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Need help with train tickets and passes. What do I need or what should I get?

My family of 4 (boys 10,9) will be traveling in June/July to England and Scotland. We will have a car for most of our Scotland portion. I have used National Rail Journey planner for an idea of pricing and travel times. However it is also confusing me a little more. Should we purchase the family and friends rail pass or is there a different one to consider? We will be in London for a week. I am pretty sure the Family and Friends does not work around London. Am I right that I just want to use a Oyster card? We will be staying near Battersea Park. This is a national rail line, correct? Where the pass would help to get us into London? When I price out the segments family and friends does seem to have a savings. The journeys we will need are;

Heathrow to London (specifically to One Aldwych Hotel), Battersea Park to Cambridge, Bath to Warwick, Warwick to York, York to Edinburgh. Should I prebook these?

Thanks for any help.

Posted by
2554 posts

Yes, book your journeys outside London in advance – look for Advance tickets on sale about 12 weeks before you travel.

With a Friends and Family Railcard you’ll get one-third off the prices. Buy your tickets online indicating you have the railcard. When you're in the UK buy the railcard before your first journey.

Posted by
16894 posts

The Family and Friends Rail Card should certainly be a benefit, giving the adults about 30% off and kids about 60% off the regular range of prices, whether or not you book in advance for additional savings. You have to decide how important and likely it is that you will have the whole party ready in time to board a particular train. If your research has shown that York to Edinburgh, for instance, is the most expensive segment, then it may be the one you're most inclined to book ahead. On the other hand, with trains running so frequently, you may prefer a flexible schedule.

For comparison, if you choose a BritRail Pass to cover the 4 longest trips listed above (within a month), then the price is $278 per adult and kids are free. Seat reservations are not required but are free to make up to a day ahead in train stations, if you want assurance of seats together.

Posted by
8821 posts

Yes use the Oyster in London and given the age of your children ask about the 5-10 zip Oyster.

Might take ID photos of your kids before you go and have them if asked for them. Hopefully some one on the forum who has used a zip Oyster for their children can explain how to obtain .
https://www.visitlondon.com/traveller-information/getting-around-london/do-kids-need-an-oyster-card

Yes. Battersea Park Station is a rail line ( Southern) where you can buy rail tickets . It is also an Overground Station where u can use your Oyster card. You can use the Oyster on Southern trains.
https://www.southernrailway.com/tickets/smartcards-oyster-and-plusbus/oyster

Posted by
1072 posts

Pretty sure the "zip oyster" is really meant for children that live in London and need to travel on their own (to school etc), the "young person discount" can be added to a normal oyster card but that's for 11 to 15 year olds, under 11's travel free with a fare paying adult.

Posted by
963 posts

My trip is much simpler but for reference I just booked 5 adult one-way tickets from London to Edinburgh for 126 pounds. There were the "Advance" tickets and I used the LNER website. I am about 12 weeks out.

Posted by
5360 posts

Children under 11 travel free if accompanied on the Underground, Overground and DLR, and unaccompanied on the bus. Not free though on national rail services.

An F&F card does give a 1/3 discount on one day travel cards for the adults, but there probably are cheaper ways, unless you want to use those for the Two4One admission offers.

Posted by
27362 posts

I'm not certsin because I'm usually a solo traveler, but I think the Family and Friends railcard requires that everyone travel together, which might be a probkllem if you wanted to separate for a day because of different interests or becsuse someone was ill and not up to traveling. Read the details before making that purchase.

Posted by
5360 posts

F&F card is valid with just one named adult plus one child using it.

There is an uncertainty with the digital version whether each named adult can travel on different journeys with a child at the same time with the card held on different devices.