The WORST Episodes of Great British Railway Journeys

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Network: BBC Two

Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with a copy of George Bradshaw's Railway Guidebook. Portillo travels the length and breadth of the country to see how the railways have changed it, and what of Bradshaw's Britain remains.

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Ealing Broadway to South Kensington

#1 - Ealing Broadway to South Kensington

Season 10 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 20, 2019

In the Queen of the Suburbs, Ealing, Michael Portillo finds comedy at the home of British cinema and is transformed for the silver screen by expert hair and make-up.

star 0.00
0 votes
Newmarket to Walsingham

#2 - Newmarket to Walsingham

Season 12 - Episode 10 - Aired May 7, 2021

Michael Portillo is in Suffolk on the last leg of his 1930s Bradshaw's inspired tour of East Anglia, visiting the racecourse at Newmarket and the Roman Catholic shrine at Walsingham.

star 0.00
0 votes
Crewe to Shotton

#3 - Crewe to Shotton

Season 12 - Episode 11 - Aired May 10, 2021

Oh, Mr Porter, what could he do? Michael Portillo is in Crewe, a town steeped in railway history and immortalised in Victorian music hall, to investigate the making of the iconic cinema classic, The Night Mail during the 1930s.

star 0.00
0 votes
Rhyl to Anglesey

#4 - Rhyl to Anglesey

Season 12 - Episode 12 - Aired May 11, 2021

Michael Portillo's 1930s Bradshaw's-inspired railway tour of North Wales takes him to a coast lined by magnificent castles and sweeping bays.

star 0.00
0 votes
Bangor to Betws y Coed

#5 - Bangor to Betws y Coed

Season 12 - Episode 13 - Aired May 12, 2021

Michael Portillo continues his 1936 Bradshaw's-inspired railway tour of North Wales in the coastal city of Bangor before turning south from Llandudno Junction to travel the Conwy Valley Line to Betws y Coed, the gateway to Snowdonia.

star 0.00
0 votes
Blaenau Ffestiniog to Barmouth

#6 - Blaenau Ffestiniog to Barmouth

Season 12 - Episode 14 - Aired May 13, 2021

In the Welsh mountains of Snowdonia, Michael Portillo reaches an abandoned mine, where in 1940 the wartime government sought sanctuary for the National Gallery's priceless art collection.

star 0.00
0 votes
Aberystwyth to Newtown

#7 - Aberystwyth to Newtown

Season 12 - Episode 15 - Aired May 14, 2021

Armed with his 1930s Bradshaw's Guide, Michael Portillo travels from Aberystwyth into the Cambrian Mountains at Devil's Bridge and finishes in Newtown, Powys. Michael's 250-mile tour of North Wales draws to a close in style at the birthplace of the nation's first classical music festival, Gregynog Hall, near Newtown. Michael is intrigued to discover that its founders, sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, used the fortune they inherited from their grandfather, a noted Welsh railway builder, to establish the country estate as a centre for art and music from 1933. In the glorious music room, a Welsh harpist helps to evoke the spirit of festivals past and present.

star 0.00
0 votes
Biggin Hill to Ashdown Forest

#8 - Biggin Hill to Ashdown Forest

Season 13 - Episode 1 - Aired May 17, 2021

Michael Portillo experiences a terrifying ‘victory roll’ in a World War II Spitfire, meets a biographer of A.A. Milne and lends a hand at the community-owned Plaw Hatch Farm.

star 0.00
0 votes
Hassocks to Benenden

#9 - Hassocks to Benenden

Season 13 - Episode 2 - Aired May 18, 2021

Michael visits the village of Ditchling, once the home of a community of Catholic artists, before heading to Bexhill-on-Sea to learn about the role of ARP wardens during the war.

star 0.00
0 votes
Deal to Margate

#10 - Deal to Margate

Season 13 - Episode 4 - Aired May 20, 2021

Michael heads to the splendid Walmer Castle, home during the 1920s to a Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Lord Beauchamp, whose openly homosexual lifestyle led to his exile from the country.

star 0.00
0 votes
Herne Bay to Leeds Castle, Kent

#11 - Herne Bay to Leeds Castle, Kent

Season 13 - Episode 5 - Aired May 21, 2021

Armed with his interwar copy of Bradshaw’s Guide to the Railways, Michael reaches the Kent seaside resort of Herne Bay, where he learns about a pioneering aviatrix.

star 0.00
0 votes
Chislehurst to Kennington

#12 - Chislehurst to Kennington

Season 13 - Episode 6 - Aired May 24, 2021

Michael continues his journeys in greater London, beginning on its southeastern fringe in the village of Chislehurst and ending up in Kennington to learn about the childhood of Charlie Chaplin.

star 0.00
0 votes
Hampstead to Islington

#13 - Hampstead to Islington

Season 13 - Episode 8 - Aired May 26, 2021

Michael’s rail tour of London continues in Hampstead, where Sigmund Freud found refuge from the Nazis. He ends up in Finsbury to learn about the influence of Russian emigre Berthold Lubetkin.

