The Jacobite Steam Train Journey in the Highlands aka the ‘Harry Potter Train’ | Best 6 Reasons Why You Should Experience It

Best 6 reasons to go on a splendid Jacobite Steam Train Journey in the Scottish Highlands | aka the ‘Harry Potter Train’

Written by: Georgina | We may earn a commission from affiliate links at zero cost to you | Updated January 24, 2022

Updated: May 23, 2022

When you travel by train, it is all about the journey…

…and a trip aboard the Jacobite Steam Train was one that I had long imagined. Travelling back in time as the train chug chug away with picture perfect scenery of mountainside and lush green trees covered landscape. A grand masterpiece of art from one moment to the next. Along with the wet steam, speck of grit emanating from the black engine and the evocative smell of the train just makes the journey aboard the West Highland Jacobite Steam Train from Mallaig to Fort William a timeless experience which I will forever cherish.

And then to top it off — there is the most beautiful breathtaking surreal sight of all — the curve of the Glenfinnan Viaduct!

With much elation, a ride on the Jacobite Steam Train in the Highlands over Glenfinnan Viaduct is now firmly crossed off my life list.

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About this article on the Jacobite Steam Train Journey aka the Harry Potter train

The Jacobite Steam Train Journey aka the Harry Potter train from Fort William to Mallaig is an award winning line and considered to be one of the best scenic train journeys in the world. In this article, I share my best 6 reasons on why this incredibly splendid Jacobite steam train journey in the Scottish Highlands should be an experience not to miss by one and all. Also included are all the information you need on train timings, ticket prices and ways to experience this incredible journey. You could skip ahead to a particular section via the navigation tab below.

This article and related articles are sprinkled with affiliate links. This means that we may earn a commission from qualified purchases and bookings at no additional cost to you. These links have no influence on the editorial content we produce.

Visiting Scotland?

Best Tips: Book tours and tickets beforehand so not to miss:

Our Best Selling Day Trips and Multi Day Trips to undertake when visiting Scotland:

1 | See the best of Scotland in a day — Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Scottish Highland

2 | 2-Day Highlands Tour with Hogwarts Express

3 | Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle

Best 6 reasons for the unmissable experience of the Jacobite Steam Train travel:

1 | The Highlands and Steam Train travel

The Scottish Highlands is an incredibly, jaw-dropping picturesqure region in northern Scotland. The many mountain ranges dominate the landscape, with some going back 750 million years! The unspoilt nature of the glittering lochs, dense woodland and miles and miles of sandy beaches offer many best trips to be taken. Some of these splendid views can only be experienced by a train journey.

A train journey is also perhaps, one of the most comfortable ways to experience the Scottish Highlands. There are a number of options in this respect such as the West Highland and the Jacobite Steam Train, Far North Line or the Kyle Line. However, in this article, you shall find all the information needed to experience the the Jacobite Steam Train from Mallaig to Fort William.


The West Highland and the Jacobite Steam Train > From Glasgow to Oban/Fort William > Mallaig;

The Far North Line > From Inverness > Thurso > Wick;

The Kyle Line > From Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh;

1.1 | A little about The West Highland and the Jacobite Steam Train

1.2 | The Route

1.3 | The distance

The distance from Glasgow to Mallaig is approximately 264 kilometres (164 miles) and takes about 5 hours 15 minutes.

2 | The Journey is a bucket list experience for many

As well, if you are an old romantic soul who takes pleasure in the chug, chug sounds of a train, with steam emanating from the funnel and the speck of grit – all culminating in the evocative experience of a train journey in a bygone era, then this is one ride you must experience!

Aside from these, train travel is therapeutic for some. Especially for those moments in life when you need to get away from it all. I strongly recommend a journey aboard the Jacobite steam train. You have ample time for relaxation and reflection till the end of your journey, along with impressive sights to soothe your mind and soul.

