Full steam ahead! The Top 10 steam train trips for the perfect way to help
Steam trains remind people of a time in Britain’s past. But they can prove to be a luxurious British break. Find out about the joy of travel by steam train with these top 10 journeys.
1. Churnet Valley Railway, Staffs.
Soak up the scenic countryside chugging along Staffordshire’s Little Switzerland rural railway which runs between Kingsley & Froghall and Leekbrook Junction, calling at Consall and Cheddleton. There’s lots to see on the 11-mile return journey along the valley and for a taste of contrasting moorland scenery try the nine-mile round trip along the Cauldon branch. Treat yourself to cream tea or a special lunch in the Moorlander dining train (on selected dates, booking essential).
Tickets from £12 and family tickets from £30. www.churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk
2. Great Central Railway, Leics.
The UK’s only double-track main-line heritage railway is the only place in the world where full-size steam engines can be seen passing each other running between Loughborough Central and Leicester North, calling at Quorn & Woodhouse and Rothley. Go full steam ahead for the Autumn Gala (October 6-9) showcasing the theatre of railways in their heyday.
With nine trains in action, you’d be loco to miss it! Tickets from £16, under-fives free and family tickets from £35. www.gcrailway.co.uk
3. Downpatrick & County Down Railway, Ireland.
Travel along the two miles of hand-laid track on Northern Ireland’s only full-size heritage railway between Downpatrick and the 12th century ruined monastery Inch Abbey of Games of Throne fame, through the rolling drumlins of County Down and over the peaceful River Quoile. Visit the Carriage Gallery and Workshop, and there’s an activity area for kids.
Tickets from £6 and family tickets £18. Single footplate rides £20. www.downrail.co.uk
4. Strathspey Railway, Scotland.
Instead of taking the high road, sit back and let this vintage railway in the Scottish Highlands take the strain travelling between Aviemore and Broomhill with a stop at Boat of Garten. Along the way you can tuck in to a traditional Sunday lunch as you journey through the stunning Cairngorms National Park. Activities at Strathspey include a free Behind the Scenes Tour.
Tickets from £7.65 and family tickets £36, free for under-fives, bikes and dogs. www.strathspeyrailway.co.uk
5. South Devon Railway
The longest established steam railway in the south-west is one of Devon’s most popular attractions. The seven-mile former Great Western Railway branch line runs along the stunning valley of the River Dart between Buckfastleigh and Totnes calling at Staverton. Make time for a traditional Devon cream tea at the award winning Refreshment Rooms in Buckfastleigh.
Tickets from £14, under-threes free, family ticket £40. www.southdevonrailway.co.uk
6. Snowdon Mountain Railway, Wales.
Journey to the roof top of Wales, on this mountain railway celebrating its 120th anniversary, from Llanberis to Snowdon – at 1,085m, the country’s highest mountain towers over the landscape of Snowdonia National Park. Take the Traditional Diesel Service or Heritage Steam Experience to the summit and be prepared for jaw-dropping views that will take your breath away.
Tickets from £23, under-threes free. www.snowdonrailway.co.uk
7. Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, Cumbria.
For a nostalgic day out board the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway for a leisurely trip from tiny Haverthwaite village right to the southern tip of Lake Windermere. At Haverthwaite Station, you’ll find the Woodland Playground alongside the ‘Station Restaurant’, and it’s worth popping into the Engine Shed for its fantastic collection of steam and diesel locomotives.
Tickets from £6.70, under-five s free and family ticket from £19. www.lakesiderailway.co.uk
8. Mid-Suffolk Light Railway
Suffolk’s only standard gauge heritage railway offers steam train rides in genuine Victorian four-wheel coaches on a circuit of Brockford. A section of the railway at Brockford has been recreated with original station buildings, vintage passenger and goods vehicles, displays and artefacts illustrating the line’s history. And thanks to the railway workshop’s locomotive and vehicle restoration programme, a 150-year-old First Class Smoking Coach has recently been added to its collection.
Sup up at the Rail ‘ n’ Ale weekend event, tickets £8, under-sixes ride for free, family ticket £20. www.mslr.org.uk
9. Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, Derbyshire.
Derbyshire’s longest heritage railway welcomes you with ‘nine miles of smiles’ as it runs between Wirksworth and Duffield, calling at Idridgehay and Shottle. Steam down memory lane at the 1950s weekend, with jazz band and displays and special food in the Pullman buffet car.
Come in period dress and get a discount. Tickets from £13 and family ticket £33. www.e-v-r.com
10. Bluebell Railway, East Sussex.
Reopened in 1960, the UK’s first preserved standard gauge passenger railway operates between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, calling at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. Pullman Cars Christine and Fingall replicate the fabulous Golden Arrow.
Tickets from £14.50, and family tickets £40. www.bluebell-railway.co.uk
(Article source: The Mirror)