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Tourist Trains > Southern England

Scenic and heritage train rides in Southern England

Dean Forest Railway

Tourist railways feature historic train rides and scenic routes to provide memorable day trips that are fun for the whole family! Shown: Dean Forest Railway. Photo: ©Stuart Wilding.

East of England

Aylsham - Wroxham, Norfolk

Narrow-gauge steam runs follow a meandering river route through the picturesque Norfolk Broads. Highlights include Boat Train, bike transport and steam driver experience. Trains operate year-round.Selected features: holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, restaurant, wheelchair access, groups, gift certificates.

Castle Hedingham, Essex

Vintage steam and diesel trains roll along this restored stretch of a 19c country line. Highlights include driver experiences and adjoining Farm Park. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, train charters, buffet, groups.

Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire's rural countryside makes this one-time quarry line perfect for a scenic hour-long excursion. Highlights include free Rail Trail pack for kids. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: dinner trips, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, buffet, wheelchair access.

Dereham - Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk

Rolling along a 17.5 mi (28 km) route through central Norfolk's scenic countryside, MNR is among the UK's longest preserved railways. Highlights include steam runs on selected days; driver experience courses. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, dinner trips, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, online ticketing, wheelchair access, groups, gift certificates.

Wansford - Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Following a 150 year old route through its namesake river valley, this 7.5 mi (12 km) railway bills itself as "Britain's International Railway" owing to its reliance on European Gauge stock. Highlights include educational visits, driving courses and an enroute country park. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters, wheelchair access.

Sheringham, Norfolk

Best-known for the firey poppies that line its route in fall, the NNR extends 5 mi (8 km) from the coastal resort of Sheringham to the Georgian market town of Holt. Highlights include dining trains; driving experiences; behind the scenes tours. Trains operate year-round (selected days). Selected features: rail museum, station cafe services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shops, gift certificates, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

South East England

Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex

Among the UK's oldest preservation railways, the Bluebell has welcomed guests since 1960. Trips along its 9 mi /14 km route draw from one of the nation's largest collections of period steam locos and carriages. Highlights include Golden Arrow Dining Car and Afternoon Tea Lounge Car runs. Trains operate year-round (selected days). Selected features: rail museum, onboard and station cafe/snack services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop.

Chinnor, Oxfordshire

Less than an hour out of London, this "quintessential country branch line" provides a handy break from the urban rush along its 3.5 mi (5.5 km) length. Highlights include cream tea runs; and driver experiences. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: onboard and station cafe/snack services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, wheelchair access.

Wallingford & Cholsey, Berkshire

The "Bunk Line" rolls through 2.5 mi (4 km) of beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, linking the market town of Wallingford with the Network Rail station at Cholsey. Highlights include steam-hauled runs on selected days. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, station cafe services, holiday/event excursions, gift shop, wheelchair access.

Didicot, Oxfordshire

A former rail shed and yard set the scene for the Great Western Society's vast collection of steam engines, rolling stock and railroadiana. Highlights, on selected days only, include demonstration runs; on train dining; railway experience events. Trains operate on limited schedules. Selected features: rail museum, cafe services, holiday/event excursions, gift shop, limited wheelchair access.

Shepherdswell, Kent

Trains drawn by heritage diesel take visitors on a 4 mi (6.5 km) roundtrip along the last remaining segment of historic Kent coalfield line. Highlights include miniature railway; picnic area. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, station cafe services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop.

Havenstreet, Ryde

The ancient steam-drawn train sets that ply this secluded branch line are machine-age treasures. Skillfully restored, today they merge with their historic countryside route to replicate a lost era of travel and day-to-day life. Four stations serve the 4.5 mi (7 km) line from end to end; Smallbrook Junction transfer Island Line electric train for pier/ferry and additional Island points. Trains operate seasonally.

Tenterden, Kent

Bodiam's celebrated Farmers' Train departs within sight of the ancient and moated Bodiam Castle. K&ESR passengers are treated to a scenic 11 mi (17 km) run through the rural Rother Valley. Highlights include steam-hauled runs and luxury Pullman dining on selected days; footplate experiences available. Trains operate year-round (selected days). Selected features: rail museum, onboard and station cafe services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift certificates, wheelchair access.

Alresford, Hampshire

Nick-named for the watercress harvests it once hauled, today's heritage train steams over 10 mi (16 km) of rolling Hampshire countryside. Highlights include Real Ale Trains; luxury dining trains; footplate rides and driving Experiences. Trains operate year-round (selected days). Selected features: station cafe/snack services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, gift certificates, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

New Romney, Kent

Opened as the 'World's Smallest Public Railway' in 1927, Kent's mainline in miniature takes passengers on a delightful 13.5 mi (22 km) run, from Cinque Port of Hythe, near the channel tunnel, to the fishermen's village of Dungeness. Highlights include shuttles to Romney Marsh reserve; Fisherman diner's excursions; Gladys bar car. Trains operate year-round (selected days). Selected features: station cafe/buffet services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, wheelchair access.

