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One Month Touring the UK by Train

Oxford • • Cotswolds • • Cardiff • • Birmingham • • Liverpool • • Manchester • • Glasgow
Newcastle • • Durham • • Leeds • • Norwich • • Cambridge • • Canterbury • • London

This is an ambitious itinerary designed for the traveler who wants to venture beyond the main UK sights, which we describe elsewhere in our 2-week itinerary. This is an specialized trip for those travelers who have already been to the main cities of London, Bath, York and Edinburgh, and now want to see something different. Here we provide one good example of how to do it by train, visiting the other main cities of the UK.

Click for our detailed pages about each of these cities.


Oxford offers more than just scholarly pursuits; it's got many museums, and much more, including lots of pubs!


Day trips from Oxford to the nearby Cotswolds are a great way to see those charming villages with a guide.


Stroll through the Victorian arcades where independent shops spill onto the lanes.


This energetic city is England's second-largest, offering a delightful mix of old and new.


Liverpool pulses with the spirit of four lads who changed the world.


Its past as the birthplace of the industrial revolution intertwines with modern dynamism.


This gem in England's northwest presents a rich tapestry of history and natural beauty


This energetic city pulsates with a blend of gritty heritage and vibrant artistic spirit.


Once the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, it beckons travelers with a promise of adventure.


Easy daytrip from Newcastle, the Norman cathedral is among the world's finest.


The unofficial capital of Yorkshire is a city that thrives on old and new.


Famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture, industrial past and contemporary vibrancy.


Beyond the iconic colleges, Cambridge offers a treasure trove of delights, museums, pubs and shops.


It boasts a captivating blend of medieval architecture, serene gardens, and cultural landmarks.


We are only staying the final night here, having been to London so many times, but have suggestions for 3 days.

There is a google map for each city in the website that is loaded with information about places, restaurants and hotels. These maps can be opened in your phone or ipad to help you navigate while touring each place. It is very useful to have this information while walking around so you know where to go! Each map is public and can be easily viewed, and you can also download the map information to your own google map, just search google for how to do it, easy. That way, when you arrive in a place, you can know exactly where you are and what to look for. Each map can be viewd full screen, and has a menu you can click in the upper left which lists all the sights. This is a revolution in travel.

There is so much to see in this wonderful country beyond the major cities of a standard two-week tour, but it can be a logistical challenge to get around on your own. Our suggested route is for the independent traveler who wants to stay several days in each of these cities, and make their own decisions about what to do, which hotel to choose, where to eat, which daytrips to choose, and enjoy some free time. Traveling by train makes it all possible in a relaxed, efficient way to get around.

Take the Train

Getting around by train and taking various mini-coach one day tours is the best of both worlds: comfortable travel while making your own choices of destinations and activities. Of course we do not claim this is THE BEST tour, because each traveler has different interests, but we can assure you this is an efficient route, covering many excellent destinations. But train travel can be challenging, with several different rail companies providing service, and so many destinations to pick from!

Train travel to a lot of cities can be easily done with proper preparation and enough time. But you will generally be on your own, without a guide lecturing to you throughout the visit, or tour bus bringing you to various attractions. You can more than make up for this by planning your own itinerary with careful research, and joining various walking tours and daytrips along the way.

Feel free to pick and choose among these options for your own trip, or take the entire ride if you dare! It will be a rewarding and efficient experience. This is not a package tour we are selling, but self-guided, so you are on your own, with help from our suggestions and links we provide. Our website never gains financially from any of the links or suggestions, which are presented purely for you own benefit.

Of course you are welcome to examine this itinerary then pick and choose for yourself if you want a shorter route, or other destinations. This can be a starting point for your own planning.

This list shows number of nights ( ), and train journey length in hours (h) and minutes (m).


