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Last minute train tickets from London to Brighton

Hey all,
So we're looking to go to Brighton the first week of July (we're staying in London). I do not want to buy our tickets far in advance because I only want to go if the weather will be nice. In other words, I want to have flexibility of which day we go or whether we go at all. Is it realistic to get tickets to Brighton at the station same day or just a few days prior without paying through the nose?
Thanks!

Posted by
6874 posts

yep the first train leaves at 4 am and there are about 2 -4 trains an hour; it is about $40 one way same day

Posted by
932 posts

Ouch. I really appreciate the info!

Posted by
2788 posts

The coach (bus) is cheaper, slower. Catch it at Victoria Coach (bus) station.
Has WiFi on board.
But again, slower than trains.

Posted by
1840 posts

The pay on the day price is £29.40 return providing that on weekdays you catch the 9.44am or later from London Victoria. (The 9.44 does the trip in 53 minutes - some trains are stoppers and take longer). This price also applies for all trains on weekends. If you wish to leave earlier on a weekday, it will cost £33.60 > www.nationalrail.co.uk

Posted by
26369 posts

If you are near Victoria that is the best choice. If you are on or near the Thameslink network (Blackfriars, London Bridge, City Thameslink, Farringdon, Kings Cross/St Pancras) it will be a touch cheaper and about the same time to use Thameslink instead.

Off-Peak Day Return is what you want.

Posted by
1909 posts

Weekends from about £12.50 return. Weekdays you could book Advance tickets the day before travel from £24 return (or off-peak, walk-up fares from £29 return).

Play around with the journey planner http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

Shouldn’t have too many concerns with the weather in July (but you never know!)

Posted by
5026 posts

If the weather in July is good at the weekend, then the trains and Brighton itself will be unpleasantly busy, so I would try to travel midweek if possible.

Tickets booked 11 weeks out can be had for £10 return per adult. The same time trains for this Thursday will cost £20.50 return. The same trains for tomorrow cost £37.80.

Posted by
4671 posts

Yes, if the weather is good weekend trains will be very busy, and coaches heavily delayed by traffic. (The road route from London to Brighton isn't of a very high capacity.)

Posted by
932 posts

Thanks for the all the info, everyone! We will definitely be going on a weekday. No chance for the weekend (we're going to the Red Sox vs Yankees games). Based on some comments, sounds like the odds are that the weather will probably be nice..... (I should look at wunderground). I'll watch for ticket prices 11 weeks out as Jennifer suggested. And I'll look on the various websites... Thank you!

Posted by
26369 posts

only want to go if the weather will be nice

.

sounds like the odds are that the weather will probably be nice..... (I should look at wunderground). I'll watch for ticket prices 11 weeks out as Jennifer suggested.

The problem is that those two quotes are contradictory - honestly I can't believe what the weather might do a week out much less than 11 weeks out. So far we had such a mild December that birds are nesting and blossom is out on some trees.

January is dryer than usual in some parts of the country and pretty wet elsewhere. Germany and Switzerland have been clobbered with very heavy snow and some predictions are that we will get very cold and snowy in a couple of weeks.

If you buy Advance tickets you won't be able to get a refund if the rain is on the day you want to go to Brighton.

Posted by
932 posts

Nigel, I wasn’t being contradictory, I was having a change of heart. Someone above said that weather in July is usually good. So after reading everyone’s responses I was considering buying the advance tickets and crossing my fingers. I realize I won’t know the weather 11 weeks out. Wunderground’s website shows what the weather has been in past years so I meant that I could see what history has been for July in Brighton. I know tickets are non-refundable. Hence my original post.

Posted by
1909 posts

You don't need to commit yourself to buying tickets 11 weeks ahead. Cheap Advance tickets may still be available a couple of days before you travel. Or just buy walk-up Off-Peak tickets.

Posted by
577 posts

I am always bemused by visitors to Britain who are concerned to buy non-refundable train tickets long in advance. While it is true that tickets bought in advance are cheaper than those bought on the day, and that the cheapest tickets might sell out, most of the time reduced price tickets are available a week, if not a day or two, before travel. There is a downside to committing yourself too early.

Posted by
16877 posts

Just a note to highlight the language and the fact that most of the are quotes you've received above are roundtrip (return) fares that you'd want to book as such - often cheaper than separate one-way (single) tickets. This is pretty clear during the purchase process, if you start with a return ticket request.

Posted by
932 posts

But Bob, that's the information that I was looking for. I am constantly reading about getting the best rates if you book around 90 days out. We are going to the Cotswolds for a tour, and the tour operator even wrote on their website "Try to purchase your train ticket to the Cotswolds as far in advance as possible, Great Western Railway (GWR) release their tickets 3 months in advance, often purchasing the 'advanced railway tickets' will be significantly cheaper..."
So you're bemused, but this isn't something we all made up. That's the information that I'm finding over and over and over. Now you're saying that there ARE discount rates to be found shortly before the journey. If that's true, that's great news for us. That's why I'm on this website asking questions. To get knowledge beyond what you find with a google search or on other websites.

Posted by
932 posts

And also, buying non-refundable tickets far in advance isn't always a bad choice. For instance, we've got a non-refundable tour in the Cotswolds. We MUST get seats on a train that morning, so buying in advance is a necessity. Most of the time when we've booked non-refundable tickets it's because we MUST be somewhere and can't gamble with a train being sold out OR the prices NOT being lower soon before our trip. As far as it being non-refundable, that's what trip insurance is for...

Posted by
1840 posts

Yes, it makes sense to purchase the cheap advance tickets for specific trains when you MUST be somewhere at a certain time/date. It is usually around 11 weeks ahead that these fares get loaded to the system. Having said that, even purchasing Advance tickets for specific trains the day before can give savings.

Regarding Brighton: the Southern train company also have a day ranger ticket for off peak travel for £20 but it can’t be purchased on the day. Read https://www.southernrailway.com/tickets/ticket-types-explained/daysave

Another company - Thameslink - does have a day a day save rover that you can buy on the day for £22:> http://www.railrover.org/pages/thameslink-daysave.html

Posted by
3176 posts

Someone above said that weather in July is usually good. So after
reading everyone’s responses I was considering buying the advance
tickets and crossing my fingers.

We always buy advanced tickets to get the cheapest prices possible regardless of the weather. Just bring an umbrella with you just in case. You've bought tickets to the Yankee/RS game and those are beyond pricey (at least for us) so £10 return tickets sound like a great deal and a good bet. At least Wembley has a roof. ;-)

Posted by
932 posts

Great info, James, thanks!
Continental, if we found 10£ return tickets I’d be over the moon! I’d even be willing to eat tickets that cheap if the weather was going to be truly horrendous...
We bought the 60£ tickets for the game. We’ve spent about the same on games stateside! We’re pretty excited!
I always bring a good raincoat and umbrella with me to the British Isles. Always prepared! :)