We will be traveling in England and Scotland in May. I am confused about which rail service to use. Is Britrail the best way to go? I am looking at rail passes thinking this is the best for as many as 6 train trips to and from Newcastle airport, Edinburgh and Inverness. Any advice?
Most people find that a Britrail pass is not a good deal - it's cheaper to buy point-to-point rail tickets. That's especially true if you're able to solidify your travel plans in advance and get cheap advance-purchase fares. To see what point-to-point tickets would cost, look up your planned trips at http://nationalrail.co.uk. Or tell us where and when exactly you want to go, and people here can help you.
Thank you for your reply!
Here are the places we are going:
Newcastle airport to Alnwick/Almouth Station; I looked on National Rail and they do not service this route on Sundays...Help!
We will stay in Alnwick several days and take a day trip to Edinburgh and back
Then we will travel from Alnwick to Inverness (through Edinburgh I presume) to base for several days
We thought we'd take the train out from Inverness for a day trip but haven't decided where.
Then, Inverness to Edinburgh to stay the night and take the train back to Newcastle Airport to travel home
To get from Newcastle Airport to anywhere, you first have to take the Metro (http://www.nexus.org.uk/metro) to get to Newcastle Station. It looks like the Metro station at the main train station is intermittently closed for refurbishment - if that's still the case when you get there, just take the Metro to a nearby station and then walk or take a cab.
For now, ignore that leg of your journey, and search for trains going from Newcastle (not Newcastle Airport) to Alnmouth. I'm seeing a ~25 minute journey with an Anytime (i.e., walk-up) fare of GBP 10.30. The only thing is, you may have to wait more than an hour between trains.
Tickets for the Metro are just bought from machines on the day.
Newcastle to Alnmouth - no need to buy tickets in advance
Alnmouth to Edinburgh - worth buying Advance tickets from about £12 return
Alnmouth to Inverness - could be worth buying separate Advance tickets one from Alnmouth to Edinburgh, another from Edinburgh to Inverness, rather than one through ticket - play around with the booking websites.
You can use the national rail site or go straight to one of the train operating companies to book - it makes no difference - I prefer https://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/ for ease of use.
Brit Rail passes are rarely worth it.
An alternative to the train from Newcastle would be to take the Metro from the airport to the Regent Centre, then take a bus (X15 or X18 to Alnmouth). You can decide on the day.
A pre-booked taxi to Alnmouth would be in the region of £50+
Thank you for all of the advice. It is very helpful!