Night Riviera Sleeper
With white sandy beaches, colourful seaside towns and of course Cornish ice cream and pasties, Cornwall is one of the best British escapes around. Whisking passengers away from London, the Night Riviera sleeper train travels overnight to the Cornish coast, completing a route of 305 miles with its final stop Penzance. It’s the most comfortable and enjoyable way to travel to the towns, holiday resorts and cities of the Cornish, eliminating the six-hour drive and allowing passengers to arrive refreshed at their destination.
Operated by Great Western Rail (GWR), the London to Cornwall train underwent a refurbishment in 2018 and now boasts premium new sleeper carriages and a stylish lounge car serving good quality food and drink. The train runs from Paddington station every night apart from Saturdays and takes eight hours to reach Penzance.
Prices from: £49
Departing from: London Paddington, Penzance
Journey length: 1 night
Night Riviera Sleeper route
Eliminating the need for a six-hour drive, the Night Riviera Sleeper easily connects passengers between London and Cornwall, allowing them to arrive feeling refreshed. Departing Paddington at 23:45 (boarding at 22:30), the train takes eight hours to reach Penzance, pulling into the town at 7:50am. While most of the journey is done at night, passengers will pass through Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth before arriving in Cornwall, then onto stops at Par (change for Newquay) and St Austell (for the Eden project). Stay on until Penzance and you’ll also rail past Truro, Redruth, Hayle and St Earth (connecting train to St Ives), before arriving in the port of Penzance.
Night Riviera Sleeper train
Following the refurbishment in 2018, the Riviera Night Sleeper now has a new on-board lounge, giving passengers a relaxing space to dine, drink or settle down with a good book. The new look is smart and stylish, with a sofa, booth and armchair seating available, along with several bar stools at an Art-Deco style bar. The lounge opens as boarding commences and is open all throughout the journey serving hot food, snacks and drinks, with sleeper passengers receiving complimentary tea, coffee and water. Along with sleeper cars, the lounge car is the only other passenger carriage on the train and is available exclusively for sleeper compartment passengers.
Cabins on the Night Riviera
Following the 2018 refurbishment, accommodation is now cosy and comfortable on board the Riviera Night Sleeper, decorated in soothing neutral tones of cream, brown and beige. The train offers private single or twin sleeper options, with an upper and lower berth in the twin rooms and just a lower berth in the single options. Compact, but clean and cost, the compartments all come with fresh bedding, towels, soap, USB ports, reading lights, blackout blinds and a small bottle of mineral water for each passengers, and have the added benefit of a washbasin with hot and cold running water.
New to the train, each passenger received a hotel-style key card which can be used to lock and unlock the door to the compartment, and free wi-fi is now also available. Those booked into a two-berth, without booking the entire cabin, might have to share with a fellow same-sex passenger. The train also has one accessible cabin and an accessible toilet next to each other.
Food and drink
Passengers are in for a long journey, and to help pass the time the train offers a decent array of drinks, snacks, sandwiches, pastries and wraps. Food is very affordable, and guests can grab a sandwich for £3.70, pastry for £2 and snack pot from £3.50. Hot drinks are also offered, like Lavazza coffee, Aero hot chocolate and speciality tea, and alcoholic drinks span beers, wines and spirits – also affordable and from £3.40. Breakfast is included for passengers in sleeper compartments, with a choice of porridge, cereal, croissant or a bacon roll.
Expect a mix of people on this train, including tourists, locals and the occasional business traveller venturing cross country.
Passengers with sleeper compartment tickets get accommodation with soap, a towel and mineral water included in their cabin, along with use of the train’s premium station lounges (where showers can be found). All food and drink comes at an additional cost, apart from breakfast, tea, coffee and water – which is also included in the sleeper ticket.
Pros and cons
Compared to a long drive or standard rail service, the Riviera Night Sleeper is the most comfortable London to Cornwall train. Pets are allowed on board (in a pet carrier in the guard’s car), wi-fi is free and luggage is unlimited.