Kent bullet trains

If I have a Britrail London Plus Pass and a 7-day travel card for zones 1-6, can I ride the bullet trains in Kent for free ? If so, are reserved seats an option ? Thank you. Deborah

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8761 posts

The Travelcard makes no difference on trains in Kent. The Britrail London Plus does - yes you can on covered days. Other than commuters I have never seen tourists with a weekly 1-6 Travelcard. Why do you need to spend so much money - beyond a zones 1-2? Virtually all London tourist sights are in zone 1 and a few in zone 2. Can I help more? A few more details would help. Be sure if you are using your London Plus pass to write the travel day on before you get to the station. If you need to go through a barrier before getting on your train it needs to be valid for that day. If you are getting a weekly season Travelcard you will need a "PhotoCard". I don't remember if reserved seats are an option on Javelin trains. I've never reserved and never had any trouble getting a seat. That would detract from the spontaneousness wouldn't it? Are you going to be traveling at particularly busy times? Maybe at the peak if the rush hour?

Posted by Deborah
Hilo
19 posts

Hi Nigel, Thanks for the reply.
We will be spending one week in England and will be staying in Wimbledon. For now, most of our time will be spent on day trips out of central London: Hampton Court Palace, Windsor, Bath, Canterbury/Dover and York. Will be buying the 7-day zones 1-6 travel cards to take advantage of the 2 for 1 vouchers and also to have the most flexibility in catching all modes of transport and to avoid having to worry about peak/non-peak concerns, and having to top off oyster cards. Right now, I am trying to figure out how to do the Canterbury/Dover portion of our trip. The most efficient way seems to be to go through central London and catch the bullet train. But I am also exploring the possibility of getting up early and heading south to Brighton then east along the coast to Ashford and then to Dover and then Canterbury. I think this would require about 3 very tight transfers and I don't know what connection problems, if any, I might run into. Also, I don't know how scenic the coastal route would be and whether it would be worth the extra time it would take. I know that our schedule is 'ambitious'. But except for the York trip, it is all subject to modification depending on the weather, how much energy we have and whether my husband suddenly decides that spending more time in London going to museums and shopping suddenly sounds like a lot of fun. Appreciate any feedback on our plans. Thanks ! Deborah

Posted by Brian
Los Angeles, California
1986 posts

A little off your question, but if you have so many day trips planned, it would be better to stay more Central than Wimbledon.

Posted by Deborah
Hilo
19 posts

Brian, Yes,you are right.In retrospect it would've been better if I had found a 'home base' in zones 1 or 2. However, when I first started looking for a place to stay, I was having trouble finding a place I liked in zones 1 and 2 that was in my price range. And then I found an Airbnb place in Wimbledon that looks really nice. Also, I like the fact that Wimbledon appears to be a transportation hub of sort. That gives me lots of travel options. How much of a positive difference it will make in my week travel is yet to be seen. Also, it has taken me a long time to figure out what I want to do. The next time I visit England, I will figure out where I want to go and then look for a place that makes sense considering the travel plans that I have. By then I will be more familiar with London and be able to work out an itinerary quicker. Pauline,
Perhaps the total travel time from Wimbledon to Canterbury going both routes will work out to be about the same ? The time I lose getting to St. Pancras I will make up for once I am on the bullet train ? I don't know. Thanks for helping me narrow down the routes to Canterbury. Deborah

Posted by Pauline
BROADSTAIRS, Kent, United Kingdom
81 posts

Deborah The easiest although not the fastest way to get to Canterbury and Dover will be from Charing Cross Station in central London direct to Canterbury West then from Canterbury West direct to Dover Priory. The Bullet train (Javelin trains) depart from St Pancras which in north London and will take you way out of the way.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8761 posts

You can use the National Rail Enquires website for train times for these journeys and play around with the times and routes to see what would work best for you. I picked after the rush hour tomorrow for this example, using http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/timesandfares/WIM/Canterbury/tomorrow/0945/dep to get there. You can see that the first 5 answers to that puzzle throw up 5 completely different ways to skin that cat. The first (947) is the quickest at just under 2 hours, using a train, a Victoria Line Tube, and the fast train from St Pancras. You can also go into Victoria, or Charing Cross, or as one of the connections shows you can shortcut Charing Cross by going into Waterloo and walking to Waterloo East to catch the train from Charing Cross. As you can see it is a bit of a journey no matter how you go.

Posted by Deborah
Hilo
19 posts

Nigel, Thanks for telling me about the National Rail website journey planner. I have added it to my favorites and will be making good use of it in the next couple of weeks as I try to firm up my travel plans. Also, the tip about walking from Waterloo to Waterloo East Stations is very helpful. I have heard that sometimes it makes more sense to walk to stations than to ride on the train/tube. It would be great if there was one website that provided that kind of information. Thanks, again, for the help. Deborah