3 | The Unique Route of the Jacobite Steam Train aka the Harry Potter train

The Harry Potter Train route begins at either Fort William or Mallaig and ends at Mallaig or Fort William. The distance is 67.5 kilometres (42 miles) and takes just about two hours. Most travellers do the roundtrip from Fort William to Mallaig in the morning and take the afternoon train back to Fort William. This gives you about 90 minutes to explore the fishing town of Mallaig and to grab lunch.

3.1 | What’s unique about the Jacobite Steam Train Route

Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK is the backdrop to the highland town of Fort William, from whence you begin your roundtrip journey. More often than not, you will find the tip of the magnificent mountain covered in clouds, thus giving a dreamy look and a sight to behold.

The highlight of the journey is undoubtedly the 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct. This architectural marvel was featured in the Harry Potter movies several times with the Hogwarts Express crossing over it.

The route takes you to the most westerly mainland railway station in Britain, Arisaig. It passes Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, as well as the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis. It passes close to the shortest river in Britain, River Morar. The silvery shores of Morar were used in the movies, “Highlander” and “Local Hero.”

4 | The Jacobite Steam Train locomotive is Special

the Jacobite Steam Train 44871
The 44871 locomotive at Mallaig

The Jacobite Steam Train is Special! I was fortunate to experience the 44871 locomotive of LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0. The LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 No. 44871 is a preserved British steam locomotive. It was built at Crewe in 1945.

The 44871 was one of the last locomotives to be withdrawn from service in 1968, the year when steam trains were withdrawn altogether from British Railways. She was purchased directly from British Railways for preservation, therefore, she was never restored from scrapyard condition. When the ban on operating steam trains was lifted in 1972, 44871 was used to operate trains to York. At some point during the 70s and 80s, she went by the name ‘Sovereign’.

These days, 44871 works the West Coast Railways Jacobite Train from Fort William to Mallaig alongside her sisters, 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier and 62005. Her history and her formidable performance over the years makes 44871 an incredibly special locomotive to experience. Indeed, a splendid journey awaits her passengers.

Recommended read: Inverness | A Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands

5 | A splendid Jacobite Steam Train Journey from Mallaig to Fort William

The West Coast Railways with the steam locomotive is a popular experience and attracts many enthusiasts as well as day trippers. However, the carriage I was in was surprisingly spacious with very few passengers. I was able to pounce across to the other window whenever summoned by the scenic views and explored a few of the carriages.

The West Coast Railways compartments are by no means fancy. The rustic, weathered, old-skool style had a deliberate sense of flair, that speaks of joyful days of the many who may have enjoyed the timeless journey. Through the window, comes streams of lights and refreshing flow of air along with the backdrop of sounds. There are very few sounds that are emotive as the chug chug, clatter and whistle of the iconic 44871’s engine. All of these amidst the vistas and enthralling sights.

6 | The scenic views and the enthralling sight of the ‘Curve’

The views of The Highland while aboard this vintage steam train touches the spellbinding landscape of Scotland.

Unique to this journey are some incredible sights. The train travels past the breathtaking sights of Ben Nevis, islands of Rum & Eig, Loch Morar, Loch Nevis and numerous loch en route. To top it all off, is the enthralling sight of the ‘curve’ – the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

The 21-arch is visible from a distance but soon the train goes over the viaduct. It slows down a touch so you can savour the moment a little longer. Grab a moment to take in the magnificent views of Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument.

The multiple arches were as impressive close-up, viewed from the carriages as it was from below and from across.

The train stops at beautiful village stations of Lochailort, Arisaig, Morar and Glenfinnan en route to Fort William.

It is hard to imagine a prettier journey than this, aboard the Jacobite Steam Train.

Georgina: The stop at Glenfinnan is a little longer than the rest of the village stations. It gives you time to stretch your legs, time to take more photos and to visit the West Highland Railway Museum, located in the station building. The train may also stop at Arisaig a little longer by request to the guard.

6.1 | Important tip!

To capture some of the best photos of the Glenfinnan Viaduct while aboard the Jacobite Steam Train from Mallaig to Fort William, you need to go to the back of the train and stand on the right. Put the window down, stick your head out a little, and let your hair dance in the wind. Ensure your camera is set, ready to click away.

