The best holidays by train in Great Britain

1st August 2023

When it comes to holidays, Great Britain is up there with the best in the world. Historic cities packed with culture, stunning national parks for outdoor adventures, brilliant beaches for sandcastles and ice creams, family fun activities, romantic villages … you name it, we’ve got it.


It’s easy, too. All you have to do is hop on the train and you can be on holiday somewhere amazing in no time. To help you plan your next trip, we’ve created a list of the best holidays by train in Great Britain. Remember to book your tickets with a Railcard to save 1/3 on your fare.


Hit the beach during the summer months


From Scotland to Cornwall, Great Britain has bucket loads of world-class beaches waiting to be discovered and explored.


Whether you’re looking for family classics, such as Blackpool, Skegness or Great Yarmouth, or remote beauties – think Sennen Cove in Cornwall, Rhossili Bay in Swansea and the beaches of Aberdeenshire – there’s a beach for you.


Bournemouth is a sandy all-rounder with fun for families, couples and groups, Cornwall is great for surfing – try Fistral in Newquay – and Margate and Whitstable in Kent have culture and great food to go with the beach. All are great options for rail holidays.


Go on an outdoor adventure in a national park


All of Great Britain’s 15 national parks can be reached by train one way or another, where adventure awaits.


Kayak the deep waters of Windermere in the Lake District, try your hand at rock climbing in the Peak District, climb wild Scottish mountains in the Cairngorms, or splash and swim your way around Pembrokeshire with a coasteering tour.


Whether you’re into walking, cycling, watersports or just want to spend a few days in nature, a UK national park is always a great shout.


Visit one of Great Britain’s incredible cities


When it comes to exciting cities, you’re spoiled for choice in Britain.


Hit the town in Manchester and sample its famous nightlife; browse the department stores and boutique shops of Leeds for a shopping spree, discover the history and Scottish culture of Edinburgh or watch a high-energy rugby match in Cardiff.


Then there’s London. Catch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, see masterpieces for free in the National Gallery and enjoy a boat tour along the Thames – you can get 2FOR1 on the Thames Rockets Ultimate London Adventure here.


Take a romantic break in a historic town


Great Britain’s historic towns and villages are dripping with charm – and, as a result, they’re among some of the most romantic places in the world.


York, with its mediaeval cobbled lanes and cosy pubs should be high on your list. Stroll along the Shambles, one of the oldest streets in England, and walk the walls at sunset for the perfect weekend break in York.


Other romantic spots include Rye, a quaint village of half-timbered houses and rolling hills, and St Ives, a Cornish seaside town with white sand beaches and artsy vibes.


Pamper yourself with a luxury weekend in a spa town


Bath, quite rightly, steals the show when it comes to luxury breaks in Great Britain – the city is awash with high-end spas, such as the Gainsborough Bath Spa and the Royal Crescent Hotel.


Beyond the Somerset stunner, there are plenty of other spa towns to visit on a train holiday. Harrogate, surrounded by the vast Yorkshire Dales, is a great option if you’d like to combine pampering with some rambling. Cheltenham, in the Cotswolds, has a similar vibe.


Sample your way around Great Britain’s foodie hotspots


More than just pie and peas, Great Britain has plenty of tasty travel opportunities for foodies.


Head to Cromer in Norfolk for some of the best crab in England – the area is also known for its fantastic fish and chips and local ales, as well as its beaches and wildlife.


Alternatively, head to Cumbria. Famed for its Michelin stars – it’s the county with the most in the UK – its rich pantry serves up salt marsh lamb roasts, Kendal mint cake and succulent Cumberland sausages. Other foodie train breaks you can take include Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire and Dorset.


Save 1/3 off your Great Britain holiday rail tickets when you travel by train with a Railcard. Get yours now and start saving on your rail fares today.