star 0.00
0 votes
Dagenham to Battersea

#14 - Dagenham to Battersea

Season 13 - Episode 9 - Aired May 27, 2021

Armed with his 1930s Bradshaw’s guide, Michael is in London, where he tracks the River Thames from east to west. Starting in Dagenham, he ends up at the iconic Battersea Power Station.

star 0.00
0 votes
Blackpool to Manchester Victoria

#15 - Blackpool to Manchester Victoria

Season 8 - Episode 6 - Aired Jan 9, 2017

On a new journey across Bradshaw's Britain with his Victorian guidebook. He makes potent new friends in Fleetwood then heads to Manchester, where George Stephenson built the world's first modern railway line. This epoch-defining achievement is being incorporated into a new multi-million pound rail link between Manchester's Victoria and Piccadilly stations and Michael lends a hand with the welding. At a moving ceremony in Manchester Piccadilly station, Michael unveils a new monument to 87 railwaymen of the London and North Western Railway, who lost their lives in the Great War.

star 4.73
33 votes
Saxmundham to Norwich

#16 - Saxmundham to Norwich

Season 11 - Episode 14 - Aired Jan 23, 2020

Michael Portillo heads for Snape Maltings, a concert and arts venue, and learns how the music and life of one of Britain’s greatest composers was shaped by the sea and his Suffolk surroundings.

star 5.00
2 votes
Attleborough to Skegness

#17 - Attleborough to Skegness

Season 11 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 24, 2020

Michael Portillo is in Attleborough, at the headquarters of an international horse welfare organization which was established in the late 1920s, where he learns about the charity's pioneering founder.

star 5.00
2 votes
Greystones to Dublin

#18 - Greystones to Dublin

Season 8 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 17, 2017

At Trinity College, Dublin, Michael Portillo discovers one of Ireland's greatest treasures and learns how it became the symbol of the nation. There is a chance to sample the black stuff in a Dublin pub before Michael learns how Victorian royals were deployed to calm rocky relations between Britain and Ireland. He explores the magnificent house and gardens of Powerscourt in County Wicklow. Finding an angle on triangulation helps Michael to understand how Ireland was put on the map - and why.

star 5.48
33 votes
Hackney Wick to Oxford Circus

#19 - Hackney Wick to Oxford Circus

Season 13 - Episode 7 - Aired May 25, 2021

Michael continues his travels through the capital in the heart of London’s East End. He begings in Hackney Wick, which today is transformed from the time of his 1930s Bradshaw’s guide.

star 6.00
1 votes
Carlisle to Penrith

#20 - Carlisle to Penrith

Season 7 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 4, 2016

Joining the cracker packers of Carlisle on the factory floor, Michael really takes the biscuit as he investigates the Victorian appetite for the custard cream on his new journey through north-west Britain. Braving a perilous descent into the only operational slate mine in England, Michael discovers a miniature railway which once hauled slate to the surface. Following in the footsteps of Victorian miners on their way to work, he steps out gingerly on to what is now Britain's only Via Ferrata - a terrifying tightrope challenge 300 feet above the Borrowdale Valley.

star 6.38
8 votes
East Malling to Rye

#21 - East Malling to Rye

Season 10 - Episode 15 - Aired Feb 22, 2019

In Folkestone, Michael Portillo hears how the town coped with an influx of more than 100,000 refugees from Belgium fleeing the German invasion in 1914.

star 6.50
2 votes
St Helens to Knutsford

#22 - St Helens to Knutsford

Season 7 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 7, 2016

Steered by his Bradshaw's guide, Michael begins this leg of his journey in Merseyside, where he feels the heat of modern glassmaking in St Helens. He discovers how the techniques invented in the Victorian era to construct buildings such as the Crystal Palace have evolved and are powering a new architectural revolution.

star 6.60
5 votes
Epping to Hackney

#23 - Epping to Hackney

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 5, 2012

Michael Portillo sees how gunpowder made in Waltham Cross fuelled an empire, and heads to Hackney to uncover the gruesome details of the first murder on a train.

star 6.75
4 votes
Hartlebury to Great Malvern

#24 - Hartlebury to Great Malvern

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 17, 2012

Michael Portillo visits the Worcestershire village of Hartlebury, which was once home to a bishop who captured Queen Victoria's attention, on the second leg of his journey from Oxford to the south Wales coast. He also investigates the secrets of Worcestershire sauce and learns why the Malvern hills were popular with 19th-century health enthusiasts.

star 6.75
4 votes
Windermere to Carnforth

#25 - Windermere to Carnforth

Season 7 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 5, 2016

Michael continues his journey through the Lake District where he discovers a magical world of talking rabbits, ducks, hedgehogs and mice, who have entertained children for more than 100 years. At the village home of author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, Michael learns about her legacy and her fears about the railways. Fuelled by a Victorian energy bar, Michael presses on to Brantwood, home of the Victorian art critic John Ruskin. He finishes with a brief encounter at Carnforth.

star 6.83
6 votes