Interrail in Great Britain: a country guide 🇬🇧

Interrail in Great Britain: the ultimate country guide 🇬🇧

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British pubs

Rugged coastline

Beautiful scenery

Historical architecture

Table of contents 🇬🇧

Great Britain overview

Visiting Great Britain via Interrail offers an efficient, flexible, and scenic way to explore the rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and vibrant cities of England, Scotland, and Wales. 

Starting in London, the capital city brims with iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and the British Museum. London’s extensive public transportation network, including the famous Tube, makes it easy to navigate. From London, a quick train ride can take interrailers to other fascinating cities.

Heading north, Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is renowned for its historic and architectural treasures, including Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. The journey from London to Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line showcases breathtaking coastal views and lush countryside. Further north, the Scottish Highlands offer stunning natural beauty, with destinations like Inverness and the Isle of Skye providing a dramatic backdrop for outdoor adventures.

In England, cities like York, with its medieval charm and York Minster, and Manchester, known for its vibrant music scene and industrial heritage, are easily accessible by train. The Lake District, famous for its picturesque landscapes and literary connections to William Wordsworth, is another highlight, ideal for hiking and nature lovers.

Wales offers its own unique attractions. Cardiff, the capital, is a dynamic city with a rich history, epitomised by Cardiff Castle and the Millennium Stadium. The scenic beauty of Snowdonia National Park and the coastal charm of towns like Conwy and Tenby add to Wales’ allure.

One of the key benefits of traveling via Interrail is the convenience and comfort of Britain’s rail network. Trains are frequent, punctual, and well-connected, allowing for seamless travel between major cities and remote destinations. Travellers can choose from various Interrail passes, such as the Global Pass, which covers multiple countries, or the One Country Pass, specifically for Great Britain.

The top 5 cities to visit in Great Britain


Visiting London offers an immersive experience into one of the world’s most vibrant and historic cities. As the capital of the United Kingdom, London is a melting pot of cultures, with an array of iconic landmarks, world-class museums, and bustling markets.

Start your exploration with the city’s historic heart. Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British monarch, offers a glimpse into royal life, especially during the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Nearby, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben stand as symbols of British democracy. The Tower of London, a historic fortress and home to the Crown Jewels, provides a fascinating dive into London’s medieval past.

For art and history enthusiasts, the British Museum and the National Gallery house extensive collections spanning millennia, while the Tate Modern showcases contemporary art in a former power station. The city’s theatre scene, particularly in the West End, rivals Broadway with numerous world-class productions.

London’s diverse neighbourhoods each offer unique experiences. Covent Garden is known for its street performances and boutique shops, while Camden Market is famed for its eclectic stalls and vibrant atmosphere. The South Bank, with attractions like the London Eye and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, provides scenic views along the Thames.

Green spaces like Hyde Park and Regent’s Park offer a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle. For shopping, Oxford Street and Regent Street feature major retailers, while Harrods in Knightsbridge offers luxury shopping.

A visit to London wouldn’t be complete without experiencing its historic pubs. Traditional establishments like Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and The George Inn offer a taste of the city’s rich pub culture, serving classic British ales and hearty fare in atmospheric settings.

London’s culinary scene is equally diverse, with everything from traditional British pubs to Michelin-starred restaurants and diverse international cuisines.

In summary, London’s blend of historic grandeur, cultural riches, and modern vibrancy makes it an unparalleled destination for any interrailer.

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York offers a captivating blend of medieval history, charming architecture, and vibrant culture, making it a must-visit destination. Located just two hours by train from London, York is easily accessible and perfect for a day trip or a longer stay.

Start your visit at York Minster, one of the largest and most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe. Its stunning stained glass windows and intricate stone carvings are awe-inspiring. Climb the central tower for panoramic views of the city.

Stroll through the Shambles, a narrow, cobblestone street with overhanging timber-framed buildings dating back to the 14th century. This picturesque area is filled with quaint shops, cafes, and boutiques, perfect for leisurely exploration.

For a deep dive into York’s history, visit the Jorvik Viking Centre, which offers an immersive experience of the city’s Viking past. The York Castle Museum and Clifford’s Tower provide further insights into York’s rich historical tapestry.

York’s city walls, which are some of the best-preserved in England, offer a scenic walk with views over the city and its landmarks. A walk along these walls is a unique way to appreciate York’s medieval heritage.

Don’t miss the National Railway Museum, home to an extensive collection of historic trains and railway memorabilia, reflecting York’s significant role in railway history.

