The best weekend city breaks by train in Great Britain

24th March 2023

It’s Friday. You’ve just finished work and you’re about to jump on the train to a city you’ve never visited before. New restaurants, brilliant museums and exciting nightlife await at the end of the line. All in all, it sounds like a top weekend to us. 


To help get you ready for the above, we’ve rounded up some of the best destinations in Britain for a weekend break. Oh, and 1 more thing – book your trip with a Railcard and you can save up to 1/3 on your train fares!


Sheffield: best for music lovers 


Like your weekends loud and late? Sheffield is one of the best weekend breaks by train in Britain for music. 


Catch local jazz bands at Lescar Sheffield, dip into the alternative scene at Picture House Social, bounce around in the mosh pit at The Dove and Rainbow or see big names at Bungalow & Bears. 


Train station: Sheffield 


Brighton: best for families 

When it comes to family fun, Brighton takes some beating for a city break by train. 


Kick off your weekend with a night on the pier – packed with amusements, rides and arcades, it’s full of exciting and crowd-pleasing activities. The next day, hit the beach before tucking into fish and chips on the seafront. 


Train station: Brighton 


Bradford: best for culture 


Visit Bradford, Britain’s next City of Culture and see what all the fuss is about. 


Learn about the world of film and cinema at the National Science and Media Museum, discover the works of David Hockney at Salts Mill and call in on the Brontes at pretty Howarth, the tiny village where they grew up. 


Train stations: Bradford Interchange, Bradford Forster Square 


Durham: best for couples 

A romantic city with a picturesque medieval core, Durham is ideal for a couple’s weekend away. 


Wander through history at the grand Durham Castle, snap a selfie in front of the city’s magnificent cathedral, step back in time at the wonderful Beamish Museum and enjoy dinner for 2 in one of its many charming pubs. 


Train station: Durham 


Plymouth: best for outdoor adventures  


From its outdoor lido to the many wonderful beaches nearby, Plymouth gives you a dose of city life with nature on the side. 


After a dip in the Tinside Lido, take a stroll through the leafy grounds of Central Park. The footgolf and pitch and putt are great for families and groups of friends. Fancy something a little more adventurous? Hit the slopes at Plymouth Snowsports Centre. 


Train station: Plymouth 


Manchester: best for groups 

One of the best city breaks by train for groups, Manchester has something for everyone. 


Whether you’re looking for alternative nightlife in the Northern Quarter, live sport at Old Trafford or the Etihad, shopping at the Arndale or culture at one of its many galleries and museums – such as the IWM North, Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth – Manchester is a top choice for groups.  


Train stations: Manchester Victoria, Manchester Piccadilly  


Hull: best for history 


An alternative city on the east coast of Yorkshire, Hull has plenty of interesting stories to tell.  


The pretty old town is packed with lovely Georgian architecture to marvel at, you can visit Ye Olde White Heart – which has a fascinating association with the English Civil War – and you can learn about the man who helped abolish slavery in Britain at the Wilberforce House Museum. And that’s just for starters. There’s more everywhere you turn. 


Train station: Hull 


Swansea: best for beaches 

Fancy a weekend by the sea? Often overlooked, Swansea is surrounded by glorious golden-hued beaches. 


For a classic seaside experience, head to Aberavon beach. This sandy beach has a lovely cafe-lined promenade and a splash park. If you like your beaches a little more remote, take the bus (1 hour) to Three Cliffs Bay, an untouched beach surrounded by sand dunes and rocky cliffs. 


Train station: Swansea 


Glasgow: best for nightlife 


One of the best railway breaks in Britain for nightlife, Glasgow’s entertainment scene is exciting and varied. 


Dump your bags at the hotel and hit the bars and restaurants of the West End on Friday night. Explore Glasgow’s art and culture scene during Saturday before heading to a stand-up gig at the King’s Theatre or a theatre show at the  Tron Theatre. 


Train station: Glasgow Central  


Escape to the city with train fares for less. Book with a Railcard and get up to 1/3 off your tickets.