DAY TRIPS BY TRAIN - 2021
My wife and I very much enjoy taking day trips by train. We live in Worcestershire and have easy access to train trips in any direction from our home. We tend to take most of our "long distance" trips on Saturdays or Bank Holidays when Off-Peak fares are available all day. This gives the advantage of being able to make an earlier departure and therefore spend more time at our destination(s)
Gunnislake to Calstock, Cornwall - 2 April
Severn Beach and Clifton 17 April
Shrewsbury 1 May
River Exe & Teignmouth 31 May
Cardiff 31 May
River Exe & Exmouth 5 June
Penzance to Plymouth 28 June
Penzance to Falmouth & St Mawes 30 June
Cardiff & Penarth 8 July
Portsmouth & Southsea 17 July
RAF Museum Cosford 14 August
Chester 4 September
St Ives 7 September
Lincoln 11 September
Leeds 18 September
Evesham 21 September
Durham & Newcastle-upon-Tyne 25 September
Towpath to Brum 29 September
River Rea Ramble 8 October
Hereford 9 October
Kenilworth 14 October
Harrogate 16 October
Thames – Kennet – Thames 2 November
Shrewsbury 13 November
St Ives 23 November
Melton Mowbray Christmas Market 5 December
Gloucester 16 December
Stratford-Upon-Avon 18 December
As we are seasoned train travellers, I thought it might be worth starting with some tips on how to make the most out of a day trip by train.
Buy and use a Railcard
A railcard will very quickly pay for itself.
"Split" your ticket whenever possible
Split ticketing means rather than buying one rail ticket for your journey, you book two or more tickets. You still travel on the same train, sitting in the same seats, without any changes to the normal journey. By splitting your journey into multiple tickets you can make big savings.
Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but that's how things are on the railways. I can probably show more clearly how this works by giving a recent example of a trip I made from Birmingham to Leeds on a Saturday.
An Off-Peak day return from Birmingham to Leeds, with a Railcard, for one person is £45.30 However, if you book from Birmingham to Derby it will cost £13.00 and then Derby to Sheffield at £8.50 and Sheffield to Leeds at £8.30, the total cost will be £29.80.
This gives a saving, for each person, of £15.50
Yes, it takes a bit of work and planning and you often end up with a pile of tickets for the journey, but, I think the saving makes it worthwhile.
Most trips of any distance are usually capable of being split. There are a number of websites giving details of where the splits are but I usually use Split Your Ticket
Likewise, there are many websites for buying tickets. I always use the Redspottedhanky I find this very useful for giving all the fare options
Buy a "PlusBus" ticket
If you do not have a concessionary bus pass, always check to see if you can get a PlusBus ticket to use at your destination. This can give a considerable saving when using local buses. For example. A PlusBus ticket for the Torbay area which covers all of Torbay and Kingswear costs only £3.70 or £2.45 if bought with a Railcard.
Be prepared to drive to a station
You may find you can get cheaper tickets or a more convenient journey time by driving to a different station.
Finally, expect the unexpected
Trips do not always go exactly as planned, be prepared to make changes on the day. A good example of this can be seen in our May trip to Wales.
A SPRINGTIME WALK IN CORNWALL 2 April 2021
Finally, after most of the restrictions imposed by coronavirus were lifted, we were able to make our first long distance trip of the year. We were inspired by Sarah & Andrew's Cornish Walking Trails from YouTube. A "must view" for every lover of Cornwall.
We departed from Cheltenham Spa on a train to Plymouth where we changed to take the very pretty branch line to Gunnislake in Cornwall. We split the tickets, of course. Cheltenham to Bristol - Bristol to Plymouth and Plymouth to Gunnislake.
The branch line passed under the Tamar bridges, followed the banks of the river before crossing it into Cornwall at Calstock. At the end of the line at Gunnislake we followed the Cornish Walking Trails walk down through the Danescoombe Woods to emerge on the banks of the River Tamar at Calstock.
