Is there a more romantic way to travel than by train? Not when you’re on one of these extraordinary journeys.

Sure, squishing yourself into the commuter train at rush hour is about as far removed from the notion of romance as a wet weekend in Bognor. But at its best, rail travel can be absolutely sublime. Here’s our pick of the UK’s best journeys.

Belmond British Pullman

No list of top train journeys could justifiably neglect to mention the Belmond British Pullman. As the sister train to the Venice Simplon-Orient Express, rail travel doesn’t get more glamorous.

Throughout December, hop on the sumptuous 1920s and 1930s carriages at Victoria station to enjoy Christmas Lunch by Steam; candlelit Canterbury Christmas carols at the famous cathedral; or journey to beautiful Bath In time for its Christmas market (among other options).

Think liveried stewards, champagne and a world of luxury good enough for Hercule Poirot himself. None of this comes cheap (think from £420 per adult) but for most people this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of affair.

Royal Scotsman

For (deep-pocketed) folk whose appetites have been whet by a day trip on the Belmond British Pullman, the logical next step is a lengthier ride on The Royal Scotsman. A much newer train than its south of the border counterpart, having taken inaugural journeys in the 1980s, it is every inch as luxurious (think mahogany clad cars, Edwardian-style country house elegance), and even boasts a sublime Bamford on-board spa.

The journeys range from a couple of nights to full weeks, and the cabins are every bit as extravagantly sumptuous as one might expect; they are all clubby Edwardian style mahogany marquetry and elegant tweeds. There are tours of the Highlands, Whiskey tours and, the piece de resistance, the Grand Western Scenic Wonders Tours. They start in the early thousands per person, and run up to £9,350 per passenger. You have to really love train to go, but for those who do, the train itself and the jaw-dropping scenery, these are trips that will forever be cherished.

November 2019