Disclaimer: Leaning out of the window of a moving train is dangerous and much discouraged. Please do not do that. However, lower the window to a safe height, just enough room to balance your camera, and to experience the wind in your hair.

My thoughts on the journey from Mallaig to Fort William

My journey aboard the Jacobite Steam Train by the West Coast Railways was one-way, from Mallaig to Fort William and I couldn’t have been more content. I wanted to experience this splendid journey aboard the steam train in the Highlands and I did. It was comfortable and relaxing. The journey of about 2 hours was seamless, and through some incredible sights of loch vistas and mountains. The time flies past quickly like the picture perfect scenery through the window.

The day’s itinerary afforded me time for an overview of Mallaig and to return on a another occasion with plenty of time to explore the pretty town of Mallaig.

A little about the fishing port of Mallaig

Mallaig is a thriving port in Lochaber, situated on the north west coast of the Highland in Scotland.

The town is linked to Fort William by the West Coast Railways and by the A830 road evocatively known as ‘The Road to the Isles’. Mallaig is still a busy port with Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries that operates regular services to the Isle of Skye and the Small Isles. If you do not wish to explore the Isles, why not consider a boat tour. The boat tour companies will ensure you return in time to catch your Jacobite steam train. You could also explore the town, the shops and get a bite to eat. The fresh fish & chips is absolutely delicious at The Cornerstone.

Recommended read: Mallaig – 12 Very Best Things to do at the pretty harbour town in West Coast of the Highlands, Scotland


1 | The Jacobite Steam Train Journey in the Highlands aka the ‘Harry Potter Train’ – Train Times and Tickets

The Jacobite Steam Train service is seasonal! Generally, the service runs from late April to late October. Plan ahead to ensure that you do not miss this experience when visiting the Scottish Highlands.

1 | Morning Service: 2022

From Monday, April 4, to Friday 28 October 2022 – 7 days a week.

2 | Afternoon Service: 2022

From Monday, May 2 to Friday, September 30, 2022 – 7 days a week.

3 | The Jacobite Steam Train Timings

Sunday to Friday Service
Morning ServiceAfternoon Service
Dep. Fort William10:1512:45
Arr. Mallaig12:2615:01
Dep. Mallaig14:1016:45
Arr. Fort William16:0318:53
information from West Coast Railways
Saturday Service
Morning ServiceAfternoon Service
Dep. Fort William10:1514:40
Arr. Mallaig12:2616:42
Dep. Mallaig14:1018:40
Arr. Fort William16:0320:32
information from West Coast Railways official site.

4 | Ticket Prices for the Jacobite Steam Train – 2022

1st ClassStandard
Adult Day Return£79.50£52
Child Day Return (16 or under)£57£30
Private Table For 2 Return£180N/A
Prices correct at time of update, 24 January 2022 | Information from West Coast Railways

Prices above are per passenger, except for the Private Table For 2, which is the price for two passengers.

5 | Additional costs when booking directly with West Coast Railways

Fares are subject to a minimum £3.75 booking fee.

Also, there is a £15 Admin Fee when an amendment is made to a booking.

**All information as to train timings and prices are correct at time of update, January 2022

2 | Ways to experience the Jacobite Steam Train Travel aka Harry Potter Train /Hogwarts Express

There are a number of ways to experience a journey aboard the Jacobite Steam Train / Harry Potter train / Hogwarts Express. You could do so either independently or by joining a guided group tour.

2.1| How to experience the Jacobite Steam Train / Hogwarts Express Independently

The town of Fort William is well-connected to major cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Inverness in the Highlands by road and rail. Wherever you are in mainland Britain, you can easily get to Fort William.

2.1.1 | By Car

To experience this train ride, you can easily access it by making your way to Mallaig or Fort William by car. In this instance , you will be doing a round trip on the Jacobite. Ensure you park in the designated car parks and pay for the duration of the day. Check for car parks on the Fort William official site here. Use this link as a guide to parking in Mallaig.

