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Using a Eurailpass in the UK — short notice trip

I posted before asking a question about car rentals and which booking sites to use. Now I am in sticker shock at some of the prices for a trip later this month — 14 day rental with automatic and low/no deductible.. I acknowledge this is what happens when one plans on very short notice indeed.

Similarly, train tickets can be very good if i want to lock into fixed trains without any flexibility (Advance tickets). But since i want to work around weather and availability of accommodation, and a certain “what if i want to go to X which i just read about”, I have started to consider a rail pass. Specifically, a senior Eurail pass to use exclusively in the UK. While it might end up costing a couple of hundred dollars more over the course of a month than individual train tickets, I might regard that the price for flexibility.

My question is: does anyone here have experience – good or bad – with using a rail pass in the UK? Of course, it would need to be supplemented with local bus tickets but I believe they carry a day cap in most places.

Posted by
637 posts

We used a Eurail pass in the UK last summer. It worked fine, though I don't claim we saved any money. But very convenient. Just hop on the train and ride.

Posted by
8643 posts

Did you look at the prices and features of the UK-specific BritRail passes? It's different than the Eurail pass. Look at this page if you haven't: UK rail passes Note that you cant buy them via Railurope, but there's a link on that page fro where to go.

Its been many years since I used either.

Posted by
6708 posts

I agree that Britrail is absolutely the way to go. It is far better value than the regional rail passes we can buy domestically in the UK. In fact there is no domestic equivalent of the London plus one.

For flexibility Britrail knocks the socks off Advance Ticketing with railcards.

As for buses the £2 a ride is still in force in all of England, though many regions or operators also have even better value day or longer period tickets. Like the £25 weekly bus ticket in Cornwall or £34 weekly in the Lake District. Just 2 examples.
Those are £7 and £12 daily respectively.

I am actually writing a post this week about using a domestic rail rover which I started last night, but it takes so much stress and planning out of the equation.

Even if somehow it doesn't in absolute terms save you money it is totally worth it on those bases.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you for supporting my decision to use a rail pass rather than struggle with the complexity of ticket types, advance booking (flexible or not) . I needed to hear that. Travel a supposed to be fun and an adventure, not stress-inducing.

Yesterday I landed at Heathrow and encountered severe delays on several tube lines (it happens) which made me worry about future delays when getting to stations for nonrefundable tickets. This afternoon I walked several miles on the Grand Union Canal and ended at Kings Cross, where trains on the board were listed as cancelled (it happens). A rail pass takes the stress out of those situations. It also means not having to rebook and deal with refunds in the case of industrial actions.

And most importantly I am happily back to thinking about where to go and what to see and experience over two months, rather than worrying about transport details (oh, that will come as I try to explore south Wales by public transport, but that sort of detail is a puzzle challenge). Today I added Arundel and Chichester to my “why not? “ list based on recent discussion here. I will add many more.

I will use a Eurail pass rather than a Britrail pass. The senior Eurail pass is less expensive and gives me the option of going to Ireland for a few days if I decide to fly from there. There are also differences in services covered around London, as well as in ferry discounts.

I feel relieved to have a decision that does not rely solely on maths and allow for “stress” on the traveller. And now I will jump onto the TfW website with glee (being mindful to avoid Taylor Swift and Pink in Cardiff in June). I am giddy at the prospect of slowly exploring the nooks and crannies and pubs of the UK this summer.

Posted by
4600 posts

And don't forget to check in with the Man in Seat 61 for info and updates