Traveling with a family of 4 (2 kids, 15 & 11) from Edinburgh to Bath. What is the best way to get there? Train with 2 stops (ugh), plane?? Can we take the fast train to London then get a train to Bath? Please give specifics on which stations etc. Thanks
I'm just planning that route myself. Doing a split I found a First-Class ticket on Cross Country Trains for £86.50 that departs Edinburgh Waverley at 10:10 and arrives Bristol Temple Meads with 0 changes at 16:41 (6 hrs 31 mins). Then on a second query I found a 17-min. hop on First Great Western for £6.90 leaving Bristol Temple Meads at 16:49 (or 17:00) and arriving Bath Spa at 17:06 (or 17:11). I'm not done searching yet, and am not convinced I've found the best route, but I doubt I can find anything lower in price in First Class for the long leg. The fare was lower than the Standard Second-Class fare! Your date is obviously different than mine so YMMV on price.
I found that I can buy a 4 day consecutive britrail pass for all 4 of us for $530. I figure I can use this to get us from Edinburgh to Bath and then from bath to London. We will travel on July 28 & July 31 respectively. Is this just as good, better or worse than using the family & friend pass and booking tickets separately for each leg of the trip?
I totally agree with you - fewer stops and more direct travel is the way to go - especially with kids! Have a great trip.
Crossing London will be much less convenient than taking the rail route via Birmingham. Do you mean two changes of train or two stops? Two station stops is a very quick journey from Edinburgh to Bath. If you want to fly look for fares from Edinburgh to Bristol airport. There is a direct bus service from the airport to Bath.
First things first, you will save money with a Family & Friends Railcard, giving you 33% off most train fares (except peak hour trains in the south east of England). It costs £28, but even if Edinburgh to Bath is the only journey you will be taking, it will be worth it. See here: http://www.familyandfriends-railcard.co.uk/ Most of that journey can be done with the Crosscountry trains service from Edinburgh Waverley to Bristol Temple Meads, changing there to a First Great Western service that will get you to Bath Spa in 11 minutes. Use the journey planner on http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/ or on http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/ . A dummy booking on either of those sites for mid-August shows me an Advance single on the 08.10 from Edinburgh Waverley for a total of £207 for all 4 of you, or £143.50 with the Family & Friends railcard, or £171.50 including the cost of the railcard. However, if you buy tickets separately for the Edinburgh to Bristol and the Bristol to Bath Spa legs of the journey then with the railcard you can get an Advance single tariff of £117.30 on that 08.10 departure from Edinburgh Waverley and then £11.70 with an Off-peak single tariff from Bristol to Bath Spa, so adding on the railcard cost that comes to £157. Prices on other dates will be different, and for the cheapest prices you should book as soon as tickets go on sale, 12 weeks before the date of travel. Note that the Advance tariff is only valid on the specific train for which it is booked. No refunds are possible, but tickets can be changed (for a fee) prior to departure.
Great advice! Much better than what I was looking at. Now my question is about the family & friends railcard. Do I purchase now or wait until we arrive in manchester? If i have to wait I can't book the train from Edinburgh to Bath right?
Rose - I think you are on the right track. Thanks for your advice
Now my question is about the family & friends railcard. Do I purchase now or wait until we arrive in manchester? If i have to wait I can't book the train from Edinburgh to Bath right? You don't need to have bought the railcard when you buy the tickets, just claim the railcard discount during the online booking process. As long as you have purchased the railcard before you get on the train, and you have it with you, then that's fine.
Good luck with your planning, Gayle. Obviously with your children you have different concerns than I do about possible family/group savings. The main delight for me was finding a route that involved zero train changes, except the little change at the end in Bristol Temple Meads. It means I can completely settle in, relax, and enjoy the ride. I'd always rather spend my time moving on a train than dealing with airport security and gate boarding areas, unless flying delivers a huge time benefit. But I've loved trains since childhood. Happy travels!
Well, $530 is £344. In mid-August I can see Advance singles from Bath Spa to London for as little as £22 for all 4 of you, if you have the Family & Friends railcard. Add that to the £157 for Edinburgh - Bristol and Bristol Bath and it totals £179. That £22 fare is on a mid-morning train, but even on the 09.13 it would only be £35. That's all with Advance tickets which are for specific trains, so what the BritRail pass gets you is flexibility and only you can decide if that's worth an extra £165.
You are very knowledgeable about this! Thanks! A few more questions. Do I need just one family & friends railcard? Can I use this when we need to go from London to Heathrow to fly out? Thanks again for your help and patience!
You only need one railcard. As long as at least one adult named on the card is travelling and you have at least one child with you, you can use it. Yes, you can use it for Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect and various Underground travelcards - see here: http://www.familyandfriends-railcard.co.uk/eligibility-benefits/tickets-travel-times/ Note that you can buy the card at any staffed national railway station, but NOT at Heathrow (which isn't on the national rail network).