Sittingbourne, Kent

Unique among heritage railways, the SKLR operates original steam-driven narrow-gauge stock along its original route and is not a reconstruction: trainsets and trackage as well as outbuildings constitute a practical infrastructure that has naturally evolved over more than seven decades. Highlights include footplate experience courses. Trains operate seasonally year-round. Selected features: rail museum, onboard and station cafe snack services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, gift certificates, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

Royal Turnbridge Wells, Kent

Heritage trains steam along this picturesque 3.5 mi (5.5 km) segment of abandoned mainline. Passengers may detrain within easy reach of spectacular High Rocks formations and the the award winning Groombridge Place Gardens and Enchanted Forest. Highlights include Fish and Chip Supper and Real Ale Trains; diesel driver experiences. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: onboard bar/snack and station buffet services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, wheelchair access.

South West England

Bitton, Gloucestershire

Steam-driven trains follow the gorgeous Avon River Valley down a 3 mi (5 km) portion of the former mainline between Bristol and Bath. Highlights include Steam 'n Cuisine, Bistro and Mystery specials; Learn to Drive course. Trains operate year-round (selected days). Selected features: station buffet services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, gift certificates, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

Bodmin, Cornwall

The Duchy of Cornwall's only standard gauge railway scales moorland heights as it steams along its 13 mi (21 km) route through the Cornish countryside. Highlights include luxury dining trains; locomotive driving and firing courses. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: station buffet/cafe services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, wheelchair access (some restrictions).

Lydney, Gloucestershire

"The Friendly Forest Line" welcomes visitors to the Crown Forest of Dean with a 4.25 mi (7 km) excursion through the ancient woodland. Highlights include steam runs on selected days; Royal Forester Dining Car; driving experience course. Trains operate seasonally (selected days; no trains in January).Selected features: rail museum, onboard and station buffet services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, wheelchair access.

Cranmore, Somerset

Steeped in 150 years of history, this 5 mi (8 km) round-trip through the Mendip countryside recalls the Golden Age of Steam. Highlights include Wine & Dine and Strawberries & Cream trains; working shed tours; footplate and driving experiences. Trains operate year-round (selected days). Selected features: rail museum, station cafe, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, wheelchair access.

Toddington, Gloucestershire

Across Gloucestershire's rolling pastures — and through a 2000 ft (600 m) tunnel — the "Friendly Line In The Cotswolds" ferrys tourists and jump racing fans between Toddington village and the famous Cheltenham Racecourse. Highlights include steam-hauled runs and Wine & Dine lunch excursions on selected days; driving courses and experiences available. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, onboard and station cafe services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, wheelchair access.

Paignton, Devon

The English Riviera's 7 mi (11 km) coastal railway is popular with seaside vacationeers. Highlights include Boat Train harbor cruise combo or Round Robin train-boat-bus circle tour. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features:station buffet services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, gift certificates, online ticketing, wheelchair access (some restrictions).

Coleford, Gloucestershire

Tucked along Dean Forest's edge, narrow gauge steam trains wind their way along a 0.75 mi (1.2 km) route through farmland and ancient woods. Highlights include woodland paths, picnic/play area, treehouses and indoor village. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: station cafe, holiday/event excursions, train charters, wheelchair access.

Seaton, Devon

Quaint relics of another age, these brilliantly restored trams -- open-air in summer; enclosed saloons in cooler weather -- run a 3 mi (5 km) route between the Jurrasic Coast resort of Seaton and nearby valley towns. Trains operate year-round. Selected features: station buffet services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, gift certificates, online ticketing, wheelchair access (some restrictions).

Buckfastleigh, Devon

Away from the roadway, this secluded country line steams through the Dart River Valley for a distance of 7 mi (11 km). Highlights include Devonshire Pullman dining train; steamİandİdieselİfootplate experience courses; miniature railway. Trains operate year-round (selected days).Selected features: rail museum, station cafe, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, wheelchair access.

Swanage, Dorset

Nestled in the Isle of Purbeck on Britain's Jurrasic coast, this 6 mi (10 km) standard gauge preserved steam railway connects the seaside resort of Swanage with a string of inland stations. Highlights include Wessex Belle dinner excusions; and driver experience courses. Trains operate seasonally year-round. Selected features: rail museum, station cafe services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shops, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

Blunsdon, Wiltshire

This remarkable rebuilt railway replicates long-lost standard gauge service that once followed its identical route. The painstaking reconstruction features replica rail bridge and loco shed. Highlights include steam runs on selected days; driving experiences. Trains operate year-round (selected days). Selected features: rail museum, station cafe services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, online ticketing.

Minehead, Somerset

England's longest heritage railway meanders the Bristol Channel Coast and skirts the Quantock Hills linking ten separate hamlets along its 23 mi (37 km) course. Highlights include steam engineman courses. Trains operate seasonally year-round. Selected features: rail museum, onboard buffet services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, wheelchair access.

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