Victoria Train Station London
What To Expect - A Visitors Guide To London Victoria Station
Inside Victoria Station
Victoria Train Station is London's second busiest railway station (after Waterloo Station) handling around 1.5 million people each week, the vast majority of which are commuters from London's suburbs and the South East of England.
For the visitor to London flying into Gatwick, Victoria is significant as the central London Terminus of the Gatwick Express and Gatwick Southern Train services. These trains are the most comfortable and speedy transfer into London from Gatwick, much faster than any vehicle based transport. Victoria also has trains to Dover and Southampton ferry and cruise ports.
Victoria's destinations also include Brighton and Canterbury visited by many tourists and most of the coastal resorts in the south east corner of England like Eastbourne. Many of the trains out of Victoria are local commuter trains, the rail network in South London is far denser than the London Underground south of the river. Charing Cross, Blackfriars and London Bridge are other London Stations that service the same South east corner of England.
Three London Underground lines run through Victoria, including the Circle Line connecting Victoria with other London mainline train stations, Euston, Kings Cross, St Pancras, Liverpool Street, Marylebone and Paddington.
Victoria is a terminus, all trains terminate at Victoria. There are 19 platforms each with ticket barriers. You need a valid ticket to get access through the ticket barriers and also when you get off a train at Victoria. The Gatwick Express has two dedicated platforms of its own,
The Underground Station is directly underneath the rail station with access from within the train station. If changing between Underground trains on the Underground lines at Victoria you stay within the Underground Station and do not go through a ticket barrier so you are ticketed for only one journey. If you arrive by train and switch to an Underground train using an Oyster Card you go through ticket barriers.
At the front of Victoria Station is a very busy London red bus terminus. Only buses whose routes terminate at Victoria stop in here, many other bus routes pass through Victoria and stop in streets around the station and do not come into the bus station.
Victoria coach station is a few hundred yards down the side of Victoria Station along Buckingham Palace Road. Opposite it is the Green Line Bus Station. If you are not getting a London red bus, your bus will be from one of these bus stations.
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Victoria Railway Station Facilities
With such tremendous volumes of people passing through Victoria Station the demand and space available has resulted in many retail outlets, there is even a small shopping centre inside the station, Victoria Place.
Retail outlets are dominated by grab and go food outlets, Burger King, Upper Crust, Krispy Kreme, KFC and McDonald's among them. All the main coffee shop chains are here too, as are several pubs and bars including a Weatherspoon's. Convenience supermarkets include a M&S Simply Food and Sainsburys. Boots and Superdrug pharmacies are useful to have around, the betting shop less so.
There are of course restaurants offering more substantial fayre, including the Grosvenor Hotel which has an entrance from inside the station.
Station Rail Ticket Office Opening Hours: Travel same day, open 24 hours. Advance tickets 7:00 to 21:00.
Toilets / Showers: There are of course public toilets with baby changing facilities, a small charge is made. Unfortunately there are no longer showers available.
Left Luggage: There is a manned left luggage office run by the Excess Baggage Company. The Excess Baggage Company run all the left luggage facilities in London's stations and also Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. You can search for their web site for current charges and opening hours.
Excess Baggage Company Left Luggage
Telecommunications, Trolleys: There are of course phone booths and WiFi is provided by private operators that charge for the facility. There are also luggage trolleys which you need a 1 pound coin to operate. The coin is refunded when you return the trolley to a luggage trolley bay.
There are photo booth machines if you require a passport size photo for any reason.
Taxi, Buses and Underground: The taxi rank is out the front of the station where you will find also the London red bus station. Buses that stop here are only the routes that terminate at Victoria Station. The London Underground station is directly below the rail station and is accessed from within the station.
ATM's/Cash Machines / Foreign Exchange: Many ATM's around station. Foreign Exchange kiosk not 24 hours.
Visitor Centre: There is a very small visitor centre by the main entrance down to the London Underground.
Victoria Underground Station
Victoria has 3 Underground lines, the Circle, District and Victoria lines. The Circle & District Line share the same platforms/lines at Victoria, the Victoria line is a much newer line deeper underground. All are interconnected within the station. Victoria Underground is a very crowded station at all times of the day, it has been known for the station to be temporarily closed because of excessive crowding on the platforms at peak times. There may be long queues for the manned ticket desks in the morning.
We have a dedicated page to using and buying tickets on the London Underground system.
The London Underground runs every couple of minutes between about 5:30 a.m. and midnight. When the Underground is closed there is a good night bus network from outside the station that will get you to most places in Central London.
Victoria In Relation To The Rest Of Central London
Purchasing Train Tickets
The full train timetable and fares available are available from 3 months before departure.
As a general rule of thumb for journeys of around an hour or so there is no financial advantage in pre purchasing, you may as well buy at the station on day of travel.
For longer journeys, advance purchase fares offer great savings and it really is worth making the effort. Buying a ticket on the day for a long inter city train journey often results in ticket prices that are eye watering.
The three types of tickets are broadly :
Station Ticket Collection Machine
Anytime: Buy any time, travel any time.
Anytime fares are fully flexible tickets, with no time restrictions on when you can travel. With an Anytimeticket you can also break your journey at stations along the route of travel. For short journeys in the London area you normally get the same fare as if you booked in advance. For long inter-city fares, buying tickets like this can be very, very expensive.
Off Peak: Buy any time, travel off-peak.
these tickets may require you to travel at specific times of day, days of the week or on a specific route. Where there is more than one Off-Peak fare for a journey, the cheaper fare with more restrictions will be called Super Off-Peak. The times that constitute off-peak are very variable, there can even be different times for off-peak between the same stations in different directions.
Advance Purchase: Buy in advance
Sold in limited numbers and subject to availability. These tickets are only valid on the date/train specified. For longer journeys these tickets can be a real bargain.
Purchasing Train Tickets In Advance From Overseas
For longer distance trains, travelling by rail can be very expensive purchasing standard fares, often more expensive than flying. Advance purchase tickets on these longer distances on the other hand can be bargains.
For the overseas visitor this can present problems as there are with few exceptions no true e-tickets delivered by email at present. Tickets can be sent to your home address for a fee, they should arrive within 7 working days. You can however order tickets on-line and pick up the tickets from machines at key mainline stations including Paddington.
Note, most trains are only confirmed up to 3 months in advance. So if you search for a journey further ahead than 3 months you may well get an incomplete picture of available schedules and tickets.
A good proportion of visitors using Victoria Station will be those flying into London's Gatwick Airport. Train is the smart choice to transfer between Gatwick Airport and Central London and most people behave smartly.
The Gatwick Express is simply the fastest, most comfortable and reliable way to get between Gatwick Airport and Central London. The only good reason for many people not to use it, is the price of tickets.
Southern Trains operate commuter trains along the same tracks making stops along the way. Seats are closer together, carriages tend to be more crowded and of course journey times are slower, but tickets are significantly cheaper than the Gatwick Express.