Something I always saw as an adventure as a child was taking the train – it was different and exciting and something we didn’t do often and then when I went to university in Winchester I got very comfortable with them as a method of transport and still enjoy them to this day and much prefer using them to travel to London rather than driving and dealing with London traffic myself. Imagine my delight when Great Western Rail (GWR) got in touch to find out if I’d like to take my family on a day out with their railway!
“When Isambard Kingdom Brunel built the Great Western Railway, his actions shaped the towns and cities lining the route; with businesses and communities thriving thanks to the connections made by trains.
And now, 175 years after the first train ran between Bristol and London, we’re carrying out the biggest upgrade in a generation on the GWR network. We’ll continue to shape and support the region into the 21st century and beyond.”
When you go onto the GWR website you are able to book tickets as well as plan a journey as you’d expect. However, there is also a brilliant bonus feature which allows you to look at destinations and events on their route which includes everything from festivals and zoos to museums and good old London town – there certainly is something for everyone.
Now we are currently living about an hour and a halfs drive away from the beautiful Cathedral town of Salisbury and have only actually been there once when I was much younger. Soon we are going to be moving house which will leave us a mere twenty minutes away from this lovely place and as it is one of GWR’s top destinations, where you can also pick up bicycles and cycle down to Stonehenge, we thought we’d choose Salisbury for our day out as it wouldn’t be too far a journey for Alyssa on her first train trip and there would be plenty for us all to do. We had great open tickets where you choose your journey by scratching off the appropriate dates and times which tally with your travel to show the station and train staff. Alyssa absolutely loved the train journey and looking out the window at everything going past – there were lots of oohs and ahhs and when we arrived in Salisbury it took no time at all to get into the hustle and bustle of it all.
There were lots of wonderful cafes for us to sit in and grab some elevensies and later lunch too. We enjoyed a walk around the town which is really spaced out and w
ill definitely take some time to get used to. There are the modern parts with the more contemporary shops and then there are lots of different little streets with hidden shops that are absolute gems. We didn’t spend long looking round the shops as that wouldn’t have been fair on our little one. Instead we headed over to the Cathedral and as it was a bright sunny day (shocker I know!!) we were able to sit on the grass and let Alyssa run loose with the Bear running after her across the grass because of course she just wanted to say hello to everyone. Having open tickets for GWR was brilliant as it meant we weren’t tied down to a time and could make our way back when we wanted or when Alyssa was all pooped out.
On our way to Salisbury, little miss had her own seat which she stood on (in her socks as I took her shoes off!!) to look out the window. However, on the way home, a combination of an exciting day dashing too and fro and the gentle rocking of the train meant I had a little one curled up in my arms peacefully sleeping and I am sure dreaming of the brilliant adventures she had had that day.