Discover the Most Scenic Train Journeys

Enjoy every part of your Avanti West Coast journey

There’s nothing quite like sitting back, relaxing and enjoying a scenic train journey - especially when some of the best hikes in the UK await you at your destination. 

If you’re looking for inspiration for a staycation this year, consider packing your hiking gear, hopping on a train, and enjoying some of the best hiking, exploring and beauty spots in the country. Here’s our round-up of our favourite journeys and destinations.


Lake District

The Lake District is a vast region in northern England, known for its sixteen lakes and the highest mountains in England surrounding them, including Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England (and third-highest in the UK).

The Lake District is served by two train stations on the Avanti West Coast Line: Penrith and Oxenholme. Whichever destination you choose, you’ll enjoy a beautiful journey through rolling hills and cute towns and villages before stepping off the train to hundreds of hikes at your feet. Penrith serves the North Lakes, whilst Oxenholme is just 2 miles from Kendal.

From Kendal, you can tackle the Thirlmere Way - or at least part of it. This long-distance walking path is 130 miles in total, so unless you have a few days to spare, take a hike on the section from the centre of Kendal. This section, lasting roughly 12 miles emerges in Windermere, where you’ll be treated to stunning views of the lake. If you’re feeling brave, you might choose to tackle Scafell Pike. There are two popular routes to choose from, with the start point either in Wasdale Head or Seathwaite car park. The route from Wasdale Head is roughly 6 miles, and from Seathwaite around 9.5 miles. Be aware that neither route is waymarked, so come prepared with a good map and compass and keep an eye on the weather conditions which can change quickly at height.

The Lake District
The hills of North Wales

North Wales

The scenic journey to North Wales takes you along the pretty coastal towns of the north coast, with plenty of options to hop off the train along the way, perhaps at Colwyn Bay, Bangor or at Holyhead, the end of the line.

When you arrive in Holyhead, you could turn around and walk back the way you came along the Wales Coast Path, taking you 80 miles from Holyhead to Bangor! Alternatively, you could just tackle a section or two of it, exploring the beautiful coastal path and exploring the sites along the way. The entire Wales Coast Path is 870 miles around the entire coastline - in fact, it’s the only country in the world with such a continuous waymarked path. If you really want to make the most of your time in Wales, you could hike the entire thing!

If the coast doesn’t appeal to you, it’s easy to get to Snowdonia from North Wales. The national park, which measures 823 square miles, contains some of the best UK hikes, including Snowdon, the second-highest mountain in the UK. There are 8 different routes up Snowdon of varying degrees of difficulty. The most popular route and the one generally considered to be the easiest is the Llanberis Path which is the longest route but offers the most gradual climb. It’ll take roughly 4 hours to hike. Alternatively, take the Snowdon Railway to the top for all of the rewards and none of the hard work!


Loch Lomond

You’d never imagine, as you pull in Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, that in under an hour by train you could be at one of Scotland’s most scenic spots. But it’s true - hop on the train to Balloch from Glasgow Queen Street and in 45 minutes you’ll be in the town on the edge of Scotland’s largest lake. Alternatively, head deeper into the wilderness by taking the train to Arrochar & Tarbet (1 hour 20 minutes) or Ardlui (1 hour 35 minutes), both of which are ideal if you want to tackle a mountain or two. All three journeys are spectacular, first passing through the lowlands before the landscape of Scotland starts to change and you journey into the rugged highlands.

There are plenty of great hikes to enjoy in the area. Walk along the southern shores of Loch Lomond from Balloch, treating yourself to an ice cream along the way, or from Arrochar & Tarbet station, head up The Cobbler, one of the most popular mountains in the country.

Wild Camping in Scotland tips from Avanti West Coast

Epping Forest

One of the best hikes near London, you can reach Epping Forest in the south-west corner of Essex in 30 minutes from London Liverpool Street Station. It’s perfect for a relaxing day trip from London with a range of different walks for every ability. Try the 6.6 mile Oak Trail which takes you through the best of the forest before passing by the deer sanctuary at the end of the route.

Beachy head

For a great hike that’s slightly further out from the capital, take the train from London to Eastbourne, and then onwards to East Dean by bus. This incredible beauty spot is home to the highest chalk sea cliff in the country at 162 metres above sea level.

There’s a range of walks in the area. Take a stroll along the coast from Beachy Head to Birling Gap, an undulating route of around 5 miles from which you’ll get the best sea views and unspoiled coastline. Beachy Head is also the starting point of the South Downs Way National Park, a long-distance path of 160km in total so if you’re feeling up to it, you could extend your walk even further!

Getting to the start of your hike

Whether you decide to head to the south coast, up north to Scotland or want to explore the coastal paths and mountains of Wales, Avanti West Coast can get you there. You can book any train journey through our Journey Planner, even if the stations and services are not run by Avanti West Coast - and remember that you can make great savings when you book in advance. Then all you have to do is plan your hike and sit back and enjoy the scenic train ride.

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