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What are the cheapest railway station pints?

There’s no doubt that just like everything else, the price of a pint is steadily on the rise. No matter whether you’re in the north or the south, everyone is feeling the pinch. So, here at Railsmartr, we set out on a mission to find the best-value railway station pints that you can grab up and down the country. It’s also a great chance to showcase the best of British pubs and breweries.

How we found the best value railway station pints

Well, we had to do our research! We worked together to compile a list of all of the station pubs that we knew about. We’re based in different parts of the country, so everyone could chip in and add some local knowledge to the mix. Then, we reached out to them for their help.

Of course, we had to do some in-person research as well. We’ve had the pleasure of going into a wide selection of these pubs and sampling some railway station pints for ourselves.

We found some great beers, superb pubs and brilliant community spirit along the way. All that’s left to do is to show you what we found!

What was the cheapest of the railway station pints?

That honour goes to Aberystwyth. If Ruddle’s Best is your thing, you can get a pint of it on the station for just £1.71. Whether or not you’re a fan, that’s undeniably brilliant value in 2023.

We’ve put all of this information into an easy-to-read map. So the next time that you’re wondering if there’s railway station pints to be had nearby, you’ll know what awaits you, and how much it might cost:


You can download and view the entire map here. We’ve included dedicated maps for London and Greater Manchester, as they’re just so full to the brim with places to enjoy a drink before your train.

What were the pubs like?

We can’t deny that we came across some real gems when we were checking out the prices of railway station pints. A station pub isn’t just a place to drink, but it’s somewhere that locals cross paths with travellers from across the country (and even the globe), and it serves as a meeting place for the community, too.

Track & Sleeper on Knaresborough station is a fairly ‘young’ station pub. The brewery behind it, the Gorilla Brewing Co, was only founded in 2019! Yet, it’s already a firm favourite with the community and with rail travellers alike:

knaresborough railway station pub


It serves a variety of its own beers, as well as other guest beers on tap and cask. If beer isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of gin on offer.

Meanwhile, in Newcastle, you’ll find the Centurion. It has a selection of local cask beers as well as your usual lagers on tap, but the main thing that sets it apart is, well, the pub itself. It was the former First Class lounge back in the day, and nothing beats sitting back in surroundings like this:

newcastle railway station pub


Is there anything else I should know?

We hope that you’ve found our map of the best value railway station pints useful. All that’s left for you to do is to hop on a train and pay some of the pubs a visit! Looking for more about pubs? You can take a look at our favourite pubs in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, the North East and even a quick round-up of the cheapest pints. We’ve also taken a trip to find some of the best beer in East London.

It’s just as well that we specialise in great-value rail tickets, as well as beer. You can get all of your train tickets with Railsmartr. We’ll be sure to show you the slower and cheaper options, so you can get the best value fare for your journey.

Changed your mind? Need to travel on a different day? No problem at all. You can change or refund your ticket (if it’s refundable) without any extra fees.

Top five pubs while you wait (Yorkshire & East Midlands)

If you’ve got some time to kill before your train, nothing beats popping to the pub to watch the world go by. They’re a meeting place for locals, and a rest stop for travellers from all walks of life. Here’s our favourite pubs in Yorkshire and the East Midlands to visit when we’re waiting for a train.

BeerHeadZ (Nottingham)

If you pop out of Nottingham Station and follow the signs for ‘Micropub’, sure enough, you’ll find one! BeerHeadZ is situated on Queen’s Road and is a cosy little bar, with a nice selection of beers on cask and tap.

During the day, it can be a nice calm oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Nottingham. There’s plenty of sockets available too, so you can get some work done while you enjoy a drink. The friendly staff behind the bar are knowledgeable and happy to give their own recommendations on which beers to try.

As you can see, there’s no pretentious decor or clutter. It’s just about coming together to enjoy some great beers.

While it can be a nice calm place to visit during the day, it also hosts themed nights. On the first Thursday of every month, you can enjoy some LPs (younger readers might not remember these!) during “Off The Tracks”, their dedicated vinyl night.

The Whistle Stop Micropub (Grantham)

On the London-bound platform at Grantham Station, you’ll find the Whistle Stop Micropub. Not only a station pub, it feels like a true community meeting place with a selection of beers on tap and cask. While that selection isn’t as diverse as at other pubs, they do have their own namesake beer to try!

With direct access to the platforms, it’s a great place to relax either before a train or between connections. There’s also a selection of snacks and sandwiches to try, if you fancy a bite to eat as well.

There’s plenty of railwayana on display, too. It feels like a true railway pub and you’ll certainly find nowhere exactly like the Whistle Stop.

Sheffield Tap (Sheffield)

The Sheffield Tap is one of the most well-known station pubs in the North of England. That’s for good reason, too! It’s got a fantastic selection of beers and always has a friendly, bustling atmosphere. People will always be coming and going from one place to another, to see family, friends or to embark on solo adventures.

