Everyone knows about airline lounges at the airport but what about the train station? I guess I never really thought about having a lounge at the train station since I’m generally arriving close to departure time figuring out how quickly I can toss my luggage onboard and find space. Having purchased a Virgin East Coast train First Class ticket from Edinburgh Waverly to London King’s Cross, I was entitled to use the Virgin First Class lounge Edinburgh prior to departure. This meant I arrived at the Waverly train station in advance to check it out. It was my first time on a Virgin train and the first time visiting their lounge, which I first had to find. Lots of firsts!
Virgin East Coast Train – Edinburgh to London
The taxi dropped me off at the train station entry closest to the departure track which normally would be fine but in this case I first had to go to the kiosk for my ticket and then to the lounge, both on the lower level and on the other side of the station which meant a walk and then an escalator. Note: Ask the Taxi driver to let you off on the Princes’ Street side of the station.
The kiosks were quickest way to retrieve tickets as the queues were quite long in the office for live help. With ticket in hand, I was now able to enter the lounge, wherever it may be hiding (it wasn’t attached to the office as I thought it might be or in the hall with the shops and restaurant). Exiting back into the chaos of the train station with folks and their luggage going this, that and every way I followed the signs and made a left away from the station and on the closed road which was probably used in the past toward a quiet track in the back. There I saw signs leading me to the lounge.
Virgin First Class Lounge Edinburgh
As I entered the Virgin Trains Customer Service office, I was greeted by two staff members who serve as customer assistance for passengers using the lounge, those needing mobility assistance and other queries. I showed my ticket and was directed to the door on the left which led to the lift or carpeted stairs to go up one level. I laughed when asked where I was from and another passenger said “I know, you are from my homeland of Canada, you’re Canadian”, I shook my head and said “sorry, American” and he said “no you’re not”.
As I entered the lounge, the first noises I heard were from me – my luggage wheels were making loud noises on the hardwood floor and I was getting those glances from other passengers lounging in the leather chairs in the fireplace room reading the newspaper. Walking past the first small lounge area that was full (all four people in chairs), I went to the larger (longer) space along the windows which was empty and found a comfy blue plaid chair to plop into. As it was Sunday morning of the May Bank Holiday weekend, it was pin drop quiet except for my noises and a nice respite from the busy station.
Virgin First Class Lounge Full of Style
Then as stealth as I could be (not at all), I took photos of the space – the smartly designed chairs of all sizes and colors, some using soft leather, while others a plaid nod to Scotland. With a variety of seating options – small area for two, high top privacy sofas, open group working spaces and a child’s area the small lounge made excellent use of the space. There is a counter space to work with sufficient outlets. The lounge offers free wifi and a few television monitors to keep up with the news of the day.
Virgin First Class Lounge Edinburgh Refreshments
The “free refreshments” consisted of the café space on the counter with soft drinks and two hot drinks machines. The snack were located behind in two baskets – one with yummy Scottish butter biscuits (cookies, which would be served on the train as well), the other with crisps (potato chips). Despite the small selection, it was still a nice option to have included in the ticket.
Virgin Trains BEAM mobile app
Traveling First Class on Virgin East Coast, I had received an email inviting me to download their app BEAM. Using BEAM, I could access free television and movies for my journey using the free wifi on the train. I easily downloaded the app while waiting in the lounge.
Time to Leave the Virgin First Class Lounge Edinburgh
Using the motto “pee before you flee”, I went to use the restroom prior to boarding the train. There was one bathroom that I saw that was in a bit of disarray – I’m not sure because of the bank holiday weekend it was littered or unfinished or if this is the normal state. It appears that a shower is either going in or being removed. I can’t imagine having to wait for the bathroom until someone is done showering, or why one would shower at the train station anyway.
I then filled my backpack with handfuls of biscuits (I was a cookie monster that day but still left enough for others in the basket) and mini bottled waters, I signed the visitor log as other international travelers had done and left the lounge to go search for food to bring with me on my 4.5 hour journey to London (It was a bank holiday weekend and the catering was light with no free alcohol – oh the horror!). Lucky for me there was an M&S to stock up on a sandwich, fruit, crisps and other fun items to accompany my onboard options.
Overall Impression – Virgin First Class Lounge Edinburgh
The lounge is a quiet area to wait, at least it was on my Bank Holiday Sunday morning visit. I’m not sure how busy (or loud) it gets during the work week when the trains are much more crowded. Its nice that Virgin Trains has invested in the lounge to provide it’s first class guests with a relaxing space prior to their journey. You can see that they spent some money and put thought into the design details of the lounge, they could do with enhancing the food options in the future. But for one day, this Canadian, American girl enjoyed the free biscuits and the quiet of the Virgin East Coast lounge at Edinburgh’s Waverly train station. It was a nice perk to the start of my first Virgin East Coast Train First Class experience.
All Aboard! My journey from Edinburgh to London on Virgin’s East Coast First Class is about to begin!