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5 of Britain’s most beautiful rail routes


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Ditch Ryanair and choose the classic British railway to fulfil your wanderlust fantasies in 2018. Here are the best routes to explore to learn a lot more about Britain, and have an easy, laid-back holiday in some of the most underrated destinations in the UK.

1. The Heart of Wales

This 121 mile-long railway line weaves in and out of the nooks and crannies of the Welsh countryside.

Starting in Craven Arms, the line meanders past the Loughor estuary, dancing around the serene river Tywi and the harsh, remote borderlands of the English Marches. You’ll pass pretty little market towns, rolling countryside and the standout feature: the recently upgraded 150-year old Cynghordy Viaduct.

Keep your eyes open on this trip, and soak up the greenery all the way into Swansea.

2. South Devon Mainline

Travelling between Exeter and Penzance on the South Devon Mainline means travelling down one of the most photographed railway routes in the country. And for good reason.

The line hugs the curves of the coastal sea wall through Dawlish Warren past Teignmouth, before turning back inland and following the River Teign through heavily wooded valleys. On this scenic route, you’ll pass historic market towns, lush green countryside, brilliant beaches and busy cities.

Turning into the Cornish Mainline, the South Devon Mainline can drop you right on the doorstep of the magical festival Looe, which takes place at the end of September and features fantastic theatre performances and plenty of local produce. 

3. West Highland Line

Leaving Glasgow behind, the West Highland Line plunges deep into the wild west coast of Scotland.

Passing unforgiving mountainsides, deep forests and wild heather moors as you wind your way through historic Fort William onto Mallaig, there’s no wonder this route is considered one of the most scenic in the world. 

In the small village of Banavie, the train has to criss-cross over the Caledonian Canal at popular tourist spot Neptune's Staircase - the longest staircase lock in Britain. 

Harry Potter fans keep your eyes peeled as you pass over the Glenfinnan Viaduct – a famous piece of track used for the Hogwarts Express.  

4. Severn Valley Railway


This 16-mile line is one of the most popular heritage railways in the country, hauling its passengers on classic steam locomotives between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster.

Trailing the course of the River Severn, the Severn Valley line offers panoramic views of quintessential British countryside.

You can even chug along this historic stretch of railway sipping a cuppa in a classic dining cart, available to book most weekends throughout the year.

Make time to visit Britain's oldest and steepest inland funicular railway which sits only a ten minute walk from Bridgnorth station, and offers uncontested views of the entire valley. 

5. Ffestiniog Railway

It's back to Wales for the fifth and final railway route – from Blaenau Ffestiniog through the Welsh mountains, across the sandy bay to Porthmadog.

Still operating original locomotives and carriages which are over 150 years old, the Ffestiniog railway transports you back to the golden age of steam. 

As the oldest narrow-gauge railway in the world, this historic route gives travellers but a glimpse of the beauty of the Welsh countryside. Spot ancient castles nestled into crowded oak woodlands, and climb up to 700 feet high in the mountains for panoramic views of Snowdonia National Park.

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