Family adventures by train

21 July 2023

Could your family do with a break from the norm, a change of scene, something... different? Why not venture out together to experience scenic nature, discover new places and create memories that will endure long after the kids have grown up?

Trains don't simply transport us places, but can provide a delightful family day out. Spend quality time catching up, pack a picnic and get creative with travel games (I-Spy is a classic favourite!). Plus, by taking the train, you can relax knowing that your trip is not harming the environment – it's one of the greenest ways to travel.

With the help of our community rail and station volunteer friends, we've collated some ideas for you to consider for your next family adventure.

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Cheshire's hidden gem


Knutsford, a great day out by rail along the Mid Cheshire Line

Take a trip along the charming Mid Cheshire Line from Manchester Piccadilly or Chester, leaving the train at the market town of Knutsford. From here head to Tatton Park, one of the UK's more complete historic estates. It's home to a Tudor Old Hall, Neo-Classical Mansion, 50 acres of landscaped gardens, 1000 acres of deer park and a rare breed farm: there's plenty for all the family to explore.

Exploring Stoke with Duck Bills

Duck Bills Story Trail

Join Duck Bills on his adventure around Stoke. Go exploring and enjoy a fun, family story trail through Stoke as you help Duck Bills learn more about the history of the area and the railway. Follow the story trail map from Stoke Library to Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station, discovering lots of interesting facts and completing challenges along the way. Download the trail here...

Fun for all in Buxton

View from the train along the Buxton Line
View from the Buxton Line

Discover Buxton, a spa town that offers something for all ages. Families with little ones will enjoy burning off energy at Buxton Pavilion Gardens - a visit to the park's miniature railway is a highlight for any visitor. Learn about the history of the area with a charming tram tour or uncover the depths of Poole's Cavern. Thrill-seekers will enjoy swinging around the treetops at nearby Go Ape, all within reach of Buxton Railway Station. Find more suggestions of how to explore the Peak District by train here...

Personalise your itinerary in Gloucestershire


Explore Gloucestershire your way and discover exciting things to do, places to eat and where to stay, during a car-free adventure with TrainTripper. Simply choose your starting railway station, then add to your itinerary by exploring the map and selecting places to visit that your family will enjoy. Once you've finished you can save your plans and download your personalised map, ready for you to book your train and go. For further exploration around Gloucestershire, be sure to check out the leisure trails featuring food and drink, walking and cycling, perfect for active families looking to discover new places.

Have a ROARsome day out in the Rhee Valley

Rhee Valley train in the sunshine
Rhee Valley Train

Just 12 minutes by train from Cambridge along the picturesque Rhee Valley Line, you'll arrive at Shepreth. Across from the station is Shepreth Wildlife Park. Here families can see Sumatran Tigers, Red Pandas and Meercats at play, with plenty more animals to visit too. As well as the wildlife habitats, the park provides visitors with a chance to learn about important conservation work carried out including the wonderful hedgehog hospital. See more inspiring ideas for days out along the Thameslink route here.

Thrills by the sea

Train in front of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, South Fylde Line
South Fylde Line

Did you know Blackpool Pleasure Beach is considered to be the UK's favourite amusement park and has its very own train station, delivering you straight to the thrills? From Blackpool Pleasure Beach Station you're also within easy reach of Sandcastle Water Park, boasting the world's longest indoor rollercoaster waterslide and the attractions on the South Pier home to the UK's fastest spinning wild mouse ride. The journey along the South Fylde Line from Preston takes you past picturesque Lancashire countryside, stopping off at the seaside towns of Lytham and St Annes on Sea along the way. Find out more...

From castles to coast in Wales

Conwy Castle | Photo: Lynn from Pixabay

While travelling along the scenic Conwy Valley Line you won't be able to miss the impressive Conwy Castle, towering over the town for over 700 years. Leave the train and after a short 5-minute walk you'll be ready to explore one of the most magnificent and well-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe.

Walk 10 minutes from Criccieth station towards Cardigan Bay and discover the historic Criccieth Castle towering over the Welsh landscape. You'll soon understand why Turner felt moved to paint it. A visit to the castle would be a great addition to your train journey along the spectacular Cambrian Coast Line, considered to be one of the most scenic railway routes in Britain. Find out more...

The Great Tapestry of Scotland

Explore Scotland's history like never before with a visit to The Great Tapestry of Scotland, located a short walk from Galashiels Station. Scotland's past comes vividly to life through the Tapestry with 160 panels and 140 meters of linen, depicting stories of Scotland's people and landscapes unfolding over thousands of years from prehistoric to the present day. Easy to reach by train from Scotland's capital makes this a great family day out by rail. Simply take the train direct from Edinburgh, sit back and enjoy the scenery as you travel an hour along the picturesque Borders Railway to reach Galashiels. Find out more...

Uncover the secrets of the Romans in Northumberland

Hadrian's Wall | Photo: David Mark from Pixabay

Give in to your inner Roman and step back in time as you explore Hadrian's Wall. Built to guard the wild northern frontier of the Roman Empire in AD122, Hadrian's Wall sprawled almost 80 miles long from the North Sea to the Irish Sea, and is now a World Heritage Site. Take a scenic journey by train from Newcastle or Carlisle along the Tyne Valley Line. Leave the train at either Hexham or Haltwhistle and hop onto the AD122 bus. Be sure to visit The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre. The Sill is the perfect place to start exploring Northumberland National Park, and a fantastic location to connect with nature and the National Park's unique and special landscapes.

Explore more suggestions for car-free family adventures here:

Greener days out with the family

Exploring the Jurassic Coast by train & bus with the family

Car-free holiday adventure in Cornwall

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