Although complaining about the state of the railways seems to be a popular English pastime, in truth the country has an efficient and modern inter-city and regional rail network. This enables holidaymakers to explore England's beautiful landscapes and historic towns and cities, from countryside to coast, in comfort and ease.
In addition to its national rail network, England also boasts a collection of around seventy heritage railways. Located throughout the country, typically in areas of historic interest or outstanding natural beauty, our guided tours on England's heritage railways recreate a golden era of train travel and offer an unforgettable railway experience.
Reminiscent of a bygone age, the Isle of Man is famous for its stunning coastline, superb sandy beaches, spectacular scenery and gentle pace of life. This charming island also boasts some of the most impressive heritage railways found anywhere in the British Isles, not to mention the historic horse-drawn trams.
The spellbinding Peak District awaits on this wonderful tour. Based in pretty Buxton, we enjoy a charming heritage railway journey, explore Crich Tramway Village, admire the stunning Hope Valley by rail and visit Chatsworth House.
Scenic rail journeys bring to life the history and wild, natural beauty of Yorkshire & Northumbria on this wonderful 8-day tour. Following in Viking and Roman footsteps, we visit historic York, Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne, as well as taking in the glorious and fascinating Alnwick Gardens.
On this incredible holiday to the stunning north of England, we will be based at the enchanting Augill Castle. On the cusp of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, enjoy fascinating excursions to both, and discover alluring York.
Discover the beautiful West Country in the run-up to Christmas on this exciting break. We visit the Christmas Markets of bustling Bristol and glorious Bath and enjoy a steam railway and charming Lacock Abbey.
Known as the 'Garden of England', Kent boasts beautiful countryside and historic sites. We discover these on our exciting break, experiencing two vintage steam railways, the old-world city of Canterbury and Chartwell.
Discover the very best of Cornwall as we explore this beguiling county. From our base in picturesque Falmouth, we encounter Cornwall's charming harbours and fabled Land's End and discover the enthralling Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Imbued with centuries of history and culture, the UK is one of the most rewarding nations to travel around. Explore the three countries of Britain on this outstanding tour of the island, and discover ancient attractions, modern cities and wild landscapes. We travel by modern rail, cruise across picturesque lakes and climb to the peak of Snowdon by heritage steam train.
Enjoy a sumptuous break in stunning Northumberland. Based in the incredible medieval Langley Castle, we discover the Roman heritage of Hadrian's Wall, explore magnificent Alnwick Castle and journey on a charming heritage railway.
From the elegant spa town of Cheltenham, we spend a day at the Malvern Spring or Autumn Garden Show and travel on the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway. Discover fabulous Hidcote Manor Gardens and the alluring Cotswolds.
Travelling in England with Great Rail Journeys
Great Rail Journeys offers customers a range of exciting, enjoyable and memorable rail holidays in England. Whether marvelling at the breath-taking scenery of the Lake District, discovering the beautiful landscapes and charming villages of Yorkshire, or sampling the coastal highlights of the English Riviera in Devon and Cornwall, every itinerary we create is designed to offer the most enjoyable experiences at the best value for money.
All transport, quality accommodation, an itinerary of entertaining excursions and activities and, depending upon the tour, selected meals are included in the cost of our rail tours of England. Our customers also benefit from the services of an experienced, friendly and knowledgeable Tour Manager who will provide assistance, answer questions and ensure that you get the maximum enjoyment from your trip.
We hand-pick our overnight accommodation, ensuring that it is conveniently located and offers the high standards of comfort, service, quality and value that our customers expect. Often these will be family-owned or run establishments which offer customers a more personal service and relaxed environment.
England traveller's guide
England manages to cram an incredible historical, cultural and natural legacy into a compact geographical space. Diverse and cosmopolitan, England has something to surprise and delight everyone. London, the capital city, is the country's political and economic hub, home to the Queen and Royal Family and offers a wealth of historic and modern attractions, famous landmarks, museums, galleries and world-class shopping and dining opportunities. England's other great cities - including Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Bath, York and Newcastle - are similarly compelling.
Rural England, meanwhile, is renowned for the natural beauty of locations such as the Lake District, Salisbury Plain, Dorset's Jurassic Coast and Derbyshire's Peak District. England's unique and entertaining coastal resorts, many of them established in Victorian times, are equally unmissable in summer.
England enjoys a temperate climate, which means that summers are generally warm, winters mild and extreme temperatures rare. Rainfall can and does occur at any time of year in England although autumn is typically the wettest season. Generally the south of the country enjoys slightly more warmth and sunshine than the north, but the English are philosophical about the weather and rarely let it spoil their enjoyment of outdoor activities.
English culture and cuisine
The English are slightly reserved by nature and their social culture rests upon politeness, good manners and a sense of fair play. Mentioning anything about the weather is a good way to spark a conversation, but the English also have an excellent sense of humour. Despite strong competition from coffee, tea remains the national drink and popular English dishes include fish and chips, roast dinners, meat pies - particularly steak and kidney, and sausages and mashed potato (a.k.a. 'bangers and mash'). A thoroughly multi-racial society means that England has wholeheartedly embraced international cuisine, with Indian, Chinese and Asian food enjoying particular popularity. England is renowned for its beer which is deeply-rooted in the country's culture and history and is available in many different styles and strengths.
Guided rail tours in England - Traveller's notes
Guests on our guided tours of England are normally British so there is very little we can tell them about England as a whole. However, each region of England has its own peculiarities and local customs which can appear alien to the casual traveller. One area where this is particularly distinct is in regional dishes. For example the parmesan chicken, which is a street food adaptation of the Italian pollo parmigiana, is a favourite in a small area of North Yorkshire but even as little as fifty miles away is unheard of. For more information on our guided tours of England please call the number at the top of the page.