Travelling during the cooler months brings the senses alive as journeys into nature help calm the mind and cleanse the soul. As we start to pull from winter, the transitional season continues to offer quieter and more peaceful surroundings so ‘nature-bathers’ can immerse themselves in solitude across rural retreats around Britain. What’s more, getting there by train, with the help of a Railcard means sanctuary-seekers can make great savings on their journey whilst also taking advantage of lower “out of season” accommodation costs.
Now is a great time to take advantage of the “More travel for less” offer. With Railcards, you can receive a 1/3 discount on adult fares for annual travel. There are several options to choose from, including the Family & Friends Railcard, which offers a 60% discount for accompanying children, as well as the Two Together, Senior, Veteran, and 16–30-year-old Railcards. The annual cost for these Railcards is £30, except for the Disabled Person’s card, which is £20. By investing in a Railcard, you can enjoy a year filled with reduced rail fares.
Nature bathing or “Shinrin-yoku” as it is known in Japan, is based on ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices. It allows nature into the body through the five senses and includes benefits such as reduced blood pressure, lower stress and anxiety levels and a boost to the immune system and mood.
Don’t wait any longer, get your Railcard now and start planning your next trip. You could take a crisp early spring walk along the coast, capture the sound of rippling waves, or gaze at starry skies from a National Park. Feel the wind blowing away cobwebs and savour the season as you indulge in nature.
Cool coastal walks
With most British towns located within 70 miles of the sea, escaping to the coast for a walk in the cooler weather is within easy reach. Almost 1,000 stations on the National Rail network are classed as coastal, so grab the wellies and wrap up for stunning scenic walks where land meets the sea. Visit the National Trust to find out more about walks in your area.
Northeast of England, Saltburn to Warsett Hill
Embark on a 4.5-mile walking trail along the breathtaking Yorkshire Coast and immerse yourself in a world of art, history, and natural beauty. This trail offers the opportunity to admire stunning sculptures and soak up the seaside atmosphere, while also taking in the wild flora and fauna of the region. Additionally, you’ll have the chance to explore historic sites that depict the area’s ironstone mining past.
- Nearest station: Saltburn
- Example train fares: Newcastle to Saltburn – £25.60 Anytime Return, £16.90 with 1/3 off Railcard saving
Northwest of England, Whitehaven Coastal Walk
Take a 7-mile trek towards Wainwright’s famed Coast-to-Coast path and be treated to a wealth of natural beauty. Explore the stunningly secluded beaches and take in the dramatic views from the clifftops along the way. As you journey towards your destination, you’ll also come across a charming 17th-century harbour that provides a glimpse into the area’s rich history. So pack your hiking boots and prepare for a day of adventure and breathtaking scenery.
- Nearest station: Whitehaven
- Example train fare: Carlisle to Whitehaven – £12.00 Off Peak Return, £7.92 with 1/3 off Railcard saving
Southeast of England, East Head and Ellanore Circular Walk
Take a leisurely 4-mile stroll through the picturesque Chichester harbour and the quaint West Wittering village. As you follow the coastal path, you’ll have the opportunity to stop off at charming pubs that dot the route, providing a perfect opportunity to relax and refuel. The stunning scenery along the way includes serene water views and idyllic village scenes. So grab your walking shoes, take your time, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.
- Nearest station: Chichester
- Example train fare: London Bridge to Chichester – £36.50 Off Peak Return, £24.09 with 1/3 off Railcard saving
Southwest of England, Brownstone to Froward Point Circular walk
Experience the beauty of the stunning three-mile stretch of coastline, featuring breathtaking scenery that includes hidden coves waiting to be explored. This area is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts, offering spectacular views that will leave you in awe. Take your time to explore and soak up the natural beauty that this incredible coastal region has to offer.
- Nearest station: Paignton
- Example train fare: Bristol Temple Meads to Paignton- £46.80 Off Peak Return, £30.88 with 1/3 off Railcard saving
Cool starry sky gazing
National Parks are great places to stargaze, free of the lights of the city and with 15 parks to choose from, there is never one too far away. The Lake District, New Forest, South Downs, The Broads, Yorkshire Dales, Dartmoor, North Yorkshire Moors, Peak District, and Northumberland all offer National Park adventures from a direct rail link. With world-class landscapes on display both day and night, book in for a restful retreat at one of the many accommodations offered by the Youth Hostel Association.
Northeast of England, Northumberland National Park
Experience the magic of Europe’s largest area of the protected night sky at Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park, where you can gaze up at a stunning 1,483 square meters of twinkling stars. This park has been awarded a gold tier designation by the International Dark Sky Association and offers the chance to see amazing celestial sights, including the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy, which are almost 2.5 million light years away. Immerse yourself in the natural wonder of the night sky and discover the incredible beauty that lies above us.
- Nearest station: Hexham, Haydon Bridge, Bardon Mill
- Example train fare: Carlisle to Hexham – £16.70 Return, £11.02 with 1/3 off Railcard saving
Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast
For a spectacular view of the night sky, visit Martin’s Haven and take in the breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views. The National Trust has partnered with Pembrokeshire’s National Park Authority to create a map of Dark Sky Discovery sites, ensuring that visitors can fully appreciate the stunning nighttime scenery. Whether you’re an avid stargazer or just looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, Martin’s Haven is the perfect destination for exploring the wonders of the night sky. So, pack a blanket, sit back, and let the natural beauty of the starry sky transport you to another world.
- Nearest station: Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire
- Example train fare: Cardiff Central to Milford Haven – £33.80 return, £22.31 with 1/3 off Railcard saving
Southeast of England, South Downs National Park
Embark on a celestial adventure during your visit to Hampshire, one of the few destinations in the world that offer access to an International Dark Sky Reserve. The Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium is a must-visit attraction that will prepare you for an unforgettable night of stargazing. After your visit, head to one of Hampshire’s spectacular locations, such as Old Winchester Hill, Iping Common, or DD, to witness the majesty of the night sky. Don’t miss the chance to experience the beauty of the stars in a location that is unparalleled in its natural wonder.
- Nearest station: Petersfield
- Example train fare: London Waterloo to Petersfield £30.90 Advance Return, £20.39 with 1/3 off Railcard saving
Travelling during cooler months provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in rural Britain’s natural beauty. With Railcards, travellers can save on rail fares and take advantage of lower accommodation costs. Nature bathing allows the body to absorb nature’s benefits through the senses. Enjoy stunning coastal walks and incredible starry skies in National Parks, and experience the restorative power of nature. Get your walking shoes and blanket ready to explore the beauty of rural Britain.