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Tracks Through Time: Five Stunning UK Train Journeys

Tracks Through Time: Five Stunning UK Train Journeys

3 min read

The United Kingdom is rightly celebrated as the birthplace of the railway. The Darlington & Stockton Railway, opened in 1825, and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, inaugurated in 1830, ushered in a new age of transportation, revolutionising travel and commerce. 
The British blueprint then spread across the globe. The UK’s rail network is not only a testament to engineering genius, but also the gateway to some of the most stunning landscapes to be found anywhere in the world. From rolling hills and gorgeous valleys to rugged coastlines and shimmering lochs, the UK is a tapestry of amazing scenery. And there’s no better way to see it than by with a window seat in a train. Here are five of the most stunning train journeys in the United Kingdom, blending the comfort and nostalgia of train travel with views that illuminate the beauty of the British Isles.

The West Highland Line: Glasgow to Mallaig

Considered by some to be the most scenic railway line in the world, this line takes passengers from the bustling city of Glasgow through Scotland’s wild western highlands to the remote port of Mallaig. Built in stages through the 1890s, the line is a true marvel of late Victorian British engineering. Travellers are in for a special treat, as the journey takes in Loch Lomond, then through Trossachs National Park and over the world’s first concrete viaduct at Glenfinnan, famously featured in the Harry Potter movies. The line also passes through Corrour, the UK’s highest altitude train station. Immerse yourself in unforgettable scenery on this journey, and don’t forget to look out for Ben Nevis!

The Caledonian Sleeper

Linking London with the Scottish Highlands, this overnight service has been taking travellers northward overnight along the West Coast Main Line since way back in 1873. In an era where sleeper services in the UK have been almost entirely discontinued, this train continues to fly the flag for a more civilised and sedate way to travel.  Passengers can enjoy falling asleep to the rhythm of the train on leaving London, then waking up to the serene beauty of the Highlands at dawn right outside your window. Take a trip back in time with all the modern amenities you could want with this iconic train journey!

The Cambrian Line

Wales, with its dramatic landscapes, historic sites and inspiring vistas, offers some of the most scenic train journeys to be found in the UK. And perhaps the jewel in the Welsh crown is the Cambrian Line, which weaves its way through Mid Wales to the coast. The route begins in Shrewsbury in England and is famed for its scenery. Travellers will love the wonderful views of the Cambrian Mountains, a sprawling range of peaks. The journey moves through some of the most remote areas of the country, before emerging at the Welsh coast. The section between Machynlleth to Pwllheli hugs the coastline, offering the passenger a spectacular experience.

London to Edinburgh

This route is one of the most famous in the world. Operational since 1862, this route has linked England and Scotland’s capitals ever since. It’s a truly iconic journey symbolised by one of the most iconic trains, the Flying Scotsman, the first locomotive to reach 100 miles an hour all the way back in 1934. These days the modern trains continue to combine a blend of speed, comfort and plenty of unforgettable sights along the 393-mile route. As the hustle and bustle of London is left behind, passengers are treated to the picturesque English countryside. They’ll also see the majestic York Minster and the stunning views of the Northumberland coast. Train enthusiasts will love the array of bridges at Newcastle upon Tyne. Then, the serene Scottish borders and beautiful Edinburgh await!

The Settle-Carlisle Line

No article on iconic United Kingdom train journeys would be complete without this incredible train line. Opened in 1876, the 73-mile-long route takes the traveller from Settle Junction in North Yorkshire to Carlisle in Cumbria. The views are breathtaking. Rolling hills, serene valleys and picturesque villages aplenty, and as the line gently weaves through the countryside, there are many tunnels and viaducts (including the world-famous Ribblehead Viaduct) along the way. Threatened with closure in the 1980s, the line was saved thanks to the efforts of rail lovers, and passenger numbers have gone from strength to strength.