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Railcard for seniors

Good afternoon! I'm looking at prices for train tickets and I have a few questions. We'll be traveling from Bath to Oxford ($55), then Oxford to Liverpool ($225). I put the posted fares for 2 in parentheses. Finally we're traveling from Liverpool to London (ticket prices aren't posted yet). I've been checking into getting 2 senior railcards. Since the price for the Liverpool/London ticket isn't published, I don't know if the price of 2 senior cards will be less than the discount we would get. Does anyone have a general idea of the price for Liverpool to London? Knowing that would be a big help!! Also, we'll take HEX to the airport to depart, and rides to see the Harry Potter studios and Windsor castle. Would we use railcards for those as well? If so, senior railcards seem like a great deal!! I noticed the prices for all this have $ signs. Does that mean the price in US $$ or is $ used as a convenience, but the prices are actually in GBP?

Posted by
21937 posts

It sounds as if you're on some sort of third-party website. You should use nationalrail.co.uk to price individual tickets. I'm seeing some Oxford-Liverpool tickets for a few days from now that are much cheaper than the figure you quote. You can save a lot of money on UK rail fares by buying the tickets ahead of time. These days it's probably smart not to overdo that "buy early" advice, but even buying a few days before you travel can pay off.

The senior rail card may well save you money. There's also a card for two people who will always be traveling together. That card for two people costs the same as a senior card for one person, so it might be worth considering if you are confident you'll always take trains in tandem. (My travel mate and I split up twice during our 2019 trip, so it was a very good thing that we each bought a senior travel card.)

Posted by
5979 posts

I would definitely go for the two together card over the two senior railcards as it will be 1/2 the price.

One item that is important to know is that you can buy your tickets in advance before you actually buy the railcard. You need to have the railcard before you use the tickets, but not before you purchase them. https://www.twotogether-railcard.co.uk/?nreTrack=twotogetherrailcard&_ga=2.26458621.1337231742.1648070554-1585323543.1646674639

Are you using National Rail for your enquiries? https://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/planjourney/search

Posted by
47 posts

Thank you! Our dates are:
June 7 Bath to Oxford
June 10 Oxford to Liverpool
June 12 Liverpool to London
Will we be using the same train system for our day trips to the Harry Potter studio and Windsor? What about the Heathrow Express from London to Heathrow?

Posted by
5979 posts

Heathrow Express is a better value the earlier you purchase. Rail card will not provide further discount. You should buy this right away.

Posted by
11949 posts

Before you buy the Heathrow Express, let us know where you are staying in London. You might be better off using the Underground.

Let me add on to the above. Only use nationalrail.co.uk

Let me guess, you were using Rail Europe? If so, don't.

Posted by
47 posts

We're staying in Earl's Court in about 12 weeks. I started looking at train schedules several weeks ago and am planning to purchase all tickets in advance. I don't remember what site I was on, but I will definitely stick to the suggested one! I'll also take another look at the railcard for 2 traveling together instead of for seniors. I'm loving all the helpful information!

Posted by
21937 posts

I'm sure several others know the answer to this, but I do not: Do all the rail cards have the same time restrictions (or none)? It might make a difference to Darla if one type of card cannot be used during morning rush hour, or something like that. (I may be thinking of a rule applying in a different country.)

Posted by
2215 posts

Not all routes sell Advance tickets

Bath > Oxford (Tue) from approx. £40 Super Off-Peak Single (same price on the day)

Oxford > Liverpool (Fri) £83 Advance

Liverpool > London (Sun) £88 Advance

Prices above for 2 passengers without a railcard. Tickets will be on sale in a few weeks.

Yes, the same rail network for Harry Potter and Windsor. You can buy tickets on the day for those.

Posted by
641 posts

Your hotel is in the Earl's Court area. You've mentioned buying Heathrow Express (HEX) tickets. Here are my thoughts about your transportation options from LHR to your hotel, based on my experience. I've made at least 10 trips to the UK in the last 25 years, most of them landing in London. I'm eligible for the senior railcard.

HEX: at this time I think your one-way tickets for 12 weeks from now, bought online, will cost £5.50 per person, cheap as chips. I love the convenience and comfort of the HEX. Made for travelers with big luggage racks in each car and no fighting for a seat like the Tube. If you take the HEX you will be delivered to Paddington Station, which is not close to the Earl's Court Road area. Your options from there are:

1. The Tube. Cheapest but you'll do a lot of walking while toting/hauling your luggage - OR
2. A taxi. More costly than the Tube. With two of you the fare shouldn't be ruinous and you'll get to see a bit of London above ground while sitting in traffic.

The Tube: Def costs less than HEX + a taxi from Paddington. Two nice things: (1) because the route originates at LHR you will have no trouble getting a seat which isn't the case when you're coming back to LHR from central London, and (2) it's a straight shot (no changes) on the Piccadilly Line from LHR to the Earl's Court Road Tube station. Which has a nicely placed lift from the platform up to the street level. Great when you're toting/rolling your luggage. If you can manage the walk to your hotel, that's it. If you need a taxi that's extra but shouldn't be ruinously expensive.

My experience: I've taken the Tube from LHR to Earl's Court Road when my hotel was in that area. I tend to arrive at LHR tired because I just don't sleep/rest much on the overnight nonstop from DEN to LHR. I dealt with the Tube and walk to hotel pretty well - but I carefully researched and wrote out the walking directions from the Tube station to my hotel. And I needed to have that in hand. Just saying. I have also twice stayed in a hotel not far from Paddington and enjoyed taking HEX - especially with the super-cheap tix online advance tix. The first trip, I walked to my hotel from the train station. The second trip, I was surprisingly (and almost frighteningly) exhausted on arrival at LHR. When I got off the HEX and realized that I couldn't even figure out the exits from Paddington, I headed for the taxi rank and ungrudgingly paid for the cab ride to my hotel where a good night's sleep restored my energy. Saving money is terrific, but IMO not at the expense of one's comfort and enjoyment. You're the best judge of your strength and resilience, and which mode(s) of transport will suit you best. I hope you enjoy your trip!

Posted by
47 posts

We will only be traveling to LHR from our hotel to depart. It looks like we'll need to take the tube or taxi to Paddington station to catch the HEX from there. Our flight departs at 13:00 on a Saturday, so I'm not sure I want to risk a delay in traffic. Is that a particularly busy traffic time?