Perfect day trips to take by train this summer

An image of three women at a train station
by Limara Salt
22 August 2023

Have an empty weekend you want to fill with sightseeing, shopping, and soaking up summer?  A long-haul flight isn’t the only way to get away – in fact, there’s loads to explore right here in Britain, just a train ride away.  

Even better, when you book your journey with Virgin Trains Ticketing you can earn three points per £1 as a member of Virgin Red and unlock amazing discounts from as little as 100 Virgin Points. Virgin Trains Ticketing are all about giving you rewards and saving you money so there are absolutely no booking fees and split ticketing – as well as giving you a chance to win one million points with every booking!*    

An animation showing someone rushing for a train

Book with Virgin Trains Ticketing

Now you know how to earn Virgin Points with a trip, the next thing to do is to decide where to go. Need help choosing? No problem – check out some perfect day trips to take by train this summer.  

Go big in Brighton 

With the quickest train from London arriving in under an hour, it’s no surprise that Brighton is a popular destination for a quick jaunt to the coast. While visiting the seaside town, walk on the seafront to the oldest electric railway in the world, Volk’s Electric Railway, eat some chips on Brighton Palace Pier, and put your teeth to the test with a stick of Brighton rock.  

An image of Brighton Pier

Away from the beach Brighton has plenty to do, including nightclubs, open mic nights and one of Britain’s oldest cinemas, the Duke of York’s Picturehouse, where you can use your Virgin Points to book a ticket. Make sure to stop by one the local cafes for a snack and check out the amazing array of vintage clothes shops and markets around town.  

Explore historic York 

Halfway between London and Edinburgh lies the city of York – famous for medieval walls, the Snickelways, and York Minster, one of the oldest cathedrals of its kind in Northern Europe.  

An image of York

Explore the origins of the city in York Castle Museum and Yorkshire Museum, take in some culture at York Art Gallery, and discover the history of chocolate-making in the city in York’s Chocolate Story. Venture through the narrow streets for shopping and food before heading to the riverside for a boat trip down The Ouse river.  

A direct train to York is just 45 minutes from Sheffield and two hours from London, while the trip from Doncaster is less than half an hour. 

Make the trip to Cambridge 

There is more to Cambridge than the university – and with direct trains from Stevenage, Peterborough and the 45 minute ‘Cambridge Cruiser’ from London’s Kings Cross, it’s never been easier to get there.  

An image of a river in Cambridge

Green-fingered guests should visit the Botanic Gardens to take in 40 acres of gorgeously green mazes, while keen shoppers should stop by Mill Road for cool independent shops. Whatever you do, try to take it in on two wheels, as Cambridge is a great place to cycle on a sunny day. 

Spend a day in the Scottish capital 

Edinburgh is always an option for a great way to spend a day, and it’s not as far as you think with train journeys from Sunderland (under two hours), Newcastle (under 90 minutes), and Bolton (under three hours) all available direct.   

An image of Victoria Street in Edinburgh, Scotland

Summer is a great time to go as the Edinburgh Film Festival (18 to 24 August) has events and free outdoor screenings, while The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs throughout August with shows catering to every taste, whether you’re looking for comedy, dance, music, theatre, circus or something completely different. And if one day just isn’t enough, you can always book a stay in Virgin Hotels Edinburgh.  

Last but not least, London 

If you’re eager for a bit of everything, London is reachable from most parts of the country, and once you get there, ‘The Big Smoke’ is your oyster. London has history, culture, fashion, and so much more, especially in the summer when local festivals, food markets and pop-up shopping events spring up in every borough of the city. 

An image of the River Thames with the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament in view.

As well as classic tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace and The Tower of London, first timers should aim to catch a West End show, take in the views from the London Eye, have a dip in one of the city’s 17 lidos before a shop in Selfridges – or do it all for a whirlwind day you won’t soon forget.  

Wherever you go this summer, book with Virgin Trains Ticketing for more ways to earn Virgin Points.  

Not a member of Virgin Red yet? Sign up now to unlock more amazing rewards.  

Terms and Conditions   

*Full terms and conditions apply. Please see here the key terms and conditions:   

Prize draw promotion runs until 23:59 on 27.08.23. 18+ UK resident only. Virgin Red membership required. For full T&Cs visit Promoter: Virgin Red Limited, 66 Porchester Road, London W2 6ET   

The Virgin Red Programme terms and conditions apply to the use of Virgin Points.   

Purchase of rail tickets is governed by the VTT Terms and Conditions.   

All train ticket bookings will be governed by the National Rail Conditions of Travel.