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What is the best way to get a train pass for England?

Traveling by train 4 days for sure, not consecutive. We think the 8 day consecutive Britrail England is the best deal. Do we buy from local AAA or online? Pros and cons of both?

Posted by
1302 posts

Give an idea of your journeys,it's Very likely a pass is a bad idea.,esp if you are travelling after the 9.30 am cut off for peak fares

If you know exactly where you're going and can commit to specific trains, visit www.nationalrail.co.uk approximately 10-12 weeks before your journey and buy cheap Advance tickets. Can only be used on specified trains, but can be very cheap.

Google The Man in Seat 61 for really good advice on British trains.

Incidentally Britrail passes are sold to tourists only - there is no such train company as Britrail and the passes aren't sold in the U.K. They are purely targeted at tourists who don't want to do research on how to buy low-price tickets, don't understand the system or want complete freedom to hop on the trains.

Posted by
2559 posts

They are purely targeted at tourists who don't want to do research on how to buy low-price tickets, don't understand the system or want complete freedom to hop on the trains.

Precisely!

Posted by
5382 posts

They can be an absolute bargain for someone who wants to have a rail enthusiast type time travelling around the country every day all day 1st class by rail (Compare with the cost of the All-Line Rover available in the UK). This is not what most are looking to do though.

Posted by
719 posts

Here are the three websites that I found to be the most useful for understanding and purchasing UK train tickets.

Man Seat 61 is simply the best site for explaining UK trains and how to buy tickets --
https://www.seat61.com/index-mobile.htm

National Rail --
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/default.aspx

Virgin Trains --
https://www.virgintrains.co.uk

Personally I wouldn't bother with the various Britrail passes -- you're in the end paying maximum ticket fares for modest flexibility. I found better fares buying tickets for each individual train journey, such as a £14.50 York to London ticket on Virgin East Coast.

Posted by
23 posts

We are arriving at Manchester then going to York. A couple days later we are leaving York 8ish the morning for Portsmouth. Another day is Portsmouth (8ish) to Salisbury to London. Also day trips to Dover and destinations yet determined. Since we are doing some peak hour traveling the price of individual tickets and the rail pass are almost the same, so we are going for the flexibility of the rail pass and included are extra travel days. Our question is has anyone had experiences of where is the better place to purchase the rail pass?

Posted by
11294 posts

The best place to purchase a rail pass is where you get the lowest price. Check all sources. Start with Rick Steves (partners with Rail Europe) as well as AAA. Googling, I see there's Britrail dot com as well as Britrail dot net - no idea which is the "real" Britrail, but again, check them both.

Be sure to figure in all fees. If the pass is priced in GBP, do the conversion, and don't forget to add in any transaction fees charged by your credit card. It can still be cheaper than buying from Rick Steves (which will be in USD and will not have any foreign transaction fees).

Posted by
993 posts

Have you tried this site. Travel Tips then click on Trains and Rail Passes

Posted by
270 posts

We did point to point tickets but saved a bundle by getting a Family Railcard and making the bookings. I don't think you need to physically have the card when you book the tickets if you are booking them online but you need it on the train.

Also, I highly endorse the Man in Seat 61. We also saved by buying separate tickets for each leg of Gloucester to Birmingham to Newcastle to Alnmouth with bus add on to Alnwick rather than a through ticket. I don't know why it was cheaper but it was.