Train travel is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable ways to explore Britain.
With over 2,500 train stations in Britain, visitors have the chance to discover both cities and countryside throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Travel times between key destinations are very fast, for example London Kings Cross-Edinburgh 4hrs 20mins, London Euston-Manchester 2hrs, London Paddington-Bath 1hr 25mns, London Kings Cross-York and Manchester Piccadilly-Lake District 1hr 40mins.
The most cost effective way to explore Britain by train is with a BritRail Pass, which also includes many 2 for 1 attraction offers. With a BritRail Pass visitors can travel anytime and anywhere on the national train network, so they can just as easily uncover the delights of Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland as they can relax on a beach in St Ives, Cornwall.
Britain’s fastest and most comfortable trains are those on the mainline routes. It is always advisable to reserve your seat in advance, especially if you want to travel at peak times, such as Friday evenings. Mainline trains have dining cars and air-conditioning, and they are fast – for example travelling from London to Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh takes just 4 hours and 20 minutes direct, or from London Paddington to Wales’s capital city Cardiff it’s just 2 hours direct.
If you are disabled and need assistance you can call National Rail Enquiries(at least 24 hours ahead of your journey) to book Passenger Assistance.
A yellow line above a train window indicates a first-class compartment. Note that even if the train is full, you cannot sit in the first-class area without paying the full fare.
Stations are usually well signposted to town centres and key sights, and buses usually stop outside. Trains on Sundays and public holidays can be slower and less frequent than normal.
A magical nine day tour of Great Britain by Rail – one American’s journey!
Gavin Landry joined the Visit Britain team in September as the Director of the Americas, he came to England and used some of our itineraries to familiarity himself what our amazing country. He summarised the trip and shared his experience below
My wife, Marea, and I decided to go on a whirlwind tour of Great Britain by rail to see places we had not been before. Throughout the trip, we encountered magical attractions, excellent food and drink but most of all we encountered the one thing that made our trip so special, the people of Great Britain. Throughout this blog, I will be sharing photos of not only the things we saw and did but also the people who we met along the way. All aboard for our Great Britain Tour!
Manchester and Liverpool
Bath and Stonehenge
Back to Edinburgh
Journeys across the country may involve changes since most lines radiate from London, which has 7 major terminals. Here are some example journeys:
London Euston – Birmingham (1hr 20mins), Chester (2hrs), Manchester (2hrs 5mins), Liverpool (2hrs 15mins), Llandudno Junction, North Wales (2hrs 50mins).
London King’s Cross – York (1hr 50mins), Lincoln (2hrs 20mins), Newcastle (2hrs 50mins), Durham (2hrs 55mins), Edinburgh, Scotland (4hrs 20mins).
London Liverpool Street – Cambridge (1hr 10mins), Norwich (1hr 40mins).
London Marylebone – Bicester Village (50 mins), Warwick (1hr 25mins), Stratford-upon-Avon (2hrs), Oxford (1hr 10mins).
London Paddington – Oxford (55 mins), Windsor (55 mins), Bath (1hr 25mins), Bristol (1hr 40mins), Cardiff (2hrs).
London St Pancras – Brighton (1hr 30mins), Paris with Eurostar (2hrs 25mins).
London Victoria – Brighton (55 mins).
London Waterloo – Salisbury for Stonehenge (1hr 20mins), Bournemouth (1hr 55mins).