Taking a holiday by rail
Here at Tailor Made Rail, we believe that there is nothing better than travelling around by train on your holiday. But if you’re considering your first ever holiday by rail, you may be wondering what it will be like.
It can feel a bit daunting setting off to new destinations armed only with tickets and maps, but we want to make things as easy as possible for you. After all, this will be your holiday and we want you to have an enjoyable, stress-free experience.
Most customers will start their international journey on the Eurostar from London St Pancras, Ebbsfleet or Ashford. Eurostar allows passengers to bring two bags up to 85cm in length – with no weight restriction. So if you want to bring two 30kg suitcases, you are free to do so! However, you might want to consider that you will need to take your bags with you on and off trains, so it will be easier if they are not too heavy.
Also worth considering is the fact that your main luggage will probably be stored at the end of the carriage (unless it can fit in the rack above your seat) so it’s good to have a smaller bag with all the essentials you will want to have to hand during your journey. There are no restrictions on liquids, so if you want to bring a bottle of wine with you to toast the start of your journey, that’s not a problem. Similarly, there is no issue with bringing liquid gifts back into the UK.
If you’d rather not travel with your luggage, then you have the option to add luggage transfers to your booking. Your luggage will be collected from your home before you leave and will be waiting for you at your hotel on arrival.
Arriving at the station
Eurostar check-in is 30 minutes prior to departure. For other trains around Europe, there is no check-in required, but we recommend getting to the station early enough to find your platform – especially in larger stations. It may often be the case that your train will already be waiting on the platform so you can find your seats and get comfortable before you leave.
If you have reserved seats, you will find a map telling you which sector or zone to stand in for your carriage. This will either be along the platform or on the overhead board.
It’s likely that most trains you will be travelling on have some kind of catering facilities, ranging from a full sit-down restaurant car to a fridge full of snacks in the steward’s office, and many options in-between! You are also always welcome to bring your own supplies onboard.
If you’re travelling in First Class, you will sometimes have food included as part of the service. You can find out more about First Class inclusions here.
One of the joys of rail travel is being able to sit back and watch the passing scenery. We can’t promise that every train journey you take will be beautiful throughout, but plenty of routes have some spectacular sections, even on regular trains. For example, the Brenner Pass route from Munich to Venice or the Intercity service that travels along the Rhine Valley, with an hour of vineyards and castles en route.
If you want to maximise the scenic rail journeys on your trip, you can have a look at our collection of Scenic Rail Holidays.
Sleeper trains in Europe are becoming somewhat of an endangered species as high-speed services take over the network. However, if you want the romance and adventure of a sleeper journey as part of your holiday, we can certainly still arrange this for you. Find out more about sleeper services, what to expect and which suggested itineraries we feature on our dedicated page.
For a completely different experience, there are plenty of privately-run luxury trains running across continental Europe and beyond. These trains generally offer beautifully appointed cabins, fabulous service and fine dining. The most famous of these of course is the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, run by Belmond. Belmond also boasts a portfolio of luxury trains around the world, including the Eastern & Oriental Express, the Andean Explorer and the Royal Scotsman.
You can also cross South Africa aboard the iconic Blue Train or the Pride of Africa by Rovos Rail. Or if you fancy taking on the Trans-Siberian Railway in style, why not try the Golden Eagle private train? We can offer any of these services, even those not featured on our website.