Birmingham to Stratford-upon Avon, Midlands
Starting in Britain’s second city, the buzzing metropolis of Birmingham, and finishing in Shakespeare’s birthplace, this journey is known as the Shakespeare Express – England’s only regular main-line, steamhauled excursion, a service that’s only in operation on summer Sundays. The journey itself is possible on modern trains but it’s worth timing your visit for the summer to experience the distinctive jogging rhythm exclusive to steam trains, and to take advantage of the afternoon tea or four-course dinner served on board, as you whistle through beautiful landscapes.
The open countryside outside Birmingham is delightful. Passing through Henley-in-Arden and its surrounding forest is a joy, with thatched cottages in abundance providing a taste of Warwickshire. Arriving in Stratford with its Tudor houses and literary heritage is somehow more exciting in a steam train – different histories brewed together to create a truly memorable experience.