My husband and I will be in England May 29 - June 10. We plan to be in London until June 2nd, and then we'll be going to Salisbury, Oxford, Bristol, Carlisle or Newcastle (for Hadrian's Wall), up into Edinburgh for a few days, and then back to London on June 9th (flying out on the 10th). It seems like the pass we'd want is the BritRail Consecutive for 8 days (standard class), especially since we will not want to be committed to a time table on some of those days. Before I drop the $375 per person on these passes, is there any reason I'd want to consider a BritRail UK 8 day pass, or the London Plus 4 day pass instead, supplemented with other train tickets? I realize if we can commit to pre-purchasing train tickets now from National Rail, we can save a little bit of money. We'd use our Oyster cards for getting to & from the airport, so the pass won't activate until we go to Salisbury. Thanks!
You save more than a little bit of money when you buy advance tickets. I went to nationalrail.co.uk and entered an Edinburgh to London trip on June 9 and advance tickets are about $78. Off-peak tickets are $195 and anytime tickets $236 (using today's exchange rate). So if you commit now to a certain train you can save almost $120 a ticket or more. Of course if you miss that train, then you're out the money. I generally use the national rail journey planner to see what tickets will cost (you can use the "see other fares" link to see the prices for all the different tickets for a particular train) and add up the prices to see if the rail pass is a better deal or not. We ended up using a combination of advance tickets for trains we could easily make, and a pass for others where timing was "ifier". If you don't want to commit to certain trains, then use the off-peak prices to compare against a rail pass (unless you absolutely must have an early train, then use the anytime price). If they're close, you might want to get the pass just for the convenience of not having to buy tickets every time. In any case you'll have a better idea of what your train tickets will cost.