and adhering to a strict itinerary. Instead, just meander through a neighbourhood that seems intriguing. Strive to get lost, and while you’re doing so, pop into vintage shops, atmospheric bookshops, and local brasseries. Great advice for any city in our collection, and especially for this repository of hidden treasures.

One such hidden gem: The Promenade Plantée. This long-abandoned mid-19th century viaduct winds its way for three miles from the Bastille. It’s a magical, green stroll with several spectacular panoramas across Parisian rooftops. Don’t forget to occasionally descend to street-level where brick archways under the viaduct have been transformed into artisan showrooms that range from violin-makers to glass blowers and jewelers.

 

Don't follow the crowds. Just fall in love.
Day 3
Paris - Lausanne

Welcome onboard Europe’s original high-speed train, the flagship of the French railways. Many TGV trainsets today are double-deckers, and your spacious first-class seat may well be on the upper deck, offering great views as well as an intimate cabin. As you would expect in France, the seats are stylishly designed. A café-car offers snacks and light meals.

Upon arrival you will be met by your private guide who will escort you to your waiting chauffeured car and join you for the ride to your four-star hotel.

Then, she will invite you on a privately guided two-hour city walk. As a local insider, they have an excellent idea of what to show you. But remember: This your private guide, so feel free to mention anything you would like to experience on the walk.

 

High-speed TGV service
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 4
Lausanne

Would you like to view the grandeur of the Alps from the comfort of a lakeside restaurant? In Lausanne you can enjoy a stunning Alpine panorama while sipping on a fine glass of local wine. And after lunch, visit the vineyard (where the view is just as amazing).

Lausanne is one of the prettiest towns in Switzerland with cobbled lanes, beautiful squares and 17th century buildings. Plus, of course, that view: You’ll never tire of the lake and the mountains in the background. The city cascades down a hill from the original medieval centre at the top, to the modern marina and the shoreline of Lake Geneva at the bottom. The old town is completely car-free, which is not surprising when you discover how staircase-steep some of the narrow streets are.

As the sun sets, head for the Flon district where you will find cool cafes, eclectic bars and nightlife. However, some of your finest experiences will actually be away from Lausanne. Hopping on board one of the historic steamers that sail from town to town along the lakeshore is a must.

Stunning views over lake and Alps
One of the prettiest towns in Switzerland
Terraced vineyards just outside the city
Day 5
Lausanne - Venice

Step aboard your classy Swiss/Italian express train with modern tilting technology and dining car. This journey is a never-ending joy. First you travel alongside Lake Geneva. Note the steep terraces of the Lavaux vineyards on your left, marvel at the views over the lake below you on the right, and don’t miss the romantic Chillon Castle that is located on an island just off the shore.

You cross under the Alps through the Simplon tunnel, skirt the Como Lake, pass through Milan, and just as you finish your lunch in the dining car, you travel across the Venetian lagoon, with the domes and towers of Venice visible across the water. The moment you step off the train, your private guide welcomes you and escorts you down the steps to the Grand Canal, where your private water taxi awaits. The trip down the Grand Canal and several small and busy canals is unforgettable, with floating buses, merchants, even ambulances, all jostling for space.

All too soon you arrive at the doorstep of your perfectly located four-star hotel, and immediately after check-in, your private guide will invite you on a two-hour introductory walk through your new neighbourhood.

International express train
Restaurant car
Panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the Alps
VIP arrival service with private guide and water taxi
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 6
Venice

Maybe she’s no longer rich or powerful, but Venice remains a dazzling beauty. A floating city built on 117 small islands, with hundreds of canals and bridges, and a labyrinth of tiny alleys that even your Google Map cannot quite figure out, this is a metropolis unlike any you have ever seen.

 As soon as you walk down the stairs in front of the Saint Lucia train station, you are immersed in the beauty and magic that is Venice: Right in front of you beckons the Grand Canal, with a waiting private water taxi ready to sail you past palaces and churches to the landing place of your hotel.

 St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, the Rialto Bridge, and the Grand Canal all command awe. But true enchantment awaits when you choose a less travelled alley and dare get lost in the beautiful and authentic living quarters of the city. Turn a corner, and suddenly an architectural treasure or a small square with a local wine bar reveals itself. Whenever this happens, seize the day – because chances are, you’ll never manage to find it again.

117 islands. 100s of canals and bridges.
Ditch the map. Just get lost in the maze.
Day 7
Venice - Florence

Step onboard one of the fastest and most modern high-speed trains in the world. Your Frecciarossa train – “the red arrow”–  is the flagship in the fleet. You travel in Business Class, in a spacious leather seat with a generous recline. The staff will bid you welcome with a snack, and as a VIP-passenger you may order a meal to be served at your seat (for a fee).

Upon arrival you will be met by your private guide who will escort you to your waiting chauffeured car and join you for the ride to your four-star hotel.

Then, she will invite you on a privately guided two-hour city walk. As a local insider, they have an excellent idea of what to show you. But remember: This your private guide, so feel free to mention anything you would like to experience on the walk.

