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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright September 2021, Roy Hughes; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
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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.



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 SX4358 : The Tamar Bridges from the Tamar Valley Railway by Roy Hughes
About to cross the Tamar at Calstock SX4368 : River Tamar from Calstock Viaduct by Roy Hughes Gunnislake station SX4270 : Gunnislake station by Roy Hughes
Springtime in Danescoombe Woods SX4269 : Wild spring bulbs in Danescombe Woods by Roy Hughes Derelict mine in the woods SX4269 : Converted engine house in Danescombe Woods by Roy Hughes
The magnificent viaduct over the Tamar SX4368 : Calstock viaduct from Lower Kelly by Roy Hughes Calstock station SX4368 : Calstock station by Roy Hughes


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 ST5475 : Sea Mills Dock by Roy Hughes Clifton Down station ST5774 : Clifton Down station looking eastwards by Roy Hughes
The Clifton suspension bridge ST5673 : Clifton Suspension bridge by Roy Hughes
View of the Avon Gorge from the bridge ST5673 : The Avon Gorge from the suspension bridge by Roy Hughes Elegant Clifton ST5773 : Lansdown Place Clifton by Roy Hughes


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 SJ5013 : Weir on the River Severn Shrewsbury by Roy Hughes Riverside path SJ4913 : Castle footbridge and the River Severn near Severn Bank by Roy Hughes
Shrewsbury Abbey SJ4912 : Shrewsbury Abbey by Roy Hughes The River Severn from English Bridge SJ4912 : The River Severn from English Bridge Shrewsbury by Roy Hughes


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 SX9878 : Dawlish Warren beach by Roy Hughes A cross Country train passing along the sea wall SX9777 : Cross Country train about to pass under footbridge near Dawlish by Roy Hughes
Dawlish SX9676 : Weir on Dawlish Water, Dawlish by Roy Hughes Dawlish station SX9676 : Dawlish station by Roy Hughes
Teignmouth from the pier SX9472 : Teignmouth From The Pier by Roy Hughes Teignmouth beach on the River Teign SX9372 : Teignmouth Beach on the River Teign by Roy Hughes


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 ST1875 : Cardiff Central Station by Roy Hughes The Pierhead, Cardiff Bay ST1974 : Pierhead building Cardiff Bay by Roy Hughes
The Norwegian Church and Arts Centre ST1974 : Norwegian Church arts centre Cardiff Bay by Roy Hughes The Millennium Centre ST1974 : Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff by Roy Hughes


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 SX9687 : Boat wreck on the River Exe by Roy Hughes The East Devon Way near Lympstone SX9983 : East Devon Way south of Lympstone by Roy Hughes
The East Devon Way alongside the River Exe SX9982 : East Devon Way looking towards Lympstone by Roy Hughes
A windy Exmouth beach SY0080 : Windy day on Exmouth beach by Roy Hughes The Point, Exmouth SX9980 : The Point Emouth by Roy Hughes


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 SW4730 : Penzance Station and Harbour by Roy Hughes The Tamar & Royal Albert Bridge SX4358 : The Royal Albert Bridge - River Tamar by Roy Hughes
Plymouth station SX4755 : Plymouth Station Platforms 5 and 6 by Roy Hughes Plymouth Hards, West Hoe SX4753 : Plymouth Hards by Roy Hughes
The Tinside Lido SX4753 : Plymouth Tinside Lido by Roy Hughes Smeaton's Tower on the Hoe SX4753 : Smeaton Tower Plymouth Hoe by Roy Hughes
The Barbican SX4853 : The Barbican Plymouth by Roy Hughes


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 SW4730 : Penzance station by Roy Hughes Truro station SW8144 : Truro Station and Footbridge by Roy Hughes Arriving in St Mawes SW8433 : Arriving by ferry at St Mawes by Roy Hughes
Marine Parade SW8432 : Marine Parade St Mawes by Roy Hughes St Mawes Castle SW8432 : St Mawes Castle from the ferry by Roy Hughes Falmouth Docks station SW8132 : Falmouth Docks station by Roy Hughes


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 ST1871 : Penarth station by Roy Hughes Market Street Penarth ST1871 : Market Street Penarth by Roy Hughes
Penarth Pier ST1971 : Penarth pier by Roy Hughes View from the pier ST1971 : Northern end of Penarth beach by Roy Hughes
The National War Memorial, Alexandra Gardens ST1877 : Welsh National War Memorial Alexandra Gardens Cardiff by Roy Hughes Alexandra Gardens ST1877 : Alexandra Gardens Cardiff by Roy Hughes
Bute Park ST1777 : Stream in Bute Park Cardiff by Roy Hughes ST1777 : Footpath and sign in Bute Park Cardiff by Roy Hughes


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.

Gloucester station SO8318 : Gloucester Railway Station, Platform 2 by Roy Hughes
Portsmouth & Southsea station SU6400 : Portsmouth & Southsea Railway Station Platform by Roy Hughes Don't get off here, continue to Harbour station.
Not a bad view to enjoy while downing a pint SZ6299 : Portsmouth, Not a Bad View From a Pub Window by Roy Hughes
Hovercraft arriving on Southsea beach SZ6398 : I.O.W Hovercraft beaching at Southsea by Roy Hughes
Isambard Kingdom Brunel's memorial SU6300 : Isambard Kingdom Brunel - Sculpture by Roy Hughes Severn Tunnel Junction station ST4687 : Severn Tunnel station looking west by Roy Hughes


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 SJ7905 : Cosford Station looking towards Shrewsbury by Roy Hughes Entrance to the museum SJ7805 : Entrance to the RAF Museum at Cosford by Roy Hughes
Main driveway out of museum SJ7905 : Road out of RAF Museum at Cosford by Roy Hughes


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