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Travelling Around the UK

Calgary, Canada
2 posts
2 reviews
Travelling Around the UK

I'm planning a trip to the UK for the end of August/beginning of September. We're spending a couple of days in London before heading toward Brighton then to Salisbury and Bath. Then heading north to York and Edinburgh. We were planning on taking the train/transit to get around I was just wondering if we needed to pre buy train tickets or would be able to get them once we get there? And if we do need to pre buy tickets does anyone have a recommendation for a site?


7 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
1,608 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Travelling Around the UK

Suggest you consult www.seat61.com for information on train travel in UK and how to book tickets from abroad

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
3,070 posts
615 reviews
2. Re: Travelling Around the UK

Buying tickets on a walk-up basis can be eye-wateringly expensive.

Book in advance, using the nationalrail.co.uk site for planning (and it will take you through to the Train Operating Company for the specific route that you need to purchase tickets). Lower cost tickets can be bought 12 weeks in advance (or 24 weeks in advance midweek), where Advance tickets are the cheapest, but you are fixed to the train that you book only. As you are well within that timescale, the lowest cost tickets will have been and gone.

Greater Manchester...
Destination Expert
for Pollenca, Port de Pollenca
Level Contributor
12,124 posts
54 reviews
3. Re: Travelling Around the UK

Definitely consult and understand that expert website from post #1

The place to do detailed research on train times and prices in linked here below. Once you have chosen to buy a ticket, it redirects you to the appropriate train company to complete the purchase.


How many is "we"; you will probably benefit from buying a Two-Together railcard or Family & Friends railcard; depends on the detail - see seat61 website for info on Railcards. Railcards give 1/3 off all prices.

If you can commit to journey dates and train departure times, then you will almost certainly save a lot of money by buying tickets called "Advance" many weeks ahead (though these are inflexible once you've pre-booked). If you want flexibility, then things cost more.

Just an example for you of cost saving available in committing and pre-buying -

One adult from London to York could buy an Advance ticket for only £22 or so (prices rise with pre-booked demand). Buying that same seat on that same trip on the day itself will cost either £109 or £127 dependent on departure time.

Edited: 19 July 2018, 22:39
London, United...
Level Contributor
1,074 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Travelling Around the UK

I recently had to get a walk up ticket from London to Edinburgh. It was £155. I recently bought an advance on for £40. It's definitely worth the inconvenience of having to catch a particular train to buy in advance

London, United...
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
59,347 posts
12 reviews
5. Re: Travelling Around the UK

'And if we do need to pre buy tickets does anyone have a recommendation for a site?' Please buy only from the train operating companies. www.nationalrail.co.uk is the information website, very useful, but if you search for UK rail tickets and find third party pages such as thetrainline.com then please search specifically for the TOC.

You are booking at very short notice espeically for Edinburgh, so get busy and have a look at www.lner.co.uk for tickets for both York and Edinburgh. Choose seats on the right side of the train for the journey from York to Edinburgh Waverley for the better views north of York and Newcastle depending on availability.

If you find fares will be cheaper with a Railcard then you may book them *with Railcard* at the TOC websites, but you'll need to ensure you have that Railcard in hand before boarding the first train. https://www.twotogether-railcard.co.uk/ You can print your own photographs if you wish, and if you complete the application before arriving in the UK then the purchase will take all of five minutes; depending on your journeys you can save pounds with the card.

Get busy, you have rail tickets to buy.

Destination Expert
for London, Devon
Level Contributor
24,435 posts
52 reviews
6. Re: Travelling Around the UK

Just to be clear - you don't "need" to buy train tickets in advance, you can wait until you get here and even get them at the station right up until the time of travel.

But you pay handsomely for the privilege. Walk-up fares for long-distance trains in the UK are generally expensive, and if you roll up at the wrong time of day the so-called "Anytime" fares for peak time travel are staggering.

For journeys of (generally) more than 50 miles, Train Operating Companies offer "Advance" tickets online from about 10-11 weeks ahead (although a few routes now offer up to 24 weeks for Monday-Friday travel). The lowest fares are sold out first. You reserve the ticket, then collect it from a ticket machine in the UK. Advance tickets are available for first class travel as well as standard class.

Another advantage of Advance fares - they (mostly) come with a seat reservation. If you buy a ticket just before departure you don't get a seat reservation. It can happen that the person who paid £40 gets a seat, whilst a person who bought a £155 ticket just before departure has to stand.

Edited: 20 July 2018, 10:21
Dingle, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Dingle
Level Contributor
16,293 posts
21 reviews
7. Re: Travelling Around the UK

Have you got your accommodation booked?

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