Britain by Rail

Great Britain has the oldest rail network in the world: In 1830 the Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened, becoming the world’s first inter-city passenger railway and the first to have scheduled services and terminal stations.

Today Britain has a privatized rail network that covers the whole of the country, serving more than 2,500 stations. There is 15,795 km of track on the National Rail network.

In Britain, heritage railways are often railway lines which were once run as commercial railways but were taken over or re-opened by volunteers or non-profit organizations. A typical British heritage railway will use steam trains to create a “period atmosphere”.

Scotland –The Jacobite in West Highlands

The journey goes through some of Scotland’s most splendid scenery. Starting in Fort William, it travels along the shores of Loch Eil, stops for half an hour at Glenfinnan and continues to Mallaig, where there is a ferry service to the Isle of Skye. The highlight of the journey is Glenfinnan viaduct. The Jacobite Steam Train is renowned for appearing in the Harry Potter films.

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Wales – Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways

The Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest independent railway company in the world founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832. Visitors to the railway can enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of Snowdonia as they pass through areas inaccessible by road and undisturbed by the sights and sounds of modern life.

The Ffestiniog Railway

 South West England – The South Devon Railway

Is one of Devon’s best loved tourist attractions and is the longest established steam railway in the South West. The South Devon Railway was built in 1872 and runs for seven miles along the stunning valley of the River Dart between Buckfastleigh and Totnes, where regular direct trains connect from London in three hours.

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South West England – The West Somerset Railway

The West Somerset Railway is the longest heritage line in Britain. The line is situated four miles from Taunton, starting at Bishops Lydeard and finishing at Minehead. The line meanders through the Quantock Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and along the Bristol Channel Coast. They have 10 stations along the line each having something different to offer. Regular direct trains run from London.

Northern England

The original North Yorkshire Moors Railway opened in 1836. It runs for 18 miles between the village of Pickering and the coastal town of Whitby and claims to be the busiest heritage railway in the world.

As well as the fine views of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, attractions close to the line include Pickering Castle and Goathland station, which doubles for Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter movies, as well as the seaside delights of Whitby. There are trains from London to Pickering Eastgate via York.

Traveling by train is one of the most scenic and relaxing ways to discover the real Britain.

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Scotland – Glasgow to Mallaig

A stunning tour that passes through film locations; from movies such as Skyfall, Harry Potter, and Highlander. A journey described by many as one of the great railway journeys of the world. The train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct, known globally for its remarkable engineering and more importantly, as the way to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

This can be done as a point to point ticket or if you want to explore more of Scotland it may be more cost effective to purchase the BritRail Scottish Highlands Pass or BritRail Spirit of Scotland Pass.

Northern England – Carlisle to Settle

First opening to passengers in 1876, the Settle–Carlisle line takes in 20 viaducts, 14 tunnels and countless beautiful vistas along its 72-mile track. This historic line travels across the stunning Pennine hills, Eden Valley and the Yorkshire Dales showcasing the English countryside at its best.

Northern England & Scotland – Newcastle to Edinburgh

North of Alnwick, one section of the London to Edinburgh mainline hugs the rugged coastline. It sweeps along cliffs that rise above the Northumbrian coast and passes by Lindisfarne before reaching Berwick-upon-Tweed and on to Scotland.

North Wales – Caernarfon to Porthmadog & Blaenau Ffestiniog

By combining the Ffestiniog and West Highland Railways, you can now travel 33 miles from Blaenau Ffestiniog via Porthmadog to Caernarfon in Wales by rail while enjoying the outstanding scenery of Snowdonia. The route goes through Aberglaslyn Pass (voted the most scenic view in the UK’ by members of the National Trust) and passes to the west of Snowdon offering breathtaking views.

Rather than walking, you can enjoy the ride to the summit of Snowdon by mountain railway, built in 1896.  You can then enjoy the wonderful views from the summit and see the visitor center.

South West England – St Erth to St Ives

This journey is only 15 minutes long but the memories will last a lifetime. Enjoy the spectacular views from the train window as the line sweeps along the coast past the golden sands of Hayle Towans and Carbis Bay before arriving in St Ives.

BritRail Pass

BritRail-Logo-_2011_jpg-for-web

What is a BritRail pass? A BritRail Pass is a ticket that allows you unlimited travel by train within the zones of Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland) and gives you the option to choose the number of days of travel.

Who can use one? BritRail passes are only available to overseas tourists visiting Britain; this does not include international students who are studying in the UK for more than six months.

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Many popular British destinations can be accessed by train, including directly from London.

 

Some example journey times are:

 

London to Bath (for South-West England) = 1hr 30 minutes

London to Windermere, Lake District via Oxenholme (and North-West England) = 3 hrs 30 minutes

London to St Ives, Cornwall (South-West England) = 5 hrs 30 minutes

London to Buxton, Peak District (North-West England) = 2 hrs 50 minutes

London to Llandudno, Wales = 3 hrs

Manchester to Windermere, Lake District (North-West England) = 1 hour 40 minutes

Manchester to Buxton, Peak District (North-West England) = 1 hour

Edinburgh to Balloch, Loch Lomond (Scotland) = 2 hours

London to Edinburgh, Scotland = 4 hours 20 minutes

London to Manchester (for the North West) = 2 hours 5 minutes

London to Birmingham (for the Midlands) = 1 hour 25 minutes

London to Cardiff, Wales = 2 hours

London to York, (for the North East) = 1 hour 50 minutes

London to Liverpool (for the North West) = 2 hours 15 minutes 

London to Bath (for South-West England) = 1hr 30 minutes

London to Windermere, Lake District via Oxenholme (and North-West England) = 3 hrs 30 minutes

London to St Ives, Cornwall (South-West England) = 5 hrs 30 minutes

London to Buxton, Peak District (North-West England) = 2 hrs 50 minutes

London to Llandudno, Wales = 3 hrs

Manchester to Windermere, Lake District (North-West England) = 1 hour 40 minutes

Manchester to Buxton, Peak District (North-West England) = 1 hour

Edinburgh to Balloch, Loch Lomond (Scotland) = 2 hours

 

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Follow us on our journey through the UK/Ireland, and contact us if you are interested in purchasing a BritRail pass or London/Oyster Cards and passes for your journey through Britain.

 

We offer great accommodations at travelloafers.agentstudio.com or email us at travelloafers@gmail.com

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Happy Trails and See you on the Road!

 

Dianne and Mike

 

 

 

 

 

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