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Your Ticket to a Great Summer

Yorkshire Sculpture Park Bridge

Summer 2021 is set to be a season of staycationing and day trips in beautiful Britain! In a bid to encourage our customers to explore the wonderful destinations along our routes this summer – and beyond – we’ve created an exciting series of videos that have all been shot from the comfort of Grand Central’s very own train carriages on four of our key journeys: Sunderland to York (two videos, one from the east side of the carriage, one from the west side), York to London Kings Cross, Doncaster to London Kings Cross, and Sunderland to London Kings Cross (the full journey from the east and west side of our carriages). 

Along each of these routes, our trains pass through stunning scenery each and every day, and we’re eager to highlight that a journey with us is about much more than just getting from A to B. It’s about relaxing, enjoying the trip, and experiencing some of the UK’s breathtakingly attractive views too – something we’ll share with you with the videos we created.  

Sunderland to York East View

Sunderland to York West View

York to London Kings Cross, Doncaster to London Kings Cross, and Sunderland (East view)

York to London Kings Cross, Doncaster to London Kings Cross, and Sunderland (West view)

The Great British Staycation 

2021 is being hailed as the year of the staycation, with a reported 84% of British travellers intending on booking a UK-based holiday in 20211.

Luckily, our country has an abundance of wonderful places to explore, giving domestic tourism and the associated industries a much-needed boost after a challenging year. A record number of holiday bookings are being made within the UK, with destinations up and down the country experiencing a boom in popularity amongst Brits.

From Devon to the Dales, day trips, weekends away, and holidays on home ground are certainly in high demand this summer, which could mean travel delays by road are likely, due to an increased volume of traffic, especially when visiting some of the more favoured destinations. Nobody likes to be stuck in traffic, so we’d encourage those who can, to join us on board one of our trains in the months to come and allow us to take the stress out of your journey, by giving you time to sit back, relax and enjoy the views, without the worry of hitting unexpected motorway madness.

The Scenic Route

The journeys featured within our video series travel along a picturesque backdrop, offering views of dramatic coastline, stunning countryside, and bustling urban locations, all visible from the comfort of our train carriages. From the stunning North East coastlines of Seaham and Durham’s Heritage Coast to the exciting, historical northern cities of York and Doncaster, and of course, not forgetting the bustling metropolis of London, our trains pass through exciting destinations every single day.

Grand Central's scenic map - Click for larger version

So, whether you’re travelling solo in the coming month, taking a day trip with friends and family, or heading out as part a larger group, here are just some of the places to look out for, or even stop off and visit when travelling with Grand Central this summer:

The North East: Home to castles, dramatic coastlines and an incredibly rich industrial history, the North East has plenty to offer those who choose visit. Those travelling with us can explore the port city of Sunderland for a day of shopping and be transported to days gone by in a museum or two. Or head out to beaches of Roker and Seaburn for fish and chips and a stroll along the sand – and maybe even a famous “lemon top”, if you’re lucky. Why not make a week of it and head on to Hartlepool, Newcastle and beyond, and visit the stunning Northumberland National Park, perfect for those with a sense of adventure!

Yorkshire: From York in the north, Bradford in the west and Doncaster in the south, let us take you through some of the inspiring and picturesque locations housed in wonderful Yorkshire. God’s own county, as the locals lovingly call it, boasts a mix of moors and dales, vibrant cities, sleepy market towns such as Thirsk and Northallerton, and glorious coastlines such as Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. It really does offer something to keep everyone happy this summer. If you’re getting off the train at Doncaster, you could even head on to explore the incredible Peak District. While you’re visiting Yorkshire, don’t forget to visit local favourite Betty’s tea rooms and sample one of their famous Fat Rascals, we’re confident you won’t be disappointed.

London and the South: Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel break, a week of sightseeing, museums and galleries, or even a foodie break, there’s no denying, London has it all. Why not spend a day pottering around some of the city’s colourful markets such as Portobello Road and Borough. Or, perhaps taking in some of the art and culture at the Barbican Centre is more your style? You could even take a TV and film tour and discover some of the locations featured in some of your big screen favourites. For those eager to explore the coast and the countryside in the South of England, Brighton, Essex, Reading, Kent and much more are just a short journey away.

Your Safety is Our Concern

Understandably, safety whilst travelling is at the forefront of everyone’s minds which is why we’ve put additional Covid-19 measures in place to ensure our passengers feel safe and relaxed whilst on board our trains, and at stations.

There are a number of measures in place to ensure the safety and wellness of our passengers whenever they travel on our lines. Masks must be worn for the duration of your journey, unless exempt, and seat reservations are in place for all those travelling with us. This ensures we’re able to manage numbers on board. Seats are also well-spaced out, so passengers feel safe and secure whilst on their journey with us. 

We also ask that all passengers remain within their allocated seats for the duration of their journey – you can still take a toilet break though, of course. We are reintroducing refreshments on our services, including complimentary drinks and snacks in Frist class. In response to customer feedback we’re rolling out at seat ordering so you can settle into your seat and relax. 

Full FAQs and common questions surrounding these guidelines and restrictions is available in our Travel Updates hub

Accessibility and Inclusivity Onboard

At Grand Central, we strive to offer passengers both accessibility and inclusivity onboard our trains, and we’re always looking for ways to improve the service and experience of all those who choose to travel with us, right from the very start of your journey when booking with us. 

For some of our passengers, a train journey can mean more than just the commute to work or a day out and about. It can actually provide a place of solace and joy, and even the opportunity to take some time out from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether this is thanks to the views from the carriage, the movement of the train, or even the precision and organisation of the train timetable, trains certainly have a deeper meaning for some. 

As a wider part of this exciting project, and in a bid to raise awareness of the broader benefits and experience that travelling by train can offer, we have teamed up with award-winning charity, Autism Together to find out more about the joy that a day on our trains can give bring to those with autism. 

Jane Carolan, Deputy Chief Executive for Autism Together, shared her insight.

“Every autistic person has their own particular interests and things that excite and stimulate them – and, for many, this includes going on a rail journey. Some of the people we support have a particular fondness for trains; the look, the sound, the speed and, of course, the enjoyment of travelling.”

“For individuals on the autism spectrum who do love trains, the gentle motion of the carriage and the wonder of the landscape rushing by their window can be enough of a joy that the destination isn’t as important as the journey to get there. For others, it’s the details that spark their interest – the specifications, the timetables and routines, the facts and the history.”

“Autism is a non-visible condition, which means it’s unlikely to be immediately apparent that a passenger on the train with you is autistic. For this reason, some people with autism choose to wear the sunflower lanyard or carry an autism alert card; a visible sign so others can see that the wearer or someone with them may require some support, specific assistance, or simply more time to board or leave their carriage.”

“We would ask train users to be considerate of all their fellow passengers and be mindful that the person they are sitting nearby may have a non-visible condition and be in need of their patience and support during the journey.”

We Look Forward to Welcoming You

We hope you enjoy the videos and the travel route maps we have lovingly created, and hope they encourage you to hop on board our trains and to explore more of what the UK has to offer this summer. If you’re travelling along our lines in the coming months, why not print out our sightseeing map and see if you can tick off some of the landmarks and scenery whilst travelling with us? 

A journey by train is such a joy (of course, we might be biased), as it allows you some precious time back to slow down, sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery that passes you by on your travels. Let Grand Central to become your ticket to a great summer (and beyond). We look forward to welcoming you on board very soon. 

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