For many, train travel often just involves travel to work, but whilst on holiday here, it’s the best way to enjoy Cornwall's gorgeous scenery at a more leisurely pace.

Easier than a car and more comfortable than a bus, taking the train offers the perfect opportunity to sit back and admire Cornwall's rolling hills, glorious coastline, fascinating wildlife and sandy beaches.  As well as the more regular branch-line routes, you can also be transported back to a bygone era by hopping on a lovingly-restored steam train or even visit a miniature railway.


Whatever your choice, the following list hopefully has something for everyone.


Other than where indicated below, for more information, see where you’ll also find a link - - detailing amazing walks from some of the listed railways.


Dogs are allowed on most trains but if you’re looking to spend time on the beach once arriving at your destination, check for restrictions first. 


Our own local Looe Valley line (Liskeard – Looe)

This journey sees wooded valleys bursting with wildlife open up to glorious estuary views as the East Looe River meets the sea.  Look back up the valley from Looe to catch Treworgey on the hill in the distance.

Bird watchers will love this route as the river is full of wading birds such as little egrets, grey herons, oystercatchers and curlews - especially at low tide.

In Looe, you'll find safe beaches, excellent restaurants and cafes and a maze of narrow streets full of independent shops and pubs.


£5.90 off peak day return; under 5’s free; 5-15 yrs half price; 30 minute journey; hourly departures.


The St Ives Bay Line (St Erth – St Ives)

This train journey is not only one of the most scenic in Cornwall but also in the whole of the UK.

The views are just stunning as the line sweeps along the coast, past the golden sands of Hayle Towans and Carbis Bay.  Sit on the right-hand side of the train when you get on at St Erth to get the best views.

Then, on arrival in St Ives, enjoy the beach or explore the independent shops and art galleries.


The line starts at St Erth, the penultimate station on the main line between London Paddington and Penzance. If arriving by car, use the park and ride at St Erth station (TR27 6JW).

£4 off peak day return; 10 minute journey; two trains an hour



Bodmin Wenford Steam Railway

Enjoy the nostalgia of steam travel with Cornwall's only full-size railway still regularly operated by steam locomotives.

Hop on the train in Bodmin for a leisurely 13-mile journey through scenic Cornish countryside, evocative of a Fifties branch line.  Steam trains operate from Bodmin General to Bodmin Parkway, where connections can be made directly with main line railway services and Boscarne Junction on the popular Camel Trail.


Look out for special events through the year, including steam and diesel galas; the Heritage Transport Festival; murder-mystery evenings; Steam, Beer & Jazz evenings; and a luxury dining train, as well as family-friendly Easter and Christmas events.



The Tamar Valley Line (Plymouth – Gunnislake)

Enjoy stunning views of rolling green fields, sleepy villages and beautiful river crossings.

The highlight is when the train slowly creeps down over the Calstock viaduct, linking Devon with Cornwall, and you are 120 feet above the river below.

If you look closely out of the window, you might even glimpse the National Trust house Cotehele nestled in the woods.


£6.90 off peak day return; under 5’s free; 5-15 yrs half price; 45 minute journey; trains every two hours.



The Atlantic Coast Line (Par – Newquay)

This trip takes you through the wooded Luxulyan Valley, and on across Goss Moor, with distant views of the white landscape of the Cornish China clay industry, and looking towards the Atlantic Ocean.

All of this before you even reach the resort of Newquay, known as one of the finest stretches of coastline in Europe.  Boasting 11 golden sandy beaches and some of Europe’s best surfing conditions, Newquay is a must-visit town at any time of year.


£6.50 off peak day return; under 5’s free; 5-15 yrs half price; 50 minute journey; 6-7 trains a day.


Lappa Valley Steam Railway at Lappa Valley, St Newlyn East, Newquay, TR8 5LX


Perfect for younger train enthusiasts, this miniature steam railway in Newquay boasts three separate rides.

There's a mile-long track running through the historic Lappa Valley between stations at Benny Halt and East Wheal Rose, while the Newlyn Branch Line, which runs a further half mile, takes you to the family games field and picnic and paddle area.

The circular Woodland Railway is one-fifth of a mile long and goes through a tunnel, round the Trevithick maze, past the nature pond and back to the main station area at East Wheal Rose.

As well as these three trains you can enjoy the leisure park which includes canoes, crazy golf, a brick path maze, a woodland walk, play areas and the largest mine engine house in Cornwall.


The Maritime Line (Truro – Falmouth)

The cathedral city of Truro is home to the Royal Cornwall Museum and Lemon Street’s splendid Georgian architecture.  This busy line takes just 30 minutes to get to Falmouth and its’ excellent beaches, public gardens, picturesque shopping streets and magnificent natural harbour.


£6 off peak return; under 5’s free; 5-15 yrs half price; 30 minute journey; two trains an hour.

Tagged under: Family   Dog friendly   Places to visit  

Recent Posts

Cornwall's most scenic railway journeys
17th June 2024

What's on this May half term
16th May 2024

Foraging at Treworgey
11th April 2024

5 Star Gold again!
10th April 2024

Honeymoons at Treworgey
9th April 2024


Guests say...

"This is our fifth visit and just as enjoyable as the first! Cottage lovely, everything you need is here, we will be back again."


Read reviews