At Calstock we had to take what could have been a dreaded "Bus replacement service" back to meet our return train from Plymouth. However, it turned out to be a delightful drive through eastern Cornwall through St Mellion and back across the Tamar bridge.
All in all, a great day out which combined a love of train trips, walking and Cornwall. Highly recommended.
The branch line passing under the Tamar bridges
About to cross the Tamar at Calstock Gunnislake station
Springtime in Danescoombe Woods Derelict mine in the woods
The magnificent viaduct over the Tamar Calstock station
SEVERN BEACH BRANCH LINE AND BRUNEL'S MASTERPIECE 17 April 2021
An interesting day out using the branch line from Bristol Temple Mead station, along the Avon estuary, under the M5 Motorway for a great view of the new Severn bridge from Severn Beach station. On the way back, we left the train at Clifton Down and walked to cross the Clifton suspension bridge and back. We then strolled through elegant Clifton and returned to Temple Meads via the City centre shops. A cost saving was made by splitting the tickets. Worcestershire Parkway to Bristol and Bristol to Severn Beach.
Sea Mills Dock on the banks of the River Avon Clifton Down station
The Clifton suspension bridge
View of the Avon Gorge from the bridge Elegant Clifton
SHREWSBURY 1 May 2021
The town centre of Shrewsbury sits within a tight bend on the River Severn and has many old buildings and interesting shops. There is an excellent riverside walk which is easily accessible from the station.
Weir on the River Severn Riverside path
Shrewsbury Abbey The River Severn from English Bridge
A WALK ALONG THE RIVER EXE AND TEIGNMOUTH 19 MAY 2021
A lovely day out at the seaside. We got off the train at Dawlish Warren and walked along the coastal path to Dawlish where we took another train and continued on to Teignmouth. As usual, we split the tickets. Cheltenham Spa to Bristol Temple Meads. Bristol to Taunton and Taunton to Teignmouth.
Dawlish Warren beach A cross Country train passing along the sea wall
Dawlish Dawlish station
Teignmouth from the pier Teignmouth beach on the River Teign
CARDIFF BUT NOT PENARTH 31 MAY 2021
A good example of my tip "expect the unexpected" We booked a trip from Worcestershire Parkway, via Cardiff, to Penarth. The split was Parkway to Cheltenham Spa and Cheltenham to Penarth.
However, when we arrived at Cardiff to change trains we discovered that services to Penarth had just been cancelled because of problems on the track. Nobody knew when it would be fixed and a bus replacement had not, at that time, been organised. So instead of a couple of hours at the seaside we spent our day looking around Cardiff Bay and the City centre.
We decided to make the best of a bad job and to try again later in the year.
It was not, however, a wasted trip. Cardiff Bay was interesting and the City centre and Castle made the visit worthwhile.
Cardiff Central station The Pierhead, Cardiff Bay
The Norwegian Church and Arts Centre The Millennium Centre
ROY & SUE'S "EXE-CELLENT" ADVENTURE 5 JUN 2021
A great day out exploring the eastern bank of Devon's River Exe. We split the tickets - Cheltenham Spa to Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol to Taunton and Taunton to Exmouth. A change of trains is needed at Exeter St David's to join the local Paignton to Exmouth service.
We got off the train for an hour to explore the pretty Exe-side village of Topsham. After joining the next service we got off the train at Lympstone which is a pleasant village with a small harbour and views over the Exe. We walked from the village to join the East Devon Way and headed to Exmouth.
The path closely follows the shoreline of the River Exe and runs alongside the railway all the way into Exmouth. Exmouth is an interesting seaside town with a harbour and a long sandy beach looking out over the mouth of the river towards Dawlish Warren.
