Anyone who regularly travels by train knows what it’s like. Sometime between 16:00 and 20:00 you find yourself in a place waiting for a train and feeling hungry. The train is highly unlikely to do a cooked meal and if it does it’s a full sit-down restaurant car job, which is all very fine, pleasant and traditional but a bit hard on the old budget. Besides, if the restaurant car’s full already that means no food.
The solution is to get a meal before joining the train. The health authorities want you to go to a restaurant, but this means being away from the station waiting to place an order, waiting for it to appear and waiting for someone to let you pay the bill – and paying the same rate as the restaurant car on the train.
The pub lobby wants you to go to a pub. But you still have to leave the station and wait for the grub to appear, worrying that your train will sneak through while food arrives.
The chain takeaway hangs out on larger stations serving food of dubious edibility for remarkable expense – and the chips will be cold before you finish them.
And neither the pub nor the restaurant is very helpful if you’re on a 15-minute connection.
The solution is the classic takeaway. The only problem is not knowing how far you’ve got to go to find one when in an unfamiliar place. This list aims to resolve this problem. There are sadly some notable exceptions. Places are in alphabetical order. It may be updated occasionally. Note that takeaways do have a regrettable habit of closing occasionally – if you find one of these has gone please leave a comment.
- Aberdeen – across road junction from station entrance.
- Alton – up slope from station to main road, turn left and on right after 400 yards or so. Also a cafe just outside the station and a kebab van between the cafe and the station.
- Bath – Not a takeaway sort of place. There’s a KFC somewhere in the maze of the shopping area.
- Bristol – Lacking around the station, though heading out of the west entrance, over the Floating Harbour and a staggered crossroads past Gardiner and then left leads to a Chinese (5-10 minutes each way). Alternatively out of the main entrance down the ramp, turn left up the hill over the railway and fork right off the A4, following the road round and up into Totterdown (20 minutes each way).
- Cardiff – From north (main) entrance turn right, then at road junction turn left into St Mary’s Street. Take next right into “Chip Alley”. Appreciate the name.
- Carlisle – Out of station and swing left around the back of the citadel. Couple of takeaways scattered along and around this road. Also a rather good restaurant called “The Last Zebra” for those waiting some hours for Leeds connections.
- Chepstow – From station, head straight into town via subway (under A48). Upon finding High Street, turn left up hill under town gate. Three or four takeaways around bus station (5-10 minutes).
- Dawlish – Outside station.
- Didcot – Out of station and find way up hill to main street (recommend turning left, walking down to junction by the cattle creep under the railway and then striking right up a suburban road across a small vacated lot). Several takeaways scattered along the main street (turn right at the top of this suburban road for the chippie). Allow 10 minutes (maybe 15).
- Dunkeld – From station, follow signs to Dunkeld across Tay Bridge. On main street in right. North of the Highland faultline – like all decent Highland takeaways, does haggis.
- East Grinstead – From station head up Railway Approach (sort of straight across the roundabout outside). Either take the first place you come to or follow local advice to head on to the top of Railway Approach, turn right, go right up London Road to the Tudor architecture and swing round to the right again at the top. Small place and a bit slow when busy, but pretty good grub. Allow at least 15 minutes each way.
- Edinburgh – Rather a good one at the top end of Grassmarket, which does more or less anything that can be fried up with chips (and a few things that shouldn’t be). About ten minutes from Waverley station, heading south-westerly over the old town ridge and down into the next valley south beneath the castle.
- Exeter – Out of station, cross forecourt to main road and turn right to find a Chinese. As a student city, it should really be possible to find a chippy, but further exploration has only turned up a Chinese and an Indian about a mile away to the south of the city centre.
- Fairbourne – Out of station and cross road.
- Falmouth (see also Penmere) – Walk out of Falmouth Town station across car park and over to the High Street. Follow it into town. Just beyond Tragos (5 minutes walk) is a rather agreeable takeaway which wins national awards, appears in newspapers, etc. Unfortunately in peak season the queue is rather long.
- Folkestone – Take the north exit from West station and turn leftwards. Drop down to Cheriton High Street and turn left again. On left (10 minutes). Central station is not so well served, though there is a Co-op on the south of the line.
- Gloucester – Turn right from station, then take first right under railway. Two or three, beyond the petrol station (5-10 minutes).
- Hanborough – Out of station up to main road, turn left across the railway and head through Long Hanborough. Develop appreciation as to why it’s called Long Hanborough. After 15-20 minutes there is a busy (slightly upmarket) takeaway on the left.
- Inverness – A classic takeaway down a side street across the main road from the station entrance plus a couple of chain takeaways in the shopping centre opposite platform 1.
- Kidwelly – Walk into village (head northwards towards castle) and upon finding main road turn left. Three close together, offering various products.
- Laurencekirk – Out of car park side of station, head up to main road and turn right. Follow road for 10 minutes or so.
- Looe – Head south from station (past police station into town towards coast). Beyond the bridge is a car park with a large building backing onto the dock. On the main street side of this building is a large chippie.