2.1.2 | By Train

2.2 | How to experience the Jacobite Steam Train / Hogwarts Express with a guided group tour

To experience the Jacobite Steam Train journey as part of a guided group tour includes a lot more than just the train journey. Tours depart from Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow and are very good value for money if you want to pack a lot into a day. Depending on the city of departure, the tour will cover the highlights of the Scottish Highlands including Fort William, Loch Ness, scenic The Road to the Isles and the unforgettable journey on the Steam Train.

Georgina: I personally went on one of these guided tours and it was nothing less than an impressive experience. It was timely, professional, and informative. The tours are perfect overviews for a destination that has so much to offer when you don’t have a lot of days to sightsee. Of course, I would highly encourage spending a number of days here and slow-travel but sometimes, this may not be possible. In any case, the guided tours were perfect for me on my first visit, allowing a return visit to explore deeper.

Learn more > 2 Incredible Highland And Steam Train Travel Tours

On a final note

In short, the journey aboard the Jacobite Steam Train by the West Coast Railways from Mallaig to Fort William was nothing less than splendid and I highly recommend this experience. The guided tour I joined was so well planned that I saw the ‘Hogwarts Express’ pass through on the Glenfinnan Viaduct earlier in the day, presenting perfect photo opportunities (pictured above). The tour also organised my journey aboard the train in the afternoon. It was a good day!

I sincerely hope that my experiences and suggestions will support you in designing your timeless experiences in The Highland. If so, use the affiliate links to book your journey aboard the ‘Hogwarts Express’ and your hotel stays along with any other activities you may wish to partake in. We earn a commission if you choose to use these links at zero cost to you. As always, we appreciate your continued support to keep TTS going. You can support TTS in other ways also.

Have a super awesome time exploring the Scottish Highland.

Georgina xoxo

Georgina_Highlands and Steam Train tours
“Just as I board the West Highland and Jacobite Steam Train”

Quick facts on Scotland


Population: Over 5.4 million (2020)

Common Language: English. Gaelic is spoken by 1.3% of the population mostly in the west and in the Highlands.

Currency: £ – Pound (GBP)

Capital City: Edinburgh. Home to the first fire brigade in the world, and is the second largest city in Scotland. The largest metropolis in Scotland is Glasgow.

High season: Summer (July – August)

Religion: Christianity – 40% Church of Scotland. 15% Roman Catholic and 6% other Christian denominations. Minorities include Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh with a quarter of the population has been recorded as having no religion.

Social courtesies: Handshaking is customary when introduced to someone for the first time. When visiting someone’s home, a small gift such as flowers or a box of chocolates is appreciated.

Scotland: Travel and Transport

Scotland: International Travel

UK Government: Foreign Travel Advice

UK Government: UK nationals travelling abroad

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The Jacobite Steam Train Journey in the Highlands aka the ‘Harry Potter Train’ | Best 6 reasons why you should experience it! first published at

Updated May 23, 2022

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Train Travel in UK A Quintessential Odyssey | Best 8 UK Scenic Train Journeys

Train Travel in UK

A Quintessential Odyssey | Best 8 UK Scenic Train Journeys

Add a touch of adventure to your relaxing, comfortable and scenic journey, making train travel in UK a quintessential odyssey.

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From the mountains of Wales, the romantic coastlines of England to the dramatic and jagged coastline of Scotland, train travel takes you through unforgettable scenery. Add a touch of adventure to your relaxing, comfortable and scenic journey, making train travel in UK a quintessential odyssey. Here is a selection of the best 8 scenic train travel in UK that you would absolutely enjoy when travelling by train.

train travel in uk a quintessential odyssey

1 | Scotland’s West Highland Line – Jacobite Steam Train in Scotland | Train Traivel in UK

1.1 | A touch of adventure & what to experience with the Jacobite

Inverness | Jacobite Steam Train | Train travel in UK
The Jacobite on Glenfinnan Viaduct

The journey through majestic mountains, tranquil lochs, silvery beaches and mystical beauty enchants a train traveller in what is often described as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world. Perhaps the most recognisable part of this journey is when the Jacobite crosses the iconic arches of Glenfinnan Viaduct, a scene made popular by the Harry Potter movies. This beautifully curved 21-arched viaduct has become a major tourist attraction since.