For dining, York boasts a variety of options from traditional English pubs, like The House of the Trembling Madness, to modern eateries offering diverse cuisines.


Edinburgh offers a captivating journey through Scotland’s history, culture, and stunning landscapes. As Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh seamlessly blends ancient and modern attractions, making it a prime destination for an Interrail in Great Britain. Accessible via a scenic four-hour train ride from London, the city is perfect for an enriching getaway.

Begin your exploration at the iconic Edinburgh Castle, perched atop Castle Rock. This historic fortress provides breathtaking views of the city and houses the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. From here, stroll down the Royal Mile, a historic street that connects the castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the King’s official residence in Scotland.

Edinburgh’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a maze of narrow alleys and hidden courtyards. Key attractions include St Giles’ Cathedral, known for its stunning architecture and Thistle Chapel, and the Real Mary King’s Close, an underground labyrinth that reveals Edinburgh’s hidden history.

For a taste of Edinburgh’s vibrant cultural scene, visit the National Museum of Scotland, which offers diverse exhibits ranging from natural history to Scottish heritage. Art lovers should not miss the Scottish National Gallery, home to an impressive collection of European masterpieces.

Edinburgh’s New Town, with its elegant Georgian architecture, contrasts beautifully with the Old Town. Princes Street Gardens, nestled between the Old and New Towns, offers a green oasis perfect for relaxation and picnics.

Climb Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano and the highest point in Holyrood Park, for panoramic views of the city and beyond. This hike is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Edinburgh is renowned for its lively festivals, notably the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the world’s largest arts festival – and the Hogmanay New Year celebrations. The city’s culinary scene is equally diverse, from traditional Scottish pubs like The Sheep Heid Inn to contemporary restaurants serving international cuisine.

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Arthur's Seat - Photo by Winston Tjia on Unsplash
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Visiting Manchester offers a dynamic mix of industrial heritage, cultural vibrancy, and modern attractions, making it an exciting destination in northern England. Easily accessible by a two-hour train ride from London, Manchester is perfect for both short visits and extended stays.

Start your journey in the heart of the city at Manchester’s iconic Town Hall, an architectural masterpiece in Albert Square. Nearby, the John Rylands Library, housed in a neo-Gothic building, offers a serene escape with its impressive collection of rare books and manuscripts.

Manchester is known for its rich industrial history, best explored at the Science and Industry Museum. This museum chronicles the city’s pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution with engaging exhibits on machinery, textiles, and transportation. The People’s History Museum provides further insights into the city’s social history, focusing on the labour movement and democratic developments.

For art enthusiasts, the Manchester Art Gallery features an extensive collection of British and European art, while The Lowry, located in the revitalised Salford Quays, showcases contemporary works and performances. The Quays are also home to the Imperial War Museum North, which presents powerful exhibitions on conflict and its impact.

Football fans will relish a visit to Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, or the Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City play. Stadium tours and museum visits offer deeper insights into the clubs’ storied histories.

Manchester’s music scene is legendary, with venues like the Manchester Arena and the smaller, intimate Band on the Wall hosting a range of live performances. The Northern Quarter, known for its bohemian vibe, is packed with independent shops, cafes, and bars, making it a great spot to explore.

For dining, Manchester offers everything from traditional British pubs to diverse international cuisine, reflecting the city’s multicultural population. The Curry Mile in Rusholme is particularly famous for its Indian restaurants.


Visiting Bath immerses travellers in a unique blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty, making it one of England’s most charming destinations. Located just a 90-minute train ride from London, Bath is easily accessible and offers a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Begin your exploration at the heart of the city with a visit to the Roman Baths, a UNESCO World Heritage site. These ancient thermal baths, built by the Romans around natural hot springs, offer a fascinating glimpse into the city’s rich history. The adjacent Pump Room, with its elegant Georgian architecture, provides a perfect setting for enjoying traditional afternoon tea.

Bath Abbey, with its stunning Gothic architecture and intricate stained glass windows, is another must-visit landmark. Climb the tower for panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.

The city’s Georgian architecture, characterised by elegant crescents and terraces, is best admired in the Royal Crescent and the Circus. These architectural marvels showcase Bath’s 18th-century heyday as a fashionable spa resort.

No visit to Bath is complete without exploring the city’s literary connections. Follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen with a visit to the Jane Austen Centre, dedicated to the famous author who lived in Bath, or stroll along the picturesque Pulteney Bridge, featured in several film adaptations of Austen’s novels.

