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Cruising through the stunning scenery of Norway’s fjords


Despite the lateness, the sudden announcement causes a frenzy of activity. “The captain has notified us that the northern lights are visible to the rear of the ship.” 

Within minutes it seems every passenger on ­Hurtigruten’s MS NordkappIMG_7972 has appeared on deck in various stages of cold-weather readiness. There is ­scarcely any conversation. Even the frenzied click of cameras quickly abates. The ethereal green swirls that dance across the clear inky sky are entrancing. Our ­voyage up the Norwegian coast has promised myriad natural treasures and has already paid off.

We are cruise neophytes wary of setting out aboard the equivalent of a

Great railway journeys; the Severn Valley Railway

There is something irresistible about the attraction of steam trains, an amalgamation of sights, sounds and smells that assaults the senses. Maybe it’s all those Thomas the Tank Engine books we have devoured or re-runs of The Railway Children. Or perhaps we just hanker for a seemingly calmer, gentler time.

We live in an era where most rail travel is just a practical means of getting from A to B. But on the heritage Seven Valley Railway (SVR) line in England, it’s the journey itself that is stationmasterthe main point of travel. It’s a rail buff’s nirvana. A dream excursion for kids. The SVR’s 26km route runs from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster along the Severn Valley, crossing the Shropshire/Worcestershire border and shadowing the course of the beautiful River Severn for much of the way. It’s a perfect way to spend the day.

Like a giant metal dragon, the magnificent steam engine snorts, squeals and clanks its way into Kidderminster Station before coming


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