Beyond this, the journey takes you through the beautiful villages of Lochailort, stops at the most westerly mainland railway station at Arisaig, passing the deepest freshwater lock in Britain, Loch Morar and finally arriving near the deepest seawater lock in Europe, Loch Nevis.  

1.2 | Practical information:

Places to Stay:

Fort William | Edinburgh | Inverness

Activities and Related Tours:

From Edinburgh: Magical Highlands Tour with Hogwarts Express

From Inverness: Jacobite Steam Train and Highlands Tour

2-Day Inverness and the Highlands Small Group Tour from Edinburgh

The Route

Route: Fort William to Mallaig, Scotland

Journey time: 1 hour 23 minutes

Costs: £7.50

Buy Fort William to Mallaig and/or roundtrip

If you are travelling to Edinburgh or Inverness from London, you can easily purchase your tickets via Trainline for a comfortable and seamless journey. Book in advance and take advantage of offers on cheap tickets. Learn more about Trainline and the various ticket types from this article.

View Tickets, Times & Travel on Trainline:

London to Edinburgh | London to Inverness

2 | Bluebell Railway – An experience not to be missed! | Train Travel in UK

Britain’s oldest preserved standard-gauge passenger railway, Bluebell takes you on a 11-mile scenic ride across one of England’s most beautiful countryside in Sussex.

2.1 | A touch of adventure & what to experience at the Bluebell Railways

Go back in time

The steam locomotive runs between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, There are a number of vintage carriages that offer a quintessential experience and each of the railway stations are restored to a different period. Sheffield Park transports you back in time to the 1880s, while the refreshment room at Horsted Keynes takes you to the 1920s. A visit to Kingscote and you will experience rail travel in the 1950s. Railway staff are dressed in period clothing and you get to see the original working signal box as well. There’s a shop and a museum where you can spend some time learning more of the Bluebell Railway.


Sit back and enjoy a quintessential odyssey as you ride in the comfort and luxury of a bygone era. The journey takes you through an area adorned with a sea of beautiful bluebells as they come into bloom in Spring. Picturesque and postcard perfect scene.

A thorough English experience

While soaking in the beautiful Sussex countryside on this iconic ride, you may want to enjoy a thorough English experience as well. Book a seat on the Afternoon Tea Train where you will be served with a full afternoon tea which includes delicious sandwiches, scones and cakes.

Golden Arrow Dining

By far the most beautiful experience of all, is a ride on the Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train. Recreating the once glamorous and famous Golden Arrow that linked London and Paris, the Pullman Dining Train is perfect for special occasions as it offers luxurious dining with style served to the standards of yesteryear.

2.2 | Practical information on Bluebell Railways

Bluebell Railways is managed entirely by volunteers. It is open on specific days of the week, mainly on weekends.

An All Day Rover Ticket allows for as many train rides as you like.

Address: Park Station, Sheffield, Uckfield TN22 3QL | Tel: +44 1825 720800

Learn more about the Bluebell Railways and its operational hours by navigating to Bluebell Railways here.

How to get to Bluebell Railway

Sheffield Park Station (TN22 3QL)

Sheffield Park Station is the best point to join the Bluebell Railway. This is situated on the A275 East Grinstead – Lewes main road, about two miles north of its junction with the A272. The Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park is well signposted with brown tourist direction signs from the A22 and A23 trunk roads. .

By Train: From Victoria Station (London) to Cooksbridge (Southern towards Eastbourne). From Cooksbridge, take a bus, 121 towards Sheffield Park. Alight at Bluebell Railway.

