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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright September 2021, Roy Hughes; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
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My wife and I very much enjoy taking day trips by train. We live in Worcestershire and have easy access to train trips in any direction from our home. We tend to take most of our "long distance" trips on Saturdays or Bank Holidays when Off-Peak fares are available all day. This gives the advantage of being able to make an earlier departure and therefore spend more time at our destination(s)

As seasoned train travellers I thought it might be worth starting with some tips on how to make the most out of a day trip by train.


Buy and use a Railcard

A railcard will very quickly pay for itself.

"Split" your ticket whenever possible

Split ticketing means rather than buying one rail ticket for your journey, you book two or more tickets. You still travel on the same train, sitting in the same seats, without any changes to the normal journey. By splitting your journey into multiple tickets you can make you big savings.

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but that's how things are on the railways. I can probably show more clearly how this works by giving a recent example of a trip I made from Birmingham to Leeds on a Saturday.

An Off-Peak day return from Birmingham to Leeds, with a Railcard, for one person is 45.30 However, if you book from Birmingham to Derby it will cost 13.00 and then Derby to Sheffield at 8.50 and Sheffield to Leeds at 8.30, the total cost will be 29.80.

This gives a saving, for each person of 15.50

Yes, it takes a bit of work and planning and you often end up with a pile of tickets for the journey, but, I think the saving makes it worthwhile.

Most trips of any distance are usually capable of being split. There are a number of websites giving details of where the splits are but I usually use Split Your Ticket

LinkExternal link

Likewise, there are many websites for buying tickets. I always use the Redspottedhanky I find this very useful for giving all the fare options

LinkExternal link

Buy a "PlusBus" ticket

If you do not have a concessionary bus pass, always check to see if you can get a PlusBus ticket to use at your destination. This can give a considerable saving when using local buses. For example. A PlusBus ticket for the Torbay area which covers all of Torbay and Kingswear costs only 3.70 or 2.45 if bought with a Railcard.

Be prepared to drive to a station

You may find you can get cheaper tickets or a more convenient journey time by driving to different station.

Finally, expect the unexpected

Trips do not always go exactly as planned, be prepared to make changes on the day. A good example of this can be seen in our May trip to Wales.



Finally, after most of the restrictions imposed by coronavirus were lifted, we were able to make our first long distance trip of the year. We were inspired by Sarah & Andrew's Cornish Walking Trails from YouTube. A "must view" for every lover of Cornwall.

We departed from Cheltenham Spa on a train to Plymouth where we changed to take the very pretty branch line to Gunnislake in Cornwall. We split the tickets, of course. Cheltenham to Bristol - Bristol to Plymouth and Plymouth to Gunnislake.

The branch line passed under the Tamar bridges, followed the banks of the river before crossing it into Cornwall at Calstock. At the end of the line at Gunnislake we followed the Cornish Walking Trails walk down through the Danescoombe Woods to emerge on the banks of the River Tamar at Calstock.

At Calstock we had to take what could have been a dreaded "Bus replacement service" back to meet our return train from Plymouth. However, it turned out to be a delightful drive through eastern Cornwall through St Mellion and back across the Tamar bridge.

All in all, a great day out which combined a love of train trips, walking and Cornwall. Highly recommended.

The branch line passing under the Tamar bridgesSX4358 : The Tamar Bridges from the Tamar Valley Railway by Roy HughesAbout to cross the Tamar at CalstockSX4368 : River Tamar from Calstock Viaduct by Roy HughesGunnislake stationSX4270 : Gunnislake station by Roy Hughes
Springtime in Danescoombe WoodsSX4269 : Wild spring bulbs in Danescombe Woods by Roy HughesDerelict mine in the woodsSX4269 : Converted engine house in Danescombe Woods by Roy HughesThe magnificent Calstock viaduct over the TamarSX4368 : Calstock viaduct from Lower Kelly by Roy HughesCalstock stationSX4368 : Calstock station by Roy Hughes


An interesting day out using the branch line from Bristol Temple Mead station, along the Avon estuary, under the M5 Motorway for a great view of the new Severn bridge from Severn Beach station. On the way back, we left the train at Clifton Down and walked to cross the Clifton suspension bridge and back. We then strolled through elegant Clifton and returned to Temple Meads via the City centre shops. A cost saving was made by splitting the tickets. Worcestershire Parkway to Bristol and Bristol to Severn Beach.

