21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach – Winter is coming!

Hi everyone!

Gosh, the weather has been something else.

All over the world there have been storms, winds, and lashings of rain. Luckily, in Northern Europe, it hasn’t been too bad.

As you know, I’m travelling to the English countryside, and part of that has already begun!

Just to recap, I’ll be visiting Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire, with a few secret bits added along!

However, not all of our travels would be the countryside itself, some of it would be of English quirkiness, and one of those places is Blackpool!

When people think of England, they don’t really think of the seaside.

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

Come to think of it, they don’t think of the seaside in Germany either!

However, for many British people including myself, happy memories abide of going to the seaside as a child. Being that I’m from Manchester, the nearest beach would have been Blackpool!

Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast of North West England.

Victoria looking as cool as a cucumber, in the Philippines!
©Ruchika Shankar

England isn’t known for sunshine!

So what do you do on a cold, windy, rainy day?

On a beach.

In Northern England.

In Lancashire.

Otherwise known as Blackpool!?

Well, I’m going to tell you.

Here we go!

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WHAT TO DO IN BLACKPOOL?

Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

There are loads of things to do on the Blackpool beach starting with:

  1. Go to the sea: There’s nothing better than a day out to the seaside anywhere in the United Kingdom!
  2. Take a stroll on the beach: Believe it or not, Blackpool is one of the best beach resorts in the UK and is considered at par with beaches in the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific coastline! It’s not going to be spicy hot as it isn’t Thailand or the Philippines, but the English seaside is crisp and fresh, you can run along the beach, and it’s absolutely free of charge!
  3. Have ice-cream: You can’t go to the seaside without availing yourself of a lovely 99 flake ice-cream whippy!
  4. Experience Blackpool Illuminations: The Blackpool Illuminations are world-famous and has been one of the UK’s greatest visitor attractions since 1879! It’s such a unique event that it brings in more than 3 million visitors every year! It’s a family seafront show of miles of traditional garlands of lights, models, figures, images and extraordinary 3D projection on the front of the Blackpool Tower building, and other buildings around the town. It takes place every night from the end of August until early November, and is free of charge! Is it any wonder that the Blackpool Illumination is known as the greatest free light show on Earth!
  5. Dance in the street: We ended up dancing in the street with strobing lights, a live DJ, embarrassed parents, and kids jumping up and down to disco classics!
  6. Have an exciting day at Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Let your hair down, take off your glasses Ho! Ho! and experience the largest number of roller coasters in the United Kingdom, at Blackpool Pleasure Beach – the most visited amusement park in the UK!
  7. Ramble through the streets and take the air: Although Blackpool became fashionable in the mid-18th century, Blackpool has been around since the Middle Ages when it was just a coastal hamlet, and has quite a number of interesting buildings and monuments!
  8. Go for a walk along Blackpool’s Golden Mile: The “Golden Mile” is the name given to the stretch of promenade between the North and South piers in Blackpool and is 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometres) long in length. It emerged in the late 19th century, when small amusement ride operators, fortune-tellers, and oyster bars set up in the front gardens of boarding houses and dodgy hotels, to take advantage of punters and passing trade, as well as the very high concentration of slot machines!
  9. Amass yourself in local amusement: Blackpool today is a very long stretch of family attractions, theme pubs, fish-and-chip shops, amusement arcades, souvenir stalls, rock (candy) shops, and general seaside knockabout cheer!
  10. Use public transport: Blackpool isn’t just a town for modern jollies, but also has a lot of historical background by use of traditional old-time public transport! It may surprise you, but only three cities in the UK actually have an underground train system – London, Tyne and Wear, and Glasgow!  Most cities tend to use either the overland train, or the buses. A few use the trams! These seven (7) cities are London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester, and Blackpool!
  11. Take the Heritage Tram: The Blackpool Tramway dates back to 1885, runs for 11 miles (18 km), is the only surviving first-generation tramways in the UK, one of the few systems to still use double-deck trams, and one of the oldest electric tramways in the world! Not only that, but tram conductors are still very much in play. Wow!
  12. Go up Blackpool Tower: Inspired by Eiffel Tower in Paris, Blackpool Tower is a popular tourist attraction and opened in 1894! It’s 518 feet (158 metre) tall and is the 120th tallest freestanding tower in the world!
  13. Frighten yourself at the Blackpool Tower Dungeon: The Blackpool Tower Dungeon is one of the must-see signature attractions of the Blackpool resort and a 60 minute journey through 1,000 years of Lancashire’s murky past. We’re huge fans of the Dungeon franchise and have been to many of them in London, Berlin, and Edinburgh, and they’re based in Hamburg and York too!
  14. Stroll along the promenade: Make sure to visit at least one of the piers as Blackpool has three (3) – The Central Pier, the South Pier and the North Pier. All of them are completely free of charge!
  15. Get excited on the Blackpool Big Wheel: You can find it on the Central Pier which opened in 1868! It’s also known as the People’s Pier, since it’s emphasis was on fun and dancing rather than genteel relaxation! There are fairground rides, amusement arcades, roller skating venues, bars, and theatres galore.
  16. Go on the Dodgems: You can find them on the South Pier which opened in 1893! It was known as Victoria Pier, contains a number of amusement and adrenalin rides and is only opened from March to November! It was originally considered more “upmarket” than the North and Central piers, as it had very little “entertainment.” Today however, it has an amusement arcade, live entertainment, and white-knuckle rides.
  17. Take a ride on the Venetian Carousel: The Carousel is almost a quarter of a mile out into the Irish Sea, and is unusual because it’s a two-tier-double-decker! You can find it on the North Pier which was built in the 1860’s and is also the oldest and longest of the three piers! Originally intended only as a genteel promenade, competition forced the pier to widen its attractions to include theatres and bars. Unlike Blackpool’s other piers, which attracted the working classes with open air dancing and amusements, North Pier catered for the upper middle class market, and had orchestra concerts and respectable comedians. Its attractions today include a Fortune Telling palm reader, an ice cream parlour, a theatre, a Victorian tea room, the Carousel, Merrie England bars, live entertainment, an amusement arcade, and a wide promenade deck that is still in its original Victorian 19th century glory!
  18. Visit the Winter Gardens Blackpool: The Winter Gardens Blackpool is a large entertainment complex opened in 1878! It has twelve (12) different venues, including a collection of theatres and ballrooms. The great thing about the building is the Art Deco architecture found everywhere, and the Opera House which is one of the largest theatres in the UK!
  19. Go on a donkey ride: Ha! Ha! You’d think that they no longer exist, but they still do! We saw a few donkeys on the beach taking kids for a ride. Even in October!
  20. Blackpool rock: You haven’t been to Blackpool if you haven’t got yourself some Blackpool rock!
  21. Indulge in fish n’ chips: Where would we be, if you couldn’t indulge in a portion of good ‘ole fish n’ chips? Eaten on the beach! Be careful though as it was so windy, that a quarter of my chips simply blew away!