View Tickets, Times & Travel on TrainlineLondon to Cooksbridge

3 | Snowdon Mountain Railway | Train Travel in UK

Snowdonia | Train Travel in UK
Beautiful sights of sheep in the mountains | Snowdonia

A unique mountain journey awaits any train traveller in UK when visiting Snowdonia, northwestern Wales. Marvel at the extraordinary and breathtaking landscape of Snowdonia National Park while onboard the Snowdon Mountain Railway as it ascends to the highest peak in Wales, Mount Snowdon.

Snowdon Mountain Railway

The railway begins its 7.5 kilometres (4.7 miles) track in Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon, at 1085 metres above sea level. Jump aboard one of the Railway’s oldest carriages, the Snowdon Lily or one of the contemporary ones for a modern feel.

3.1 | A touch of adventure and what to experience at the Snowdon Mountain Railway

A place of legends and unparalleled scenic beauty

A place of legend, these ancient Snowdonian mountains were the result of volcanic forces 450 million years ago and once, stood at 10,000 metres above sea level.

Landscape of Snowdonia | Snowdonia Mountain Railway | Train Travel in UK | A quintessential Odyssey
Landscape of Snowdonia | Snowdonia Mountain Railway | Train Travel in UK | A quintessential Odyssey

Your odyssey begins just as soon as you leave Llanberis. The Snowdon Mountain Railway crosses over one of the two viaducts, offering you views of the the majestic waterfall, Ceunant Mawr that plunges into the gorge. The journey continues into the open countryside, dotted with abandoned dwellings. Passing Hebron Station, climbing higher, the Hill of the Falcon can be seen in the distant, home of the Peregrine Falcon, the world’s fastest animal. To the north of the Hill of the Falcon is a cave. Legend has it that Owain Glyndwr, the leader of the last Welsh rebellion lies in wait to rise and lead his people once more against the English.

Your adventure gets even better as the carriages climb ever higher giving you overwhelming views of the landscape from the very top. On a clear day you may spot Ireland, England, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Georgina suggests: When at the Visitor Centre, try the Oggie, a Welsh type of pasty filled with local lamb and leeks.

3.2 | Practical information on Snowdon Mountain Railway

Address:  Llanberis, Caernarfon LL55 4TU | Tel: +44 1286 870223

Open from 08:30am daily throughout the season (July-Oct 2020)

The destination is Clogwyn Station, which is ¾ distance to the summit of Snowdon. The journey time to Clogwyn is approximately 45 minutes and passengers have a 30-minute stop-over at this unsheltered station.  Please be aware that there are no facilities at Clogwyn, or on-board the trains. The service represents approximately 2-hour experience overall.

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Places to Stay near Snowdonia:

Stay at the very pretty town of Betws-y-Coed, right in the heart of Snowdonia. Select your accommodation here.

Activities to do in and around Snowdonia

From Llandudno: Full Day Snowdonia & the Three Castles Tour

From Llandudno: Portmeirion, Snowdonia, and Castle Tour

From London: Best of Wales 5-Day Tour

How to get to Snowdonia by train

You can easily get the train to Snowdonia no matter which part of UK you are at. There are direct services from London to Bangor that will take you to the popular North Wales coastal destinations. Make local connections via the Conwy Valley Line which runs through the Snowdonia National Park to Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog.

You could also take the North Wales Coast Line from Crewe to Holyhead which connects you to Bangor at the north-western edge of the park and Llandudno, where you can get the Conwy Valley Line down through the park as far as Blaenau Ffestiniog.

View Tickets, Times & Travel on TrainlineCrewe to Holyhead

4 | Settle to Carlisle Railway | Train Travel in UK

The Settle to Carlisle Railway in northern England was completed in 1876 and is arguably the most impressive of Victorian engineering. The track is approximately 115 kilometres (72 mile) and offers magnificent views of the North Pennines, Eden Valley and Yorkshire Dales. A thrilling experience for train travel in UK, the journey takes you through remote and scenic regions, crossing 21 viaducts and 14 tunnels.

