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What is the cheapest and easiest way to use 2For1 of the National Rail in London

Hi all,

I will be staying near Camden Town Tube, and I want to visit London Dungeon, and get the 2FOR1 that the National Rail Offers.

I wonder I this plan will work:
1. Using https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-london, get a promo code for 2FOR1.
2. Travel by tube from Camden Town Tube to St Pancras International rail station, buy there a single ticket to Farringdon rail station (3.4 GBP). just buying a ticket, not using it at all.
3. travel by tube from St Pancras to London Dungeon.

Total cost for 2: 33.4GBP (16.7GPB for a ticket instead of 27GBP)

Will my plan work?

Posted by
13367 posts

Yaniv, aren't you flying into London Luton airport? How are you planning to get into central London/Camden Tube area from there?

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Kathy,

Indeed i'm arriving to Luton's airport (and departing from Gatewick).

I'm planning to take Thameslink to Kentish Town.

Can this help me get the discount?
I just can't find out what are the "rules" to use this 2FOR1 discount, and how can I use them for my needs.

Posted by
3591 posts

Rail tickets from Luton and to Gatwick will qualify you for the 2-4-1. Thameslink serves Gatwick as well.

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Tom,

Can you elaborate please?

I mean, what tickets do I have to buy when I'm going to the train station in Luton upon arrival?
Do you mean that simply holding the Thameslink ticket from Luton will be enough for eligibility for 2FOR1 in London Dungeon?

Posted by
3591 posts

I did the same itinerary, Luton to Gatwick on Thameslink, several years ago. Having both sets of tickets (the ordinary cheapest rail tickets) should qualify you, one ticket used from Luton and one unused to Gatwick. I confess we never got around to trying the 2-4-1 deal but were ready to. Memory is fading but I recall that the airport express trains like the Gatwick Express don’t qualify, but from Kentish Town that express train doesn’t make sense anyway.

FYI: The shuttle bus from the terminal to the rail station in Luton has a small charge.

Posted by
12965 posts

Here are the rules:

https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/travel-by-train/is-my-ticket-valid-for-2for1

Basically, what you must have is a paper ticket with the National Rail logo (in the lower left corner on an orange or blue paper ticket).

If you have a single ticket (one-way journey), it is only good for the 2-4-1 on the day of travel. (Thus, if you bought the Farmington dummy ticket, you would have to go to the London dungeon that same day).

If you have tickets for a return journey, into and out of London, then you qualify for the 2-4-1 offers on the days of travel and the days in between.

I do not see the Thameslink listed as a qualifying train, but looking at images of the tickets online, it appears that they have the National Rail logo as required. Assuming that it does have that logo, and you buy your Gatwick Express ticket for your departure ahead of time, the two tickets (the used Thameslink ticket and the unused Gatwick Express ticket) should qualify you for 2-4-1 entry for all days between (and including) the two travel dates.

Just remember you need paper tickets—-not mobile ones.

Posted by
13367 posts

Yaniv, thanks for filling in some blanks in your complete travel plan. As I sort of suspected, but couldn't confirm as I haven't made the journey myself, train tickets into London from Luton would probably qualify you for at least a piece of 2FOR1 eligibility. That additional info was helpful for the folks in the know (Lola and Tom). :O)

Posted by
3591 posts

Reminder that the Gatwick Express does not make sense from Kentish Town since Thameslink does the whole journey faster, although from Camden Town it may be faster to use the Gatwick Express.

This from the Londontoolkit private site:

“Confusingly return tickets on the Gatwick Express and Stansted Express airport trains bought from the railways do qualify but tickets on the Heathrow Express and TFL Rail Heathrow do not.

Increasingly in London TFL Rail are taking over commuter services from railway companies. TFL Rail tickets do not qualify for 2 for 1. South of the river most commuter trains are still operated by national rail companies, including Southern Trains, South West Trains, South East Trains and Thameslink. Tickets issued by the London Overground do not qualify for 2 for 1.”

The TFL (Transport for London) note is critical because the short journey you proposed in the OP surely wouldn’t qualify. London Overground just means the surface rail system (as opposed to the underground tube).

Posted by
12965 posts

I will add that pre-covid, there was talk of cracking down on the use of “dummy tickets” (like a cheap ticket from St. Pancras to Farmington) for 2-4-1 qualification, where the destination station bore no relation to the site visited.

Posted by
3591 posts

Adding that Thameslink appears as not part of TFL rail system so your destinations are qualified.

The only concern I would have is if buying the Kentish Town to Gatwick ticket at Kentish Town that you buy from a rail station kiosk and not at the tube station since this location has both. I suspect they are separate like at Blackfriars but they could be combined like at Islington. I believe you could dispense both tickets at Luton Gateway if bought online, then you have paper tickets with the rail logo.

I wonder if all the bother on these 2-4-1 tickets is really worth it.

Posted by
27511 posts

While Gatwick Express is a valid (if very expensive) ticket to Gatwick which does qualify for the promotion, unless you really want to shave off the final few minutes of the journey and you intended to be near Victoria just before your trip, the Gatwick Express is unlikely to be the best solution for you.

You already are close to Thameslink and the line is named because it links (the only one) places north and south of the Thames.

Board a Thameslink back at Kentish Town, change at one of the City stations - St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars, but not London Bridge - to one of the Brighton or Three Bridges Thameslinks which will whisk you right to Gatwick (station under the terminal). Cheaper and faster overall. and much more convenient.

Posted by
4642 posts

There was a tightening up of using 'dummy' or 'decoy' tickets some years back so that they would have to bear some resemblance to a realistic journey to the attraction. How well or often this is checked in practice at specific venues is another matter, but the risk is there.

Into Central London this would mean either a ticket to London Terminals (as you might reasonably go onwards by contactless etc) or somewhere nearby the actual attraction, say Vauxhall to Waterloo. You can buy these tickets online without visiting either place.

If you get two Thameslink back-to-back singles to/from somewhere credible like Kentish Town use these together.

Posted by
12965 posts

Here is the FAQ section on ticket destinations:

“Where must I travel to/from to get 2FOR1 offers?

All tickets should show that you have travelled to the attraction by train, whether that be ‘London Terminals’ for 2FOR1 London attractions, or the train station nearest to the attraction itself. Tickets that have a destination too far from the attractions location may be denied by attraction staff. Details of the attractions nearest station can be found on the attraction’s listing page.”