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9 most beautiful railway journeys in South West England

Take a look at the most beautiful railway journeys in South West England!

One of my favourite ways to travel is by train, and if there are views – even better!

There are some incredible railway journeys to enjoy in South West England.

Here are some of my top picks!

Minehead to Bishops Lydeard

Level crossing by the station platform on the West Somerset heritage railway at Blue Anchor

The journey from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway takes in the very best of the Somerset countryside.

This heritage railway line spans 20 miles and is a scenic ride aboard vintage steam and diesel trains.

Starting in the popular coastal town of Minehead, the train winds its way through lush greenery, rolling hills and quaint villages, passing through stations like Watchet and Williton.

To take journey, you can catch the train from Minehead station – which is easily accessible by car or bus from Taunton.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the station (recommended to book in advance to secure tickets), with various options for single or return journeys.

Exeter to Newton Abbot along the Dawlish Sea Wall

A lovely drone image showcasing a steam train leading the way along the famous Dawlish Sea Wall.

Riding along the Dawlish sea wall is one of the most iconic railway journeys in South West England.

This section of the Great Western Railway boasts stunning coastal views as the train travels between Exeter and Newton Abbot.

The tracks run right along the edge of the sea, providing passengers with incredible sights of the waves crashing against the wall and the picturesque coastline.

To experience this journey, board a Great Western Railway service (the standard passenger train) from Exeter St Davids to Newton Abbot.

Trains run frequently, and the journey takes approximately 20 minutes.

Make sure to grab a window seat on the seaward side for the best views, especially during high tide when the sea is at its most dramatic!

St Erth to St Ives

View overlooking Carbis bay in Cornwall and the railway line from the St Ives Bay Line.

The St Erth to St Ives branch line is a short but spectacular ride through some of Cornwall’s most beautiful coast.

Starting at St Erth station, the train travels along the coast, boasting stunning views of sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and turquoise waters.

This journey is particularly popular in the summer when the scenery is at its most vibrant.

You can catch the train from St Erth – which is a major stop on the Cornish main line from London – it’s easily accessible from Penzance or Truro.

The journey to St Ives takes about 10 minutes, with frequent services running throughout the day.

As it’s the normal passenger line to St Ives, tickets are very affordable, and the views make this a must-do for anyone visiting this part of Cornwall.

Paignton to Kingswear

View of Goodrington Sands with beach huts

The journey from Paignton to Kingswear on the Dartmouth Steam Railway is a staggeringly beautiful trip along the stunning South Devon coast.

This 7-mile heritage line offers breathtaking sea views, lush woodlands and the River Dart estuary.

Starting in the lively seaside town of Paignton, the train winds through picturesque villages like Goodrington and Churston before reaching Kingswear, where you can take a ferry to Dartmouth.

To enjoy this scenic ride, board the train at Paignton station.

Tickets can be purchased online, with options for return journeys or a “Round Robin” which is a loop tour including a boat and steam train, along with bus transfers and a ferry across the Dart.

Read about my day on the Dartmouth Steam Railway here.

Liskeard to Looe

The picturesque coastal town of Looe Cornwall England UK Europe

The Liskeard to Looe branch line is a charming railway journey that meanders through the scenic Cornish countryside and along the beautiful Looe River.

This 8-mile route begins at Liskeard station, travelling through rolling hills and peaceful woodlands before arriving at the picturesque fishing village of Looe.

Enjoy glorious riverside views before arriving at the coast!

To take on this journey, catch the passenger train at Liskeard station, which is accessible from the main Cornish railway line.

The trip to Looe takes about 30 minutes.

Tickets are available at the station or on the GWR website or app.

The Avocet Line

View over Exe Estuary on a sunny day, with rolling hills in the background and river in the foreground

The Avocet Line is a pretty journey along the picturesque River Exe, connecting the historic city of Exeter with the buzzing seaside town of Exmouth.

This 11-mile route is known for its beautiful estuary views, abundant birdlife and tranquil waterscapes. It’s especially beautiful during sunset!

To take the Avocet Line, board the train at Exeter St Davids or Exeter Central. Trains run around every half hour, and the journey to Exmouth takes about 30 minutes.

Tickets are available at the station or on the GWR website or app.

The route is ideal for a relaxing day trip to the coast!

East Somerset Railway

The East Somerset Railway is a charming heritage railway through the idyllic Somerset countryside.

This short but wonderful route runs from Cranmore to Mendip Vale, with stunning views of rolling hills, lush meadows, and historic rural landscapes.

The railway features beautifully restored steam and diesel locomotives.

To enjoy this journey, visit Cranmore station, where you can purchase tickets and board the train.

The railway operates on selected days, often with special events and themed rides.

Check the East Somerset Railway’s website for schedules and ticket information.

This trip is perfect for families, railway enthusiasts, and anyone looking to experience a piece of Somerset’s rich history.

Falmouth to Truro

The Falmouth to Truro line, otherwise known as the Maritime Line, is a picturesque journey through Cornish countryside.

This 11-mile route starts at Falmouth Docks and travels inland to the historic city of Truro.

Along the way, the train passes through charming villages, scenic river views and rolling green landscapes.

To experience this journey, board the train at Falmouth Docks station.

The service is frequent, with trains running approximately every half hour during peak times.

The journey to Truro takes about 25 minutes.

Tickets can be purchased at the stations or on the GWR website or app.

What’s your favourite South West train journey?

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