Five Must-Experience Railway Day Trips to Enjoy Throughout the Spring

Five Must-Experience Railway Day Trips to Enjoy Throughout the Spring


The daffodils are sprouting, the trees are starting to blossom, and the days are growing longer. Wake up from your winter weekend slumber and leap into spring with a fun railway day trip so you can experience our changing landscape in all its glory.

From digging into your first picnic in the park, to flying a kite, or visiting the zoo to see the baby animals – these five railway day trips all offer wonderful spring-inspired activities at the end of each line that are sure to reawaken your sense of adventure. Let’s go.


Best for flying a kite

Railway day trip: Folkestone to Margate

Length/duration: 34.5 miles / 1 hour 15 minutes

Trains for Ramsgate depart from Folkestone’s 1960s station and soon burrow through Martello Tunnel to start their scenic, coast-hugging journey to Dover. Stops on route to Margate include the delightful coastal town of Deal, followed by Sandwich and then Ramsgate, where passengers need to change trains for the short journey around the coast via the seaside resort of Broadstairs to Margate. On arrival, make your way to Margate Main Sands beach where you’ll find an expanse of soft golden sand and the perfect springtime sea breeze to keep your kite flying high and steady throughout the day.


Best for seeing cherry trees

Railway day trip: London Liverpool Street to Norwich

Length/duration: 115 miles / 1 hour 55 minutes

Fast electric trains for Norwich leave London’s Liverpool Street station and thread their way through the suburbs to Romford and Brentwood before entering Essex countryside and later, the Suffolk and Norfolk countryside. Upon terminating at Norwich station – a magnificent Grade II-listed building – head to Eaton Park, which is one of Norwich’s most beautiful historical parks. Enjoy the canopy of blushed petals, which bloom from radiant cherry trees close to the park’s miniature railway.


Best for visiting the zoo

Railway day trip: Glasgow to Edinburgh

Length/duration: 46.5 miles / 1 hour 27 minutes

This day trip from Scotland’s largest city to its capital is along the Shotts Line, the most southerly of the 3 railway routes that link the two cities. Edinburgh’s centrally located Waverley station is the second-busiest station in Scotland and is set in a steep, narrow valley between the medieval Old Town and the 18th-century New Town. Edinburgh Zoo is a 3-mile walk from here – you can of course cut down your journey time by catching a bus – and once there, you’ll be privy to a number of awesome animal encounters and experiences including the must-see largest penguin pool in Europe!


Best for soaking up some sea views

Railway day trip: Swansea to Tenby

Length/duration: 58.5 miles / 1 hour 35 minutes

This day trip to the glorious seaside resort of Tenby starts in Wales’s second-largest city, Swansea. Towards the end of the line, trains call at Kilgetty and Saundersfoot – the latter, with its miles of golden sands overlooking Carmarthen Bay. From here, you’ll descend through the hills to reach Tenby station, where a ten-minute walk will lead you to Castle Beach: an award-winning blue flag sandy cove with breathtaking views of the ancient ruins of Tenby Castle.


Best for a picnic

Railway day trip: Basingstoke to Salisbury

Length/duration: 36 miles / 40 minutes

Chug along through rolling Hampshire and Wiltshire farmland, with the last 6 miles of this journey following the valley of the River Bourne through the quaint-sounding villages of the Winterbournes. On the approach to Salisbury, trains take the northern curve of the triangular Tunnel Junction before entering Fisherton Tunnel and arriving at the city’s busy junction station. Alight the train and make your way to the infamous Salisbury Cathedral Close, where you can throw a cosy picnic blanket onto a delightful patch of the vast lawn, tuck into a sandwich, and admire the spectacular view of the 13th century Gothic cathedral.


Discover more UK springtime railway day trip adventures in Julian Holland’s book Railway Day Trips, which is out now in paperback and available to buy online and from all good book shops.