We need to purchase several sets of train tickets (multiple days and destinations) for a trip to England in April/May. How do you go about physically obtaining the tickets? I see no option for mailing them to U.S. addresses on the National Rail website. Thanks.
No, they don't mail to the US. If they're not the type that can be printed at home, then you can retrieve them at your first train station, probably from a machine.
Some can be stored inside a mobile app, but that means not running out of battery.
If collecting from a machine you will usually need to insert the card you bought them with.
Yes I remember bringing the credit card used to purchase and retrieving from the machine after buying online.
Even though privatization has fractured the English train web into different companies, any ticket office seems capable of issuing any on-line ticket.
When I purchased train tickets in September I was able to put them in my phone, it was very easy.
Unless something has changed in the past two years, we just printed the tickets at home from the National Rail website. Made a back up copy and took both with us to England.
When you book online you will get a reference number. You then put this in the machine at the station and swipe the card that you purchased the tickets with. The machine will print your tickets.
Follow up question ....... What about buying tickets through the Rick Steve's site?
It might work -- dunno, but you don't buy from Rick Steves, you get bumped over to RailEurope which is a subsidiary of the French railways. Get them from the horse's mouth.
If you want to buy from Rail Europe you will pay more. I just checked London to Bath on both UK National Rail and Rail Europe. The price in dollars on Rail Europe was $3-$5 higher than the National Rail prices in GBP. And then they add a handling fee of $7.95.
It really is simple to buy on the National Rail website and collect them at a train station when you arrive in the UK. No need to bother with Rail Europe.
for clarity -
you don't buy on nationalrail.co.uk , it doesn't sell tickets. But it does direct you to the train companies that do sell tickets.
Some companies offer print-at-home tickets on some routes. Print-at-home tickets require the ticket inspector to have a machine with a barcode scanner to read the ticket, and an internet connection to check it is valid, the only happens on main routes.
Small and local routes require paper tickets.
But, it is easy to pick up tickets at the station. All you need is the alphanumeric code that you get when you buy the tickets AND the card you used to pay for them (Used as ID). See the explanation here: https://help.loco2.com/article/330-collecting-uk-train-tickets
I picked up several rail tickets at English train stations last year. It went without a hitch.