Insider Tips

11 things You Only Know When You Travel on a British Train

Regular British train travellers will be an expert on the below, but newbies and tourists will want to listen up…

1. Keep all your tickets

If you print your ticket out (and yes, some of us still do) you will be presented with up to eight separate tickets. Do not be tempted to throw any of these away – the ticket inspector will ask for all eight and fine you if don’t have them on your person

2. It’s a gastronomic affair

British train: Victoria sponge
You may get to try Victoria sponge cake…

All manner of traditional British food is available at the buffet car so if you fancy a pork pie, Victoria sponge cake, bacon sandwich or even a scotch egg, you’ll be in luck here

3. Wait for the buffet trolley

The said Buffet Car is a legendary space full of very interesting people sharing train tales, but the queue is often long and it can be a very long way from your seat so be sure to avail yourself of a drink and a snack when the buffet trolley comes your way.

4. Sit in the right carriage

Many of the British long-distance trains spilt into two or even three on the journey so you need to make sure you sit in the right carriage or you could find yourself in the wrong part of the country.

5. Stock up before hand

Taking your own food and drink on board is absolutely fine so go ahead, raid M&S for Percy Pigs or treat yourself to a Pret Lobster Roll.

gin and tonic
Drinking is okay on British trains, especially M&S G&Ts

6. Drinking is okay (ish)

Unlike the tube, drinking alcohol on the train is ok. Us Brits love our canned G&Ts so you’ll see plenty of them on your journey.

7. Sit in the right zone

Smart railway travellers book themselves into the ‘quiet’ carriages where you’re not allowed to talk on the phone. 

8. Weigh up first class

Many of the British train lines offer first class passengers free food and soft drinks on the train so it pays to do your homework before you book your ticket.

cheese course
Some trains offer food and drink with first class bookings

9. Expect no Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi on board can be very patchy. If it goes down, just sit back, daydream and enjoy the view from your window.

10. Sit next to the window

Many of the British trains travel through some amazing parts of the country like Cornwall and Yorkshire so sightseeing out of the window is a must.

11. Take in station names

If you’re in luck, you will travel through funny sounding stations like Snodland (in Kent) and Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (in Anglesey in Wales). Take a picture – it will be perfect for your ‘gram

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