Five exciting railway day trips to kick-start 2023

Five exciting railway day trips to kick-start 2023


What better way to start the New Year than with plans to see more of the world by train? Travel in comfort and with ease when you book a classic railway journey around Britain on a train line near you. Relax with a cuppa; gaze out of the window as you rumble past rolling countryside; or simply shut your eyes for a moment’s snooze in anticipation of the adventure that awaits you. Here’s where to head for a fun-filled day trip by train in January 2023 and beyond.


West Country: Exeter to Salisbury

This is a lovely day trip through the rolling East Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire countryside to the historic cathedral city of Salisbury. Trains leave Exeter Central station and head east to Pinhoe, Whimple and Feniton before arriving at the picturesque market town of Honiton. From here, your journey will continue through the former carpet-making town of Axminster and onwards through Crewkerne, Yeovil Junction, Sherborne and more before approaching Salisbury Station.  There are a number of wonderful landmarks and sights to explore on foot including the magnificent cathedral with its 404-ft-high spire, Britain’s oldest working clock, the 14th century city walls and Queen Elizabeth Gardens.

Frequency of trains: 1 per hour

Journey length: 88 miles | 1 hour 50 minutes


South & Southeast England: Reading to Guildford

Depart from Reading’s sparkling modern station in an easterly direction as you make tracks along the former South Eastern & Chatham Railway’s cross-country route to Guildford. After calling at the intermediate stations of Earley, Winnersh Triangle and Winnersh, trains arrive at the market town of Wokingham, where the electrified line to Virginia Water and Waterloo branches off to the east. From Wokingham, the train passes through Crowthorne (home of Broadmoor hospital), Sandhurst (home to the royal Military Academy), Blackwater, Farnborough North and beyond. Once in Guildford, visitors can take a trip to the castle; scope out the local food scene at the Tuesday farmers’ market or Friday and Saturday street market; peruse the shops on the historic High Street; take a National Trust boat trip along Wey Navigation; and more.

Frequency of trains: 2 per hour (Mon-Sat), 1 per hour (Sun)

Journey length: 25 ¾ miles | 45 minutes


Day Trip from London: London Victoria to Brighton

On leaving Victoria Station, trains for Brighton weave their way through the sprawling South London suburbs, negotiating Clapham Junction – the busiest junction in the world – to East Croydon. The Brighton main line also serves Gatwick Airport before taking its final stretch through Haywards Heath Tunnel, Wivelsfield, Burgess Hill and Hassocks. Once in Brighton, the seafront is just a 10-minute walk away down West Street. Day-trippers can also spend their afternoon admiring the Royal Pavilion; strolling along Palace Pier; exploring ‘The Lanes’, riding the Brighton Wheel; or visiting the Toy and Model Museum.

Frequency of trains: 4 per hour (Mon-Sat), 2 per hour (Sun)

Journey length: 50 ¾ miles | 55 minutes


Central England: Oxford to Coventry

This day trip to Coventry starts at Oxford station from where diesel trains head north, keeping close company with the River Cherwell and the Oxford Canal through Tackley and Heyford. Trains continue through King’s Sutton, which now serves the town of Brackley, and from here through to Banbury and Leamington Spa before reaching Coventry. There’s plenty to keep travellers entertained during a day-trip to this vibrant city including a visit to the 14th century St Michael’s Cathedral; Herbert Art Gallery & Museum; Coventry Transport Museum; beautiful walks along Coventry Canal; and the Time Zone Clock in Millennium Square.

Frequency of trains: 1 per hour

Journey length: 52 ½ miles | 45 minutes


Northern England: Hull to Scarborough

This day trip to the seaside resort of Scarborough begins at Hull’s magnificent Paragon station terminus, which was designed by the notable architect George Townsend Andrews. You’ll head west out of the station before turning north through the city’s suburbs to Cottingham station, and then into the glorious countryside. There are a total of 11 stops between Hull and Scarborough, and once you arrive at your final destination, you won’t be disappointed by the plethora of activities to do and landmarks to see. Explore the ruined 11th century castle; take a trip to the South Cliff Promenade; walk along the town’s glorious sandy beach; head to the North Bay miniature railway and boating lake; or take a look at the murals and street art along Bland’s cliff.

Frequency of trains: 1 every 90 minutes (Mon – Sat), 6 per day (Sun)

Journey length: 53 ¾ miles | 1 hour 30 minutes


This article is written by September Withers, a freelance travel copywriter and marketing copywriter with a love of the British countryside.




Learn more about the best UK railway day trips in Julian Holland’s book Railway Day Trips, which is available to buy online now and at all good bookshops.