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TAKE ME THERE?

The Tall Young Gentleman taking a very early flight on EasyJet!

Our holiday was half a family visit, and half a mid Autumn / Winter break!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, England is quite far from Germany, so of course, we flew from Berlin to Manchester!

We had planned just fourteen (14) days in the UK because of school commitments, but as I always advocate, be smart, use all the weekends, and make it work!

I’m no longer a fan of budget airlines, but I very much enjoy flying with EasyJet, so I booked our tickets with them. We flew Berlin Schönefeld – Manchester – Berlin Schönefeld, with flights being a speedy 1 hour and 15 minutes!

Being that we booked ahead, return flights for 2 adults and a 15-year-old “child” cost a rather wonderful €89.03!

Effectively, €30.00 each!

In fact, if I remember clearly, one of the flights for The Tall Young Gentleman was just €5.00, and ours was €12.00!

We booked it immediately!

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Blackpool Rock & cheese!

Mind you, the cost of luggage was €20.00 per person on each leg of the journey. It was still worth it though, but we tried to save money by booking only two suitcases instead of three, and on the way back found it very difficult to stuff all the chocolates, biscuits, and other gifts, into our already over-packed luggage. We were close to being charged a penalty of £50.00, but we made it work!

We certainly won’t be stingy with luggage anymore.

Phew!

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The lovely Just So Festival is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

As such, we started from Cheshire where my family live.

We were staying with my brother – The Writer – and took a train into Manchester. We then took another train from Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool North.

