I want to go camping in the UK. A Swiss army knife, or any pocket knife, is standard equipment to go camping. Now I'm wondering if border control will allow me to go through, with a knife in my backpack. I have no idea on how thorough the scanning of my backpack is, or how strict the border control is in such cases.

I'm taking the Eurostar to go to the UK, but I think this question may hold for any border control.

  • What kind of border control are you worried about - Security Screening before boarding plane/Eurostar, Immigration, Customs or some combination of the three?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 13:30
  • 1
    @Gagravarr The security screening before boarding, where they look at all the luggage
    – JNevens
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 14:09
  • last month, my friend was forced to throw away his Swiss army knife in the airport in Poland.
    – Igor Milla
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 16:15
  • basically the check looked like this. If blade longer than your palm, you cannot take it on the plane
    – Igor Milla
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 16:18
  • 1
    I once managed to get a knife longer than that on the EuroStar, by having an even larger knife, which they confiscated (and said "but you can keep this one")
    – Max
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


The Eurostar rules for what is prohibited cover the case of knives

Carriage Prohibited: Flick knives/gravity knives, lock knives and daggers, any knives with a blade over 3 inches/75mm in length (note that standard folding knives with a blade no greater than 3 inches/75mm long are permitted to be carried).

So, you'll need to measure the blade on your knife, and you can only take it with you if it's small enough.

  • 3
    "Is your blade small enough, sir?": I burst into laughter just thinking about this question being asked...
    – thkala
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 16:03

To confirm what Gagravarr has said: the restrictions essentially amount to "you cannot bring a knife that it would be illegal to carry in the UK". I have travelled by Eurostar with a Swiss Army knife in my bag: they wanted to see it (showed up on xray), but there were no difficulties.

  • 3
    Although if you're planning on carrying a knife in the UK then check the law properly, since it's more complicated than just that. You can in principle be done for "going armed" with a smaller knife plus intent to use it as a weapon, and you can in principle "carry" larger knives when stowed properly (not in your pocket). Commented May 29, 2014 at 16:40
  • @SteveJessop In particular, you have to be able to get kitchen knives home from the shop! Commented May 29, 2014 at 21:40
  • 3
    You can indeed take anything that is legal in the UK. That means anything if you can show that you need it. Ie. a chef having his own knives, or a camper with a swiss army knife. On my last eurostar trip I had a lot of sailing equipment with me, including a big "Swiss Army Tool", and a big sailing knife with an awl pike and a big blade. You have to remember that the security isn't like in an airport. It's not as strict, they're basically only looking for explosives (as you can't hijack a train) and everybody involved knows its really just for show anyway... Commented May 31, 2014 at 9:05

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