Travelling Across England by Train: A Tourist's Guide
One of the most scenic and tranquil ways to explore England is by train. Although train fares in the UK can be expensive, it is often one of the quickest and easiest ways to explore the many historic and beautiful cities of England. You can leave the south-coast and be in the north of England in as little as 3 to 4 hours. Here we have put together a guide for some of the best places to go when exploring this beautiful country by train.
Travelling with a Rail Pass
Although rail fare is expensive in the UK, tourists can access a discounted and flexible travel pass from the Visit Britain shop. You will be required to have a passport-sized photo for your pass so keep this in mind before going to make the purchase.
You can plan your route using the Network Rail app or website – doing this will allow you make sure train times match up and you can move from one destination to another without too many changes. It’s wise to book ahead and reserve a seat as trains on the major lines are often very busy, meaning you might not be able to travel when you want without a booking.
London, the capital and one of the most famous cities in the world, is the ideal starting point for exploring England by train. The city is bursting at the seams with things to do, meaning you will want to plan the sites you’ll see ahead of time. Some of the most popular places to explore are The Tower of London, The Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and the London Eye. There are also tourist discount cards which will cut the cost of your trip – and remember most museums in the UK are free to enter!
If you want to go to the coast then Brighton, a short trip to the south coast by train from London, is the perfect destination. Spring and summer are the perfect time to visit Brighton and its famous pebble beach and, of course, Brighton pier. Brighton also has a vibrant gay scene – one of the biggest in the UK!
A little farther north is the beautiful historic city of Bath. Bath is famed for its stunning Roman and Georgian architecture with trains leaving from London’s Paddington Station, taking an hour and a half. Bath is often considered one of the UK’s most beautiful cities – with the whole city being a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the best places to visit in the city is the Thermae Day Spa where you can bathe in the natural springs just as the Romans did hundreds of years ago. The baths are known for being mineral-rich and offer amazing views out over the city.
A trip to the famous university town of Oxford is a must when exploring England’s beautiful cities. There’s the option of going on the University of Oxford tour to a get a behind the scenes look at the famous school or the Oxford Botanic Gardens and Arboretum which includes 130 acres of woodland and more than 6,000 types of plant. Other attractions worth making time for are the Blenheim Palace and the Harry Potter locations tour to see some of the areas where the famous movies were filmed.
Moving into the north of England and you’ll find the great city of Manchester. Manchester’s not only a great city for a night out with loads of great bars and clubs in the city centre but it also has large arts and sports scenes. The area surrounding Manchester is also particularly nice – some of the most beautiful in all of England – with the likes of the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales not too far away.
Newcastle is the party capital of the north, with the city always buzzing and full of life at the weekend. However, Newcastle is also packed with things to do even if you’re not looking for a night ‘on the toon', as the locals would say. The city is rich in history and in the city centre you can even see the remains of the castle from which the city takes its name. Another famous landmark worth checking out is the Angel of the North, a 66ft tall steel sculpture completed in 1998 and now synonymous with the city.
Whether you are looking for a day at the beach, time spent exploring England’s rich history or for a night on the town, England has many amazing cities to choose from – all easily accessible by rail!
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