Silver Travel Book Club

November 2022 – One More Glimpse: Steam in the British Landscape

We’ll explore a different destination for each Book Club, and a lucky Silver Travel Book Club reader can win a free copy of that month’s book.

Please note: this prize draw is now closed.

This month the Silver Travel Book Club – proudly sponsored by The Steam Dreams Rail Co. – is reading One More Glimpse: Steam in the British Landscape by Robin and Taliesin Coombes.

Main line steam officially ended on British Railways in 1968. Fortunately, steam has continued on preserved railways and even on the modern main line, and the essence of everyday steam working can still be captured.

This evocative collection of more than 120 photographs shows both the romance and practicality of steam power.Here, father and son team Robin and Taliesin Coombes document their search for one more glimpse of the magic of steam power on the rails of Great Britain.

This evocative collection of more than 120 photographs shows both the romance and practicality of steam power.

Documenting everything from express passenger trains storming up Ais Gill to the locomotives of quiet rural branch lines and working steam sheds, this book is sure to delight anyone who enjoys the sight of a classic locomotive at work.

Ealing Broadway to Lincoln Christmas Market – Friday 2nd December 2022

Combining the magic of steam travel with beautiful countryside and exceptional on-board service, The Steam Dreams Rail Co is renowned for memorable days out and holidays across the UK and Europe. Let the Christmas festivities begin with this magical voyage offering a comforting and quaint getaway to the beautifully festive city of Lincoln.

A contemporary cathedral city with over 2,000 years of history, Lincoln is the perfect place to visit over the festive period. The Christmas Market will be returning to the medieval square between the impressive Norman castle and magnificent gothic cathedral – the perfect backdrop for your Christmas shopping.

This trip on the Sir Nigel Gresley (an A4 class locomotive built by the London & North Eastern Railway in 1937) boards at Ealing Broadway, Finsbury Park or Hertford North. Prices start from £129 per person.

How to win a copy of One More Glimpse: Steam in the British Landscape
by Robin and Taliesin Coombes

Christmas markets are held all over the UK and Europe and are a lovely way of getting into the festive spirit.

Comment below to tell us about a Christmas Market you’ve visited or would like to visit.

The best comment will win a copy of this book.

A winner will be chosen in early December 2022.
The competition closes on 30 November 2022.

Read more about all of our Silver Travel Book Club reads.

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59 Responses

  1. I am not a great fan of Christmas markets as they usually feature a lot of overpriced goods that can be bought elsewhere at a fraction of the price! However, an exception was a Christmas Fair in Bruges where I found a number of unusual gifts. The atmosphere was magic, helped by the aroma of roasting chestnuts and spiced cookies. It was like a fairy tale with highly decorated Christmas trees and fairy lights, and of course, Belgian beer and waffles.

  2. I just love Christmas markets especially the German ones. My favourite so difficult to choose would probably be between Nuremberg & a Potsdam. I love collecting the gluwein mugs too.

  3. I’m not a great fan of Christmas Markets but have to admit my only experience has been Lincoln Market, which was so busy it was almost impossible to get to the stalls to buy anything, and, as Sara says it was just over priced tat that could be found anywhere. I’ve never been back…

    However, I along with the rest of the family, are huge fans of steam trains and I would love chance to win this book. It would be a wonderful Christmas present for all of us.

    My train spotting career began aged two when Grandad would take me to watch the colliery engines at the bottom of their street. I loved it so much I went train spotting by myself one day and got comprehensively lost and was eventually found and returned home by a kind neighbour.

    In the final days of steam I tagged on a group tour of Carnforth Yard in 1967 and was chased off the footplate of a Black 5.

    The following year a group of us went behind the Flying Scotsman from Doncaster to Norwich. Those were the days when it was still owned by Alan Peglar and allowed to run on BR lines.

    Since then I’ve visited many of the Heritage steam railways across the UK and Isle of Man and have happy memories of all of them, along with photos of me on the footplate – having asked permission to stand on and be photographed.

    There is something magical about the sound and smell of steam engines.

  4. Bruges in Belgium is one of the nicest places to visit at any time of year but their Christmas Markets are the best.
    Used to go to school everyday by steam train so have many memories of those..

  5. What could be better than a winters evening, sipping hot punch, eating a mince pie, listening to the Carol singers who stand in front of Exeter Cathedral surrounded by the twinkling Christmas lights. You have worked your way round half the delightfully decorated stalls tempting you with their arts, crafts and delicious Christmas treats. After your break you wander round the rest of the stalls, delighting in their wares and buying Christmas gifts and irresistible Christmas goodies, and yes, when you are finished a last glass of punch, and another mince pie while you reflect on the excitement and joy around you. Exeter Christmas market. I will be there again this year.