Italy's flagship high-speed train
At-seat drinks and food service
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 8
Florence

Looking very much as it did back in the 15th century, Florence is one of Europe’s greatest art cities, packed with awe-inspiring masterpieces. Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Caravaggio. They are all here, in what was the most creative city in the world back in the day, the cradle of the Renaissance. You do not even have to venture into a museum to enjoy all of Florence’s beauty, because you are immersed in it: The historic centre is nothing but elegant palaces, candle-lit chapels, fresco-decorated churches, and marble basilicas, all crowded around achingly romantic squares.

Steeped in Renaissance art and architecture it may be, but Florence is also a living city with fine restaurants, cosy wine bars, and an active cultural scene with classical music and contemporary art.

When the sun sets, seemingly every romantic couple make their way to Piazzale Michelangelo, set above the south bank of the Arno and famous for its views over Florence. But leave the crowds behind and climb a little further up the hill to the beautiful Romanesque church of San Miniato. From her steps, the sunset over Florence is even more stunning, and also serenely peaceful.

 

One of Europe's greatest art cities
Fine Italian dining and cosy wine bars
Romantic sunsets with views of Florence
Day 9
Florence - Rome

Step onboard one of the fastest and most modern high-speed trains in the world. Your Frecciarossa train – “the red arrow”–  is the flagship in the fleet. You travel in Business Class, in a spacious leather seat with a generous recline. The staff will bid you welcome with a snack, and as a VIP-passenger you may order a meal to be served at your seat (for a fee).

Upon arrival you will be met by your private guide who will escort you to your waiting chauffeured car and join you for the ride to your four-star hotel.

Then, she will invite you on a privately guided two-hour city walk. As a local insider, they have an excellent idea of what to show you. But remember: This your private guide, so feel free to mention anything you would like to experience on the walk.

Italy's flagship high-speed train
At-seat drinks and food service
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 10
Rome

For over a millennium, Rome controlled the destiny of the known world. Even though an incredible number of the ancient palaces, churches, and monuments still survive, Rome no longer feels like a mighty capital, but rather as one of the most charming cities in Europe. 2000 years after the glory days of Imperial Rome, all the intrigue and megalomania has somehow transmogrified into the very essence of beauty and romance. History is funny that way.

Equally surprisingly, Rome is eminently walkable. The city centre is quite compact, and with the famously ferocious traffic relegated to the main thoroughfares, you’ll find most of the ancient streets quiet and relaxed.

Meander for miles all day, then retire to a delicious trattoria and manage to ruin the calorie count anyway. About that dinner: These days, trendy Romans flock to the local restaurants around the old meat market in Testaccio, a 20th century neighbourhood south of the historic centre. With few tourists, and fewer tourist traps, this is where you’ll find informal restaurants with often superb Italian cooking.

 

Once the centre of the world. Now just utterly romantic.
Hidden treasure: The local restaurants in the Testaccio neighbourhood.
Day 13
Fly home from Rome

A chauffeured car will whisk you to the airport for your included flight back to London.

Chauffeured car to airport
Included flight to London

Your hotels

Stay in charming, comfortable and centrally located four-star boutique hotels carefully curated by Silver Tray. Breakfast is included, as are transfers between the train station and the hotel.

Enter your planned travel dates to read about the great hotels we have available for you today. Please note that this selection may change over the coming weeks and months.

Your trains

Silver Tray has curated Europe's best trains and finest routes for you. See a few of the trains you will experience on this journey.

TGV

Europe’s original high-speed train, the flagship of the French railways. Many TGV train sets today are double-deckers, and your spacious first-class seat may well be on the upper deck, offering great views as well as an intimate cabin. As you would expect in France, the seats are stylishly designed. A café-car offers snacks and light meals.

Swiss/Italian express

This classy Swiss/Italian express train has been especially developed for international services between the two countries. It negotiates the curves through the mountains at speed, courtesy of its advanced tilting technology. The train carries a traditional dining car, and we can think of no better place to enjoy the views of the snow-capped Alpine peaks.

Your Silver Tray service includes

First class rail travel on direct Trains
  • + First class rail travel on direct trains only
  • + Eurostar to Paris
  • + TGV Lyria to Lausanne
  • + Frecciarossa high-speed trains in Italy
  • + VIP arrival service with private guides and chauffeurs
  • + Private water taxis in Venice
  • + Flight home from Rome
Private city walks
  • + Two-hour city walks by local insiders.
  • + Fully customizable experiences
  • + Insider advice about local restaurants and hidden gems
Four-star boutique hotels
  • + Four-star boutique hotels
  • + Highly rated and carefully selected
  • + Perfectly located in city centers
  • + Breakfast included
Travel with confidence
  • + Private guide waiting at your train car upon arrival
  • + Private transfer to hotel (where necessary)
  • + Private transfer from hotel to train station upon departure
Sorry, this is not included
  • – Food and drinks other than breakfast
  • – Catering on trains, unless specified
  • – Local excursions
  • – other than complimentary city walks

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