Sea Mills Dock on the banks of the River AvonST5475 : Sea Mills Dock by Roy HughesClifton Down stationST5774 : Clifton Down station looking eastwards by Roy HughesThe Clifton suspension bridgeST5673 : Clifton Suspension bridge by Roy Hughes
View of the Avon gorge from the bridgeST5673 : The Avon Gorge from the suspension bridge by Roy HughesElegant CliftonST5773 : Lansdown Place Clifton by Roy Hughes


The town centre of Shrewsbury sits within a tight bend on the River Severn and has many old buildings and interesting shops. There is an excellent riverside walk which is easily accessible from the station.

Weir on the River SevernSJ5013 : Weir on the River Severn Shrewsbury by Roy HughesRiverside pathSJ4913 : Castle footbridge and the River Severn near Severn Bank by Roy HughesShrewsbury AbbeySJ4912 : Shrewsbury Abbey by Roy HughesThe River Severn from English BridgeSJ4912 : The River Severn from English Bridge Shrewsbury by Roy Hughes


A lovely day out at the seaside. We got off the train at Dawlish Warren and walked along the coastal path to Dawlish where we took another train and continued on to Teignmouth. As usual, we split the tickets. Cheltenham Spa to Bristol Temple Meads. Bristol to Taunton and Taunton to Teignmouth.

Dawlish Warren beachSX9878 : Dawlish Warren beach by Roy HughesA cross Country train passing along the sea wallSX9777 : Cross Country train about to pass under footbridge near Dawlish by Roy HughesDawlishSX9676 : Weir on Dawlish Water, Dawlish by Roy Hughes
Dawlish stationSX9676 : Dawlish station by Roy HughesTeignmouth from the pierSX9472 : Teignmouth From The Pier by Roy HughesTeignmouth beach on the River TeignSX9372 : Teignmouth Beach on the River Teign by Roy Hughes


A good example of my tip "expect the unexpected" We booked a trip from Worcestershire Parkway, via Cardiff, to Penarth. The split was Parkway to Cheltenham Spa and Cheltenham to Penarth.

However, when we arrived at Cardiff to change trains we discovered that services to Penarth had just been cancelled because of problems on the track. Nobody knew when it would be fixed and a bus replacement had not, at that time, been organised. So instead of a couple of hours at the seaside we spent our day looking around Cardiff Bay and the City centre.

We decided to make the best of a bad job and to try again later in the year.

It was not, however, a wasted trip. Cardiff Bay was interesting and the City centre and Castle made the visit worthwhile.

Cardiff Central stationST1875 : Cardiff Central Station by Roy HughesThe Pierhead, Cardiff BayST1974 : Pierhead building Cardiff Bay by Roy HughesThe Norwegian Church and Arts CentreST1974 : Norwegian Church arts centre Cardiff Bay by Roy HughesThe Millennium CentreST1974 : Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff by Roy Hughes


A great day out exploring the eastern bank of Devon's River Exe. We split the tickets - Cheltenham Spa to Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol to Taunton and Taunton to Exmouth. A change of trains is needed at Exeter St David's to join the local Paignton to Exmouth service.

We got off the train for an hour to explore the pretty Exe-side village of Topsham. After joining the next service we got off the train at Lympstone which is a pleasant village with a small harbour and views over the Exe. We walked from the village to join the East Devon Way and headed to Exmouth.

The path closely follows the shoreline of the River Exe and runs alongside the railway all the way into Exmouth. Exmouth is an interesting seaside town with a harbour and a long sandy beach looking out over the mouth of the river towards Dawlish Warren.

Boat wreck in the Exe opposite TopshamSX9687 : Boat wreck on the River Exe by Roy HughesThe East Devon way shortly after leaving the road out of LympstoneSX9983 : East Devon Way south of Lympstone by Roy Hughes
The East Devon way alongside the River ExeSX9982 : East Devon Way looking towards Lympstone by Roy HughesA windy Exmouth beachSY0080 : Windy day on Exmouth beach by Roy HughesThe Point, ExmouthSX9980 : The Point Emouth by Roy Hughes


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