Spectacular views by train

10 July 2023

When you take the train it's not all about how quickly you can get from a to b, the journey itself can be part of a delightful day out, short break or longer stay. And best of all, it's one of the greenest ways to travel.


Grab yourself a window seat as your train travels across lush farmland and rolling countryside, passing industrial heritage sites and urban sprawls, through rugged mountains and coastal cliffs. Discover these unparalleled views that can often only be experienced when you go by train.

With the help of community rail partnerships and local station volunteer groups, (find out more) we've gathered a selection of routes – from well-known favourites to less-frequently visited hidden gems – all with one thing in common: spectacular views from the window.
So, consider taking the slow train on your next adventure, and be sure to bring your camera!

We feature stunning scenic rail photographs on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels so be sure to follow us for daily travel inspiration.


West Highland Line

West Highland Line

Glasgow – Fort William – Mallaig | Glasgow - Oban

Camera's at the ready for one of the world's most scenic railway journeys. Experience the thrill of travelling 100ft above ground along the breath-taking curve of the Glenfinnan Viaduct, also known as 'Harry Potter viaduct'. Also, along this epic route you'll see Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Ness.

Borders Railway

Edinburgh – Tweedbank

Look out for Edinburgh's Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat, towering over the east side of the capital and don't miss the incredible sunsets on the long stretch from Gorebridge to Stow as you travel along the Borders Railway.


South West Scotland

Gretna Green to Stranraer via Dumfries, Kilmarnock & Ayr

Just south of Kilmarnock, you'll see Loudoun Hill, the scene of one of Robert the Bruce's great victories in battle against the English army.

You may also see the Portrack House and the Garden of Cosmic Speculation as you cross the River Nith on the Portrack Viaduct. This unusual garden only opens to visitors one day a year.



Derwent Valley Line - photo take from Heights of Abraham cable car

Derwent Valley Line

Nottingham to Matlock

Take a scenic trip through the historic landscape of the Derwent Valley Mills Heritage Site, with its pretty stone-built stations, wildflower meadows and riverside greenery. Look out for where Oasis 'Some Might Say' single cover was photographed at Cromford and see the railway from above with a trip on the Heights of Abraham cable car from Matlock Bath. Find out more...

Heart of England

London Marylebone to Stratford-upon-Avon via Leamington Spa and Warwick

Leave the bustling capital behind and enjoy picturesque views of quaint rural villages, rolling countryside and the beautiful Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as you journey into the Heart of England.

North West

Cumbrian Coast Line. Photo: Community Rail Cumbria
Cumbrian Coast Line

Cumbrian Coast

Barrow-in-Furness to Carlisle

Undoubtedly one of the most scenic railway routes in Britain, this hidden gem takes you past the spectacular Lake District fells while hugging the stunning coastline of the Irish Sea. No matter what side of the train you're sitting at, you'll be treated to epic views so be sure to have your camera ready.

South Fylde Line

Preston to Blackpool South

Shortly after leaving the city of Preston behind, the urban scenery fades into beautiful Lancashire countryside as you make your way onwards to the coast. On the right of the train (to Blackpool South) you'll see great views of one of the premier links courses in the world, Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club. As you get closer to Blackpool, thrill-seekers will love the iconic rollercoaster skyline of Blackpool Pleasure Beach.


Cambrian Coast Lines, Wales on Rails
Cambrian Coast

Cambrian Line

Shrewsbury and Welsh coast

Get your camera at the ready as you journey along one of the most beautiful railways in Britain. Your journey will take you through majestic Welsh countryside, emerging to skirt the coastline providing impressive views from the train window.

Conwy Valley Line

Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog

Take a beautiful journey through stunning Welsh landscapes along the Conwy and Lledr Valleys before passing through the rugged scenery of Snowdonia National Park.


Days out by rail along the Bittern Line
Bittern Line

Bittern Line

Norwich to Sheringham

Spot wildlife from the train as you journey through the picturesque Broads National Park on a greener day out by train through North Norfolk. Look out for views of the North Sea as you approach West Runton, Sherringham and Cromer.

Rhee Valley

Cambridge to Royston

Enjoy views of chocolate box villages scattered amongst local nature reserves and lush countryside as you take the train from Cambridge to Royston.


South west

Severn Shores Line. Photo: David Jones

Severn Shores Line

Cheltenham - Newport

Skirting the western shore of the Severn Estuary, this journey brings you breathtaking views of the River Severn no matter what time of year you travel.

East Devon Line

Exeter St Davids to Axminster

Escape the crowds and discover this hidden gem as you journey through the beautiful Devon countryside. Onward bus connections provide easy access to the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast.


Days out by rail along the TransWilts Line
TransWilts Line


Swindon to Salisbury

Meandering along the route of the Wilts & Berks canal, journey through lush countryside as you explore the valley of Bristol Avon. Keep window gazing and you just might catch a glimpse of the iconic White Horse on the hillside as you approach Westbury.


South east

Days out by rail along the Medway Valley Line, Kent
Medway Valley Line

Medway Valley Line

Strood – Maidstone - Tonbridge

The beautiful Medway Valley Line offers tranquil views of the riverbank and beautiful Kent countryside, as you travel from Maidstone West to Tonbridge.

Sussex Downs Line

Brighton – Seaford

This picturesque line cuts through the South Downs National Park, with beautiful views of the countryside before hugging the coast along Seaford Bay.


Yorkshire & North East

Days out along the Hope Valley Line. Photo: High Peak & Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership
Chinley along the Hope Valley Line. Photo: High Peak & Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership

Hope Valley Line

Manchester Piccadilly to Sheffield

As the train emerges from the darkness of either Totley or Cowburn tunnel, you'll suddenly find yourself surrounded by the stunning landscapes of Edale and Hope Valleys. Stretch your legs with a short circular walk from Edale Station taking in the Vale of Edale, the Penny Pot Café and the Pennine Way.


Days out by rail along the Penistone Line
Penistone Line. Photo: Anders Hanson

Penistone Line

Sheffield to Huddersfield

Travel along four Victorian viaducts each showcasing superb views of the South Pennines as you journey from Sheffield to Huddersfield.


Days out along the Calder Valley line
Calder Valley

Calder Valley

Leeds to Manchester Victoria

Look out for the superb urban panorama from the train as you travel past Todmorden town centre.

Above Todmorden you'll see Stoodley Pike monument, perched on the hilltop, viewable from the train at various points between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

Often referred to as Little Switzerland, Hebden Bridge and it's narrow confluence of two valleys packed with houses and mills can be seen from the train.

The sweet smell of chocolate may be in the air as you leave the train in Halifax, with the home of Quality Street visible from platform 1.

Keep an eye out as you leave Halifax Station towards Bradford to see the gothic Halifax Minster, you may also spot Calderdale Industrial Museum and Piece Hall too.


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

These scenic railway routes are supported by community rail partnerships, you can find out more about each partnership on the individual line pages linked above. Community rail is a growing grassroots movement made up of community rail partnerships and groups across Britain. They engage communities and help people get the most from their railways, promoting social inclusion and sustainable travel while working alongside train operators to bring about improvements. Learn more about community rail across Britain and how you can get involved through the Community Rail Network website.

Train times are subject to change. Please check your route before you set off and allow extra travel time. We strongly suggest you travel outside of busy periods and book in advance where possible. Many train operators have capacity checkers or provide advice on when services may be quieter, check their websites for details.

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