What better way to take in some of the UK’s most magnificent landscapes than with a scenic train ride? Sitting back and gazing out the window at the world outside while it slowly passes by is a truly relaxing and memorable holiday experience. Here are four of the most scenic train journeys in the UK, to whet your appetite.
St Ives Bay, Cornwall
This charming short train journey covers just 4.25 miles, but it offers some of the most spectacular views of the Cornish coastline. It runs from the peaceful village of St Erth to the fishing village-turned-seaside resort town of St Ives.
Soak up the sun as you arrive at Porthminster Beach, St Ives
The ten-minute journey follows the Hayle Estuary where you can spot seabirds hopping around the pools of water in search of a tasty snack. It then climbs the sand dunes and curves around the coast with views over Porthkidney Beach and Carbis Bay, before arriving in St Ives in front of Porthminster Beach. Try to get a seat on the right-hand side for the best views.
Read more: Cornwall’s best beach cafes and restaurants
West Highland Line, Scotland
Mountains, steep hills, lochs, coast… the diversity of landscapes you pass on this 40-mile journey is astonishing. The Jacobite steam train chugs away through the Scottish countryside from Fort William to Mallaig, on the Atlantic coast. The trip starts with views of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak, before running alongside a series of idyllic lochs.
Take a ride over the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct bridge
The most recognised section of the railway is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, also referred to as ‘the Harry Potter bridge’, since its iconic archways feature in the film series. The last section of the railway runs up the coast with views of the Atlantic sea and wild beaches, before reaching the town of Mallaig near Loch Nevis, the deepest seawater loch in Europe.
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The magnificent Caledonian Sleeper is one of only two overnight trains in the UK, the other being the Night Riviera from London to Cornwall. This quintessential UK train holiday has two routes to choose from, both departing from London Euston and ending in Scotland. The Lowlander route runs to Glasgow and Edinburgh, while the Highlander route runs to Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William.
Hop off the train and marvel at Edinburgh Castle which towers imperiously over the entire city
In 2019, the train was remodelled and a touch of luxury was added with the option to stay in an ensuite cabin with a double bed. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Scottish meal in the dining cart or get chatting with other guests over a glass of whiskey at the bar. Waking up to the misty moors of Scotland is a sight you will treasure forever.
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Snowdonia Star, Wales
Riding the Snowdonia Star is a full day outing and a magical experience. Departing from Caernarfon, you will travel through farmland and forest, crossing the Great Estuary and running along the foot of Snowdon. One of the most stunning parts of the trip is passing through the Aberglaslyn pass running alongside the river.
Delight in the stunning views near Porthmadog in Snowdonia
After a couple of hours, you will arrive in the coastal town Porthmadog where you will have some time to explore and have a cup of tea at the cafe, before jumping back on the train for the return journey. To make the day extra special, pre-book a hamper to enjoy aboard while you admire the beautiful Welsh scenery.
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