I booked the tickets online and in advance. If you use the website National Rail Enquiries, it would give you the variety of available train options. Britain isn’t known for having cheap transportation, so the trick is to book well in advance!

Our journey took just a little under 2 hours with two (2) sets of trains!

Using the TransPenine Express train!

Cost: Warrington Central or Bank Quay to Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road or Manchester Deansgate – on an Anytime Day Single ticket – Adults – £6.20 each. Children (5-15) – £3.10 – Altogether  a lovely £15.50 on the TransPennine Express train.

Cost: Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool North – Adults – £5.00 each. Children (5-15) – £2.50 – Altogether a fantastic £12.50 on the Northern Railway train!

You could of course take the bus-coach using the National Express or Megabus, but in this case, the trains were surprisingly, by far the cheapest way to travel through the North!

The trains are not as plush or as spacious as those in Germany, but if you book reserved seats, it should give you an element of comfort!

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IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Look! We’re all alone in Blackpool ‘cos there’s nobody here!

I didn’t think so!

Blackpool is a very popular British institution, but it’s not your usual destination for international tourists, so it’s still a little bit of a secret, but I’m writing it here.

Right in this here blog, so it’s not going to be a secret for very long.

Hurry up!

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WHAT IS BLACKPOOL LIKE?

British icons Morecombe and Wise, in Blackpool!

I was a little nervous as Blackpool has a reputation of being slightly shabby, tacky, and a little rough on the edges, but luckily, we had nothing to worry about.

Most tourists don’t really understand why Blackpool is so popular, but it’s part of our history and distinct English quirkiness.

We were only there for a night, but we could have quite happily spent another day.

We’ll do that next time!

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I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH VERY WELL.

Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles ready to help you in Blackpool!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

The locals speak with a Lancashire accent.

The type of working class English that you would find in Manchester, the Merseyside, Cumbria, Cheshire and certain parts of Northern England!

But don’t worry.

Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles, ready to help you.

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AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You’re not ging to live in this abandoned hut, so don’t worry!

Ha! Ha! It’s England. We’re cultured and civilised!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

You might be cheap, but I’m not!

Not. A. Problem!

If you’re ever going to find cheap accommodation in the UK, it’s in Blackpool!

In fact, I saw places going for as low as £16.00 per night!

However, we were definitely not going to be choosing that!

We also didn’t want to go to a bland franchise hotel which would be rather boring, so we chose the middle ground.

A Bed & Breakfast type hotel!

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WHERE WE STAYED:

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

After much research, I chose the family-friendly Rockcliffe Hotel.

I made our reservation via booking.com.

Use my link and book your hotel!
Use my link and book your hotel!

In many cases, I prefer to use booking.com because you can make hotel / hostel reservations, and cancel for free, if you’re not sure. Not only do I recommend them, but I use them myself! Note: I’m an affiliate member of booking.com. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

Sweets & Fudge at the North Pier – Blackpool
© 2017 The Blackpool Pier Company Ltd

After our holiday in Madrid last year, we decided to always get an extra room, or an apartment, so that our teenager doesn’t have to share personal space with his parents!

The Rockcliffe Hotel isn’t your fancy boutique hotel, but neither is it a spartan bunk-bed affair. It is what it says on the tin “a three-star hotel property 2 minutes walk from the beach!”

A Full English Breakfast at the Rockcliffe Hotel, in Blackpool

We booked two private en-suites rooms, with English breakfast included.

There was free WiFi but it didn’t always work on the top floor and was a little spotty, so you had to move around a bit to get into position.

However, The Tall Young Gentleman loved his room and our bedroom, was right opposite the sea, which I liked very much.

Cost: For the Third Floor Double Room with Sea View. With breakfast – £60 per room or £30 a pop!

Cost: For the Single Room (with a double bed). With breakfast – £45 per room!

You really can’t get better than that!

Book the Rockcliffe Hotel here!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

How to use the tram in Blackpool!

Blackpool is quite small and compact so that everywhere is walkable.

You could also use the trams, take a bus, hire a carriage, go horse-riding, or take a ride on a donkey!

The English Electric Built Balloon Car Heritage Tram in Blackpool

I recommend the trams as the trams are just so cute, and you actually get to meet and chat with the tram conductor, which in many cities, no longer exist!