As busy as it is though, it’s full of little rooms and places to find a spot to relax. Whether you’re popping in for a quick one between connections, or have a while to wait, there’ll be somewhere here for you. It’s hard to believe that it lay derelict for over 30 years before being lovingly restored in 2008.

We managed to find a nice quiet spot in the back of the pub on a Thursday afternoon, despite the front being very busy indeed!

You’ll find the Sheffield Tap on Platform 1B, which is near the main entrance of the station.

The Track & Sleeper (Knaresborough)

We’ve already talked about the Track and Sleeper on Railsmartr. It’s one of our favourites, being the perfect blend of craft beer pub and community hub. It’s owned by Gorilla Brewing, which means that if you pick one of their own pints, you’re in for a great deal.

We tried their Vanilla Gorilla Porter when we visited, which was just £3.90 for a pint. That’s an amazing deal for a pint in a pub in any town or city, never mind on a station platform. If you’re not a beer fan, no problem. Anyone for a Pornstar Martini on tap?

The pub hosts a variety of themed nights such as a quiz night, which we’re told is very popular and draws in lots of folk from the local community. No matter when you visit though, you’re sure of a warm welcome and some friendly banter from the staff behind the bar.

Harrogate Tap (Harrogate)

Just like the Sheffield Tap, you know what you’ll be getting with the Harrogate Tap. That is, a great choice of craft beers just a stone’s throw from the station platforms.

Aside from the beers, the main attraction of the Harrogate Tap is the wood-burning fireplace. When we visited on a windy January afternoon, it was the perfect tonic for feeling chilly. The staff regularly come around and topped up the wood, so you were always sure of a warm glow and crackle.

You’ll find the Harrogate Tap next to the main station entrance. Just know that because there’s ticket gates at Harrogate, you’ll need to nip outside and through the gates to access the platforms!

Is there anything else I should know?

Ready to book your next trip and pop to the pub? You can do it without fees at Railsmartr. We don’t charge you for changing your plans, either.

Looking for more about pubs? You can take a look at our favourite pubs in the North East, the cheapest pints, and where to find them. We’ve also taken a trip to find some of the best beer in East London.

Our Top 3 Station Pub Picks – North Yorkshire & North East

In January, Railsmartr took to the rails around the North East and in North Yorkshire to find the best pubs right on the station. Here’s our three station pub favourites (in no particular order!) and what you can expect from them.

The York Tap – York Station

If you’re making your way from Platform 3 to Platform 4 (or vice-versa) at York, you’ll spot the York Tap. Owned by the Tapped Brew Co, it forms part of a small chain of pubs on stations (or very near them!) around the North of England.

york station pub - exterior

Aside from the impressive Grade A listed Edwardian building, the one thing that we were struck by was the sheer choice of beers and other drinks. You can’t deny that the York Tap has something for everyone, even if you’re not a beer fan.

york station pub - interior

The York Tap is a station pub that prides itself on rotating its beers regularly. This makes it perfect for regulars, as there’ll always be something new to try.

The atmosphere on a Wednesday night was nice and relaxed. You had people of all ages and backgrounds dropping in for a drink, whether they were families, locals or just like us popping up for a drink between trains.

If you prefer to watch the trains go by, there’s plenty of seats outside too. However, on a cold January evening, you’d probably want to keep warm inside!

As we just had a short wait between trains, we went for a half pint of Abyss by Wishbone Brewery. It was an oatmeal stout on cask and a nice, light and sessionable drink for a weeknight.

The verdict

Put simply, plenty of us use York station. So rather than going off in search of a pub in the city, why not try the one that’s right under your nose? It’s perfect for all ages, and those who might prefer a cider, a glass of wine or something else!

The Centurion – Newcastle Station

As station pubs go, there’s no denying that the Centurion is the most striking. Yet, tucked away next to the Metro station entrance, many wouldn’t know it was even there!

You can find one entrance to the pub next to the taxi rank (at the top of the stairs down to the Metro). The other entrance is on the station concourse itself, with some outdoor seating next to the escalator up from the Metro concourse.

But let’s get down to the most important part, which is the architecture…

newcastle station pub - interior

Designed in 1893, the pub was originally built as a First Class lounge. It hasn’t had an entirely glamorous past though! The British Transport Police used it as holding cells during the 1960s, and it’d be the last place you’d want to end up.

In 2000, it was painstakingly restored back to its former glory. And we must say, nothing can beat the feeling you get when you walk through the door. It’s a true sight to behold and you need to take a minute to take it all in.