4.1 | A touch of adventure and what to experience at the Settle to Carlisle Railway

One of the most scenic journeys in UK

The most impressive of the 1 hour 40 minutes track is, without a doubt, the spectacular Ribblehead Viaduct with its 24 arches. The track takes you through the beautiful landscape of Cumbria. The Blea Moor Tunnel is one to look out for, built 5,000 feet beneath the Moor! It is a 2.4 kilometre railway tunnel and is the longest tunnel on the Settle-Carlisle Line. It’s located between Ribblehead Viaduct and Dent Railway. Also, don’t miss the Ais Gill. Ais Gill summit is the highest point in the Settle-Carlisle Railway at the Mallerstang Valley, at 356 m (1,169 ft) above sea level. The journey terminates at Carlisle. The historic city offers plenty to see and do, especially its 900 year old castle and cathedral.

4.2 | Practical information on Settle – Carlisle Railway

Places to Stay:

Settle | Carlisle | Edinburgh

The Route

From Settle Junction on the Leeds to Morecambe line, and Carlisle, near the English-Scottish borders.

Route: Settle to Carlisle

Journey time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Journey track: 115.47 kilometres | 71.75 miles

View Tickets, Times & Travel on TrainlineSettle to Carlisle

5 | Durham to Berwick-upon-Tweed | Train Travel in UK

Another spectacular scenery awaits train travellers in UK when they embark on a journey in the northeast coast of England. Previously voted as the most scenic route in Britain, the Durham to Berwick-upon-Tweed journey offers idyllic views, much unknown and unspoilt of the Northumbrian countryside.

5.1 | A touch of adventure and what to experience on the Durham to Berwick-upon-Tweed

Alnwick Castle | aka Harry Potter Castle | Train Travel in UK
Alnwick Castle, England

The journey begins in the historic city of Durham, a cobbled university city with a Romanesque cathedral, taking you through Newcastle-upon-Tyne and picturesque rugged countryside of Northumbria. Heading north to the northernmost in England, the pretty coastal border town of Berwick. The coastal scenery does take your breath away! It is an area in northern England that is home to magnificent and stunning landscapes just waiting to be explored. For history buffs, look out for Alnwick Castle and Banburgh Castle along the way – both dating back to the Norman Conquest. The track ends at Berwick-upon-Tweed. You could spend a relaxing day at this coastal town and/or visit Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Holy Island, Lindisfarne, England
The picturesque Holy Island, Lindisfarne, England

Holy Island is a tidal island, cutting off from the rest of the world twice daily when the tides rise. An island as well as a picturesque village, Holy Island of Lindisfarne carries a wealth of history and remains a place of pilgrimage. (Lindisfarne Priory, the birthplace of Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the world’s most precious books). The island is also the final destination of one of Scotland’s Great Trails.

5.2 | Practical information on Durham to Berwick-upon-Tweed line

Places to Stay

Durham | Leeds

Activities to do in and around Durham

Durham: Historical Guided Walking Tour

Durham: Half Day City Tour

The Route

Route: Durham to Berwick-upon-Tweed

Journey track: 114 kilometres ( 71 miles)

Journey time: 1 hour 4 minutes

View Tickets, Trains & Travel on TrainlineDurham to Berwick-upon-Tweed

6 | The Cumbrian Coast Line | Train Travel in UK

The Cumbrian Coast Line runs an impressive scenic route keeping you close to the shoreline, making its way between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness.

The scenic journey of 137 kilometres (85 miles), was chosen by Michael Portillo for the BBC Series, Great British Railways Journeys in 2010. The track offers train travel in UK one of the best scenic views, passing the fells of Lake District, quaint villages, rural countryside as well as the mountains on one side and the stunning views of the Irish Sea on the other. Much of the line dates back to 1800s and is punctuated by 26 stations, ordinarily giving a journey time of 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours.

