When it comes to international family travel, there may be no better starting point than
A journey through the
Much of the appeal of the
Consider literary characters and personalities, imagined and real, that pass through our minds as voices personified in a panoramic parade of poetry and prose: Macbeth and Lear and Hamlet; Tom Jones and Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle; Oliver Twist and Ebenezer Scrooge and Phileas Phogg.
There is an aura of mystery and suspense as well. Stonehenge, the Tower of London and the Loch Ness Monster; Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde appear out of the mists.
Kings and queens have their own special allure in this land with its stories of King Arthurs’s knights, Henry VIII, Victoria and Elizabeth and today’s royal family.
Truly this is a land for all seasons, enveloped by the richness of its history — and trains are the ideal links to those legacies. British rails connect us to a cavalcade of culture familiar to us all.
In many ways, the roots of our American spirit can be traced to the glories of the British past, and trains are pathways that lead us through the tunnels of time to new moments of discovery.
They take us to the birthplace of golf past neat fields, through a sea of vivid green tumbling landscapes that one writer said creates a sense of being at the “midpoint of creation.”
Trains pass by, and travel to, walled towns and haunting ruins. There is a medieval quality to it all; an ancientness enhanced by a kaleidoscope of colors amid heather carpeted hills and echoes of untamed vistas.
They reveal castles, estates and stately mansions, which are monuments to the works of man and are as engrossing in their own way as works of nature.
British trains come to rest where the Romans once bathed in natural spring waters. Where cobblestone streets are squeezed into narrow alleyways beneath half-timbered houses. Where distant pastures can be seen through empty archways or as British journalist and writer H.V. Morton noted, “Where every meadow has a valet.”
For families, this is the way they wish it to be, and this is the way it is when they travel by train.
Taste the traditions with a full English breakfast. Have tea with Devonshire cream and scones. Try fresh fish chips or perhaps enjoy a pint of ale with locals in a country pub.
Meander through the countryside where sheepdogs bark in the distance and hedgerows and rock walls give order to things.
Diversity creates the character of
All are within easy reach, yet still close enough to have you back in
Prices for point to point tickets and passes vary according to distance, time of day, level of service and, even, a traveler’s age. Rail
For visitor information about the
British trains do, indeed, tell tales of “once upon a time.” As someone once wrote, “the past is no ghost at this banquet, rather it sits at the head of the table.”
For American family travelers, our links to
Listen to the rails of
About the Author: Peabod is Bob Taylor a veteran travel writer for more than three decades. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
Read more of Travels with Peabod and Bob Taylor at The
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