The station frontage was described by the Poet Laureate John Betjeman (1906-1984) as ‘the most splendid in England’, and by the architectural historian, Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983) as ‘one of the best early railway stations in England’. Two pubs are within the station frontage. The Head of Steam and The King’s Head are both well-known live music venues, for blues, rock and jazz. Perhaps the most famous resident is the first station cat, Felix, who patrols the station to keep it free from pigeons, and even has her own cat-flap to bypass the ticket barriers.
The station in the past would have been alive with the distinctive, loud rhythmic hiss of steam trains. Visit the station today and you’ll experience familiar sounds of tannoy announcements, shrill guards’ whistles and travellers dashing for their trains, as well as the constant rumble of trains arriving and departing – doors beeping as they open and close, engines running and wheels grinding against the metal tracks.