We bought a 24 hour saver family ticket that could be used on both the trams or the buses, but not the heritage trams, for just £11.00. Note: It’s valid for 1 adult & up to 4 children, or 2 adults & up to 3 children. A bargain!

ANYTHING ELSE?

It rains in the UK!

Oh yeah.

It’s Britain.

It rains, so be prepared and take a raincoat or get an umbrella from your hotel or B&B!

MY VERDICT:

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!
©Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Blackpool is a seaside destination and great fun for the family.

It might have a dubious reputation, but if you look deep enough, you’ll find that it’s still as attractive and as historical as ever.

I wouldn’t leave Germany just for the chance of an English seaside, but if you’re in the North of England, and looking for a new British city to visit, go visit Blackpool!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Totally!

Let’s do it!

21 THINGS TO DO ON A BLACKPOOL BEACH ‘COS WINTER IS COMING!

At the beach under the North Pier in Blackpool!

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the great walks and sea experience we had are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Derbyshire, Blackpool, Lancashire, Yorkshire, & a secret location!

Yippee!

November is going to be smashing!

Book your Blackpool hotel here, or here!

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!
21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

Have you ever been to an English beach? Would you go to the seaside in winter? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

So a fortnight (two weeks) ago, I told you about how many countries that I travelled to in 2016. And if you’re just joining us, it was 10!

I also told you how I did it, and the plans that I have for 2017. 

In 2016, I’ll be travelling to thirteen (13) countries.

Most of them will be in Europe, and plenty of them, I’ll be reaching by train!

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

But why?

Why the train?

Why not fly?

Why not fly?
Why not fly?

Well, to Russia, I’m thinking strongly of taking some sort of ship or cruise, and to England and Ireland, perhaps flying would be quicker….!

And then again. Perhaps not!

But the fact remains.

I live in Berlin.

In Germany.

Germany - my adopted country!
Germany – my adopted country!

And Germany is right in the center of Europe.

It has airports, train stations, bus stations, bicycle stations, cars and every possible means of transport.

I travel a lot for leisure and pleasure, and many a time, the adventure is in the getting there rather than the destination itself!

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Zoooooop! Don't say it! @eatdrinkandrun.com
Zoooooop! Don’t say it!
@eatdrinkandrun.com

And let’s not forget the hassle, long queues and stringent baggage requirements that airlines require these days. Quite frankly, for a 1.5 hour flight you’re looking at arriving the airport (if flying to the UK) at least 2 hours before, if flying inter-continental, at least 3 hours. Not to talk of actually getting to the airport itself!

Luckily for me, Berlin has excellent local public transport that is cheap, efficient, clean, and reliable. I can’t say the same if you’re trying to get to London Heathrow, which is the busiest airport in the world. And equally as complicated, if you don’t know your way around London.

Me!
Me!

Being that I live in Berlin, makes it an extremely easy way to travel.

In fact, travelling by train through the European continent is one of the most comfortable ways to travel with ease, from one country to the other. And by far, one of the cheapest!

Is it any wonder that one of my favourite forms of transport is the train!

WHY TRAVEL BY TRAIN IN EUROPE?

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

There are many reasons why travelling by train in Europe is a most excellent idea, here are some below:

  • It’s cheap:
Travelling by train is a cheap as a bunch of locally grown flowers!
Travelling by train is a cheap as a bunch of locally grown flowers!

I bought a twelve-hour (12) direct train ticket from Berlin to Budapest. In first class for €69.00. Second class was just €10.00 cheaper at €59.00! I couldn’t believe it, so I bought it! My child was free of charge!

I bought a seven (7) hour train journey (second class) train ticket via the Hungarian Railways or MAV at a cost of 11,780 Ft or €38.40 to travel from Budapest to Prague. Child included in the cost!

A five (5) hour train journey ticket (second class) to travel from Prague to Berlin in August, was just €29.00! My child cost nothing at all!

Over the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland. ©Michaa Ludwiczak / Getty
Over the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland.
©Michaa Ludwiczak / Getty

For Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train, and the eleven (11) hour return ticket journey from Berlin – Lucerne – Berlin, including reserved seating in July. Cost just €98.00. My child was free!

As a matter of fact, our return ticket from Berlin – Copenhagen – Berlin was a mere €58.00! And even though we actually missed our connection on the way home, and had to buy another ticket…it was still a sweet deal!

