The UK by train
There’s not much better than taking the slow, meandering route on a chugging train through ever-changing scenery and weathers, people and accents. But where better to indulge in the great romance of train travel than it’s country of birth? The UK is full of stunning rail-routes and faraway, fairytale destinations reserved only for the slow-traveller or the budget backpacker. However, the most epic and culturally juxtaposed journey of them all takes you from one end of the line to (almost) the other, from one world to the next. So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a train ticket, get out there and see the UK like you’ve never seen it before.
Penzance to Edinburgh, UK
This 10 hour journey from one end of the UK to the other is one not to be missed. Start your day bright and early (the first train leaves Penzance at 05:05) and be in Edinburgh in time for a late lunch. If you need accommodation in Penzance the day before the trip, you can find great hotel deals on Expedia. If you’re heading off in summer, you’ll be lucky enough to catch sunrise over the famous St Michael’s Mount as you slowly trundle next to the sea and into Cornish mining and UNESCO country.
Once you’ve left the small communities and fishing villages of Cornish life, the speed picks up a bit as you whizz through Devon, clinging to cliffs and hovering over beaches, through holes in the rocks and over suspension bridges. If you want the best seat in the house, make sure you’re on the right hand side of the train well before reaching the Dawlish sea wall – a four mile stretch of coastal train-tracks that kiss the Channel and tease the lapping waves. Spot fisherman doing what they do best on tranquil waters and locals clambering to hidden sands. Yes, this is Devon, not the Adriatic.
Your journey now shifts from rural tranquillity to a whirlwind of industrial and working Britain. You’ll pass through Bristol and its vibrant shopping and student scene and start swiftly moving north to Birmingham and onwards. Accents change from West Country to Black Country, from Yorkshire to Geordie.
Keep your eyes out for the smoking towers that dot the Midlands and Sheffield’s forgotten graveyards of the industrial revolution. As you head further north, you’ll get an eyeful of Durham’s impressive cathedral before shooting over the Tyne into Newcastle and onto yet another dramatic coastline.
Here you’ll pass over the crashing waves and moody grey of the North Sea and pass by the historic and spiritual Holy Island. Now’s the time you’ll want to finish off that last paper-wrapped coffee, pack your book back in your bag and get ready to wander down Edinburgh’s brooding cobbled streets. What a treat you’re in for!
Post by Lauren of Laren’s Climbing Kili