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Stuck for Christmas presents? Give the gift of train travel

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Thinking of an inspirational gift idea can be a difficult task all year round, but it’s particularly difficult at Christmas. For a unique Christmas present, book your loved one a break in one of Blighty’s fascinating cities. Just check out our journey planner for cheap train tickets and you could impress them for less this Christmas. And make sure you book a ticket for yourself too.

Take the train to York … for a romantic weekend

York is one of England’s most beautiful, historic cities. With narrow cobblestone streets, atmospheric bridges and fantastic range of hotels and restaurants, it’s the perfect place for a romantic trip.

Roughly half-way between London and Edinburgh, York is easy to get to by train so it’s a great location for a weekend break wherever you live.

Our top tip: Wrap up warm and take a leisurely stroll through to see The Shambles (a throwback to medieval times that featured in the Harry Potter films), the City Walls and the city’s many hidden gems.

Take the train to London … for an exciting theatre break

London’s still the UK’s hottest destination if you fancy a theatre break. All you’ll have to do is put a little thought into the kind of entertainment your friend or family member enjoys before you snap up some train and theatre tickets.

For a fan of musicals, try Tim Minchin’s Matilda the Musical at Covent Garden’s Cambridge Theatre. If they’re into comedy, One Man, Two Guvnors (starring James Corden) is enjoying a second run at the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand. Or, if they’re a Shakespeare fan, check out the innovative programme at Shakespeare’s Globe on the South Bank.

Our top tip: Not sure what show to choose? Buy some Theatre Tokens along with your train tickets to London, so that your loved one can take their pick.

Take the train to Oxford … and eat and drink to your heart’s delight

Oxford may be best known for its ancient university, but it’s also one of the UK’s most exciting short break destinations for food and drink lovers. It’s packed with pubs, and famous watering holes like The Turf Tavern and The King’s Arms are essential stops.

If it’s fine food you’re after, you won’t do better than Raymond Blanc’s Brasserie Blanc in Jericho, near Oxford city centre, and Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, in nearby Great Milton.

Our top tip: Rent a couple of bicycles when you get off the train to Oxford and make your way to Cowley Road, on the south side of the town. It’s less pretty than the city centre, but you’ll find some of Oxford’s best international eateries in this area.

Take the train to Edinburgh… for a cultural tour of Scotland’s capital

Edinburgh is the ideal destination for a cultural city break. Check out historic sights like Edinburgh Castle, the captivating Royal Mile and the charming Georgian New Town and explore the city’s many museums and galleries, including the National Gallery on Princes Street, the Gallery of Modern Art and the recently revamped National Museum of Scotland.

Our top tip: Edinburgh Zoo might not seem like an essential stop off if you don’t have children, but this city highlight isn’t just for kids. This month, it welcomed the first pandas to live in the UK for 17 years – Tian Tian and Yang Guang (or Sunshine and Sweetie).

City breaks can be fantastic, imaginative Christmas presents, giving your loved one (and you) something to help you beat the post-Christmas blues. And for the best deals on train travel, remember to book early and use our journey planner to find cheap train tickets.

Have you got any suggestions for short break Christmas gift ideas? Please let us know by leaving a comment below …

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