Trains in hidden valleys, scenic bus routes, fun ferry rides … many journeys are better by public transport. Kevin Rushby plots exciting itineraries for the carefree and car-free.
With a car, most of these amazing journeys are impossible or prohibitively expensive. Most of these 10 routes could be done in a day or with a single overnight, but ideally you will spread them over a weekend, using the opportunity to hike over a mountain, laze by a lake or build a sandcastle. All routes only use public transport or scheduled services on heritage railways.
Break for the border
Start/end Shrewsbury station
Minimum One day
Potential stopovers Shrewsbury, Machynlleth, Aberdovey, Barmouth and Bala
Weekend Friday night in Shrewsbury, Saturday Aberdovey or Barmouth for sandy beaches
Cost £25.70 (without rail extras)
This fabulous odyssey through deepest Wales offers lots of jumping-off possibilities and alternatives. From Shrewsbury, get on the correct part of the train for Barmouth (it divides at Dovey Junction).
The line gets more and more scenic. Machynlleth would make a nice stop, with its cafes and Centre for Alternative Technology. From there the line follows the wonderful Dyfi estuary, passing through Aberdovey (possible overnight, with a great beach), then turns north up the coast.
Railway lovers will want to stop at Tywyn for an excursion on the oldest heritage railway in the world, the Talyllyn, which takes 2½ hours and offers great views of Cadair Idris with its tarns.
There is a second lovely alternative just before the Mawddach estuary: get off at Fairbourne and then walk – or take another steam train, the Fairbourne Railway – to the tiny ferry across to Barmouth. You are in good company: Shelley, Wordsworth, Darwin and Gladstone all travelled this way.
The nearby railway bridge also has a footway. Once in Barmouth (a good overnight) catch the T3 bus via Dolgellau, another great stopping point, to Bala, where there’s another little railway experience: the Bala Lake Railway to Bala, where you can rejoin the T3 to Ruabon.
This route is steeped in Owain Glyndwr history: Corwen, for example, is where he raised his banner of rebellion in 1400. The church is well worth a scout round.
At Ruabon, you could take a train back to Shrewsbury, but there is one last wonderful diversion, the Pontcysyllte aqueduct, where the Llangollen canal crosses the River Dee – a remarkable Georgian engineering feat. Jones the Boats does trips across by canal boat (five a day, £4 one way), but you can just walk across on the towpath.
Read more of this article here: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/may/18/10-classic-uk-trips-public-transport-train-bus-ferry?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other