  6. The only Christmas market I’ve visited was Vienna 25 years ago, which I suspect was much smaller and less touristy than now. Whilst memories of the market have faded, I still vividly remember my evening dinners. We feasted on Friday night bowls of comforting, hearty pork and beef goulashes with knődel (dumplings) and boiled potatoes at the interestingly named Gulaschmuseum. Saturday was schnitzel night at Figlmüeller, where the queues were long and cold, and the golden schnitzel hung over the plate edges and the hot, dry crisp coating and tender veal warmed us back up.

  7. Surprisingly,the best Christmas market I have been to was in York, near the shambles,lots of local
    Fayre and very reasonable prices and some lovely food and drinks.🎅🍷☃️

  8. I went to Beverly High School for girls in about 1957 and the first year it was on a steam train, which I loved, sadly went to diesel the following year. When I was 19 made the wonderful journey from London to dusseldorf by train. Loved it. Have followed lots of steam trains and went up to the Danube Delta in Roumania ,looking at old steam trains. The place I would like to go back to is Lubeck which was more of a local market not a touristy place . Lubeck is renowned for its marzipan and the windows were wonderful scenes of houses etc all made of marzipan. freezing cold but dry weather and lots of gluwein and singing etc. Every year I look out for the old Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard , who still seem to be stuck in Carnforth station, or watch the best version of The Railway Children where Bernard Cribbins makes a great Perks. Our station when I was young had a porter, but the dreaded Beeching wrecked the railway. If I won the lottery or such I would love to go round the world on super railways . Oh we can dream cant we?

  9. Only ever been to Marlow Christmas Market but would love to the Windsor one after bt wife brought some wonderful goodies last year

  10. Aachen was my favourite Christmas market. It was on a school trip that I visited and bought the most gorgeous 3D metal tree decorations; a silver merry-go-round decorated in glitter, a gold sleigh with reindeer and Father Christmas and a not-so-festive but equally precious aeroplane. They are some of my most favourite treasures. The market itself felt so awe-inspiring yet comforting. There was also a small chapel that was just so beautiful and tranquil. I loved that trip and have wonderful memories from my visit. I hope it would feel the same if I went back as an adult but honestly I have no need to as it was so perfect the first time.

  11. A visit to the Christmas Market in Berlin is a must. Not only is it a fabulous city which we enjoyed walking around and seeing all the famous landmarks, there were shops with affordable prices and numerous Christmas markets to visit. We managed just 3 and found lovely gifts and necessities in all of them. Memories include sipping hot mulled wine under a heated lamp watching the world go by but best of all was a ride back to the hotel on a circular bike for the 6 of us plus the driver/chief pedaler. We were riding along the main roads in and out of the traffic but we laughed till we could laugh no more. It surely was the highlight of the weekend.

  12. We have just returned from a day out to Shire Horse farm in Pembrokeshire. What a lovely centre and although the weather wasn’t too good, very showery, it didn’t spoil the day, there was so much to do for the children. There was a tractor ride through the fields to see the donkeys, horses, sheep and llamas; a chance to groom one of the donkeys; watching them saddle up one of the shire horses with a ride in the horses and carriage afterwards. When it rained there was a merry go round, skittle alley and a big size 4 in a row game. Outside again were trampolines and a go cart track for the children. Another shower so into the cafe for lunch and the children made use of the soft play area complete with bouncy castle. The owners were very friendly and couldn’t have been more helpful. They supplied information about their shire horses who you could see were well loved and well cared for and I was very taken with a 3 year old horse called Twm who was snuggling up and laying his head on his carer’s shoulder. We will definitely visit again.

  13. I love the atmosphere of Christmas Markets whereever they are – I have been to quite a few here and in Europe, they are magical and get Christmas off to a good start.

  14. I have not been to a Christmas market as yet, but would like to visit the one held
    in York, a city I love and which caters for everyone’s taste.
    The book would be perfect for my 11 year old grandson, who is a great railway enthusiast.

  15. I visited one in North Norfolk and it was lovely. A really nice atmosphere and local goods with people who really cared about sourcing and production. Makes you feel all warm inside!

  16. Lincoln Christmas market would be my choice as a born and bred Lincolnshire yellow belly.

  17. Have only been to 2 Christmas markets in UK, would love to go to a Christmas market on the continent. Saving to go on a Christmas river cruise, any market I could combine with this would be a dream come true, fingers crossed.

  18. My Partner and I intend to visit York Christmas markets this year (usually visit Manchester). the bonus of this that we can also visit the railway museum in York and add a little steam to Christmas.

  19. The best ever Christmas Fair I went to was at Ely Cathedral . This Cathedral is Magnificent so many things to see from Beautiful Stained glass to every knook and cranny. The Cathedral was full of beautiful stalls selling lovely Christmas gifts at very decent prices. It was a great day seeing both the stalls and the Cathedral decked out for Christmas must have been really hard work by all the staff but something that has stayed in my minds eye for ever. Great day great train journey Ely has such a lovely station, old and new you can just see the station in the snow with a steam train stopped now that’s Bliss.

  20. Christmas Markets, how I wish I’ve been to one. Because I prefer personal experiences of a place rather than been told which is better, I’m indifferent about which Christmas market to visit first. If I randomly happen upon a Christmas Market ad and I like the cost and pictures, in addition to the location being easily travelled to by train then I should be on my way to that.

  21. Love the Christmas market in York, but would love to visit Lincolns market. It always looks so festive.

  22. Berlin Christmas markets have to be my favourites. From the guy walking around cooking bratwurst on a tray (with a gas tank on his back!) to a bowl of goulash and mug of gluhwein alongside locals in one of the pop up bars!

  23. Rudesheim Christmas Market is so special with its twinkling lights and gluewien to keep you toasty !

  24. Stayed in Germany some years back & my only experience of a Christmas market was in Bavaria & it was most impressive. As a ‘steam buff’ would really like to win the book.

  25. Live the thought of a Christmas Market in Germany or surrounding areas and to go on a steam train would be the icing on the cake. Always wanted to go on a steam train but never got the chance would love to be picked please 🙏

  26. Any Christmas market where you can enjoy a glass or two of mulled wine with a mince pie whilst soaking up the atmosphere.

  27. As they say location, location, location, you cannot beat Vienna for its Christmas markets. There is markets all over the city, big and small which when combined with places like St Stephens Square, the Museum Quarter, the Belvedere and Schonbrunn Palaces, and in front of the city’s Town Hall make Vienna a visual master class of what people think Christmas should look like. If there is a hint of snow in the air that perception is increased.

  28. The best Christmas fair was at a local care home for the disabled, where they had lovingly made a lot of fabulous unique crafts. Not overpriced but just beautiful.

  29. Waddesdon Christmas market is superb – a magical display of venues, and makes you feel happy and Christmassy. A chance to find some home made products or something different as a present. Wonderful home made biscuits, fudge, lots of chalets, and a tremendous light show in the grounds with a floodlight display on the French chateau in Buckinghamshire near Aylesbury. A full day out in the gardens, house and Christmas market with choice of food and drink – to be recommended.

  30. The only Christmas market I’ve been to is in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada and it is German themed with a wonderful array of local goods and many imported from Germany. It is always a treat to enjoy some of the food, drink a hot chocolate, listen to the Christmas carols and watch the skaters on the ice rink in front of city hall. Some years there is even snow and horse drawn carriage rides. A couple of places in Europe that I’ve visited and would love to return to at Christmas are Arras, France and Oberammergau, Germany. My trips to both towns were in the summer months but they still had a Christmas feel and I did Christmas shopping while there.
    Having recently watched a couple of The World’s Most Scenic Railway episodes in Devon/Cornwall and the Lakes/the Yorkshire Dales, some of which involved steam trains, it has got me thinking of a steam train trip…

  31. I think the best one was in Portsmouth a few years ago at the Naval museum. Lots of stalls there beside the sea.

  32. Love Christmas Markets many years ago we went to Vienna flew over it was a one day trip with a local newspaper. I remember it being very cold and getting dark very quickly. The stalls were wonderful but it was so cold we ended up in cafes trying to get warm. One of the best Christmas Markets I have visited in this country was the German Market in Birmingham the stall holders were actually from Germany so it was authentic.. I went to Manchester last year but I felt it had lost something. We are thinking trying Chester this year.

  33. My favourite Christmas market is the one in Edinburgh but I must admit I haven’t been to many. Great atmosphere and very scenic location.

  34. I love the Christmas markets…especially the ones in Germany and Belgium in the Flanders area. I was surprised a few years ago, before the pandemic, to attend a Christmas market in London. Interesting, but a bit more expensive than its European counterparts, but every bit as much fun! I think the trip from Ealing to Lincoln for the Christmas market would be fantastic! Best of luck to the winner!

  35. York Xmas market takes some beating also the york train museum is one of the best for steam trains

  36. As with many seasonal events , it seems to follow that the longer they have been in existence ,they appear to lose their original magic . Logically , it would be advisable to to somewhere off the beaten track in order to recapture some of the spirit of yesteryear . I would certainly recommend a visit to Romania . In particular visit the Christmas markets in Sibiu or Brasov in Transylvania .Both are superbly preserved medieval cities with German , Hungarian and Romanian cultural heritage . You will not be disappointed with a winter holiday in this region.

  37. A friend and I visited Rome one year especially to go to the Christmas market – to find on arrival at the hotel, a chuckling receptionist who told us there hadn’t been a Christmas market for many years!