Heathrow to Oxford, 1h         

Oxford (4)

two daytrips to the Cotswolds

Oxford to Cardiff  2h2m

Cardiff (2)

daytrip to West Wales

Cardiff to Birmingham  2h

Birmingham (2)

daytrip Coventry  23m 

Birmingham to Liverpool  1h45m

Liverpool (3)

daytrip to North Wales

Liverpool to Manchester 36m

Manchester (3)

daytrip to Peak District

Manchester to Lancaster 1h12m

Lancaster (1)

Lancaster to Glasgow  2h6m

Glasgow (2)

Glasgow to Newcastle  2h39m

Newcastle (2)

daytrip to Durham 12m

Newcastle to Leeds  1h24m

Leeds (2)

daytrip to Harrogate & Knaresborough 44m

Leeds to Norwich  3h26m

Norwich (2)

Norwich to Cambridge 1h18m

Cambridge (3)

Cambridge to Canterbury 2h40m

Canterbury (2)

daytrip to Dover Castle

Canterbury to London  55m

London (1)

Alternative ways to get around

The two main ways that visitors generally tour the UK are on a bus tour or renting a car, and there are cruises that circle the island as well. Some problems with going on a bus tour or cruise are that you are usually in a place for a day or less, not an in-depth experience, and there are comfort issues sitting on a bus, which can hold up to 50 passengers. For those who don't care about an in-depth visit and want an “easy" trip with everything taken care of, a bus tour or cruise can be a reasonbale option.

Renting a car is another popular strategy, offering complete flexibility, and for those mostly interested in small towns and villages, it might be the best option. However, Brits drive on the left side of the road, and driving always requires some effort, plus you have to pay for parking in the cities, often outside the center. Here we provide many suggestions on how to do it by train, and where to go.

Train Advantages

Our approach is different, taking advantage of the extensive UK train network, and then joining attractive daytours to reach smaller destinations not well-served by train.  This is an in-depth approach where you can stay about three nights for each main place, and two nights in each smaller destination. An extended train tour is also ecological travel: (1) a long tour means one round-trip air journey will suffice, rather than twice as many flights it you broke it in two tours. (2) train travel is affordable and conserves fuel. (3) mini-coach daytrips efficiently carry 16 people on short routes. (4) walking is the main way we suggest seeing the sights. (5) you are dealing directly with local businesses rather than with an international travel company.

The trip makes a big circle around the UK, starting from from Oxford then taking the long route, ending in London. Upon landing at Heathrow there is a direct one-hour bus service to Oxford, a beautiful city, close to the Cotswolds for daytrips, which is a more peaceful way to begin than diving straight into London. Each city has a link to their official Tourist Information Website, and the UK official site is here. Train schedules and helpful tips about rail passes and ticketing are found in the official National Rail website, and at ACPRail, which is a good place to search for train itineraries and purchase tickets and rail passes.

Yes, this is a big, exciting journey, visiting 14 cities during the month!


These books have been helpful in creating the website, along with the information from the various Tourist Information websites found on each page.

DK Eyewitness Great Britain

England Lonely Planet

Fodor's Essential Great Britain

Frommer's England and Scotland

Good Beer Guide

Insight Guides England

Rick Steves Best of England

Rick Steves Great Britain

Cambridgeshire & The Fens-Bradt Travel Guides

Norwich, by Lucy Johnson

A Note About Google My Maps

Be sure to look at the intertactive map higher on the page, made with Google My Map, which has a sidebar containing information about each place. Every webpage for this itinerary has a similar map about each city. The maps contain a lot of information with descriptions and links for each sight you can open by clicking symbols on the map or in the sidebar. If you are going to these places you can have the map for free by downloading the map information as a kml file: click the square in top-right to open it full screen, then click the 3 white dots, and select download kml file.

It is also easy to create new Google My Maps for your own travel destinations, whcih you will find extremely helpful for navigating to sights in each place while walking around. Create your own Google My Map account, start a new map, and start loading information about sights, shops and restaurants you will visit.

The advantage over plain Google maps is that with My Maps you can store a lot of information and links in the sidebar menu. As you walk around in a place with your internet-connect moibile device, you will see a dot on the map showing where you are. This is a great way to not get lost, and find all of the interesting places on your list. You can learn more about how to make these maps at this Google link. Many other pages on this website have similar Google My Maps.

Four-week itinerary