Places I've Travelled
Places we have been by train? Most, as we were privileged to have grown up with free travel on the railways and it made sense to go by train and as the family grew then we could all go on holiday or days out.
We had a holiday in Folkestone and stayed in two separate flats to accommodate us and we used to walk down the narrow street where the Rock Shop was and when it was open they rolled the rock in the front window. We went over to Boulogne on the ferry for the day and we bought back tobacco ,bread, cheese etc. as you do on a day trip to France. We saw the cliff lift which carried people down to the beach but is now sadly closed.
Dad had a friend with a static caravan in Newhaven so we spent a couple of years going there, there was not much to do except go on the beach and we were up on a steep cliff and that was the first time I had back problems after pushing the pushchair up the hill back to the caravan and I had to sleep on the floor. We saw the ferry to Dieppe depart and arrive back every day and one year I did actually have a day trip to Dieppe but a four hour crossing is a bit much.
For a while we went to Pontins at Brixham and caught the overnight train from Birmingham New Street to Paignton and in the morning would take a taxi to Walls Holiday Park. The station at Paignton is shared with the 'Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway' which goes to Kingswear. We did not travel anywhere on holiday at Brixham as everything was included but the walk down into the town was very steep and would wear anyone out. We also went to Butlins at Pwllheli which had its own railway station and although a long journey it was very enjoyable as it followed the coastline.
We had a holiday in Weymouth and I remember the unique site of a train coming down the road. There were cars parked along the harbour edge and the police had to move some of them to leave clearance for the train to make its way to the ferry terminal. Today there is a wall along the harbour.
As for family days out we went to places that had the minimum train changes but as we were living at Rugby we were lucky. We went to Blackpool for days out and it always seemed to rain, Liverpool was a frequent destination and we would walk through the town passing the market and go on the Mersey Ferry to Birkenhead. Most times we would stay on the ferry and go straight back to Liverpool. We also travelled to Llandudno and would walk around the shops and along the pier, sometimes we would go on the tram up the Great Orme other times we would walk it. Out of luck one day Prince Charles and Princess Diana was opening a civic building and I climbed onto Dads shoulders and took some photos, we were even able to look around the car, shows how much security has changed.
We were always going to Birmingham for the markets as the meat was good quality and very well priced , Mum used to buy fabric for clothes making. When Sarah and I were in the Girl Guides we used to go Ice skating at 'SilverBlades' Birmingham and then we had free time around the shops. During the 'January sales' we used to go to Coventry and Northampton every year.
When Milton Keynes Shopping Centre opened we went by train to Bletchley and caught the bus to the shopping centre. Today Milton Keynes has grown and has its own station and serves London Midland and Virgin trains.
The photo shows Milton Keynes being built.
Other days out were to Swansea, Rhyl, Helensburgh via Glasgow the purpose of which was to see a submarines, Littlehampton, Hastings, Brighton just after the storms that had washed a ship on to the beach, Gatwick Airport we went on to the roof to see planes taking off, York we went to the National Railway Museum. With my Mum I went to Stafford, Chester, Wolverton (open day) ,Oxford and escorted her back from a holiday in Torquay.
We used to go to Dover Western Docks and go fishing on the breakwater for cod, it was cold at night, we would pack up and go to sleep on the train in the station, back in the days of the 'Boat Trains'. We also sailed from Dover to Ostend overnight, get off the ferry in the morning and found the tobacconist and then go back to the ferry, we went just before Christmas one year and there was a Santa dressed in a blue suit in a chocolate shop window but still have to convince people of that.
We went on holiday to Penzance and went to St Ives for the day with the narrow roads and sandy beaches. And on another day we caught the bus to Lands End and looked around the visitors centre. One mad day Mum and myself with Jenny in the pushchair walked along the path in between the railway tracks and the sea to Marazion and as the tide was out crossed the causeway to the island of St. Michaels Mount and we looked around the shops.
I remember going on holiday with my grandparents to Llandudno when I was young and we went on the tram up the Great Orme and walked all the way back down the long way. They also took my brother and myself to Blackpool for a day a few years later and we went on the tram to Fleetwood and back and also a day out to Dawlish.
After I had started working for British Rail I began going places on my own or taking my brother or sister out for the day. I took my little sister to Ryde, Isle of Wight via Portsmouth and had an over night trip going up to Edinburgh on the sleeper and coming back down to York via the East Coast and visited the Railway Museum. We also went to Nottingham and visited the castle and lace museum.
I took my brother camping to Porthmadog and it rained all the time and we came home via the Ffestiniog Railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog and then on to LLandudno Junction. The line from Blaenau to Llandudno Junction is single track, and includes the longest single track railway tunnel in the United Kingdom over 2.5 miles long.
A year later we spent a week on the Scilly Isles and sailed from Penzance to St. Marys, fortune favoured us and the ferry was not running on our return date so we had a free helicopter transfer.
With friends I also went to Leeds via Kings Cross and travelled across the Settle to Carlisle line and stopping in Settle for lunch. We also went to Windermere with the intention of walking to Lake Windermere but did not make it and had to turn back. Another walking disaster was when we went to Malvern and attempted to walk up the hills but we found a seat half way up and gave up. As a wild holiday I wanted to go back packing and went up to Taynuilt in Scotland and camped along the shore of Loch Etive and went to Oban for the day.
When I met Paul he had not actually travelled around the country much so I was going to change that and we started travelling together and went all the way to Fort William. On occasions our 'Road Refreshing ' days fell on the same day so I would say 'Birmingham' and meet Paul. He had to road learn Worcester so we both went and had a pizza for dinner, another occasion was when Paul had to road learn Shrewsbury and we just stayed on the train and went to Aberystwyth. We found a chip shop and had a drink and got home about 0130 and I was supposed to be catching the 0538 to work but had to ring in sick as I was so tired. We did actually go back to Shrewsbury for a day.
We took my sister and her friend to London for the day sightseeing and went on a boat down the Thames. I had previously many times been to London with my family and had seen the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels and many other attractions such as Harrods, Science Museum and Westminster Abbey.