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Flexibility for lodging and travel by train, bus and ferries throughout British Isles

We will be traveling from London throughout the British Isles including Scotland, Ireland and Wales, in September, 2018. Thinking of going strait to Canterbury from London, resting up from the flight to begin our journey. At that time of year, could we wing it or must we secure lodging and transport in advance of our adventure?
We are somewhat experienced European travelers (5 previous trips including one through the South of England, mostly arranged on our own, no tours (!).

Posted by
16893 posts

I will be winging it in the second half of this September, with my Mom. A car makes that slightly easier, to reach more rural accommodations, but trains do take you to many towns of all sizes in Britain. If you know your destination in the morning, or a day or two ahead, you can try booking accommodation then, instead of just showing up at 5 p.m.

For the UK, a BritRail Pass is very convenient, with no seat reservations necessary. For Ireland, train coverage is less comprehensive and rail passes less used; buses work but rental car is our first choice to explore the west coast of Ireland.

Posted by
6113 posts

September is one of the most popular months for travel for those not tied to school holidays, so if I were you, I would book in advance, especially if you are staying in touristy areas. It's usually cheaper booking in advance too.

Book rail fares 12 weeks in advance for the best deals. Check if the BritRail pass is worthwhile for you, as often, you are better just buying point to point tickets.

Posted by
3111 posts

True that point-to-point tickets could end up costing less, depending on how many rail trips you take. However, the BritRail Pass gives you peace of mind that you can change your plans at the last moment, and no worries that you forgot to book a ticket. So I'd say if the difference is going to be within a few dollars, the BritRail Pass will give you a more enjoyable trip.

Posted by
31510 posts

Do many people forget to buy tickets?

Wouldn't that be like forgetting to buy airline tickets?