© 2024 Hoop Health Ltd. All rights reserved.
Background image
Background jagged scribble
Background swirly scribble

Top 5 Coastal Train Rides for the Family

2 July 2023

Train journeys along the coast give children time to take in the scenery and sometimes wildlife on the way. Trains allow them to anticipate an adventure on the beach. The following lines add mountains, cliffs and islands to the scenery. Most have viaducts or parts of the track where a sea wall of boulders has been built to hold up and reinforce the track. The varying geography fascinates children of all ages. 

The Riviera Line

The Riviera Line follows the coast from Exeter to Paignton in Devon hugging the shoreline as far as Teignmouth. The journey takes 46 minutes unless you take an express which takes 15 minutes. It passes along dramatic red cliffs and through the Parson’s rock tunnel and scenic holiday towns including Dawlish and Torbay.

The Furness Line and Cumbrian Coast Line

The Furness Line runs from Lancaster to Barrow-in-Furness taking in the stunning Morecambe Bay. The Cumbrian Coast Line then takes over running following the coast towards Carlisle passing dramatic scenery with the sea on one side and the Lake District fells on the other. It’s nearly three hours and passes through the seaside towns of St Bees, Sitecroft and Ravenglass. 

Londonderry to Portrush, Northern Ireland

From Derry in Londonderry to Portrush in County Antrim is a dramatic railway line that skirts cliffs with tunnels through headlands and passes along the golden sands of the Causeway Coast. The journey is about an hour long and at Portrush it’s a short taxi ride to Bushmills where you can step aboard a steam train to the Giant’s Causeway.

The Cambrian Coast

Machynlleth to Aberystwyth and on to Pwllheli on the West coast of Wales is a stunning trip that passes the enormous mountains of Snowdonia, beaches, cliffs and castles. The train follows the curve of Cardigan Bay serving coastal towns and holiday resorts including Aberdovey, Fairbourne and Barmouth. Eventually, the spectacular Criccieth Castle comes into view. This is thought to be one of the top ten railway journeys in the world.

The West Highland Line

From Fort William to Mallaig in Scotland is 42 miles of spectacular scenery. The train follows Loch Eil passing under the tallest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis. It goes over the Glenfinnan viaduct which was used in the Harry Potter films to carry Hogwarts’ Express then passes through the mountains to reach the silver sands of Morar and view of the small Isles Eigg, Muck, Canna and Rhum which rises like a volcano out of the sea. Eventually, Skye comes into view with dramatic cliffs and the jagged peaks of the Cuillins. This journey on the West Highland Line takes an hour and 25 minutes.

A coastal journey is a thrill in itself or it can add to a trip away in a way that car journeys on motorways just don’t. The sea state can add drama with winter storms breaking near the rails or even delaying some services.  Parents can enjoy the experience and time to interact with their children rather than being stuck behind the wheel focussing on driving.

Photo by William Fonteneau on Unsplash

Find fun, healthy activities for kids on the Hoop app