    Luckily we love Rome anyway and had a great time, regardless – and saved money too!

    Research your trips is the message. 😁

  38. I have heard that the Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas market is one of the best. I’d love to go as it is not too far. It would be atmospheric and I would love buying quality gifts there. I can imagine the Christmas smells and sounds of carols playing with lots of people just being happy and in the mood for Christmas!

  39. My favourite Christmas Market was Edinburgh Christmas Market. I went by train with my son and his family on a very cold wintry day to Edinburgh. On visiting the Christmas Market our spirits were soon lifted. The train station was only minutes away which meant we had a full day in the city centre. There was so much to see and do for all of us: rides for the children, lots of craft stalls and tasty food stalls offering delicious food and drinks. The atmosphere was lovely and we soon forget the cold day. Also, there were lots of bargains to be had in the stores close to the Christmas Market and it was well worth visiting Edinburgh. I would recommend Edinburgh Christmas Market as there is so much on offer for young and old alike.

  40. Loved the markets in Budapest, especially the Flodni – you need to try one of these poppy seed treats if you haven’t had one.
    However, as a crafter the “Christmas’ market I most enjoy is the Green Fair in Lancaster, music, vegetarian snacks and annual meeting place. I only need to make sure I remember I am there to sell my wares not just catch up and chat,

  41. The idea of Christmas markets seems exciting but the only Christmas market I’ve ever visited was along the South Bank of the River Thames in London, a few years ago. The huts with lights and the foreign food made it feel magical even though it was very crowded. I expect one somewhere overseas would be good too!

  42. I would like to visit Lincoln Christmas Market. It’s not too far away and I’ve heard that it is a particularly good one. Now that we stay at home for Christmas it would be great to choose some new decorations for the tree and house.

  43. I am also not a lover of Christmas markets; from what I’ve seen of the one we have in Canterbury there’s nothing I want to buy. I did, however, make an exception for the sake of my friend who wanted me to accompany her one year on a coach trip to Blenheim Palace Christmas Fair. Blenheim Palace was well worth seeing and many of the gifts on sale were so beautifully made that I did actually buy a few things. But it wasn’t worth the long coach journey from Kent to pick up more passengers in Essex then a drive to Bicester Village Designer Outlet for a `luxury shopping experience` (another couple of hours of my life wasted!) then another long journey to the outskirts of Birmingham to our advertised `hotel near Woodstock` for the night then back the next day to Blenheim Palace, then home via Essex etc. Never again.

    The steam train trip from London to Bath Christmas Market sounds much more enjoyable. What’s not to like about a train journey pulled by a steam engine? Plus, I absolutely love the small city of Bath – an ideal location for a Christmas market.

  44. I once booked a weekend in November to visit Bruges and it’s Christmas Market with my daughter. Unfortunately it was opening the following weekend and they were just setting it up – so I never got to see the Christmas Market! One day……..

  45. Bath, it was crowded and colourful but not such good fun as travelling on the Santa Special steam train at Bitton every year with the family all squashed in one carriage singing carols and meeting Santa, seeing the young Grandchildren’s faces light up at the sight of the steam train is magical.

  46. My favourite christmas market trip was with a lovely group of girls I worked with many years ago – to Bruges. Shopping, chatting and lots of chocolate!

  47. I would love to visit York Christmas market. I’ve never visited York and it’s on my list now that I’ve decided to discover more of our beautiful island rather than travel abroad. Seems the right thing to do given all our world problems. York has always fascinated me and if I could visit a Christmas market and have a ride on a steam train, so much the better !

  48. i really liked the Christmas market in Glasgow, it was not too big yet had a good variety of stalls

  49. Many years ago I visited the Christmas market in Vienna. I went with a fellow student. We were both studying in Germany for a year and this was a special birthday treat. It was magical: the atmosphere of gemütlichkeit, with gluhwein, lebkuchen, scented candles, pot pourri, twinkling lights and the singing of carols. Today, I’m afraid, so many Christmas markets are way too commercialised for my taste and pocket.
    Sadly, my friend suffers now from Alzheimer’s…still comes alive though on some of our trips down Memory Lane. He was also a steam railway enthusiast. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. If I’m not lucky enough to win, he’ll still receive a copy from me in his Christmas stocking!

  50. Lots of interesting commnents here and Christmas markets that are new to me. My favourite was the Christmas Market in Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. The historic garden was filled with glittering Christmas lights, the cutest wooden houses decorated with pine branches, and snow-covered trees to create that perfect Nordic Christmas atmosphere.

  51. I have never visited an overseas Christmas Market, but my son who has tells me I really ought to. I did however visit one in Winchester a few years ago and was very impressed, although I must confess I do not know if this still exists – if it does, I may well make another visit there. Also I am about to take a wee’s break in the Sheffield area and will actively seek out any that may be available there.

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