Michael Portillo's hugely popular 'Great British Railway Journeys' television series has sparked great interest in train holidays, reminding me of just how many of the great rail journeys in the UK that you can enjoy on holiday with Railtrail Tours. Following is a list of some of my favourites...
The Cornish Riviera Express was, in the days of steam, the most famous holiday train in the country. Children from nine to ninety eagerly awaited departing Exeter and clinging to the Exe estuary before the drama of speeding alongside the sea wall through Dawlish knowing that your holiday had really begun. Although no longer with steam, this spectacular journey is a wonderful introduction to our tours: Devon Riviera by Steam, Cornwall Classic and Devon Riviera & Cornish Coast.
A few years ago the UK's most famous rail journey, through wild Cumbrian hills, was nearly lost to the nation when it was threatened with closure. After a major publicity campaign, it was proven it was not necessary to replace the magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct and today more people than ever now experience this amazing journey. Enjoy this route and more great rail journeys on our 'all rail' Lake District & Mountains Rail Roamer tour, plus our Augill Castle & The Yorkshire Dales and Langley Castle, Beamish & Hadrian's Wall Country Signature Tours.
When I first made this journey over three decades ago, following Michael Palin's original 'Great Railway Journeys of The World' TV series, I fell in love with a railway journey!
Climb high above the tree line onto the great plateau through Achnashellach and Achnasheen, then descend for the coastal journey through Plockton into Kyle of Lochalsh, overlooking the Isle of Skye - simply the most memorable of rail journeys. Viewing the great herds of wild deer on the evening journey back to Inverness was the icing on the cake. You too can experience this most romantic of rail journeys on our short breaks Highland Rail Voyager and Highland Winter Wonderland holidays and on our Springtime Highlander, Queen of Scots and Romantic Highlander tours.
The newest of the UK's great rail journeys is the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarvon through the Aberglaslyn Pass, in the Snowdonia National Park. This narrow gauge line is the longest in Britain and whilst the trains may be small the vistas are immense; enjoy it - and many more lines - on our tour of Wonderful Wales.