Anyone who has travelled on the European continent will be familiar with the thrill of high-speed trains: French TGV, German ICE, Spain’s sleek AVE services. Europe has an efficient network of flights – but zipping from one great city to another on a train is undeniably the most glamorous way to get from A to B.

Britain will join the party in earnest with the arrival of High Speed 2 (HS2) – the planned fast rail route that would reduce the London to Birmingham journey time from 84 to 49 minutes, eventually slashing journey times to Leeds and Manchester. While the debate rages around the environmental and social impact of a high-speed line up the spine of Britain, there’s little debate that shrinking journey times around the UK should encourage travellers to explore further.

Rail buffs looking forward to 225mph journeys on British railways will also have the chance to explore some history too. Birmingham’s new station will be at Curzon Street – partially housed in a historic building that was the original terminus for the first line to London in 1838. HS2 is a lengthy project. Building is not scheduled to start until 2017 – that means plenty of time to plan your trip.

This article was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Magazine.