  • Kids travel for free:
Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!
Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!

Throughout last summer, I took an international train every weekend, and the price for our son – The Tall Young Gentleman was nothing at all!

His fare was completely and utterly free.

Yep!

Free of charge.

Nada!

Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!
Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!

In Germany, children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their parents, grandparents, or relatives, travel on the German Rail, otherwise known as Deutsche Bahn (DB), train for free!

Note that if you book Spar Preis Europa trains with the German Rail on this version, your children will be free of charge too!

Other European countries do the same and either have free transport for children, or special prices for families too.

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Our son as a baby - 20 months old!
Our son as a baby – 20 months old!

On our last visit to the UK, we bought an Advance Single train ticket – via the National Rail – from Manchester Oxford Road to a station in Cheshire. Our adult tickets for a 30 minute inter-city train were £3.00 each, and £1.50 for our child. Our Express Train tickets from Manchester Airport to Manchester Oxford Road (in the city) were just £5.00 each per adult, and £2.50 for our child.

  • Delays are minimal and compensated:
The German Rail / Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.
The German Rail / Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.

When travelling by European train, there is very little fuss to it, and far fewer delays than flying

In fact, European Regulation (EC) 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations (2009), state that passengers are entitled to standardised rights in the rail sector in Germany and in Europe.

If there are delays of at least sixty (60) minutes or more, you are entitled to compensation, and if you were to take a taxi, or another mode of transport up to €80.00, you could have that refunded too. Make sure you get the correct documentation at either the train station concerned, from another station, or from the train staff!

  • Luggage:
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

Train travel means that there is plenty of room for your luggage. And if you wished to take the kitchen sink with you (within reason), you probably could. No need to worry about how heavy your luggage would be and how much. There is relatively little or no fuss. In many cases, the railway staff would even help you carry your bags!

No when was the last time that you saw airport staff carry luggage for anyone!

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  • Personal space:
You can strech your legs in the corridor of the Polish Train.
You can stretch your legs in the corridor of the Polish Train.

Unlike air or bus travel, there is room to move around, and really stretch your legs. And depending on how long the journey is, they sometimes have some dedicated time for passengers to go outside, buy some refreshments, get some fresh air, take photographs, or get some WiFi!

  • The social factor:
On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!
On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!

The European train is a little like the Indian train in the sense that you actually get to meet people. And talk to them.

I mean, you’re sitting elbow to elbow, you’re probably going to an international country, the passengers are either locals or tourists themselves, and to be frank, everyone is quite interested in your journey. And if you’ve got a bottle of booze somewhere.

All the better!

So now to the real McCoy!

HOW TO USE THE TRAIN IN EUROPE: 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

Depending on where you are coming from, you need to:

1.  Get a train ticket:

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

The cheapest way to ease into buying train tickets through most European countries (not all), is to actually book through the Deutsche Bahn portal on the local German English version not the UK or USA version! Note that for Germany, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland, if you’re going by train, I don’t recommend that you do so by InterRail or EuroRail passes, if you’re only travelling to one country, as the prices are ridiculously expensive and children have to be paid for!

The snag is to book tickets with the national train companies, directly. On their own websites, or through the German Rail otherwise known as Deutsche Bahn. Most websites have an English version. Some can be admittedly slightly hidden, but persevere, or contact them directly by calling, or via Email!

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

But don’t forget. Not all train companies allow you to pay online, or even to buy local tickets at local prices! Some train companies only allow you to buy a Eurail ticket if you’re buying from abroad, and which you can only pay for with a credit card. For more info on that check here..  And some do, but you either have to buy the ticket on the train, or have to pay online and then collect the train tickets once you’re in the country itself, or change the language of the website!

For train travel all around the world check out the website of The Man in Seat Sixty-One . . . or Deutsche Bahn.

A goat on the train? Ah well, anything can happen. I've seen worse. Swans for example!
A goat on the train? Ah well, anything can happen. I’ve seen worse.
Swans for example!

But remember, if you’re using the Deutsche Bahn website, change the location to Germany and use the English word for Deutschland which is Germany! NOT the UK/Ireland one! And then change the language to English!

2.  Check online for best routes:

A map of the European High - Speed Train Network!
A map of the European High – Speed Train Network!

