Episode guide

Great British Railway Journeys

Series 1

Great British Railway Journeys

  • Liverpool to Eccles

    Ex-MP Michael Portillo embarks on a series of magnificent train journeys. Michael travels on the world's first passenger railway line and learns to speak Scouse.

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  • Manchester to Bury

    Michael Portillo traces the footsteps of cartographer George Bradshaw. Michael learns more about his Victorian guide and the link between trains and a fish supper.

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  • Todmorden to York

    Ex-politician Michael Portillo takes to the tracks. Michael goes back in time on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway and learns more about the Romans in York.

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  • Pontefract to Bridlington

    How did our railways mould modern-day Britain? Michael Portillo hears how Hull became a large white fish port and goes fishing for sea bass in Bridlington.

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  • Filey to Scarborough

    Michael Portillo takes to the tracks in this engaging travelogue. Michael goes birding on the wild cliffs of Flamborough Head and learns about knitting in Filey.

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  • Preston to Morecambe

    An epic tour of our great nation by rail. Michael Portillo's second journey begins in Preston, where he explores the origins of the temperance movement.

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  • Settle to Garsdale

    Michael Portillo travels across Britain to see how railways changed us. Michael returns to the historic Settle-Carlisle line after helping to save it in the 1980s.

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  • Windermere to Kendal

    Travels by train. Michael Portillo continues his journey to Scotland, riding a steamboat on Lake Windermere and visiting Wordsworth's home village of Grasmere.

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  • Carlisle to Glasgow

    Michael Portillo hits the rails. Here the ex-MP meets wild clansmen in Carlisle, witnesses a wedding in Gretna Green and visits a secret WWI munitions factory.

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  • Edinburgh to Kirkcaldy

    Michael Portillo continues his epic journey from Preston to Scotland, visiting the Clyde valley orchards, the Forth Rail Bridge and the town of Kirkcaldy.

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  • Swindon to Bristol

    Train travels with the ex-Tory. Michael Portillo journeys from Swindon to Penzance, sampling spa treatments in Bath and trying glassblowing in Bristol on the way.

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  • Yatton to Weston-super-Mare

    Travels by train. Ex-MP Michael Portillo samples local Cheddar strawberries, explores Cheddar Gorge and visits an extremely old pier in Weston-super-Mare.

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  • Torquay to Totnes

    Michael Portillo travels along Brunel's Great Western Railway. Here he goes salmon fishing on the Dart estuary and spends some of Totnes's new local currency.

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  • Bugle to Mevagissey

    Epic rail journeys inspired by cartographer George Bradshaw. Michael Portillo visits the largest clay mine in the world near St Austell and goes pilchard fishing.

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  • Truro to Penzance

    Travels by train. Michael Portillo searches for the lost church of St Piran, explores a working tin mine in Cornwall and harvests oysters on the Helford River.

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  • Buxton to Matlock

    Ex-MP Michael Portillo begins his epic trip from Buxton to London, visiting the Duke of Devonshire's stables and hopping on the historic steam railway to Rowsley.

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  • Cromford to Burton-on-Trent

    Travels by train. Ex-MP Michael Portillo visits the oldest working factory in the world at Cromford and explores the country's first public park in Derby.

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  • Walsall to Bournville

    Michael Portillo hits the tracks to see how the railways have shaped Britain. Michael meets the Queen's saddler and learns how to cook an authentic curry.

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  • Coventry to Watford

    Travels by train. Michael Portillo relives the Coventry Blitz, meets an Aylesbury duck farmer and finds out how trains helped to evacuate children during WWII.

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  • St Pancras to Westminster

    Michael Portillo's epic voyage reaches the buffers as he explores St Pancras, rides the world's first Tube line to Smithfield market and marvels at Big Ben.

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Great British Railway Journeys

Series 2

Great British Railway Journeys

  • Brighton to Crystal Palace

    Michael Portillo embarks on another epic quest by track, accompanied by George Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook. Michael visits Brighton's aquarium.

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  • Waterloo to Canary Wharf

    Michael Portillo is a happy man on a train. The ex-Tory MP learns about the changing fortunes of London's docks and a rail service that transported coffins.

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  • Enfield to Cambridge

    Travels by train with Michael Portillo, who here visits the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield and discovers how the railways transformed Newmarket's races.

