ONE of my favourite places to visit in the UK is Edinburgh, but it’s not entirely because of what the city has to offer.
Sure, there are pubs, restaurants and places I fondly return to every time I visit, but for me, the journey there is almost as enjoyable as the destination itself.
The route along the east coast is, in my opinion, one of the best train journeys in the country, with several landmarks, castles and views out to sea all passing by out the window.
There’s so much to see, depending on where you start your journey, with the sights adding some extra value into the often-reasonable ticket price.
For me the best stretch is from Durham to Edinburgh, although the line runs all the way from London Kings Cross, with bucolic views and landmarks like Alexandra Palace adding to the journey further south.
However, as it makes its way north of Darlington, the line really begins to show off.
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The window seats on the right of the train, facing out to the east, are the prime positions to enjoy the views, with the west-facing seats not treated to anywhere near as many highlights.
First on the list is Durham Cathedral, which towers over the city beneath it.
The train station also sits high on a hill opposite the cathedral, meaning passengers are able to enjoy an unobstructed view of it as they head north towards Scotland.
Next on the itinerary is Newcastle, after passing the Angel of the North, where the river Tyne has to be crossed before the station can be reached.
The King Edward VII Railway Bridge is one of seven bridges that span across the river, with the more famous Tyne and Millennium bridges part of a stunning view across the quayside.
The Baltic Flour Mill art gallery and Sage concert hall are also included in the vista.
From Newcastle the tracks rolls up through Northumberland, with both Cramlington and Morpeth passed by.
After there, fields and housing estates begin to merge into breathtaking landscapes and seaside panoramas.
Lindisfarne castle and holy island can be spotted, again out to the east, while the quaint coastal town of Alnmouth offers yet another engaging glimpse for window seat passengers.
The remote Northumbrian town of Berwick-Upon-Tweed can be seen next, with the train entering town via the famous Royal Border Bridge.
The views from on top of the 121ft high Grade I listed Victorian viaduct are of both the town and the blue waters of the Tweed estuary, which flows out into the north sea.
There’s still the best of an hour of journey left between Berwick and Edinburgh and a lot of it is from high up on cliffs that also face out eastwards towards the ocean, as the train passes the England/Scotland border.
On warm summer days, the light of the sun dances playfully on the deep blue waves, while the location is also prone to more dramatic displays of nature, with wet and windy weather not uncommon.
It’s probably my favourite stretch of the journey and I like nothing more than staring out at the calming sea views, watching the world pass by, with my headphones in and a meal deal on my tray table.
Further Victorian architecture can be seen once the train finally reaches its destination at Edinburgh Waverley station, where the journey comes to its end and my trip to the city begins.
It’s the perfect way to start a city break in Scotland and it’s great to know that the same views are waiting for me on the journey back home once my holiday is over.
It’s the main reason I always prefer a train journey over a road trip, if possible.
After all, who wants to spend hour after hour concentrating on the road in front, when you can let someone else do the work while you sit back and enjoy the views?
Meanwhile, this unique autumn train journey has both light displays and a live DJ set.
And you can ride a London tube train with sea views on this British island.
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