Endlessly and Effortlessly Enjoying Britain by Rail
By: Ruth J. Katz (Style and Travel Editor / Promenade Magazine / New York City)
Just in time for an upcoming trip to London, BritRail has sent me, in my inbox, a missive touting a promotion on rail travel. How lucky am I? It’s not enough that I adore traveling on comfy and cozy BritRail, but now I can do more of it for less, getting one day’s travel free!
My last ten days of excursions on BritRail included, among other journeys, a lovely, restful sojourn from Manchester to Leeds. Resting my head against the window, with a simmering cuppa’ and biscuits—provided by my steward, and perched on my table—I was startled suddenly to see a huge “Hollywood” sign in bold, white letters, embedded in the side of knoll. WHAT? As I said to a friend, “Hooray for Holly wood!” The train was gliding by the sleepy village of Dewsbury and suddenly “Hollywood”? Well, it didn’t take long to do a little sleuthing and discover the origins of that charmingly incongruous sign: A local publican erected the big letters in an effort to coax tourists to his town, to encourage them to drop by and perhaps stop in for a pint. Well, the pub is long gone, but the sign remains…and that is just one wonderful, curious, intriguing thing that you see when you’re lolling through the countryside by train.
I’ve traveled extensively on BritRail on my many trips to the UK, although I have a great many more cities to tackle by train if I am to hit all 2,500 destinations that are reachable by coach—what with the company’s 19,000 daily departures! I wish I could do it all: I was fascinated by (and jealous of) Bill Bryson’s meanderings, recounted in Notes from a Small Island, as he hit the byways and walking paths of the U.K., using his trusty Ordnance Survey maps, trekking the length and breadth of Great Britain, relying on public transport for all but two hops. But, alas, I doubt I have enough lifetimes to do all of BritRail’s kilometers. Bryson recounted that there are 445,000 historical buildings, 12,000 medieval churches, and 190,000 kilometers of footpaths. And when you travel by rain, you can see so much of it, things that you’d never see on a highway or autobahn.
I have gone up to Scotland, west to Wales, down to Bath, north to the potteries, the Lake District, York, and more…. And each trip has netted me stunning pictures, new friends, and interesting experiences. And to be able to do it all for a reasonable sum is a real boon…and now, to do it all for less than is the regular tariff, is even better: Now through April 15th, BritRail is on sale! I always recommend to my readers buying passes here in the States first, as there are many different types of passes you can purchase here that represent a big savings, so it is worthwhile to pay attention, which is why I took the time to read about this latest promotion, you receive a free day of travel on the most popular passes: The BritRail FlexiPass, BritRail Consecutive Pass, BritRail England FlexiPass and BritRail England Consecutive Pass, in either First Class or Standard Class—and I gotta’ say, if you can go First Class, do it. And do ask whether the free day of travel can be combined with other discounts. www.acprail.com; 1 866 938 RAIL And fortunate moi, I will be in the U.K. in two days…with BritRail pass in hand.