7 scenic railways to add to your post-lockdown adventure list

25 March 2021

Looking forward to getting out and exploring Britain again after lockdown, but not sure where to start your planning?

Whether you're after ideas for days out, short breaks or longer holiday stays you're sure to find inspiration for your post-lockdown adventures right here.

Here's a short list to get you started, showcasing some of our favourite scenic railways from across Britain.

Don't forget to follow us to get a daily boost of inspiration on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Please note you should only travel right now if your journey is necessary. The content in this blog is intended to help you plan your adventure ready for a time when travel restrictions are lifted, and leisure travel returns. Keep up to date with the latest government guidance on using public transport relevant to where you are: England, Scotland, Wales

Heart of Wales

Swansea to Shrewsbury

Stretching for 121 miles of scenic Welsh countryside, the Heart of Wales railway is ideal for those looking to spend a few days exploring the area. Starting from the quaint town of Shrewsbury, with it's wonderful architecture and history, travelling past idyllic villages and Victorian spa towns, before ending at the coastal city of Swansea.

A train travels along the Heart of Wales railway

Exploring the area on foot is simple with access to Brecon Beacons National Park, Offa's Dyke Path and the long-distance Heart of Wales Line Trail that weaves between stations allowing you to go from rail to trail with ease.

Discover the Heart of Wales line here...

Hope Valley Line

Sheffield to Manchester Piccadilly

Hope Valley Line

Whether you start your journey at Sheffield or Manchester, shortly after you leave these bustling cities behind you'll be rewarded with dramatic scenery from the train window.

Expand your journey beyond the railway and explore on foot, the rugged hillsides and beautiful valleys of Peak District National Park. Here you'll also find easy access to the start of the Pennine Way, a favourite among walkers since it opened in 1965.

Discover Hope Valley Line here...

Arun Valley Line

Gatwick to Bosham

Staying near Gatwick Airport? Take the scenic route and extend your short break to include a trip along the Arun Valley Line. Get closer to nature as you explore the outdoors with access to ancient woodlands, wildlife-rich RSPB Pulborough Brooks and the inspiring South Downs National Park.

Arundel Castle as seen from the Arun Valley railway line

If history is more your thing then you'll want to head to the magnificent Arundel Castle. Sitting high above the Sussex countryside the castle can be seen from the train, looking straight out of a fairy tale and it boasts nearly 1,000 years of history. Nearby Arundel Museum invites you to step back in time and experience life through the ages.

Discover Arun Valley Line here...

Highland Main Line

Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness

Highland Main Line in the snow. Photo: Jules Akel

Escape the ordinary and discover unique experiences along the Highland Main Line; visit the Fish Ladder at Pitlochry Dam, marvel at the Instagram-worthy Old Pack Horse Bridge in Carrbridge and visit centuries-old whiskey distilleries of Dalwhinnie, Edradour and Blair Athol for tours and tasting.

For those looking for outdoor adventures, head to one of the country's top ski areas of Aviemore to discover it's delights during the off-season (late May to late October) and explore the breath-taking and majestic landscapes of the Cairngorms, Britain's largest National Park both with easy access from the railway.

Discover the Highland Main Line here...


Bittern Line

Norwich to Cromer/Sheringham

For over 100 years, the Bittern Line has been considered as one of the most scenic railways in Britain, cutting through the beautiful North Norfolk landscape.

Train travelling along the coast passing West Runton on the Bittern Line

The journey connects the historic city of Norwich to the traditional seaside towns of Cromer and Sheringham, with the beautiful Broads National Park in between. Around a 45-minute walk from Salhouse Railway Station you'll reach Salhouse Broad. Featuring over forty acres of outstanding scenery, canoe hire, cycle paths and boardwalks, it's the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs and get closer to nature.

Expand your rail journey with a visit to the nearby heritage railways; Bure Valley Railway, with connections at Hoveton and Wroxham, or leave the train at Sheringham to join the North Norfolk Railway.

Discover Bittern Line here...

Cumbrian Coast

Barrow-in-Furness to Carlisle

Cumbrian Coast Line. Photo: Community Rail Cumbria

Explore the Lake District National Park shoreline like never before as you take the train along the Cumbrian Coast Railway from Barrow-in-Furness to Carlisle. Soak up picture-perfect views as you travel by train past dramatic fells, spectacular seascapes and impressive Cumbrian scenery.

Dip your toes in the waves at the start of Wainwright's coast to coast walk at St Bees, explore the lost industrial heritage of the area at Millom Discovery Centre, enjoy a trip on the nearby Ravenglass and Eskdale Heritage Railway and see the impressive Roman artifacts at Senhouse Museum in Maryport.

Discover Cumbrian Coast Line here...


Tamar Valley Line

Plymouth to Gunnislake

Take a window seat and enjoy the journey from the vibrant waterfront city of Plymouth to the charming village of Gunnislake. Be sure to have your camera at the ready as your journey takes you over Calstock Viaduct, travelling 120 feet high with panoramic views of the river below.

Calstock Viaduct along the Tamar Valley line. Photo: Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership

Across the viaduct, the village of Calstock is well worth a visit. Enjoy top pub grub, treat yourself to an artisan ice cream and take a riverside walk to see the viaduct from below.

Leave the train at Gunnislake and after a short walk you'll reach the Tamar Valley Centre, home of the Tamar Valley AONB (Area of Outstanding natural Beauty). Here you can usually find more information about how you can explore the area and look out for special events held here throughout the year.

Discover Tamar Valley Line here...

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