Exploring Essex is easy by train.  Inland or by the sea, on the hills or on the pier, it's all within easy reach from stations on the line from London Liverpool Street to Norwich.  You can download a useful PDF leaflet here

Our friends at Visit Essex know of all of the latest events and things to do along our lines - and what better way to get there than by train? 

So many of our beaches in Essex have been awarded Blue Flag status, including Martello at Clacton-on-Sea and Dovercourt.  Both of these can be reached easily from the Great Eastern Main Line.  Should you prefer to stretch your legs a little further, why not look at our walks .

 

 

Flitch Line LogoThe Flitch Line runs along the Brain Valley between Witham and Braintree and is the remaining part of the line that ran via Dunmow to Bishops Stortford.  The line from Braintree to Bishops Stortford closed during the Beeching era of cuts, but the commuter branch line from Witham to Braintree remained.  

The line passes through White Notely and Cressing, home of the Cressing Temple, calling at Braintree Freeport Designer Village (for fashionista bargain hunters) and Braintree.  There are country walks and cycle routes (John Ray Walk and Flitch Way the start of which is adjacent to Braintree Station), history at Braintree Museum or you can just relax in the areas many hostelries and restaurants.

Travelling by train is easy and takes just 60 minutes from London.

 

 
Download the Line Guide
Download the line guide

There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy walks from 1 mile to 10 miles from stations along the branch lines. These include exploring the Dedham Vale from Manningtree, Essex Way from Wrabness. The Gainsborough Line from Marks Tey to Sudbury is rich in history with Gainsborough and Constable, with wildlife in abundance, whilst in Sudbury you can explore the Water Meadows and the historic town of Sudbury.

The Crouch Valley line holds lots of interesting walks around Burnham and Southminster on the river Crouch, and the Blue House Farm nature reserve at North Fambridge is another interesting destination. If you wanted to go a little further, Wallasea Island Nature Reserve is a great day out with a train trip to Burnham and ferry ride over to Wallasea. The Nature Reserve has a rich environment of flora and fauna for people to enjoy.

You can find more walks on the Essex Walks Website too - click here to visit their website

You can download some of the walks here:

Walks - Gainsborough Line

Gainsborough Line - 1 to 4 (PDF)

Gainsborough Line - 5-8

Gainsborough Line - 5 to 8 (PDF)

Bures Wildlife Trail (PdF)

The Mayflower line runs from Manningtree, which is the usual terminus for the branch trains, connecting with services to London and Ipswich.  The branch follows the path of the estuary of the River Stour to Harwich.  The train stops at Mistley, a small riverside town noted for its large number of swans which gather on the river bank in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the south bank.

The train calls at Wrabness where you can walk past the community shop and join footpaths which runs past the house which Grayson Perrys designed and is one of the houses, for living architecture.  

Trains go onwards to the next stop of Harwich International, which is a focused interchange for ferries and large cruise ships making their way around the world.  There are even occasional non-stop trains to Harwich International from London Liverpool Street.  The branch line then takes travellers to next stop of Dovercourt, a small busy town with a regular Friday Market, and a short walk to the sea front.

 
Download the Line Guide
Download the line guide

At the end of the line is Harwich Town where you will find a seasonal ferry over to Shotley and Felixstowe in Suffolk or if you prefer to remain on dry land, you can enjoy a day out where you can have a leisurely lunch, explore the Mayflower project and visit the local shops and museums that Harwich has to offer.  The Lifeboat Museum offers unique experience, whilst on the docks you can still see the original tracks for the crane and sea-rail services.  If your taste in history goes back a little further, the Redoubt is an impressive circular fort built in 1808. 

 

Download the timetable
Download a timetable
Download the Line Guide
Download the line guide

The Gainsborough Line marks a delightful rural railway journey running from Marks Tey in Essex to Sudbury in Suffolk.

Leaving Marks Tey junction with the Great Eastern Main Line, the train emerges from leafy cuttings to cross the impressive 32 arch viaduct (the second largest brick built structure in England) above the village of Chappel, and high above the river Colne.

Just after the viaduct is the station for Chappel and Wakes Colne and home to the East Anglian Railway Museum.  This thriving little railway runs alongside the branch line and hosts a number of themed events each year - worth a visit, as is a walk under the viaduct.

The next station is Bures which is intersected by the county boundary and the river Stour which runs through this village providing pleasant river walks and an opportunity to have one foot in Essex and one in Suffolk.

Sudbury, the end of the line, is an attractive market town, with many historic buildings including Gainsborough’s House Museum, opportunities for shopping and leisure activities. All stations have eating and drinking facilities nearby and the annual Chappel beer festival attracts thousands from around the region.

 

You can buy tickets in advance for our event trains