For a relaxing retreat, head to the Thermae Bath Spa, Britain’s only natural thermal spa. Here, you can bathe in the warm mineral-rich waters and enjoy stunning views of the city from the rooftop pool.

Bath’s vibrant cultural scene includes museums, galleries, and theatres. The Fashion Museum, housed in the historic Assembly Rooms, showcases the evolution of fashion through the centuries.

End your day with a leisurely stroll along the charming streets lined with independent shops, cafes, and restaurants, offering a diverse range of culinary delights, from traditional British fare to international cuisine.


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People who visit Great Britain also visit...

Ireland 🇮🇪

Travel between Ireland and Great Britain by getting on a ferry from Holyhead to Dublin or Pembroke to Rosslare.

Netherlands 🇳🇱

Get to Amsterdam directly from London with the Eurostar connection. Interrail passholders can benefit from a discount on Eurostar trains.

France 🇫🇷

Travel between Great Britain and France by the Eurostar! Get from London to Paris in just over 2 hours.

Belgium 🇧🇪

Get from London directly to Brussels with the Eurostar connection. Interrail passholders can benefit from a discount on Eurostar trains.​

Which Interrail pass do I need to travel around Great Britain?

Interrail Global Pass

The only travel pass that lets you ride on trains in 33 different countries and discover over 40,000 destinations. Available in 1st or 2nd class.
Our choice

Interrail Great Britain Pass

The easiest way to travel by train in Great Britain. Get a pass with 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 travel days in 1 month and explore the length and breadth of Great Britain.

Do I need to make train seat reservations in Great Britain?

Seat reservation isn’t required on UK trains but can be made for free via GWR for any train. Just create an account -> head to bookings -> make a seat/bike reservation. If you are travelling via LNER then you can also make a free seat reservation here.

Use Rail Europe to book the Eurostar from London to Lille, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam.

To book the Caledonian Sleeper, head to their website and select the Room Supplement only option.

Where to stay in Great Britain

Onefam Notting Hill - London

Situated in the iconic Notting Hill neighbourhood, this hostel blends contemporary comfort with local charm. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, explore the renowned Portobello Road Market with modern accommodations and a cozy atmosphere. This hostel is your ideal home base for discovering London! Get 10% off with Interrail Planner Premium!

The Fort Boutique Hostel - York

Voted in the top 10 hostels in the United Kingdom, The Fort Boutique Hostel is located right in the centre of York so is a great place to stay for exploring. Step outside The Fort into an area not only steeped in history, but surrounded by lively stylish cafes, bars and restaurants.

CoDE Pod, The CoURT - Edinburgh

CoDE Pod Hostel is an urban concept designed to give travellers a central location and a premium quality sleeping environment at a low cost. The Asian-style pod concept is the main unique design feature combined with secure keypad entry systems which the name "CoDE" was derived from. A unique hostel which is centrally located in the vibrant and beautiful Edinburgh city centre.

PH Hostel - Manchester

Nestled in one of Manchester’s most vibrant neighbourhoods, PH Hostel Manchester sits in the picturesque St Stephen’s Square in the legendary Northern Quarter. Home to trendy hidden bars, countless eating spots, and numerous independent record stores and live music venues.

St Christopher's Inn - Bath

This hostel is located right in the heart of the World Heritage listed city, nestled in amongst the quaint medieval buildings and just a short walk away from almost every tourist attraction that Bath has to offer. Bath Abbey, the Royal Crescent and the world famous Roman Baths are all just minutes away on foot.

Events in Great Britain

Alcotraz - London

Prison isn't too bad when you've got cocktails. Sneak your favourite bottle of booze into this high-security prison and one of the inmates will shake you up something special. But in this immersive drinking experience, you better not get caught.

Jorvik Viking Festival - York

Europe's largest Viking festival! Taking place every February, it's a city-wide celebration of York's rich Norse heritage. Expect Viking battle re-enactments all over town.

Fringe Festival - Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a vibrant celebration of arts and culture, transforms the historic streets of Edinburgh into a bustling hub of creativity every August. From comedy to theatre, music to dance, it's a melting pot of talent and innovation, drawing artists and audiences from around the globe.

Pride in Trafford - Manchester

Pride in Trafford celebrates and explores identity and LGBTQ+ life in Trafford, to coincide with IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia).

Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling - near Bath

Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling, a centuries-old tradition, sees participants chasing a wheel of cheese down a steep hill, risking tumbles for the coveted dairy prize. Amidst laughter and excitement, this quirky event encapsulates the unique spirit and heritage of the Gloucestershire countryside. Not far from Bath, and worth it if you're in the area in May.

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