The village railway pub near Bristol that was once used by Britain’s legendary criminals

The Krays and Great Train Robbers used to prop up the bar at this village pub
The Railway at Yatton started life as a railway hotel and was once frequented by some notorious villainsThe Railway at Yatton started life as a railway hotel and was once frequented by some notorious villains
The Railway at Yatton started life as a railway hotel and was once frequented by some notorious villains

I’m sure only law-abiding locals and upstanding citizens drink at The Railway these days but that wasn’t always the case.

According to the pub’s website, legendary London gangsters the Kray brothers used the building for secret meetings in the 1960s.

At around the same time as Ronnie and Reggie Kray propping up the bar, the criminals involved in The Great Train Robbery stopped off at the pub next to Yatton railway station for refreshments.

Now a family-run and family-friendly pub, it’s hard to believe The Railway’s past clientele were some of Britain’s most notorious villains. Especially in a peaceful and sleepy village like Yatton.

Built on an orchard that was part of the Yatton Rectory estate, it opened in the 1840s, originally as a railway hotel close to the Strawberry Line to Cheddar, which is now a wonderful walk and cycle path.

By 1872, it was being advertised as a hotel but also a posting house, wine, spirit, ale and porter merchant.

It’s still a large pub with a separate village hall-like room to the side. This was built as an assembly room in 1894 and is said to be the oldest dance floor in Yatton. Not that I can imagine there are too many dance floors in this Somerset village.

The Railway next to the station at Yatton started life as a hotelThe Railway next to the station at Yatton started life as a hotel
The Railway next to the station at Yatton started life as a hotel

The rooms at the back of the pub are now used for darts and pool - there are several pool tables and when I visited on a midweek lunchtime, the chalkboards still had the scores from the previous night’s matches.

Food is now a core part of the business. The kitchen opens from 9.30am Monday to Saturday to serve breakfasts and bacon baps, switching to the lunch menu at midday with pub staples like fish and chips, ploughman’s, paninis, ham, egg and chips and vegan five-bean chilli.

On Sundays, there are roasts but also a roast beef ploughman’s. Hang around after Sunday lunch and you can also take part in the weekly meat draw for £1 a ticket.

Being in cider country, it’s no surprise that the Somerset tipple features heavily at the bar, and there are several types of locally made Thatchers.

Ale fans can choose between London Pride and Sharp’s Atlantic Pale Ale, with Heineken, Amstell, Moretti, Cruzcampo and Guinness also on draught.

The comfortable interior of The Railway in YattonThe comfortable interior of The Railway in Yatton
The comfortable interior of The Railway in Yatton

In the comfortable bar and lounge, there are plenty of nooks and crannies for drinkers to enjoy a quiet pint, with walls dotted with old railway photos and posters.

For those in search of a pint in the sun, there is a large beer garden divided into two sections. One has benches for drinkers but for younger visitors, there is a larger play area with a swing, slide and trampoline.

Although popular with thirsty cyclists in need of refreshments after using the Strawberry Line cycle path that starts on the other side of the adjacent railway station, the pub is also used by travellers waiting for the next train to Bristol or Weston-super-Mare.

But as with most pubs next to stations, the only downside is that The Railway is so welcoming that it’s too tempting to order another pint and get the next train home instead.

The Railway, 6 Station Road, Yatton, BS49 4AJ.