6.1 | A touch of adventure and what to experience on the Cumbrian Coast Line

An adventure awaits…

The Cumbrian Coast Line is perfect for when exploring the outdoors in and around the Lake District National Park. Add a touch of adventure to your scenic journey and explore the legacy of the line at Millom Discovery Centre and enjoy a trip on the Ravenglass and Eskdale heritage railway. The town of Marypot that’s steeped in Roman history makes a perfect destination for history lovers.

6.2 | Practical information on the Cumbrian Coast Line | UK Scenic Train Journeys

Places to Stay:


Activities in and around Cumbria

Western Lakes Full Day Tour

Ten Lakes Full Day Tour

The Route

Route: From Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness

Journey track: 137 km (85 miles)

Journey time: 3 hours

Costs: from £17.70 (depending on your time of travel)

View Tickets, Trains & Travel on Trainline: Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness

7 | The Riviera Line | Train Travel in UK a Quintessential Odyssey

The Riviera Line is one of England’s best stretches of coastal railways, along the South Devon coast between Exeter and Paignton. The journey offers amazing views of spectacular beaches, green countryside and river crossings.

7.1 | A touch of adventure and what to experience on the Riviera Line | UK Scenic Train Journeys

The Riviera Line is a local line that departs from Exeter city centre, following the Exe Estuary and the coast. The journey includes nine stops in between, including at the seaside town of Dawlish and Teignmouth before heading onwards to the English Riviera. The train stops at Torre, closest for Torquay and Paignton, allowing you to step onto the beach in no time! The journey takes you through several picturesque villages, famous river crossings and beautiful countryside – sights which you may miss when driving.

7.2 | Practical information on the Riviera Line | UK Scenic Train Journeys

Places to Stay:

Exeter | Paignton

Activities and Tours

5 Day Tour from London to Devon & Cornwall

3 Day Stonehenge, Bath & South West Coast Tour

The Route

Route: Exeter to Paignton

Journey track: 46 km (28 miles)

Journey time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Costs: from £8.20 (depending on time of day and type of tickets

View Tickets, Trains & Travel on Trainline: Exeter to Paignton

8 | St Ives Bay Line | St Erth to St Ives | Train Travel in UK a Quintessential Odyssey

St Ives, Cornwall, England

This is one of the shortest rail journeys, less than 15 minutes but one of the best loved scenic train travel in UK – between St Erth and St Ives.

8.1 A touch of adventure and what to experience with the St Ives Bay Line

The train chugs along a pretty stretch of Cornish coastline, including the golden sands of Hayle Towans and Carbis Bay before terminating at St Ives. Short, swift and arguably one of the most enjoyable scenic rides one would experience. Head to the beach, explore the harbour, visit the Tate St Ives art gallery and wander the shops. The St Ives Bay Line also connects with services to Penzance in the south, making a coast to coast train travel in UK a splendid and viable option.

8.2 | Practical information on the St Ives Bay Line | UK Scenic Train Journeys

Places to Stay:

St Ives | Penzance | Truro

The Route

Route: St Erth to St Ives

Journey track: 7 km (4 miles)

Journey time: 12 minutes

Costs: £4.00 (depending on time of day and type of ticket)

View Tickets, Trains & Travel on Trainline: St Erth to St Ives

My thoughts on UK Scenic Train Journeys

Wherever you choose to go, experience the hidden gems right across the UK, aboard steam locomotives, across jaw-dropping viaducts, and through rugged terrains — it takes train travel in UK to a whole new level. A quintessential odyssey awaits.

I sincerely hope this article is valuable to you in planning your scenic train travel journeys in UK. If so, I would love to hear your thoughts in comments below. As well, use the links embedded in this article and related articles to book your journeys, places to stay and activities to do. TTS earns a commission from qualified bookings and purchases to keep this blog going. You could also support us in other ways if you wish. As always, your continued support is highly appreciated and valued.

Have a splendid time exploring UK by train.

Georgina xx

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Train Travel in UK A Quintessential Odyssey | Best 8 UK Scenic Train Journeys first published at and is regularly updated. Last update April 10, 2022

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