Railway Journeys to Enjoy on a UK Vacation

From glorious mountains to rolling hills and rugged coastlines, the UK has some of the most beautiful and historic natural scenery in all of Europe. A quaint and lovely way to discover the diverse regions of Great Britain is on a railway journey aboard a real steam train. If you are planning a vacation or tour in the UK and would like to enjoy a ride on a steam train, here are some of our favorite UK railway journeys, featuring the best landscapes and natural scenes.


Yorkshire is well known for its rugged landscapes, including the Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Dales, as well as its friendly people, quaint village pubs and tranquil setting. A lovely region of Yorkshire to discover by steam train is Bronte Country, where the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is found. This 5-mile railway line has featured in many period film and TV productions, including The Railway Children, and there are frequent themed events to enjoy, including experiences designed for children. The railway line links Keighley with Oxenhope, taking you through some of the prettiest villages along the way, including Damems and Haworth. While you can thoroughly enjoy simply riding the trains and appreciating the landscape, those who would like an adventure can stop at Haworth to take a walking trail passed the Bronte waterfalls. There are plenty of other attractions to enjoy too, including the railway’s museum.

Another worthy railway to mention is the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which takes you away from the hustle and bustle aboard a heritage diesel train, featuring cozy compartments and wood-paneled carriages. It is the world’s most popular heritage railway and has featured in several TV productions, including the popular British TV series, Heartbeat. The railway line stretches through enchanting landscapes and a National Park and stops in popular towns and villages, including Whitby, Grosmont, Goathland, Newtondale Halt, Levisham and Pickering. We highly recommend stopping at Whitby to enjoy fish and chips at the award-winning Quayside restaurant and taking in the atmospheric ruins of Whitby Abbey. There are also plenty of museums to enjoy in the villages along the railway line, such as the Captain Cook Museum and the Ryedale Folk Museum, and there are also several Yorkshire castles to discover.


Wales is a principality of the UK with its own language and culture. Its beautiful countryside features peaceful canals, snow-capped mountains and historic castles, and it is a lovely region of the UK to discover by train on your UK vacation.

There are several vintage railways in Wales to enjoy. Let’s start with the Llangollen Railway in Denbighshire, which is the only standard gauge heritage railway in North Wales. It features 10 miles of picturesque scenes through Dee Valley (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and links Llangollen with Corwen via a line that runs along the River Dee. The entire line is also classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest thanks to the rare flora and fauna found in this part of the world, making it a wonderful experience for those interested in nature. The railway also runs events for families, with themed trains, such as Thomas the Tank Engine.

For a family-friendly and educational experience, we highly recommend the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, where you can enjoy an hour-long train ride from Porthmadog and can also be treated to a glimpse inside the cabs of different locomotives to see how they work. There is also a lovely tea room, where you can enjoy cakes and hot tea and chat with the friendly locals. Alternatively, if you want to discover more of Wales then consider the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highlands Railways, which are two unique narrow gauge railways, making up 40 miles of tracks through the mountain scenes of Snowdonia. On your journey you can enjoy glorious coastlines, ancient oak woodlands, mountains, rivers and castles all from the comfort of your train carriage. We recommend the Ffestiniog Railway for those wanting to experience the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway as it has over 200 years of history and takes you from the harbor at Porthmadog to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The railway line runs three original locomotives, which are over 150 years old, making it a real treat! However, if you would prefer mountain scenes then opt for the Welsh Highland Railway, which runs for 25 miles from Caernarfon to Porthmadog and features first class Pullman luxury and freshly cooked cuisine.


The Scottish Highlands are surely one of the most beautiful regions of the UK and are well-known for their heather-dashed fields, tranquil glens, mountainous peaks and mysterious lakes. There are several vintage train lines that run through the Scottish Highlands. Of these, the Jacobite Steam Train is a nice option if you want to enjoy the West Highlands. It is a steam locomotive that you may recognize as it featured in scenes from the Harry Potter movies and it takes a particularly scenic route covering over 40 miles from Fort William to Mallaig.

Another option is the Strathspey Railway, which features vintage diesel steam trains that take you on a 90-minute journey through the heart of the Scottish Highlands. The stations along the route have themed shops, which sell Highland sweets and delightful gifts, and you can also take a bike on the train for free so that you can spend some time exploring the wonderful countryside and villages, including Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill. However, if you want to see spectacular mountain scenes then we recommend the Cairngorm Mountain Railway, which is a special funicular railway near CairnGorm Mountain. This makes for a unique visitor experience as it is Scotland’s only funicular railway and allows you to enjoy spectacular, panoramic views from the Top Station on CairnGorm Mountain, where there is a delightful restaurant, a viewing terrace, a gift shop and (for a unique photo opportunity) the highest post box in the UK!


If this blog has sparked your interest in a rail tour of the UK then check out our tailor-made vacation here. We personalize all our vacations and pre-arrange accommodation and tours so that you can simply relax, knowing all the finer details are taken care of. To find out more about our special UK vacations, contact a member of our team on 1-347-594-5500 or click here to send an online inquiry.

Search Keywords

Enter keywords below to perform a search within the events to find more relevant posts