Great Rail Journeys has announced a new small groups concept with a maximum of 20 customers as it reveals eight new itineraries in the UK and Europe.

The concept is aimed at offering mature holidaymakers rail and escorted group touring “in a more intimate way” by taking them to lesser-known places.

Highlights include taking a tour with a princess, entering a hotel by railway, traversing the Gorges du Doux by heritage train and exploring a wilderness reserve in a four-wheeled-drive vehicle.

There are 36 tours scheduled for 2019, starting on April 7.

The eight new itineraries include Italy, Switzerland and France Wales, Scotland and England. Seven-day Edinburgh, the Jacobite & Isle of Skye starts from £1,595pp.

Head of trade sales Lindsay Dixon said “We know lots of holidaymakers believe people make places and that some of the best experiences are the ones shared with newly-made friends on a tour. The small groups enhance that personal experience for our customers.

“The exciting new itineraries also allow customers to venture further afield and further ‘in’ to a destination as we’re now going places and offering things that have never been in the tour programmes previously.”