As for the drinks selection, it’s more like your classic bar. You’re not going to find a huge selection of craft beers and ales, but there are still some local ales to choose from. We went for a pint of Stella Spark, a golden ale made by the Golden Brick Brewery. They’re situated just down the road (or track!) in Blaydon, so it’s almost as local as you can get.

The atmosphere was bustling (it was a Friday evening) and we were lucky to get the last free table inside. That said, it’s visited by a mix of locals and people heading for trains, so you won’t have to wait long for someone to finish their drink and head out.

The verdict

What do we think of the Centurion? It’s a true classic station pub and it’s worth it purely to soak up the beautiful architecture. The beer selection isn’t the most exciting, but you’ll still find a couple of local ales to try.

Rather than sitting out in the cold waiting for your train, why not pop in and see it for yourself?

The Track & Sleeper – Knaresborough

This was a bit of a wildcard for us, as we spotted it online while we were exploring the region. We had no idea what to expect! Having taken in all the sights that Knaresborough had to give, it was time to retire to this cosy little pub.

Described as a ‘real ale and gin bar’, the Track and Sleeper is owned by Gorilla Brewing. You’ll find it on Platform 2, which is where the trains towards York stop.

knaresborough station pub - exterior

For such a small pub, there was an impressive selection of beers, ales and stouts. There was a mixture of in-house beer from Gorilla Brewing, as well as some local favourites like Thornbridge.

knaresborough station pub

The pint of Vanilla Gorilla Porter that we had was not only delicious, but it was the best value pint we’ve had on a station. It was £3.90, which is a price you’d struggle to beat in most high-street pubs, never mind those on a station. The friendly lad behind the bar told us that they’d always keep costs down with their in-house brews, which was great to hear at a time when everything else is getting evermore expensive!

You could also choose from cocktails on tap, as well as an array of gins. Just like the York Tap, it felt like a pub for everyone. No matter your taste, there’s something at the Track and Sleeper for you.

When we visited, it was a Tuesday afternoon shortly after opening. While it wasn’t heaving, there was a steady trickle of friendly faces coming in. It felt like not only a railway station pub, but a true part of the community.

The verdict

Having opened in the midst of a pandemic, the Track and Sleeper is a station pub that hasn’t had it easy. But with events like pub quizzes and a constantly changing selection of affordable local beer, it’s the sort of place we can’t fail to fall in love with.

You’re guaranteed friendly service and a laid-back, friendly atmosphere here. Just know that it isn’t the biggest pub on the planet, so it might get cosy during busier times!

What next?

Looking for more about pubs? You can take a look at our favourite pubs in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, the cheapest pints, and where to find them. We’ve also taken a trip to find some of the best beer in East London.

We’re ready to help you travel smarter, from start to finish. Why not start by booking your tickets with us? We’ll never charge booking fees or amendment fees.

A visit to the Hartlepool Station Pub

I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t even aware of there being a Hartlepool Station Pub. Maybe it was because I simply didn’t expect there to be one there, or because it isn’t trying to be some world-renowned pub that everybody crams into. Or, maybe I just need to up my game and pay more attention. Either way, I only live a 40-minute journey away, so I knew I had to right those wrongs.

We’ve already written about plenty of pubs on Railsmartr. I mean, you’ll even find a map with the cheapest pint in (most) station pubs around Great Britain. So, I originally went with the intention of trying the beer, taking some photos, recording the typical price of a pint and being on my way. But, this isn’t your typical station boozer, and it’d be criminal not to share a little more about it.

Getting to the Hartlepool Station Pub

You’ll find The Rat Race on the small station concourse at Hartlepool Station. So, you’re likely to be getting there by train.

Northern runs an hourly train from Newcastle to Middlesbrough which serves Hartlepool, and the trains on this route will usually extend in either direction to serve Hexham/Carlisle in the west, and Nunthorpe/Whitby to the south and east. On a Sunday, two trains each way will also take you to Darlington. Grand Central services to/from London also stop at Hartlepool.

For me, I was coming from Newcastle. I’d reached the station a little early, so figured it’d be more pleasant to pop over the road and bide my time in the Newcastle Tap, which I’ve featured before when I wrote about what to do on a day trip to Newcastle. As it happens, the bartender was from Hartlepool, and she was quick to interrogate about what on earth I could be doing down there.

“There’s a Hartlepool station pub??” she replied to my explanation. Her friend was sat at the other side of the bar with me, and she quickly whipped out her phone to locate this mysterious pub.

“It’s next to the caf.”

“Bloody hell, I can’t believe we’ve missed that.”

So, two Hartlepool natives who commuted by train had no idea of the existence of a Hartlepool station pub. We were off to a good start.

I bid my farewells and headed for the 14:40 train down to Hartlepool, which would give me a little time to get some photos of other attractions (in particular, for our Day Trips from Newcastle guide) before I could see what this pub was all about.

