A journey through the hidden beauties of the Russian and Mongolian countryside, witness the harsh lives of smugglers and vagrants, taste simple cuisine, listen to stories around you from the rich and poor alike, yet create your own tale as you travel through a compelling experience.
While most people opt for the Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Beijing, traveling east to west on the lesser known The Baikal-Amur Mainline or BAM route takes you through some of the least visited towns in the world. The lack of foreign visitors means you are treated like a 'celebrity' by your carriage companions who want to hear all about daily life in your country. This trainline passes through Severobaikalsk at the Northern tip of the magnificent Lake Baikal. A fascinating and unique trip.
With Ryanair setting up a new base in Kaunas, this is very much the cheapest way of getting to Vilnius.
Vilnius is only 1.5 - 2 hours away from Kaunas by train and costs about £4 each way.
Having said that Kaunas is worth a visit itself for it's old town and Nazi era 9th Fort concentration camp.
English language website for train times can be found at www.litrail.lt though they do tend to change train times frequently.
Voted number 12 on the list of the 50 greatest railway journeys in the world, the Great Central Railway is the UK's only double track, main line heritage railway. It runs between Loughborough, Quorn, Rothley, Leicester North (Birstall) stations.
A brilliant day out, and each station is restored to reflect a different period. A good place to stop off for lunch is the the Manor House pub in Quorn (right by the station entrance).
For a scenic canal walk the Caldon canal from Froghall to Cheddleton is hard to beat. Following the river Churnet through a charming valley, hidden and heavily wooded but with an industrial heritage.
The Black Lion at Consall is a great place for a stop on a sunny afternoon with the added bonus of steam trains passing by at weekends.
Take a trip up Mount Washington in New Hampshire's White Mountains, it's the highest peak in the American Northeast. The cog railway to the top was built in 1868 and is still going strong today.
You can walk up the mountain too, but take advice and be very careful – it's famous for dangerously erratic weather.
Apart from a very steep and winding road, the two villages are connected by a funicular from where you can enjoy spectacular views over the bay and surrounding hills. My recommendation is to leave the car in Lynton's car park, which is bigger than Lynmouth's, then enjoy the descent down the cliff-side while having your breath taken away.
An often criminally overlooked asset to the city. The line links Bristol Temple Meads, in the centre of the city, to Severn Beach from where the Severn Bridges and South Wales are clearly visible. The scheduling is sadly erratic but it provides a superb link between east and west Bristol. It's worth travelling to the end of the line as it snakes up the Avon valley providing some beautiful views. Once at the Severn estuary there are some excellent walks.
Stops at Bristol Temple Meads, Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road, Montpelier, Redland, Clifton Down, Sea Mills, Shirehampton, Severn Beach;
Bookings and timetable: www.thetrainline.com;
Corfe Castle is a story-book medieval ruin, set on a hillock above a village on Dorset's Isle of Purbeck - not, in fact, an island, but a peninsular. You could easily spend a couple of hours in the castle and its surroundings, but if the children have enough energy afterwards, you could combine it with a walk over Ballard Down to Swanage (about 5 miles, so take snacks to keep them going). While you wouldn't describe this seaside town as sleepy - chip shops on every corner - there's still something wonderfully old-fashioned about the place, epitomised by the steam railway, which runs up and down the coast, and will get you back to Corfe Castle in about 15 minutes.
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