Days out by rail: Five branch line specials
Why not let the train take the strain and enjoy a day out by rail? Cornwall has five scenic branch lines with amazing views of the coast and country to enjoy, with towns and walks to explore before heading back.
Liskeard is a busy and lively traditional Cornish market town. The town centre is a 10 minute walk from the station and has a selection of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs. Catch the scenic branch line to Looe and enjoy fantastic estuary views from the train (Watch Video). Looe station is just a 5 minute walk from the town centre and 10 minutes from the beach and the iconic Banjo Pier. The Looe Valley Line gives access to some fantastic walking routes, including the South West Coast Path to Polperro.
Departing from the main line at Par, the Atlantic Coast Line climbs through the beautiful wooded Luxulyan Valley and over Goss Moor, with distant views of the white lunar landscape of the Cornish China Clay industry. Enjoy the coastal resort of Newquay, acknowledged as one of the finest stretches of coastline in Europe, with its wonderful sandy beaches, shops, cafes and high Atlantic waves. Newquay station is in the centre of town and within easy reach of many places to visit such as the beautiful Trenance Gardens, Newquay Zoo and Blue Reef Aquarium.
Truro to Falmouth - the Maritime Line
Cornwall's only city, Truro is an interesting place to explore with a mixture of shops and splendid Georgian architecture. The Cathedral takes centre stage and a visit to the Royal Cornwall Museum is well worth it. Head to Falmouth for excellent beaches, sub-tropical gardens, shopping and magnificent natural harbour. The town's maritime past is celebrated in The National Maritime Museum Cornwall, located just a two minute walk from Falmouth Town station, and you can also take a boat trip out to sea or up river. Pendennis Castle, guarding the harbour since Henry VIIIs time is a must visit destination as is St Mawes Castle, a ferry ride away across the mouth of the harbour.
Quite possibly the most scenic branch line in Britain, it's the best way to arrive in St Ives, an artists mecca with lots of galleries including Tate St Ives. Join the branch line from the main line station at St Erth, or use the Park and Ride facilities (Currently at Lelant Saltings, these will soon open at St Erth). The line sweeps alongside the golden sands of Hayle Towans, through Carbis Bay and onto St Ives with panoramic vistas of craggy cliffs and the colourful harbour. Explore the little lanes and streets that criss-cross through St Ives on foot, visiting its many shops, galleries, pubs and restaurants before emerging onto Porthminster beach, playground of some of the countrys best surfers.
This lovely country branch line departs from Plymouth's main station and heads towards the magnificent River Tamar. taking in views of the Royal Naval Dockyard and Brunel's famous Royal Albert Bridge. It then snakes its way up river, stopping at little stations hidden away in soft green countryside. The line crosses the splendid Calstock viaduct (Watch Video) into Cornwall and then climbs towards Gunnislake, where remnants of the area's industrial past are now part of Cornwall's World Heritage, together with glimpses of orchards still cultivated by market gardeners. The scenic views and landscapes of the Tamar Valley make a trip on the line an experience in its own right.
Walks from the Railway
Cornwall's branch lines offer some great ways to explore the countryside. Why not put on your walking boots and try some of the walks from stations along the line? More Info here.
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