Five fun family day trips by train during the summer holidays

Five fun family day trips by train during the summer holidays


There’s no end to the list of fascinating places that can be reached on a day trip by train in the UK. Gather your friends and family and experience all the joy of a British staycation without the added cost of a hotel. Dig into a packed lunch as you rumble past patchwork fields and blooming meadows before exploring a myriad of architectural gems, historical sites, museums, gardens and more at your destination.



London Marylebone to Stratford-Upon-Avon

Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace at this glorious medieval market town that can be reached in two hours by train from London. Travel through the lush Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire countryside, before changing at Leamington Spa to continue your onward journey. On arrival, head to the River Avon where you can hire a boat and bob along the peaceful water, relax on a short cruise or sunbathe on the grassy banks. Buy tickets to a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre; relive William’s own love story and savour the beauty of Anne Hathaway’s idyllic cottage; take the kids to the UK’s largest tropical butterfly farm – and so much more.



Ipswich to Felixstowe

Best known for being home to Britain’s largest container port, the town of Felixstowe has another, more genteel heritage, as a fashionable seaside resort. Your train journey from Ipswich will take less than 30-minutes, and you and your crew will be dipping your toes in the cool waters of South Beach in no time. Stroll along the promenade; eat fish and chips and ice cream at a seafront café; see the historical Martello Towers; or enjoy an afternoon of fun at the pier.



Southampton to Weymouth

Meander through forest and heathland as you make your way from Southampton to one of Britain’s premier seaside resorts. Roll into Weymouth station following a 1 hour 30 minute journey and head straight to the golden sandy beach for a refreshing dip in the sea. Adventurous groups can easily hire water sports equipment in the area and try their hand at kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing and paddleboarding. Admire breathtaking views of the dramatic coastal landscape from the South West Coast Path or go for a stroll along the Rodwell Trail: a disused passenger railway line from Weymouth to Portland.



Skipton to Carlisle

Discover one of Britain’s most scenic railway routes when you travel along the Settle & Carlisle Line, climbing through the countryside into the Pennine Hills and eventually crossing the iconic 24-arch Ribblehead Viaduct. The journey in total takes around 2 hours and once there, you can visit the impressive 11th century Carlisle Castle, which is a short walk from the train station. Rich with Roman stories, this 2,000-year-old-city is a playground for history buffs: explore the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery and see the impressive medieval glass window at the Gothic cathedral. If you’re travelling with children, take them to Hammond’s Pond to feed the ducks or rent a rowboat during the summer months.



Swindon to Cheltenham

On arrival at Cheltenham Spa train station, you can either walk for 1-mile to the Regency spa town centre or catch Stagecoach bus service D to complete your journey. Why not stop for a cup of tea and slice of cake at the Pittville Pump Room? Little ones can burn off some steam in the fenced play area before taking a gentle stroll with you around the lake. Admire the beautiful Regency architecture in the Montpellier district and indulge in a spot of shopping in the chic boutiques that reside there.


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.