Many train companies have their own website which you can access for routes so that you can see where you want to go. Or better yet. Where they actually go, and how to get there!

3.  Do your research:

Do you need to get a bus and then the train? Or vice-versa in Barcelona. Spain?
Do you need to get a bus and then the train? Or vice-versa in Barcelona. Spain?

I live in Berlin and the Polish border is just under two hours away as such, there are discount prices from the German Railway Service known as Deutsche Bahn or DB. You can get a one-way single ticket from Berlin to Stettin or Szczecin in Poland, for just €11.00. Reduced tickets for €8.30. If you want to make a day of it, a day ticket would be €22.00 and €16.60 respectively. You could use it for every local transport in Stettin and the ticket is valid until 03:00 the next day!

Or you could get the German Regional tickets also known as the Länder-Tickets. These are fantastic bargains as the Berlin-Brandenburg regional one day ticket is only €29.00 and can be used by up to 5 people! That’s right! 5 people can travel on this ticket and they don’t have to be related! This ticket is valid from 09:00 to 03:00 the following day, and on the trams and buses in Stettin (Szczecin), and can be used to get to the Polish border!

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Yeah well, no promises on the Bogus Bus!
Yeah well, no promises on the Bogus Bus!

You sometimes see people hustling for ticket holders in Stettin (Szczecin) ‘cos if you have 5 people travelling together that’s €5.00 each. A bargain if ever I saw one!

You can get this ticket from the VBB Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg website or DB online. For more information check here and here.

4.  In fact, if you are in Germany, why not hop to some of our neighbouring countries too:

"The Tall Young Gentleman" didn't look too happy that for Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” didn’t look too happy that for Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train!

It might take you a while, but you can take the train from Berlin to London for as little as €59.00, to Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Poland for as little as €39.00 per single ticket or one way trip!

And if it’s not too far away. And being that this is Europe we’re talking about, so it isn’t! Fares can sometimes go as low as €19.00 for destinations such as to Prague for example!

The Deutsche Bahn building in Berlin!
The Deutsche Bahn building in Berlin!

For more information check here.

5.  Reserve your seat:

Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards.
Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards.

Now as a blogger, I’m always online in some form or the other, and it really surprises me how travellers and tourists leave their train bookings until the very last minute!

Believe me. Don’t do that!

It was lovely having a Bristol cab and driver waiting for me!
It was lovely having a Bristol cab and driver waiting for me!

Trains are popular in Europe. And if the destination is on a well-worn track, then the trains will be packed. And if it’s the weekend or a public holiday, you won’t get a seat, and will be forced to stand….!

In the summer, it’s not unknown for teenagers to be sitting on the corridor floor with their mates for a few hours.

But they can cope. Can you?

Try to reserve a seat on the European train!
Try to reserve a seat on the European train!

Now if you really don’t want to pay for a reserved seat, then the trick is to either go to the very front of the train, or the very back of it. And be quick about it!

However, if you’ve got luggage or kids, somebody from your party ought to sprint in and bagsy a couple of non-reserved  seats, or you might as well do the decent relaxing thing, and reserve the seat of your choice, in a compartment that you prefer.

Our tiny Czech train in the middle of no-where!
Our tiny Czech train in the middle of no-where!

Having said that, lots of small rural or regional trains have no possibility to reserve seats at all, so either jump in and turn left, or go upstairs!

6.  Take some refreshments with you:

Take some refreshments with you!
Take some refreshments with you!

If you’re on a regional or rural train, no refreshments will be sold on the train. And don’t even think that you can buy “something” at the next station as countryside train stations are either tiny little things, or simply non-existent!

Generally, super-clean-fast-efficient-modern-high speed trains have restaurants and trolley service throughout the train, but you can’t be sure that you’ll like either what they’re offering, or the prices!

Refreshments on the European first class train usually include a small bottle of wine or beer. But not always!
Refreshments on the European first class train usually include a small bottle of wine or beer. But not always!

‘Best to bring your own stuff if travelling in second class. Refreshments are usually given for first class customers and usually include a small bottle of wine or beer. But not always!

7.  Talk to the locals:

Don't be afraid to talk to locals or your fellow travellers on the European train!
Don’t be afraid to talk to locals or your fellow travellers on the European train!

