Here's our itinerary.
Day 1 London - Calgary - BanffTitan’s VIP Home Departure Service® transports you from your front door to London’s Heathrow Airport and your scheduled Air Canada flight to Calgary. On arrival our coach transports you to Banff, set in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and our hotel the Banff International.
Day 2 Banff - Lake Louise - BanffToday we tour the surrounds of Banff and also visit famous lake Louise. Take a stroll by the lakeside and visit the Chateau, a luxury hotel, with cafes and bars to enjoy. This is Canada’s best known lake, renowned for its beautiful setting and magical view of the Victoria Glacier. Returning to Banff and our hotel, we are free this evening to discover some of the town’s nightlife that includes a good selection of restaurants.
Day 3 Banff - Columbia - Icefield JasperThis morning we take the Icefields Parkway from Banff National Park. This stunningly scenic road links these two great parks, and for over 140 miles takes us through jagged mountain peaks and high forested valleys, passing emerald lakes and mountain fed streams, waterfalls and rivers. The halfway point is the spectacular Columbia Icefield, one of the biggest accumulations of ice and snow south of the Artic Circle. Here we take an included Ice Explorer ride on to the surface of the Athabasca Glacier( subject to favourable weather conditions). Your journey is lead by an experienced driverguide, who shares a wealth of fascinating information about glaciers, icefields and their impact on our environment. There is also the opportunity to safely step out onto the glacier and stand on this powerful ancient ice. Turning west we enter Jasper National Park; 4,200 acres of alpine forests, natural hot springs, white – water rivers, tranquil valleys and jagged snow-capped mountains. We drive to the centre of Jasper town and our hotel for the next two nights, the Chateau Jasper.
Day 4 JasperToday we enjoy an unforgettable journey to Maligne Canyon and then to one of the most photographed spots in the world, the breathtaking Maligne Lake. Here we may have the opportunity for an optional cruise to Spirit Island. We return to Jasper where time is free to relax and enjoy the town. This evening we have included a dinner.
Day 5 Jasper - KamloopsThis morning we have an early start to board the Rocky Mountaineer train for what has been called the most spectacular train journey in the world. Your journey offers an exhilarating range of scenery as you pass by Mount Robson, the expansive glaciers of the Albreda Icefields and the Pyramid Falls. Travel through the snowy peaks of the Monashee Mountains and then follow the Thompson River before arriving into historic Kamloops, the gateway to the Interior of British Columbia. Your accommodation in Kamloops is arranged by Rocky Mountaineer.
Day 6 Kamloops - VancouverOur second day aboard the Rocky Mountaineer and another exciting journey of stunning vistas awaits us. You will see dramatic changes in scenery, from the desert- like environment of the interior, through winding river canyons and forests surrounded by peaks of the Coast and Cascade Mountains, to the lush green fields of the Fraser River Valley. Highlights include the steep slopes and rock sheds along the Thompson River and the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon. As the end of our journey draws near, the skyline of Vancouver is soon in sight. On arrival our coach awaits to transfer us to our hotel, the Coast Coal Harbour.
Day 7 VancouverThis morning we have arranged a short orientation tour of Vancouver. After this you are free to explore at your leisure or join our optional excursion to Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge. In quaint Gastown you will find many interesting shops, cafés and restaurants. Chinatown is well worth a visit to experience the bustle of this always exciting area of the city.
Day 8 Vancouver - VictoriaThis morning we drive to Tsawwassen, to take the ferry through the glorious Gulf Islands region with towering Douglas Fir trees climbing the hills on all sides to Swartz Bay. We continue to the world famous Butchart Gardens, reclaimed from a limestone quarry in 1904 and now a riot of colour and fragrance covering over 30 acres. These beautiful gardens have long been one of Vancouver Island’s premier attractions and include Rose, Japanese, and Italian gardens. Later this afternoon we continue to the Victoria, provincial capital of British Columbia and our hotel the Executive House Hotel.
Day 9 VictoriaToday is free for you to enjoy and explore Victoria and its many attractions, shops and perhaps some of its colonial heritage, such as the Legislative Building and the Empress Hotel for afternoon tea. The evening offers a chance to sample the range of fine restaurants around the harbour.
Day 10 Victoria - Vancouver - LondonThis morning we leave Victoria behind and drive to Nanaimo, where we take the spectacular ferry crossing through the Strait of Georgia to Horseshoe Bay. There may be some time for last minute shopping in Vancouver before transferring to the airport, for your Air Canada scheduled flight to London Heathrow.
Day 11 LondonArrival at London Heathrow Airport where our staff will greet and transfer you to Titan transport for the journey home.
The tour company we have booked with, Titan, pick us up from our front door to take us to the airport and on our return they collect us from the airport and return us to our front door. We have booked The Gold Leaf Service for the Rocky Mountaineer, for that extra comfort and luxury, you can see the details here.
We have read numerous reviews, which are all really good, especially the ones about Gold Leaf Service. It's an expensive trip but it is one that MWM particularly wants to do (you know how much he loves trains) and as it's his 65th birthday this year I let him choose - aren't I kind?
So now we are waiting for all the paperwork, oh and we are waiting for our renewed passports, our passports were valid until February 2014 but as we have to have six months on them to travel we had to renew them.
If any of you have actually done this trip I'd love to hear your thoughts on it and if you happen to live in any of the places we will be visiting maybe we could meet up. Any tips on what the weather may be like and what clothes would be suitable to take with us would be appreciated.