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  • Ely to King's Lynn

    Michael Portillo hits the tracks to see how the railways have shaped Britain. Michael meets the last eel trapper on the Fens at Ely and visits the Denver Sluice.

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  • Dereham to Cromer

    Informative travels by train. Michael Portillo is in his element as he gets to drive a heritage diesel train. The ex-politician also samples some Cromer crab.

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  • Ledbury to Shrewsbury

    Michael Portillo sets out on another trek, following the route of the Irish mail from Ledbury. Michael samples Victorian perry and encounters a Hereford bull.

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  • Telford to Wrexham

    Fascinating history travelogue. Michael Portillo sees the world's first iron bridge at Coalbrookdale, explores Chirk Castle and has a go at making Cheshire cheese.

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  • Chester to Conwy

    Train travels with the ex-Tory. Michael Portillo explores Chester's Roman remains and discovers a secret World War II chemical weapons plant at Rhydymwyn in Wales.

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  • Llanwrst to Porthmadog

    Nostalgic series in which Michael Portillo retraces George Bradshaw's travels by train. Michael combs the Conwy valley and rides a steam train to Porthmadog.

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  • Llanberis to Holyhead

    Michael Portillo explores Britain by rail. Michael takes the train to the top of Mount Snowdon and discovers how the railways changed the tiny port of Holyhead.

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  • Newcastle to Chester-le-Street

    Travels by train with the ex-Tory. Host Michael Portillo visits the world's first locomotive factory and searches for the lost pit village of Marsden.

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  • Durham to Grosmont

    Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with George Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook. A visit to the historic Durham Cathedral and a Dracula tour of Whitby!

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  • York to Saltaire

    How did rail travel shape Britain? Michael Portillo takes a Turkish bath in Harrogate, explores the Victorian model village of Saltaire and encounters some alpacas!

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  • Batley to Sheffield

    More tales from a train. Michael Portillo hears about a Victorian recycling industry in Batley and meets a relative of the inspirational George Bradshaw himself.

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  • Langley Mill to Melton Mowbray

    Rail journeys inspired by Victorian cartographer George Bradshaw. Michael Portillo finds out how trains shaped the controversial sport of fox hunting.

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  • London Bridge to Chatham

    An epic tour of Britain by rail. Michael Portillo visits the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, walks the Thames Tunnel and explores Chatham Historic Dockyard.

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  • Aylesford to Tunbridge Wells

    Michael Portillo takes to the tracks in this first-class travelogue. Learn all about Maidstone's paper industry and how cricket became a national sport.

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  • Canterbury to Margate

    An epic tour of Great Britain by rail. Michael Portillo finds out how Canterbury Cathedral was saved from ruin during WWII and goes whelk fishing in Whitstable.

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  • Sandwich to Folkestone

    Scenic journeys and historic sites. Michael Portillo visits Walmer Castle and explores a secret port used to transport supplies to France during World War I.

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  • Hythe to Hastings

    Michael Portillo travels the length and breadth of Britain by train. Hastings and Romney Marsh are on today's itinerary and Michael samples Kent's sparkling wine.

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  • Dumbarton to Tyndrum

    Spectacular rail voyages inspired by Victorian pioneer George Bradshaw. Michael Portillo visits Loch Lomond and the Dumbarton shipyard that built the Cutty Sark.

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  • Ayr to Paisley

    Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with George Bradshaw's seminal Victorian Railway Guidebook. A visit to the hometown of Robbie Burns and a lesson in haggis-making.

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  • Oban to Corrour

    Rail buff Michael Portillo hears how trains helped spread the word about Oban whisky and visits Corrour, one of the Victorian elite's favourite shooting estates.

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  • Roybridge to Glenfinnan

    Travels by train. Michael Portillo investigates the mysterious parallel roads of Glenroy and takes a steam train across the spectacular viaduct at Glenfinnan.

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  • Lochailort to Skye

    Travelling by train up the breathtaking west coast of Scotland to Skye, Michael Portillo discovers how the railways helped train commandos at Lochailort for WWII.

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Great British Railway Journeys

Series 3

Great British Railway Journeys

  • Windsor to Didcot

    Michael Portillo's latest railway excursion is fit for royalty, as he follows Queen Victoria's regular journey south from Windsor - collecting the mail on the way.

