Areas of Natural Beauty by Train
The UK boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, the best of which are marked as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These amazing destinations aren’t as remote as you might think; in fact, some of them are easily accessible by train! Whether you’re looking for a great destination for a long weekend away or you’re going for a longer trip, immerse yourself in the natural beauty that the UK has to offer on a journey with CrossCountry.
How to get there: Seahouses makes the perfect base from which to explore the spectacular Northumberland Coast. Just a short bus-ride from Berwick-upon-Tweed this secluded little village is a lovely holiday destination. With CrossCountry you can purchase a through ticket which takes you straight to Seashouses from Berwick-upon-Tweed. You can purchase the whole journey via the website by selecting Seahouses Bus as your destination.
Where to stay: St Cuthbert’s House is a great place to stay when you’re in Seahouses. Housed in a renovated 200-year-old former chapel, this unique luxury B&B is the perfect choice for those looking for a peaceful trip to explore the beautiful coast.
What to do while you’re there: Considering the small size of Seahouses, when it comes to activities it packs a lot of punch. One of our top choices is a horseback riding tour from Slate Hall Riding Centre. Cantering along the beaches with the wind in your hair is the perfect way to enjoy the pristine beaches of this stunning coast. For those wanting a coastal escape away from the crowds, Seahouses is the perfect getaway.
How to get there: Once you’ve arrived in Cheltenham you can strike out in any direction and find the perfect place to stay from which you can explore the Cotswolds in all their beauty. However, one of our personal favourites is Winchcombe, less than 10 miles from the town centre.
Where to stay: Sudeley Castle just outside the village offers a wide range of holiday cottages, meaning there’s sure to be something which perfectly suits your group and needs. Choose from a large farmhouse which sleeps 14 all the way through to an intimate space in the Castle Gatehouse which sleeps 4. All of the cottages come with free access to the castle which is a fun day out in itself.
Where to eat: The Lion Inn in the village centre is the place to head if you’re looking for tasty, traditional pub grub with a modern flair. Providing a varied menu and a great outdoor seating area, this pub is a fantastic choice to really immerse yourself in the full English experience. Plus, rumour has it they do a mean gin and tonic too!
What to do while you’re there: Although plenty of people head into the Cotswolds with the intention of going on a walking holiday, if you’re headed to Winchcombe it might be worth bringing your bike along for the ride. There’s a beautiful signposted circular route which takes you through peaceful villages and pretty countryside. Head to the tourist information for a map. A visit to Sudeley Castle is also a must when you’re in the area!
How to get there: Guildford is right in the heart of the Surrey Hills, meaning that the stunning area is within easy reach from the train station. Standing on Guildford High Street you can see the Surrey Hills stretching away from you so all you need is a map and a sense of adventure.
Where to stay: What better place to stay in this historic town than where great English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, bedded down for the night when he was passing through Guildford? The Angel Hotel is one of Guildford’s oldest buildings. This classy hotel oozes English charm and has welcomed some big names over the last 500 odd years, so you might find yourself in good company.
Where to eat: For a taste of the Amalfi Coast right in the heart of Surrey, you need to visit Positano. This authentic Italian restaurant boasts big flavours and an even bigger atmosphere. Whether you’re visiting with family or on a romantic date night, the crowd-pleasing menu, friendly service, and intimate aesthetic will make for the perfect evening meal.
What to do while you’re there: With loads of beautiful countryside to explore by foot within easy reach of the town centre, it would be tempting not to plan any activities for your trip to Guildford and just see where the adventure takes you. However, this would risk missing out on the complete joy that is a llama hike from The Merry Harriers. Well worth the 20-minute taxi ride, you get to meet the llamas and even take them on a walk through the Surrey Hills. A great activity for children and adults alike, this is a completely unique experience that is going to make your friends go green with envy.
The Isles of Scilly
How to get there: The ferry terminal is conveniently located a short walk from Penzance station. The ferry is a lovely way to travel to the Islands, taking you along the Cornish coast and through the centre of the cluster of islands. Alternatively, you could fly from Exeter or Newquay, both of which are accessible via the CrossCountry network.
Where to stay: We love the laid-back elegance of Tregarthen’s Hotel. Alongside modern rooms, free Wifi and complimentary breakfast, you can enjoy sea views and a casual on-site restaurant serving delicious fresh food. However, there’s plenty of other quirky unique properties dotted around the island within easy reach of the ferry terminal and airport.
Where to eat: You can’t visit the Isles of Scilly and not enjoy the incredible fresh seafood the area has to offer. There’s plenty of amazing restaurants boasting stunning sea views, and doubtless you’ll visit a couple whilst on the island, but we’d like to fly the flag for The Galley Restaurant. Although it’s in the centre of Hugh Town so doesn’t provide sea views, it does do some of the best seafood you’ll find on the island.
What to do while you’re there: Although we really encourage you to explore the spectacular countryside on foot, to really make the most of the islands, you need to take to the seas. There are lots of companies offering boat trips around the islands, and with only 5 of the 140 in the archipelago inhabited, there’s lots of unchartered territory to explore.
There’s plenty more amazing places to explore with CrossCountry, find out more with our helpful destination guides. Whichever destination you choose to visit during the sunny summer months, take advantage of great savings with CrossCountry Advance train tickets.
Written by Julia