- Lydney – The station is unfortunately rather well out of town. Leave station and strike northwards up the access road. After crossing bypass continue along the path through the park into town (becomes doubtfully lit). By the bus station there’s a Chinese; there’s also a chippy on the High Street and another hidden round the back facing onto the car park (bit dry).
- Moreton-in-Marsh – Walk up road to main street. On opposite side of green/ car park/ war memorial.
- Oban – Out of station and look round.
- Okehampton – Castle end of High Street (at bottom of hill – allow 15-25 minutes depending on fitness or use the station café).
- Oxford – Head eastwards over the Thames into the city (left fork off the triangle outside station). Beyond bus station, on left, in a side square. (15 minutes. Don’t sit outside to eat it.)
- (London) Paddington – From bufferstops at the ends of platforms 9 and 10, head up the ramp to the crossroads and carry straight on for a couple of hundred yards.
- Par – Out of station and turn right along the footpath that follows the railway towards Penzance. At the end of this footpath (allow 5 minutes) is a small takeaway.
- Pembrey – Seaside town, so there are several on the road alongside the station. Opening times vary between the shops, with some covering lunch and the others supper.
- Penmere (see also Falmouth) – Out of station and turn left straight up Penmere Hill (excellent exercise). Takeaway is on left at top.
- Penrith – Turn left from station, then first right down the hill (one-way road, walking against the flow; cyclists do a circuit of the town centre). Just before the piazza at the bottom is a chippie on the left.
- Penzance – Out of station, across roundabout and along marina road, on right. Patronised by traincrew.
- Pewsey – Out of south (platform 1) side of station – either head down station access road and turn right (no pavement for 50 yards) or follow cut-through, turn left at end and then right at main road. Continue into town (5-10 minutes). Three in total.
- Plymouth – Out of station building and turn left around Intercity House (the big tower block). There’s a Chinese a couple of minutes up the road. Alternatively follow the railway eastwards up to Mutley (where a car park is built over the railway tunnel) and then turn left up a cobbled back lane. Where this emerges onto a road again up on the right is a rather good chippy, if with a 5-10 minute serving time and 15 minutes from the station.
- Reading – The South entrance is the obvious place to start, but not actually much use. Find the North entrance instead, head up the access road past the buses and the car park to the boulevard and turn left. At the roundabout fork right (a challenge, and almost worth crossing the road twice for rather than trying to cross Caversham Road directly). Two or three blocks along on the left is a chippy.
- Ryde – Across road from Esplanade station – take your pick and don’t feed the seagulls.
- St Budeaux – Down the road over Victoria Road station to the main road. On opposite side is quite a line-up, to the degree that the local authority won’t allow any more.
- St Ives – Drop down from station area to path running roughly along seafront. Turn left and follow down into the harbour area. Find somewhere agreeable.
- Selby – Turn right from the station entrance, left at the end and then follow road alongside the river for 400 yards or so over a crossroads. In due course on the left is one of those boulevards that one finds in England occasionally that is now mostly used as a car park. The chippie is on the further side of this boulevard, fairly close to the road from the station. Wins awards.
- Staple Edge – From the entrance to the halt, turn left and go up hill for a couple of hundred yards to the Ruspidge chippie (which confusingly is nowhere near Ruspidge station).
- Stranraer – Several along and around Harbour Street, which is about 10 minutes from the station as the trains persist in terminating at the part-demolished ferry terminal.
- Stroud – Two options, both out of the Up (platform 2) side to the main road. One is left at the main road, then right up the pedestrianised precinct and then another right to follow a side precinct up hill to chippy. Other is on reaching the main road turn right (ignoring the cafe, the chicken place and the Chinese). At the five-way junction take the 90degree left turn. At end of that road turn right. Carry on up hill, over the zebra by the mini-roundabout at the top end of town, straight on and it’s on the right.
- Swindon – Out of station, turn left and carry on for 200 yards (5 minutes). Or, if in a mood for avoiding Halal signs or fancying a stroll, turn right out of the station, follow road to the car entrance to the station car park, then left and straight up the (mostly pedestrianised) high street to find the cultural food quarter around Regent’s Circus at the top of New Town, featuring most sorts of takeaway including another chippy (allow 15 minutes each way, plus 10 minutes for slow takeaways in Swindon).
- Taunton – Out of east (platform 2) side of station, down to the road and follow road for a hundred yards. On left. Almost possible to return in time to watch the train you’ve just got off depart.
- Tywyn – Out of station on Machynlleth/ Talyllyn side and straight up High Street.
- Weston-super-Mare – Head out of the station entrance and keep straight on to the seafront (10 minutes). Pick one at random.
- Weymouth – Turn left from station exit towards sea front (as opposed to right towards the quay tramway and the river). 5 minutes at the outside; first one is before the sea front on the right.
- Windermere – Walk around the supermarket, cross the remarkably pedestrian-unfriendly off-centre-traffic-island junction outside the station and follow the A591 a few yards down the hill. On left.
- Worcester – Walk out of Foregate Street station, cross road and head straight into the Cod Father opposite.
- York – through wall from main station entrance, first right and along a bit (5 minutes).