By Derin Clark
As the birthplace of modern rail travel it is no wonder that Britain has some of the best train journeys in the world, making it an ideal relaxing holiday destination for retirees. The UK’s rail network covers some of the wildest and most remote parts of the island, along with picturesque landscapes that the nation is famous for.
This, together with the fact that train travel in Britain is relatively cheap, makes it the perfect form of transport for international tourists – even if you’re on a budget. To give you an idea of what you would be missing if you passed up the opportunity to explore Britain by rail, here are half a dozen fantastic British train journeys:
The Far North Line is the most northern train line on mainland Britain. The track connects Inverness to Wick in Scotland and the route passes through some of Scotland’s wildest and most remote areas. Most of the line follows the coast and there are times when the train is almost next to the shore, making this one of the most desolately beautiful journeys in Britain, as well as touching on the least populated areas of mainland Britain.
Perfect For: This route is ideal for those wanting to escape the tourist crowds and see some of Britain’s wildest and most remote regions.
Tyne Valley Line
This 60 mile train line connects the city of Newcastle upon Tyne in the east of England with the Cumbrian city, Carlisle, in the west. This is the oldest coast-to-coast passenger line in the UK and was completed in 1838. The line not only connects the east and west of northern England, but also follows sections of Hadrian’s Wall, which was built 2000 years ago by the Romans. Along with its history, this route provides views of northern England’s picturesque countryside.
Perfect For: If you need to get from the east of England to the west and want some stunning scenery with a bit of history thrown in, then this is the route for you.
The Bittern Line
Named after a rare bird found in the Norfolk wetlands, The Bittern Line is one of the most scenic routes in the east of England. The line connects the city of Norwich with Sheringham, a popular town on the North Norfolk coast. Along the way the route passes parts of the Norfolk Broads, as well as Norfolk’s wild, open, and sometimes bleak, countryside.
Perfect For: This route is ideal for those who love the outdoors, as North Norfolk is a great location to indulge in activities such as hiking, cycling and sailing.
The Heart of Wales
Journey through the stunning Welsh countryside well known for its rolling hills, picturesque valleys and tranquil streams. This single-track route takes passengers through the centre of Wales while also connecting nearly 30 rural towns along the way.
Perfect For: This train line is great for those wanting to explore deeper into the Welsh countryside.
The Exeter-Penzance line takes in some of the most scenic parts of Devon and Cornwall coast and is described as one of the finest routes in Britain. This train journey takes passengers through landscape that include sandy beaches, small fishing villages and rugged cliff edges. As well as this, it is the perfect starting off point for visiting Devon and Cornwall, two of Britain’s most laid-back and trendy counties.
Perfect For: Those who want to discover England’s most popular coastal towns, villages and countryside.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Have you ever dreamt of travelling on an old-fashioned steam engine? If so, head up to Yorkshire where you can book a seat on one of the steam engines that regularly travel on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Although tickets are a bit pricey, the cost usually includes a lunch or dinner, along with the chance to travel on a unique train through the famous Yorkshire Moors.
Perfect For: Those who have always wanted to experience the golden age of rail travel.
About the author
Derin Clark is a journalist and writer. She often writes about travel and holidays, and has been published across a range of magazines and websites.
All photos are compliments of Train Chartering and Private Rail Cars.
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