There are a lot of scenic train journeys in the world. From the famous Trans-Siberian to The Orient Express, there is no shortage of amazing train experiences you can have but the UK is also home to some of the most scenic train journeys of all.

From the Harry Potter train to the coastal lines, we have so many amazing train lines that make for a perfect adventure.

In this article, I tell you everything you need to know about the most scenic train journeys in the UK and how you can book them.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you!

1. The West Highland Line (Fort William to Mallaig)

Glenfinnan Viaduct from Jacobite train

✨ Highlights: Ben Nevis, Glenfinnan Viaduct (featured in Harry Potter films)

This has to be the most famous train line in Scotland since it was featured in many Harry Potter movies!

The West Highland Line starts from Glasgow and goes all the way to Mallaig, near the Isle of Skye, but the most scenic part is located between Fort William and Mallaig.

Mountains, Ben Nevis, lochs, seaside… you get to see it all!

You can take any Scotrail train on this line but if you want the proper Harry Potter experience, opt for the Jacobite Train from Fort William. Not only is this steam train beautiful but it’s also known as the real-life version of the Hogwarts Express.

2. The Hope Valley Line (Manchester to Sheffield)

Grindleford station
hope valley line

✨ Highlights: Peak District, Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, Hope, Edale

The Peak District was the first national park in the UK and it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in England if you love the countryside.

The Hope Valley line is perfect if you want to discover the scenery as well as cute villages.

It goes all the way from Manchester to Sheffield but the most scenic parts are located between Edale (from which you can go to Mam Tor) to Grindleford (where you can go Padley Gorge).

The highlights also include the town of Bamford from which you can go on the Bamford Edge hike which reveals beautiful views of Ladybower Reservoir.

3. St Ives Bay Line (St Erth to St Ives)

St Ives from the train

✨ Highlights: St Ives, Hayle Towans, Carbis Bay

Let’s head to Cornwall with this short but stunning coastal train line. As you probably already know, St Ives is one of the most beautiful towns in Cornwall and the best way to get there is to take the train from St Erth.

It’s very easy to do. You can park your car at the St Erth station and get a train ticket to St Ives. It only takes 45 minutes but it’s very scenic. You’ll get to see a lot of beautiful beaches and cliffs before arriving at the stunning St Ives.

4. The Settle-Carlisle Railway (Leeds to Carlisle)

Ribblehead Viaduct

✨ Highlights: Ribblehead Viaduct, Yorkshire Dales, Eden Valley

The Settle-Carlisle Railway goes all the way from Leeds to Carlisle and is the perfect line for those who want to discover the Yorkshire Dales.

The train stops in many cute villages such as Settle or Skipton but also features 20 viaducts and 14 tunnels!

It’s 72-mile long and it also stops in the places where you can start the 3-Peak Challenge.

5. The Snowdon Mountain Railway

Snowdon Mountain Railway

✨ Highlights: Ascends Mount Snowdon, stunning views of Snowdonia National Park

This one is a bit different compared to the others since it’s not a train line per se but more of a scenic railway. 

Whichever way, it’s stunning and definitely something you should consider if you are visiting North Wales.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway starts in Llanberis and goes all the way up Mount Snowdon. The journey takes 2.5 hours but you get about 30 minutes at the top to enjoy the views over the national park.

6. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Goathland station

✨ Highlights: North York Moors National Park, Whitby, Goathland

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs from Whitby to Pickering and is one of the best heritage railways in the UK. If you’d like to go on a steam train for a day and discover the beautiful Yorkshire Moors, this is the one for you!

You’ll start in Whitby which is a stunning coastal town famous for its connections with Dracula and will go all the way to Pickering through the moors.

You can also stop at Goathland station which was featured in the first Harry Potter movie.

7. The Caledonian Sleeper (London to Scotland)

Caledonian Sleeper

✨ Highlights: Overnight journey, scenic routes through the Scottish Highlands

We don’t have a lot of overnight train journeys in the UK but the Caledonian Sleeper is one of them and I can promise you something, that’s an experience of a lifetime!

You can take the train from London Euston in the evening and go all the way to Fort William, Inverness or Aberdeen.

While you don’t get to see much of England since that part of the journey is at night, there is something absolutely magical about waking up and seeing the beautiful scenery of the Highlands.

8. The Cumbrian Coast Line (Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness)


✨ Highlights: Solway Firth, Lake District, Duddon Sands

The Cumbrian Coast Line goes from Carlisle all the way down to Barrow-in-Furness. It’s an excellent train journey for those who want to discover the Lake District from a different angle.

While most people go to the lakes in Windermere or Ambleside, the coast is also worth the detour.

With this train journey, you’ll go along the coast and discover cute towns and beautiful seaside views.

9. The Cambrian Line (Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth/Pwllheli)

Aberdyfi in Wales

✨ Highlights: Welsh countryside, Machynlleth, Aberdyfi

Central Wales is by far the most underrated part of Wales. Most visitors head to Snowdonia or in the south but a lot of people completely skip the central part of Wales.

This is a mistake you shouldn’t be making especially since it’s home to one of the best train lines in Britain.

The Cambrian Line runs from Shrewsbury in England to Pwllheli, on the coast and stops in fantastic towns such as Welshpool or Machynlleth.

The scenery while you are inland is incredible and it gets even better once you reach the coast!

I particularly recommend stopping in Aberdyfi, it’s one of the best coastal towns in Wales!

10. Chester to Holyhead

North shore beach Llandudno

✨ Highlights: Llandudno, Conwy, Bangor, Holyhead

If you’d like to discover North Wales by train, the train line that goes from Crewe to Holyhead will be ideal for you.

I recommend starting in Chester since it gets more scenic from there and you can spend some time exploring this beautiful city.

You will quickly reach the coast and go along the coast all the way to Anglesey and then Holyhead.

I hope this article was helpful and has made you want to go on one of these fantastic train journeys. 

You may also be interested in: