[caption id="FiveCathedralCitiesbyTrain_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Waverley Station sits right in the heart of Edinburgh, between the Old and New Towns.[/caption]
Tales of smugglers and abandoned tin mines, wind-swept heaths and great country gardens, fishing villages and ancient harbors: the panorama is breathtaking in England’s far West Country. The beautiful old counties of Cornwall and Devon have a landscape and a culture all their own, full of history and art, dramatic scenery and old world hospitality.
Here is a bright and diverse regional discovery, showcasing the Garden of England and East Sussex. Along the way, you’ll meet Charles Dickens, Canterbury pilgrims, Rudyard Kipling and William the Conqueror. Cottage gardens and shingle beaches, orchards, oast houses and white chalk cliffs: This corner of England is a microcosm of the English heritage of commoner and king.
The rich ecosystems of England’s landscape are varied and beautiful. In the lush estuaries along the British coast, the marshes, river banks and reed beds provide fertile haven for an astonishing range of wildlife. Conservationists have created an environment that both encourages visitors and preserves the habitat of more than 200 varieties of wetland birds: Reed Buntings, Barnacle Geese, Redshanks and Water Rails.
Perhaps no two writers are more typically English than the well-loved novelists Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. Like bookends on an age, Austen and Hardy demarcate the Victorian era, pointing back to whence it came and forward to our modern world. Here is an easy itinerary that brings the authors to life.
Last year was the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth in the port city of Portsmouth. The commemorative birthday of Victorian England’s beloved novelist inspires this ramble about the part of England Dickens called home. You can trace the footsteps of the novelist in as much detail as you like, but there is plenty more to see in northern Kent.
No matter how enticing our Road Trips may be, some folks would rather not drive in Britain. Here is a smashing, flexible itinerary through the Heart of England by rail. It’s most efficiently done by Britrail Pass: www.britrail.com. The planning can accomplished at www.nationalrail.co.uk. Sit back and let our green and pleasant land glide past.
It’s the BEST of town and country on this accessible ramble west to England’s most popular inland resort and up along the escarpment of the picturesque Cotswold Hills. Jane Austen meets the Romans on this easy road trip.
It’s the land of A.E. Housman and Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael, Offa’s Dyke and Wordsworth’s poetry. In the deepest heart of Britain lies the timeless beauty and palpable history of the border country, called “The Marches,” the broad boundary melding Anglo Saxon England with the Celtic principality of Wales. There are several routes, but this one’s a beauty.
You don’t have to travel great distances from London to experience the diversity of England. It’s all right here in the Thames Valley and in the Chiltern Hills rising to the river’s north.
America’s colonial history begins on the broad fens and plains of East Anglia and Lincolnshire. In the early 17th century, men and women who sought freedom of worship apart from the established church made their way to New England. Here is a colorful and diverse itinerary in the footsteps of such colonial founders as John Cotton, John Winthrop, Thomas Hooker, Anne Hutchinson, Thomas Paine,William Bradford, William Brewster and John Mason.
Would you like to take a great railway journey through Britain? Here’s a way to maximize those Britrail Pass miles on a week’s itinerary. It’s all aboard for Scotland! From the fens of Lincolnshire, along the North Sea coast and through the Grampian mountains and Western Highlands of Scotland when the heather is in bloom: the vistas are marvelous. From the bustle and grandeur of London to the pristine panoramas of the Scottish highlands, the varied landscapes of Britain unfold before us from the comfort of our train.
The deep greens of well-watered countryside, abandoned coalmines, ancient castles and the singing of male voice choirs: There is indeed something magical about the valleys of Wales. Here is a one-of-a-kind itinerary in south Wales’most famous valleys. Two millennium of history have left their imprint on a fascinating landscape of river valleys, moors, mines and dark forest.
This is the land of Roman occupation and Viking invasion. Castles and cathedrals, barren hillsides dotted with sheep, abbey ruins and friendly country pubs: from Yorkshire to Cumbria, England’s North Country is rich with enchanting lore and dramatic scenery.
This panorama of the Celtic principality is a road less traveled, but a wonderful introduction to the land and people of Wales. Once again, set a pace that is comfortable rather than trying to see everything.