Five railway-themed UK family day trips this summer

Five railway-themed UK family day trips this summer


The summer holidays are fast approaching and if your dreams of a getaway to a paradisiacal tropical island have been thwarted, worry not. Our five railway-themed day trips are the next best thing… promise.

From Cornwall’s epic surfing hotspots to the golden sands of Tenby, Wales; we’ll give you the low-down of some of the best UK destinations to visit with the family during the school break. And better yet, they can all be reached by train.


Swansea to Tenby

1 hour 35 minutes

58 ½ miles

Wales is home to some of the UK’s best beaches and Tenby’s award-winning Castle Beach doesn’t disappoint. Kick-start your journey at Swansea, Wales’s second-largest city. Along the way you’ll pass iconic towns and villages including Carmarthen, which sits on the banks of the River Tywi; as well as at Kilgetty and Saundersfoot – where you’ll find a glorious sandy beach. The rest of your train journey will descend through the hills to reach Tenby station. The attractive harbour, town centre and iconic beaches are but a 10-minute walk away making it the ideal Welsh seaside town for families to explore.


St Austell to Newquay

1 hour 20 minutes

25 ¼ miles

The first 4 ½ miles of this railway trip to the surfing capital of Britain follow the Cornish main line from the town of St Austell to the china clay harbour town of Par. Soon after leaving St Austell the railway heads towards Carlyon Bay, where there are views across St Austell Bay to Gribbin Head. Passengers change trains at Par station before resuming their journey on what is now marketed as the ‘Atlantic Coast Line’ to Newquay. Best known for its deep blue waters and expanse of white gold sand, this surfing epicentre is at full force throughout the summer attracting families by the bucket-load, and party goers too.


Folkestone to Margate

1 hour 15 minutes

34 ½ miles

Trains for Ramsgate depart from Folkestone’s 1960’s station and soon burrow through Martello Tunnel to start their scenic, coast-hugging journey to Dover. Passengers making a beeline for the fun and lively seaside town of Margate will need to change trains at Ramsgate for the short journey around the coast via Broadstairs before arriving at Kent’s ultimate hipster hotspot. Entertain kids at the vintage amusement park Dreamland, or head to one of the arcades to spend your hard-earned 2p coins in the penny pusher machines. Take a stroll along the sandy beach, which is great for flying a kite on a windy day, and don’t forget to buy an ice-cream during your visit.


Liverpool to Blackpool

1 hour 35 minutes

50 ½ miles

This awesome daytrip to Blackpool starts at Liverpool Lime Street station and eventually trundles through beautiful open countryside. Eventually, the railway loops southwards through Layton (it’s penultimate stop) before arriving at Blackpool’s modern, 8-platform, North station, conveniently located for the town’s many famous attractions. Head over to the iconic Blackpool Tower and visit a blooming wonderful garden at the very top of the landmark; spend an afternoon riding rollercoasters or visiting Nickelodeon Land at Blackpool Pleasure Beach; dip your toes in the sea before feasting on a scrumptious lunch of fish and chips; and so much more!


Glasgow to North Berwick

1 hour 35 minutes

69 ¾ miles

This day trip to the seaside at up-market North Berwick begins at Glasgow’s Queen Street High Level station. Passengers will need to change trains at Edinburgh’s Waverley station mid-way through the journey. If North Berwick is new to you, rest assured this beautiful coastal town has an abundance of activities, attractions and scenery that will appeal to all. Milsey Bay beach offers an expanse of soft sand with breathtaking views of Bass Rock and the Firth of Forth across to Fife. Shoppers looking for a unique keepsake may find a summer holiday treasure in one of the eclectic shops and quirky boutiques in the town. Why not take a boat trip to Fidra Island? Or enjoy the town’s annual arts festival Fringe by the Sea, which takes place in August.


Book cover of Railway Day Trips


Discover more of the UK’s best railway-themed family day trips in Julian Holland’s books Railway Day Trips, which is out now in paperback and available to buy online and from all good book shops.