8 Unusual Things to See and Do in Britain by Train
Skip the ordinary and embark on a weird and wonderful adventure with our pick of 8 unusual destinations
We’ve got trips underground, journeys into the past, freaky curiosities and even a rainforest bubble to check out!
With a 16-25 Railcard(external link, opens in a new tab) you can reach these curious wonders by train and save 1/3 as you travel.
You can also get 2FOR1 entry at some of these offbeat attractions, thanks to National Rail‘s Days Out Guide(external link, opens in a new tab).
1. Have a frightful time at Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein
Ominous sounds, unusual smells and creepy laboratory experiments await at Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein in Bath. The gothic mansion is a mix of museum and immersive horror, revealing the tragic past and vivid imagination of the famous author.
Check out the 8-foot monster in the attic, creep around a basement full of jump scares and, if your nerves of steel remain intact, book 2 escape rooms and a ‘Body in a Suitcase’ riddle game as fun extras. You’ll also find plenty of quirky photo opportunities here, while the gift shop is full of ghoulish delights.
Nearest station: Bath Spa
2. Trek through Cornwall’s indoor rainforest at the Eden Project
Get your nature fix and see the world’s most incredible plants within 2 giant biodome bubbles at the Eden Project(external link, opens in a new tab). Even if it’s snowing outside, it’s always t-shirt weather inside as you wander under a canopy of giant leaves and cross waterfalls on wobbly bridges.
You can easily spend the day here, with impressive outdoor gardens, a large restaurant and the Invisible World exhibition all part of the site. The brave among you can zipline over the top of the biodomes, too – and don’t miss the cute roul-roul partridges scuttling about.
Nearest station: St Austell
3. Explore the dark side of York at The York Dungeon
York’s history is given a dark twist at The York Dungeon, where, thanks to the team of actors and impressive special effects, you get to enjoy – yes, really – a thoroughly fascinating trek through tales of Vikings, witches and Dick Turpin.
There’s plenty of audience involvement too, even if you’re hiding at the back, so be prepared. You could be quizzed by the torturer, found guilty in the courtroom or robbed by Dick Turpin on your carriage ride. This is the story of York you won’t find in any traditional museum.
Nearest station: York
4. Go deep underground at Euston: The Lost Tunnels
Leave the modern world behind and discover a hidden part of London’s transport history with The London Transport Museum’s Euston: The Lost Tunnels(external link, opens in a new tab) tour. Your trip includes the abandoned Leslie Green station and the opportunity to explore an underground network of old passageways, some of which have been closed to travellers for 100 years.
There are vintage movie posters, old signage and a lovely ticket booth which offers a window into the past. And you can even peek at modern commuters on the Victoria Line through the ventilation shafts!
Nearest station: London Euston
5. Uncover Cold War secrets at Barnton Bunker
This place is worth knowing about – now you’re allowed to – so don your hard hat and enter a former top secret site in Edinburgh called Barnton Bunker(external link, opens in a new tab). Your tour takes you through tank-metal blast doors to a 3-story former nuclear bunker hidden under Corstorphine Hill.
The bunker was part of Britain’s air defences from the Second World War and kept operational until the 1980s. Today, you can see the restoration process underway to reveal its unique Cold War history. Your tour fee helps the continuing preservation process and you’ll be one of the museum’s earliest visitors.
Nearest station: Edinburgh
6. Travel back in time at the Black Country Living Museum
For a time-travelling treat that harks back to the industrial age, head to Dudley’s Black Country Living Museum. This open-air museum is a reconstructed village complete with shops, houses, pubs and industrial sites for you to wander around.
The best bit is meeting the village characters who show you how they live and work. You can also get a Victorian school lesson, visit the coal mine and play at a vintage fun fair. Even the food and drink are part of the experience (we recommend the fish and chips).
Nearest station: Tipton
7. Enter a world of Victorian oddities at Morbitorium
Stock up on witchcraft supplies and open strange cabinets filled with Victorian curiosities at Morbitorium(external link, opens in a new tab) near Newport. The sinister skull signage and statues outside hint at the quirkiness inside, where everywhere you look there’s something strange to see.
This small house in Wales is packed with unusual taxidermy, skeletons, horror movie memorabilia and medical antiques. There’s also a room of ouija boards and the shop at the back looks like a wizard’s house where you can buy unusual gifts. You may also spot Pickles, the cat, skulking about.
Nearest station: Crosskeys
8. Take on the challenge of The Bear Grylls Adventure
Fancy a thrill-seeking mission? Face challenges designed to test your limits at The Bear Grylls Adventure at the NEC in Birmingham. Specially trained instructors will have you walking high ropes, shooting rifles and climbing a replica mountain.
Then there’s the Royal Marines-inspired assault course, with a challenge time of 1 minute 3 seconds (that’s Bear’s impressive time to beat). You can also book extra adventures, such as indoor skydiving and shark diving, for maximum adrenaline. Even your brain can get a workout in the Victorian-themed escape room.
Nearest station: Birmingham International