Rediscover the Railway like never before
Published 23 August 2022 | Average read time
5 min read
Railway heritage Living by the railway Our railway structures

Isn’t it time you visited all of those places you’ve been meaning to?  

And how would you like to visit those places in comfort and without having to worry about traffic?  

Why not instead relax and watch the world go by on your journey? 

Our network isn’t just 20,000 miles of track, bridges and tunnels.

It’s your ticket to adventure and wonder without having to leave the country or stress over a long drive.  

The railway can provide those city breaks to catch up with friends, a beachside holiday with the family and many more local escapes.  

We think it’s time you rediscovered the railway like never before. And to help you do just that, we’ve provided a starting point for you to plan your next getaway.  

Let’s rediscover the railway

Rediscover the railway

Rediscover the railway: The Railway Children Return

Postcard image showing aerial shot of London at night.
Shot of Cardiff Bay with blue skies.

City breaks 

Britain has so many exciting cities to visit by rail. If you’re looking to experience a city break that can offer entertainment, culture, and a bustling nightlife, try Cardiff, Wales.  

Cardiff is renowned for its match day atmosphere. Why not catch a rugby game in the awe-inspiring Principality Stadium?

If sports aren’t for you, visit Cardiff Castle in the centre of the city or head down to Cardiff Bay to enjoy food and drinks accompanied by a sea breeze and sunset.  

The Welsh capital has so many options and is less than two hours from London Paddington. There are no changes and at least two services per hour on a Great Western Railway intercity express train.  

Oh I do want to be beside the seaside …  

Does anything scream staycation more than a British beach trip?

Britain has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and so many to choose from, like Carbis Bay, Cornwall.  

Just outside St Ives, the beach has little surf so is ideal for swimming. Take a short walk east down the beach and you’ll find a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds sanctuary, great for nature lovers and Sir David Attenborough fans.

The bay is also surrounded by subtropical plants and hosts turquoise waters – what could be better?  

You can get a service from London Paddington to St Erth and switch to the gorgeous St Ives branch line to Carbis Bay. The journey will take you just over five hours, so why not make it a full holiday and get a sleeper service with GWR?  

No stress, just some shut eye before your seaside staycation … 

Shot of sea and beach at Carbis Bay in the day.
Falkirk Wheel at sunset.

Stunning Scotland

Dreaming of Scotland but fancy an alternative to the usual tourist hot spots? Why not head to Falkirk Wheel?

It’s been described as Scotland’s most exciting example of 21st century engineering. In fact, it’s the world’s only rotating mechanism that lifts boats 115 ft into the air, linking the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.

The visitor centre has a lot to offer, including a children’s activity zone, mini canal and water play park and woodlands walk which take in parts of the Antonine Wall – a World Heritage Site and roman fort.  

You’ll only need to take a 30 minute train service from Edinburgh Waverley to Falkirk High and then a 13-minute bus journey to the visitor centre.  

Family days out

Britain is famous for its forests and castles. Sometimes you may feel like you have to choose between one or the other, but not Chepstow, South Wales.  

On the borders of the magical Forest of Dean, lies Chepstow Castle sitting on the river Wye. Take in the scenery from the top of Britain’s oldest surviving Norman castle and cross the river to be surrounded by nature.  

You can then head into the small market town of Chepstow, filled with independent boutiques and Georgian and Victorian buildings.  

Ruins of Chepstow Castle in the sun.

Hidden gems 

Why not upgrade your relaxing journey to the powers of steam and visit the Ribble Steam Railway in Preston, Lancashire?  

Enjoy the stunning views while on the three-mile heritage railway as it crosses over the Preston dock swing bridge and along the banks of the River Ribble. The railway also includes an outdoor playground, industrial museum and exploration centre.  

You can experience all this heritage by taking a hour train journey from Manchester Piccadilly to Preston with no changes.