The Pub Itself

I sauntered up to the door at around 5 past 4. Apparently, I’d already been beaten inside by two thirsty and very keen patrons. Peter, the owner, was already taking their order. I squeezed myself past and took a seat, as I realised that this wasn’t quite the same as other station pubs I’d visited. I mean, the ‘NO LAGER’ sign on the door should have been a good indicator.

First Impressions

I mean, it’s small. It isn’t a place you can cram into either, as it’s table service only. So, only 22 people at a time can avail of the beer at the Rat Race. You won’t find any music, any shouting, any swearing and you certainly won’t find any lager. Are we clear? Don’t ask for lager.

The decor is rather beer mat-centric:

hartlepool station pub interior showing beer mats on the ceiling


That said, it does a great job of demonstrating how this place is simply all about the beer. The rest of the walls are adorned with articles about the pub, ‘Dad’ humour and all sorts of other bits and bobs. It felt like you’d just entered someone’s living room, which I suppose is how this place functions. You come in, flop down in a seat, have a pint and a chat. A sign on the wall also proudly stated how many beers had been served since opening in 2009. It was 1,967 when I visited, but it’s since gone up to 1,970.

I picked myself a pint, and Peter disappeared into the little room which houses the bar. You can pay by cash or card, and I was sipping a beer within a minute. So, what is there to do in a place like this? The art of conversation, I suppose. I got talking to the couple who’d come in before me, and it turned out that they were Aussie expats. They had family in Horden (just one stop up the line) and had come back for a visit.

The beer

The selection of beer at the Hartlepool Station pub is pretty simple. You have four choices:

beer list at the rat race ale house


The beers are numbered 1 to 4, and they change ‘whenever they run out’. In fact, since I visited last week, I can see on the website that everything has changed already! From what I understood, 1 is an easy-drinker, 2 is normally a bit of a ‘wild card’, 3 is a stronger IPA-type beer, and 4 is a dark beer. On top of that, you’ll find two cask ciders (not fizzy), wine and snacks.

Price-wise, it’s all very palatable for a Northerner (and perhaps slightly unbelievable for a Londoner) with pints coming in at £3.50 to £4.00. You can take them away with you, as well.

I went for Consett’s Red Dust, which was a wonderfully malty and fruity red ale. Meanwhile, Lord’s New Wave IPA was a lot more complex (and less ‘smack-you-in-the-face citrus’) than your typical IPA. They were both great pints, I can’t say more than that! My Aussie companions were equally impressed, particularly with the IPA.

The Man behind the Magic

I wouldn’t usually end up talking to the owner of a pub, as they might have better things to do (or not be there at all). But, Peter was happy to chat and explain the method behind his own brand of madness.

Put simply, he serves good beer at a price that he’d be comfortable paying. Nothing wacky or expensive, just drinkable beer that locals can afford. After all, this isn’t some trendy part of London. People don’t want pomp or the latest ‘trendy’ drink at a daft price. Costs have gone up, but he’s absorbed much of them.

He certainly has plenty of tales of turning folk away. Usually they’re the ones that demand a lager, ‘the cheapest drink’, spirits or something else. In his words, Spoons exists for people like that. All of the signs about ‘no lager’ and the like might come across as a bit hostile to an outsider, but I didn’t get that impression at all. I felt welcomed and like Peter really cared about what he was doing. He has his regulars, after all. Like clockwork, as I finished my pint, two of them came in and were greeted.

I can’t forget that the Rat Race is also raising money for a local donkey sanctuary. Peter even has a stuffed donkey that joins him on all of his adventures!

My thoughts on the Hartlepool Station Pub

In a nutshell, the Rat Race is a man doing great beer the way that he wants to do it. Face it, if we had the time and the energy (and a few bob spare), I’m sure many of us would love to do the same.

It’s a window into a small community, too. You can hear everything and you can see everything that goes on. There isn’t any music, shouting or swearing, and the table service means that everybody gets the same level of service and attention.

Is the Hartlepool Station Pub for everyone? No. But, that’s not what it’s trying to be, and I’m not telling everyone under the sun to come running to it. It’s about relaxing with a reasonably-priced pint of good beer. I’d love to come back here, as sometimes I just want a beer. I don’t want to have to struggle to hear myself think over the UK Top 40 and someone’s relationship drama getting bellowed down the phone. I love a more ‘bustling’ bar, too, and that’s the beauty of station pubs (and pubs in general) these days. You have choices. More choices than ever, really.

So, if you want to enter Peter’s little world (and enjoy a couple of fantastic pints), then you can pay a visit on a Tuesday to Friday between 12:02 and 14:15, and 16:02 and 20:15, and on a Saturday from 12:02 to 21:00. If there’s football on, it might not be open, depending on who’s playing! You can also take a look at the website to find out more.