There’s something about trains, isn’t there? A kind of romantic nostalgia the likes of planes and cars just don’t seem to achieve. Be it a long distance journey flanked by gorgeous woodland, or a vintage carriage with fine dining attached, or even a domestic Virgin express from Euston to Manchester (don’t underestimate the beauty of the midlands!), on a train you can truly sit back, relax and watch the world go by.
If you want to experience something a little more grand than your morning commute, read on and discover Snaptrip’s top 5 romantic railways in the UK!
Glasgow to Mallaig
You certainly won’t need your iPad (or anything kind of visual stimulant for that matter) when faced with the world-famous views of this, the journey through the UK’s most spectacularly remote landscape. Beginning at Glasgow Queen Street station, use your direct route ticket – the journey takes around 5 hours – for the humble single-journey starting price of £5 (if you book far enough in advance!) and hop on the ScotRail train to Mallaig. That’s when the adventure really begins.
Highlight: On the famed Mallaig line, the highlight has to be the upward climb to Glenfinnan station via the Glenfinna viaduct – brought to cinematic attention by the Harry Potter movie franchise, where the Hogwarts Express rolled through the gloriously green and steamy hills 100ft above the ground…
The Settle – Carlisle Railway
Set to fully reopen in March 2017 due to landslide issues in Cumbria, this iconic railway is not one to miss if you love a bit of the north west. Passing from North Yorkshire to the Scottish border through such sights as the Ribblehead viaduct and dramatic scenery of the western Dales, this short journey currently requires one change either at Armathwaite or Appleby (both beautiful Cumbrian villages by the River Eden) but should only cost you around £13 with a railcard using Virgin Trains.
Highlight: For us it’s the olde-wordly vibes of Settle station, complete with miniature-model town looks, bellowing steam from the romantic steam-powered trains and vintage station boxes – not to mention the beautiful fresh air and lush green surroundings.
The Cotswolds Line
Drifting through the loving landscapes of Gloucestershire, the Cotswold Lines begins its pilgrimage at Oxford Station’s platform 4 (to be exact!) and ends in the cathedral city of Hereford. There are some direct trains to be had (the journey takes around 2 and a half hours) so these are the ones you want – giving you an uninterrupted break from technology as you cruise through the glory of the Cotswolds.
Highlights – The fact that particular durations on this epic line – between Wolvercot Junction (just north of Oxford) and Charlbury, for instance – are operated on a single track. That means its just you, the train and the track with no disruptions from passing trains, as if you have the whole countryside to yourself…
Ffestiniog Welsh Highland Railways
A popular attraction in the heart of Snowdonia – these trains will take you from the slate quarries of mountainous Blaenau Ffestiniog, to the azure blue harbours of Porthmadog, through miles of gorgeous Welsh scenery. Particularly perfect on a sunny day (where isn’t?!), you’ll find this journey fully-stocked with buffet options, snacks and even ice cream! And it’s also pet friendly, meaning you can take the pup along, too. Grab a ‘sunset ticket‘ (£19) for a 6pm train as the evening dwindles to a romantic close…
Highlight: The journey over the The Cob, the mile-long, man-made causeway built across the Afon Glaslyn in the 19th century, makes for a awe-inspiring start – or finish, depending on which way you go! – to this scenic ride.
Located in the lush pastures between East and West Sussex, the Bluebell Railway is a vintage classic that’ll transport you to the bygone era of steam trains with a ride back in time. On the Bluebell Railway’s Golden Arrow Pullman dining train – a throwback to the glamorous Golden Arrow that once linked London and Paris – you can settle in for a intimate meal set against the grandeur of this wonderful steam train. Price per ticket from £27 and dates available throughout 2017!
Highlight: Tough to pick, but we’re going for Bluebell’s range of special events – from the aforementioned dining experience, to the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train serving up luxury teas and delicious sandwiches to this huge list of standout events in 2017. Oh, and the Railway Museum on Platform 2 is well worth a visit, too.