Great Britain By train
A blend of rich history and tradition injected with modern influence, Great Britain is one of the most visited European destinations. It offers a palette of world-famous sights, museums, top nightlife, and picturesque countryside. Scotland, England and Wales are its 3 distinct countries – varied in character, yet all full of flavor. Venture off the European mainland for some time spent discovering everything that Great Britain has to offer.
Great Britain Quick Facts
Population: 66 million
Currency: Pound (GBP)
Dialing code: +44
Trains in Great Britain
Visitors to Great Britain will find it easy to travel around England, Scotland, and Wales on the extensive and well-developed train system. Britain's train network criss-crosses the land with services to even small towns and villages with almost 20,000 train services on a typical weekday.
- Main stations and connections
Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Holyhead, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle
London Kings Cross
Cambridge, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, York
Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Oxford, Penzance, Plymouth
You can use your Interrail Pass on Heathrow Connect to travel between Paddington and Heathrow Airport.
Brighton, Dover, Portsmouth, Southampton
Exeter, Portsmouth, Southampton, Weymouth, Windsor
Liverpool Lime Street
London, Manchester, Glasgow
London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow
Birmingham New Street
London, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Penzance
Reservations in Great Britain
A valid Pass for Great Britain can be used on several train services operated by several private railway companies.
Please note: All customers with a Global Pass are eligible to travel on the Eurostar (between London and Paris, London and Brussels, and London and Amsterdam/Rotterdam respectively), with a compulsory reservation. However, the Eurail Great Britain Pass is not valid on Eurostar. Reservations in Great Britain can be made online at SeatRez (€6) or locally for free. Reservations are free for only LNER.
Reservations for Eurostar can be booked through the reservation self-service, the Rail Planner App, on the NS website, via phone at the Eurostar booking center (+44)01233617575 (outside the UK) or (+44) 03432186186 (within the UK), or directly at Eurostar terminals.
Good to know
Bicycles are generally allowed on British trains, but conditions vary between companies.
No reservations required:
- Avanti West Coast (Recommended)
- Chiltern Railways
- Cross Country (Recommended)
- East Midlands Railway
- Gatwick Express
- Grand Central
- Greater Anglia
- Great Northern
- Great Western Railway (Recommended)
- Heathrow Express
- Hull Trains
- Island Line
- London Northwestern Railway
- London Overground
- South Western Railway
- Stansted Express
- TfL Rail/Crossrail
- Transport for Wales
- West Midlands Railway
Mandatory reservations required:
- Caledonian Sleeper
- Night Riviera sleeper
- London North Eastern Railway
- TransPennine Express
Eurail Global Pass
The Eurail Global Pass is the flexible and budget-friendly way to get around up to 33 countries in Europe, including Great Britain. Travel by train from one cool destination to the next. One day you're on a pub crawl through Amsterdam and the next you're white-water rafting in Interlaken, Switzerland.
Eurailing in Great Britain
Do you only want to travel in Great-Britain? You can do this with a BritRail Pass, which lets you travel in all of Great Britain. You can also purchase a BritRail Pass for one specific country, such as England or Scotland.
Pass Benefits in Great Britain
Places to visit
London: Dive into the world’s most captivating melting pot
A visit to London will reveal a multitude of reminders of Britain’s previous world dominance, mixed up with splatterings of cosmopolitan cool and age-old traditions. Get an extraordinary view over the whole of London from the London Eye – Europe’s largest Ferris wheel. Then roam the city by foot and be wowed by how many exciting attractions and famous monuments the city has to offer. Check out London’s free museums, including the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Tate Britain gallery.
How to get there
The London Eye is a 10-minute walk from London’s Waterloo train station. Both the Natural History Museum and Science Museum are located 5 minutes by foot from South Kensington tube station. The Tate Britain is a 10-minute walk from Vauxhall train station.
Bags of history and culture
Edinburgh is both Scotland’s capital and its throbbing heartbeat. With Edinburgh Castle proudly perched up on a hill, this city exudes energy and a mythical charm. Join the friendly locals for a beer in Edinburgh’s rowdy bars and see if you can keep up with them.
In the south of England is one of the country’s most famous university cities – Oxford. Not only home to the University of Oxford and its 38 colleges, the oldest dating back over 700 years. The city is also a vibrant place with a university feel and plenty of events going on.
How to get there
Edinburgh’s main train station – Edinburgh Waverley – is conveniently located right in the centre of the city. Oxford train station is a 10-minute walk from the city centre.
British countryside splendor
Venture out of the city and be surprised by the overwhelming beauty of England’s Lake District. Marvel at luscious green mountains and picture-perfect lakes, as well as exploring surrounding towns and villages, each quintessentially English in their own right.
You’ll find further landscape brimming with mountains in the Scottish Highlands, which you can travel to by using your rail pass and taking a train from Edinburgh. Explore Britain’s Ben Nevis, Loch Ness and stumble upon sandy beaches and an unexpected array of wildlife.
How to get there
A popular starting point for entering the Lake District is the town of Kendal, which has its own train station. From Edinburgh, ScotRail provides services to the more rural areas of the Scottish Highlands.
Get active in Britain’s great outdoors
Off England’s south west coast you'll find the top surfing paradise Newquay. The small town’s famous Fistral Beach is a favorite with surf board fanatics and has hosted international surfing competitions for over 20 years. Once you’ve worn yourself out fighting the waves, you can find your second wind at one of Newquay’s cheesy bars.
For the energetic, why not sign up for the Three Peaks Challenge, which involves hiking up the three highest peaks of England (Scafell Pike), Scotland (Ben Nevis) and Wales (Snowdon), whilst taking in the great British scenery.
How to get there
Fistral Beach is a 20-minute walk from Newquay’s main train station. The Three Peaks Challenge can be arranged through an organisation or independently – but do be aware that it’s easy to get lost on the mountains.
Unrivalled party scenes
Great nightlife is not just confined to London, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Make a visit to Britain’s vibrant ‘gay capital’ – Brighton – on the pebbled south coast. This beloved seaside city is quirky, cosmopolitan and arguably one of England’s liveliest spots. Manchester – once an important manufacturing city – has recently become another one of England’s coolest party places. Keep an eye out for the legendary Warehouse Project, which takes place in clubs around the city.