My fellow travellers were always very helpful and we usually spoke in a mixture of English or German and a splattering of whatever the local language happens to be. With a lot of hand gestures, acting, drawing, and generally making quite a fool of myself, they usually understood what I was asking! The local travellers always helped us get off at the stop that we usually required too.

Many a time just looking anxious, or “other,” tends to open a conversation. And really, you don’t ever have to worry. The locals will help you. Just ask. Promise!

The locals will help you. Just ask. Promise!
The locals will help you. Just ask.
Promise!

In some cases, even the train driver will help you!

8.  Be prepared:

Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!
Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!

When travelling through Europe, you’re likely to go through different countries, each with it’s own distinct flavour of technology. In highly advanced countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and the Nordic countries, technical equipment will be at it’s highest, with power outlets either in between your seats, on the table, or on the side of the wall near the window!

In less advanced nations such as in Eastern Europe and even in Southern Europe, not so much!

There might be wifi and a power outlet. And there might not!
There might be WiFi and a power outlet. And there might not!

There will be WiFi, but it probably won’t work, or will be spotty at best. And there will be no power outlets! On our 15 hour train journey to Hungary, I spent hours searching the train for a plug-hole. And where was it?

In the restaurant, hanging dangerously on the wall of the heavy main train door, or in the toilet!

Er No!

Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!
Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!

Oh by the way. Europe isn’t a country. It’s a continent, so if you’re travelling on an international train, you must take your passport with you. Train officials never used to check people in the past due to the European law of Free Movement, but as a result of strengthened alertness due to the increased height of terrorism, and to ensure our safety, they are now. So make sure you have everything in order.

Otherwise, you’ll be escorted off the train and your holiday could end right there!

9.  If you miss your train stop, don’t panic:

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you - don't panic!
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you – don’t panic!

Once travelling through Poland, I realized that we had missed our train stop as the countryside scene that was I expecting, did not show up on my horizon!

Hmm!

I couldn’t really look outside the window as the window was blocked with passengers in the corridor.

I couldn’t check the train map that you normally see in the corridors either as I couldn’t get to the corridor, and I didn’t have an iPhone in those days.

We had missed our train stop! Oh no!
We had missed our train stop! Oh no!

A girl in her early 20’s noticed that I kept attempting to leave the compartment. She confirmed that I had missed our stop.

OK. I’ll get off at the next stop!

Oh, I’ve missed that too!

And the train is now going East further into Poland, whereas I was supposed to be going to the sea which was in the West!

Book your hotel here!

We got off the train!
We got off the train!

We got off the train.

Unfortunately, the train officials weren’t really very helpful and pointed at contrasting directions, so I decided to look around the station myself and peek onto other platforms and lo and behold, the connecting train that I wanted was still ON THE PLATFORM!

I checked and double-checked that it was indeed the right train, then we hopped on!

Then we hopped back on the train again!
Then we hopped back on the train again!

I so bugged the train conductor as per how many stops we had left, and what time we were expected to get to a certain seaside village, as there are no announcements and no destination indicators.

It was a case of watching and counting, each and every train stop…. 75 minutes later, we were there!

10.  If it all goes bananas, use your head:

Use your head at foreign train stations!
Use your head at foreign train stations!

There are 101 ways to travel through Europe, and the train is just one of them.

Sometimes it makes sense to choose another form of transport to get to your final destination.

It isn’t the worse thing in the world if you do!

HOW TO USE THE TRAIN IN EUROPE: 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

This article is not sponsored, and the excitement of using the train in Europe, is my very own!

For travelling across Europe, or from Germany, please contact: Deutsche Bahn or take a look at my country destination page and book your hotel here!

It’s January!

I’ll be making an announcement this month that will either having me jumping up and down like a Jack-in-the-Box, or crying over my hot cocoa! Find out throughout January!

The 10th British Shorts Film Festival is taking place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017

The British Council Literature Seminar – #BritLitBerlin – will take place from 26.01.17 – 28.01.17

The 67th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, will take place from 09.02.17 – 19.02.17

Strictly Stand Up – The English Comedy Night will take place at the Quatsch comedy Club on 15.02.17. Save the Date!

If you’re not in Berlin in January, it’s a darn shame!

January is going to be dramatic!

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

Have you ever used the train across Europe? What are your stories? Spill the beans!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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