Boat wreck in the Exe opposite Topsham The East Devon Way near Lympstone
The East Devon Way alongside the River Exe
A windy Exmouth beach The Point, Exmouth
PENZANCE TO PLYMOUTH 28 JUN 2021
We were on holiday in Penzance Cornwall this year and took a couple of trips out by train. This first one, when the weather was a little overcast, was a great journey through Cornwall and over the Royal Albert bridge to Plymouth.
After arriving at Plymouth station we walked to the City centre and out to West Hoe which overlooks Plymouth Sound. We then followed the road along the seafront, past Plymouth Hoe and through the old town by Sutton Harbour. Our route then took us past the Plymouth Gin factory and back to the City centre shopping area before returning to the station.
Penzance station The Tamar & Royal Albert Bridge
Plymouth station Plymouth Hards, West Hoe
The Tinside Lido Smeaton's Tower on the Hoe
PENZANCE TO ST. MAWES VIA THE FALMOUTH BRANCH LINE 30 JUNE 2021
The weather was much better on this day when we took the train from Penzance to Truro where we changed to the branch line for Falmouth Town station.
An easy walk took us through the town to the Prince of Wales Pier to catch the ferry to St Mawes. This twenty minute crossing took us across the harbour, with great views of Pendennis and St Mawes castles, to St Mawes.
St Mawes is a very pretty, and up-market, riverside town with plenty of very attractive buildings, shops and pubs.
Another ferry ride took us back to Falmouth for the return journey to Penzance.
Penzance station Truro station Arriving in St Mawes
Marine Parade St Mawes Castle Falmouth Docks station
CARDIFF AND PENARTH - SECOND TIME LUCKY 8 JULY 2021
Took the train from Worcestershire Parkway to Penarth with a change of trains at Cardiff. Same split as on the 31st May trip.
This time, the service to Penarth was operating normally and we were able to visit this interesting seaside time for the first time. The High Street was alive and well with many independent shops. A fairly steep hill led to the seafront with an attractive pier and prom. The pier was free from noisy arcade games and appears to have been built mainly to service pleasure boats arriving for day trips.
After an enjoyable walk along the prom. to the Lifeboat station we returned to the station through Alexandra Park to catch the train back to Cardiff Central.
We walked through the City centre to the Alexandra Gardens and returned to the station via Bute Park and past Cardiff Castle.
Penarth station Market Street Penarth
Penarth Pier View from the pier
The National War Memorial, Alexandra Gardens Alexandra Gardens
PORTSMOUTH & SOUTHSEA 17 JULY 2021
We usually pay a visit to Portsmouth every year and always seem to pick great weather. We got off at Portsmouth Harbour station to great views of HMS Warrior and the Naval Base. Next was a visit to the designer outlet Gunwharf Keys shopping centre. A refreshing pint was taken on Spice Island overlooking the entrance to the Harbour before walking past Southsea Pier to watch the passenger Hovercraft. Before returning to the station, we visited the Naval Dockyard for a look at HMS Victory.
It was an interesting train trip. We started from Gloucester and changed at Bristol Parkway for a through train to Portsmouth Harbour. This is a great line which passes Bath, Bradford on Avon, Salisbury and Southampton where it then tracks the coast eastwards all the way to Pompey.
The route back was even more interesting with the train, after leaving Bristol, passing through the Severn Tunnel to Severn Tunnel Junction station where we changed to return to Gloucester.
Portsmouth & Southsea station Don't get off here, continue to Harbour station.
Not a bad view to enjoy while downing a pint
Hovercraft arriving on Southsea beach
Isambard Kingdom Brunel's memorial Severn Tunnel Junction station
HALF DAY OUT TO THE RAF MUSEUM AT COSFORD 14 AUG 2021
The weather was not particularly great when we took the Shrewsbury train from Birmingham New Street and got off at Cosford station. From there it was a fifteen minute walk to the museum which was well worth the effort. The displays were well laid out and the staff very helpful.
Cosford station Entrance to the museum
Main driveway out of museum
( Page 1 2 3 4 next >> )