Trainspotting locations

Your ticket to the best places to train spot in the UK

Full Steam Ahead! 9 of the best places for a family trainspotting adventure

When you’re next on a train, whether commuting to work or heading away for a family weekend, cast your mind back to the early 19th century. On the 21st February 1804, the world’s first railway journey took place as Robert Trevithick’s ‘Puffing Devil’ steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway from the Pen-y-darren ironworks near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. Since that momentous day, Britain has developed a great love for trains – with young and old alike marvelling at the feats of engineering, the iconic looks and the unmistakable sight and sound of a steam train making its way along the tracks.

In fact, we’ve become so fascinated with trains as a nation that an entire movement of people has been born. Known as ‘trainspotters’, these locomotive hobbyists are dedicated to watching and logging the trains they have seen. With the return of The Flying Scotsman (possibly the most iconic train of its time), we’re all falling in love with trains and the age of steam all over again. Now, a trainspotting adventure is a popular choice for a weekend away in the British countryside and is even hailed as being good for your health.

To get you started, we’ve picked out some of the best places in the UK for the whole family to enjoy steam trains in all their glory, and you’ll always find a warm welcome from Premier Inn nearby. From our friendly, award-winning service to our seriously tasty food and slumber-inducing, kingsize Hypnos beds, you’re guaranteed to drift off into the soundest sleep after your trainspotting adventures.

Get the gear

The beauty of trainspotting is that there isn’t any expensive equipment needed to take part. As long as you have a way of noting down what you spot (a notebook or even your phone) then you’re ready to go! However, it’s worth  bearing in mind the surprising changeability of the great British weather. We  recommend you pick some practical clothing, like comfy shoes, warm layers and yes – an anorak, especially for the kids.