Are you looking for some info on First Class train tickets in the UK? Then we’re here to help. We’ve scoured the country for the various benefits on offer for passengers travelling in First Class. Read on for our complete guide, including some tips on how to purchase your First Class train tickets for less!
When it's not quite enough just to get there... Enjoy luxury travel and reach your destination in style with a First Class ticket! Find more info below, including some frequently asked questions.
First Class train tickets are a fast pass to the best seats on the train! They're often the most expensive of all the different types of train tickets available in the UK, however, they can sometimes be cheaper than others. For example, an Off-Peak First Class journey may be cheaper than travelling in Standard during Peak times. It might sound confusing, but all you need to do is keep your eyes peeled when searching for tickets. Or, you can use our app and we'll pinpoint the cheapest tickets for you!
You can upgrade your ticket to First Class on certain journeys, as long as it's before you board your train. You can do this by speaking to ticket staff at your departure station, and you'll usually need to pay the difference between your current and the price of the First Class ticket. It's also possible to get a Weekend First upgrade. The option is only available on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. Prices and terms differ by train company, depending on the features of their First Class carriages and the route.
We know that life can't always be planned out in advance. If something pops up and you need to make a last-minute journey, you may still be able to grab a First Class seat. You know what to do – use our Journey Planner to tell us where you're going, and we'll highlight the cheapest tickets for your same-day travels. If you’ve left your booking literally to the last minute and the train's about to leave, you may see a “Not available to buy” notice on our app or website. If so, you won’t be able to buy your ticket with us, but you can talk to staff at the station instead.
Once you’ve travelled in First Class, you won’t want to go back to Standard. From comfy seats with extra space to tasty complimentary nibbles and drinks, there are endless benefits to convince you to stump up that extra bit of cash.*
Is it worthwhile to buy First Class train tickets though? In short, absolutely. The First Class carriage has several perks that both business and leisure passengers can enjoy to the fullest.
*Please note that there are more than 20 train operators in the UK, and they all offer different First Class services and benefits at different fares, so be sure to check out our train companies page to find out your preferred operator and the services they offer.
If you want to know how to get cheap First Class train tickets, it’s easy. Simply enter your departure station and destination into our online booking system at the top of this page (or use our app if you're on the move), and we'll highlight the cheapest tickets for your journey. If you’re flexible on timings pick an Off-Peak train, if there's one available. Likewise, the further ahead that you know the dates of your journey, the easier it will be to secure the right price for an Advance ticket.
Combine your Advance Off-Peak First Class ticket with a Railcard to save an additional 1/3 off the price and travel in style. Visit our UK National Railcards page to learn more.
Alternatively, you can download our app for your mobile and book in a flash.
At base level, most First Class tickets will give you access to free WiFi, newspapers and a complimentary hot drink (or a variation of these), but what usually goes unmentioned is the atmosphere. Quiet and spacious, the First Class carriage is a haven for long-distance journeys, like London to Edinburgh.
For those who like to use their travel time to be productive, working on a laptop or another device is a breeze, thanks to the under-seat power sockets that help keep your juice levels topped up. The extra quiet carriages and large tables in First Class make getting on with business an easy task, while leisure passengers can kick back and catch some shut-eye, listen to music or read a book in peace.
Again, be sure to check out our train companies page to find out your preferred operator and the services they offer. On some occasions, train companies may not be able to guarantee access to some or all of their onboard First Class services.
So, what do you get for First Class train travel at the upper end of luxury? The benefits of First Class vary by train company and route, meaning you may have a different experience each time, depending on where you're travelling.
For instance, on Virgin Voyager and Pendolino trains from London to Manchester or London to Edinburgh, you can look forward to a three-course meal onboard. Greater Anglia trains offer you wider seats with extra leg space, free WiFi and complimentary refreshments, with food available from a trolley service on some of the longer routes like London to Norwich.
Meanwhile, South Western Railway only provides a catering service on certain routes (London Waterloo to Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Exeter St David's, subject to availability). Some Great Western Railway First Class services even feature reclining seats, so you can travel at the height of comfort.
Yes, it’s possible to book cheap First Class train tickets in advance. Despite the great benefits of First Class travel, people still tend to avoid it due to the price tag. If you're feeling the pinch, you'll be pleased to know that most train companies release their First Class tickets as early as 12 weeks in advance, and if you’re flexible with Off-Peak travel, you could end up with a great deal!
Start experiencing First Class before you even board the train by chilling out in a First Class lounge! Note that not all stations feature a First Class lounge, and they're usually only available to customers of a particular train company.
However, First Class lounges are great for escaping the hectic hustle and bustle at major stations, allowing you to instead relax in a comfortable chair with a drink at hand.
Again, your experience will vary depending on the station and service you're using. For example, the London King's Cross First Class lounge (Virgin Trains) features numerous comfortable chairs for business or relaxation, free WiFi, phone-charging stations and complimentary snacks. Meanwhile, the London Paddington First Class lounge (Great Western Railway) features coffee machines, fridges with complimentary cold drinks and live departure boards, amongst other amenities.
Here are some of the major stations with First Class lounges:
Yes, you can normally get a full First Class train ticket refund from the train company in charge of your journey. But, if you’ve bought your ticket with us, we’re happy to do the legwork for you and get in touch with the relevant train company on your behalf.