Great Continental Railway Journeys

Dresden to Kiel

Series 2 - Episode 3 Dresden to Kiel



Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg is a huge complex of model railways, towns and cities, but look closely at one of its teeny-weeny figures, the man in the blue jacket – yes, it’s Michael Portillo! Portillo, pottering his way through Germany, visits this enormous attraction, which even has a huge complex of cameras monitoring its titchy rail tracks, and paints a mini-me version of himself. Look closely and you can see he’s clutching an itsy-bitsy Bradshaw’s guide.

The full-size, moveable Michael Portillo begins his German trip in Dresden, feasting on some of his beloved Wagner, and in Leipzig visits an enormous converted cotton mill and eats a gargantuan plate of steak and dumplings. “They are chewy, but they really absorb the gravy.” Mmm, yummy.


Michael Portillo travels through Germany, learning about an Edwardian fitness craze in Dresden before heading to Leipzig on a historic line built by British engineers in 1839. He discovers model-railway making on the grandest of scales in Hamburg and ends his journey in Kiel, where he reveals how British yachtsmen spied on the German navy in the early 20th century.