Spectacular views by train
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!
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
Take a beautiful journey through stunning Welsh landscapes along the Conwy and Lledr Valleys before passing through the rugged scenery of Snowdonia National Park.
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.
Enjoy views of chocolate box villages scattered amongst local nature reserves and lush countryside as you take the train from Cambridge to Royston.
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
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.
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.
Medway Valley Line
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
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
Hope Valley Line
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.
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.
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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