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  • Reading to Alton

    Train travels. Michael Portillo samples a Victorian superfood in Alton, explores the wonderfully preserved Whitchurch Silk Mill and takes control of a steam train.

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  • Winchester to Isle of Wight

    Roving by rail. Michael Portillo discovers what did amuse Queen Victoria, as he travels by train to her favourite holiday destination - the Isle of Wight.

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  • Great Yarmouth to Beccles

    Michael Portillo takes to the tracks yet again. The ex-MP discovers the grave-robbing past of Great Yarmouth and works a Victorian swing bridge in Reedham.

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  • Darsham to Felixstowe

    Michael Portillo's train-hopping travels take him to the Port of Felixstowe. The Bradshaw buff traces the lost city of Dunwich - Britain's very own Atlantis.

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  • Sudbury to Southend

    The 'sad man on a train' - as he is known to Andrew Neil - tours Victorian freak show sites by rail and rides one of the very first electric railways in Southend.

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  • Epping to Hackney

    Travelogue meets Victorian history in this fascinating series with Michael Portillo. Here the This Week regular heads to Hackney, hearing about an on-board murder.

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  • Fenchurch to Embankment

    London's calling for Michael Portillo, as he enjoys a ride on a secret miniature railway beneath the capital's streets and rings the church bells in Bow.

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  • Brockenhurst to Poole

    A Victorian voyage by train. Michael Portillo seeks out venomous adders in the New Forest, uncovers a secret library in Wimborne and visits the Poole potteries.

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  • Wareham to Portland

    Chug along with Michael Portillo, who unearths the amazing oil fields beneath England's seaside resorts and discovers the crucial role Weymouth played on D-Day.

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  • Oxford to Pershore

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  • Hartlebury to Great Malvern

    Relive the delights of Victorian Britain by rail. Michael Portillo learns about the secrets of Worcester sauce and the health benefits of Malvern water.

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  • Lydney to Newport

    Michael Portillo travels the length and breadth of Britain by train, discovering micro-mines, romantic ruins and an iconic bridge as he chugs through south Wales.

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  • Cardiff to Brecon

    Discover Cardiff's coal heritage and take a steam ride through the stunning Brecon Beacons. And when is an island not an island? Our roving host finds out in Barry.

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  • Port Talbot to Milford Haven

    Armed with George Bradshaw's seminal Victorian Railway Guidebook, Michael Portillo explores the 19th-century railway legacy en route to Pembrokeshire.

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  • Berwick-upon-Tweed to Morpeth

    Another day, another destination - Michael Portillo journeys through majestic Northumberland, hearing the amazing story of Ashington's Pitmen Painters.

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  • Bardon Mill to Wigton

    This Victorian voyage takes Michael Portillo to Hadrian's Wall, where he mucks in and enjoys some hands-on history. We also hear how ticket machines came to be.

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  • Cockermouth to Eskdale

    Michael Portillo glugs a lovely Victorian brew, goes nuclear at Sellafield and visits a Japanese-inspired garden as he winds through charming Cumbria by rail.

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  • Kirkby-in-Furness to Lancaster

    Travels by train. Michael Portillo alights to learn about Kirkby's famous blue slate and hear how execution was a spectator sport in Victorian times.

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  • Heysham to Sneafell

    Enjoy Britain's delights by rail - and boat, this time. Setting sail for the Isle of Man, Michael Portillo encounters horse trams and a dizzying mountain railway.

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  • Bray to Dublin

    Epic rail journeys inspired by George Bradshaw. Michael Portillo crosses the Irish Sea and learns about the railway along Dublin's treacherous east coast.

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  • Enfield to Drogheda

    Michael Portillo's Irish odyssey chugs on as he discovers the vast railway network within the Bog of Allen and the secrets of the amazing Boyne Viaduct.

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  • Dundalk to Portadown

    Michael Portillo shows no sign of running out of steam as he visits the historic Cromlech stones of Dundalk and the Armagh Observatory - all by rail.

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  • Belfast to Whitehead

    The travel series that's just the ticket. Host Michael Portillo probes the riveting history of Belfast's Victorian docks and enjoys a coastal walk in Whitehead.

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  • Ballymoney to Londonderry

    Victorian-inspired train rides. Michael Portillo holds on for dear life over the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, before visiting the majestic Giant's Causeway.

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