United Kingdom Tickets & Rail Passes

Welcome to ShowMeTheJourney's GUIDE to booking train tickets for train journeys within and from Great Britain - we haven't forgotten Northern Ireland and the info for buying and using tickets there will be coming soon.

What this guide aspires to provide is some context for the tickets and journey options you SHOULD encounter when making a booking either online or at the station.

We have striven to ensure that the advice we present is as accurate as possible, but a guide such as this cannot cover every combination of journey options.

CLICK TO JUMP TO THE LIST OF QUESTIONS - not recommended if you are new to travelling in Great Britain by train.


And yes there are numerous instances of the use of words such as 'typically' or 'usually' on this article, but that can't be helped, read on and you'll soon realise why that is the case.


1) How the train services are managed affects both ticket prices and how they can be used:

Trains in Britain are operated by separate companies and not a national rail company, there is no equivalent of Amtrak, DB, SNCF or Trenitalia.

These British companies are referred to as Train Operating Companies, which tends to be shortened to 'TOC's - hence its frequent use on this ticketing guide.

A key point worth knowing is that each TOC manages how tickets are sold and can be used on its services
This can impact of what types of ticket will be offered, both generally and on specific departures on the route you will be taking - and whether facilities such as seat reservations will or won't be available.

When travelling by train in other European countries, the types of train service can often impact of the type of tickets that can be booked, such as whether you will be traveling on a Frecce train, or an ICE train.
However in Britain, the company (the TOC) which is providing the service you will be travelling by, has a similar affect on how tickets can be used.

Because each TOC sets its own ticketing policy there are also multiple instances when a TOC deviates from how tickets are USUALLY sold, and the key examples of this have been included on this guide.
So when looking up a journey online, or booking at the station, you might encounter a special offer, or some other type of ticket not mentioned below.

2) Why the time of day you will be travelling particularly matters

A key impact for travellers is how each TOC (train operating company) uses time and days of the week as a tool for offering tickets.
For example, you will see multiple references on this guide to peak business hours (rush hours), because when travelling to and from cities and large towns, British train tickets are nearly always more expensive at those times.
The limited numbers of cheaper tickets, which are placed on sale for longer-distance departures, at those peak business hours, also inevitably sell out particularly quickly.

But each TOC decides what those peak business hours will be, there's no set periods of time for them which apply nationally, but they're typically between 07:00 and 10:00 in the morning and 16:00 and 19:00 in the evening.

As those peak business hours are only a factor in how ticket prices are calculated when Mondays - Fridays are working days, if you can travel at a weekend, there will typically be a comparatively wider choice of cheaper departures.

So if you want to make a long-distance day trip such as London to Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool or York and save money, try to travel on a Saturday or Sunday - but check that no works on the route will affect your trip.

Discover more about how to save money when booking tickets for train journeys in England, Wales and Scotland.


3) The key types of ticket that can be booked for British train journeys

There are only three main types of tickets that are placed on sale for British train journeys, but what can be a source of confusion is that it's common for only one or two of these types of tickets to be available when booking online, or at stations.

(1) Cheaper discounted Advance tickets - not available on all routes, but will be placed on sale in limited numbers for most LONG-DISTANCE journeys.
(2) Anytime tickets, which can be used on any train on the route you will be taking, including departures and arrivals at peak business hours.
(3) Off-Peak tickets, which are cheaper than Anytime tickets, because they can only be used outside peak business hours - so when Advance tickets aren't available, these Off-Peak tickets will be the cheapest type of ticket.

You can often combine these types of ticket when booking a return journey, so it's possible to travel one way on an Anytime ticket and then return with an Advance ticket etc -  but note that if you do so, you will be booking 2 x one way tickets and not a return ticket.

Advance Tickets:

This type of ticket lives up to its name, because the further ahead you book ahead of your travel date, the cheaper the tickets will be.

Avanti West Coast, Cross Country, Grand Central, Hull TrainsLNER, and TransPennine Express are the TOCs which offer discounted Advance tickets on all of their routes -  while Chiltern Railways, Greater AngliaEMR, Great Western Railway, Northern, ScotRailSouthern, Southeastern and South Western Railway and TFW Rail are the TOCs which offer Advance tickets on most of their longer-distance routes.

Also worth knowing is that Advance tickets are released in limited numbers, and are typically priced according to demand - so the less popular the train you will be taking, the cheaper the price you will pay.
The most heavily discounted tickets inevitably sell fastest, so prices will be rising between the time that they are released and when they come of sale.

However, when looking up journeys only a couple of weeks ahead of your travel date, it won't be unusual for a couple of trains per day to be available at around 50% of the cost of other departures, so you won’t USUALLY have to book months ahead to find a good price - IF you can be flexible with your departure times.
But if you want to travel at peak business hours, it's best to book as soon as possible, as the price difference between Advance and Anytime tickets can be extreme

If you will be travelling with these TOCs - Avanti West Coast, Cross Country, Grand Central, Greater AngliaLNER, Northern and TransPennine Express then Advance tickets can usually be found online until a couple of hours before departure.
Though in effect you can usually only take advantage of this if you will be departing after around 10:00 and WON'T be travelling at peak business hours.
Other TOCs, including Great Western Railway, take Advance tickets off sale at 18:00 (6pm) on the day before travel.

You don't have to book Advance tickets online, they can also be purchased at stations, some major stations have Travel Desks dedicated to booking tickets ahead of the travel date - and if you can book at a station, you'll be advised on which train to take at the optimum price.

Advance tickets will only be valid on the departure selected when making a booking and they CANNOT BE REFUNDED if you subsequently don't board the train - either because you have changed your travel plans, OR because you miss the train in circumstances not to do with a TOC - such as a taxi getting stuck in traffic.

Some TOCs will allow Advance Tickets to be EXCHANGED to a different departure on the same route between the same destinations, prior to travel, on payment of an admin fee (usually £10) - BUT you MAY ALSO have to pay the price difference with any new ticket you have to book.

Aside from being (much) cheaper, the other big plus of Advance tickets is that seat reservations are always included if* a TOC offers this facility, so you'll often have the peace of mind of an assigned seat(s) for your journey.
*Some TOCs including Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia, Southeastern and South Western Railway will sell train departure specific Advance tickets for some journeys without seat reservations -  because they don't offer seat reservations on all, or most departures.

One final thing to be aware of is that Advance tickets are only sold as single journey tickets, for travel in one direction only.
So if you will be making a return journey on which Advance tickets are available, the cheapest option can be booking two single tickets for each direction of travel.

Also be aware that when booking a return JOURNEY, the fact that you have booked 2 x single Advance tickets for travel in each direction and NOT a return ticket may not be particularly obvious.


Off-Peak/Super Off-Peak Tickets:

The plus of using these tickets is that unlike Advance tickets they typically aren't restricted to travelling on a specific departure.
Though it's worth always confirming the T&Cs of how these tickets can be used, as they can vary, depending on which TOC (Train Operating Company) is providing the service you will be travelling by.

The key restriction is that these tickets live up to their name - because unlike Anytime tickets, they cannot be used for journeys which involve departing from, or arriving in cities by train during peak business hours.
Travel outside of those peak times on your travel date and you'll USUALLY have the freedom to choose the departure which suits you - though check the terms and conditions.

So if you will travelling long-distance at a WEEKEND you'll often have a choice between Off-Peak and Advance tickets - save money by booking the Advance tickets and being committed to taking a specific departure - or opt to have the freedom to choose which train to take on your travel date, by using Off- Peak tickets.

On the routes and services on which 'Advance' tickets are NOT available, you can save money by using these tickets and avoiding those peak business hours.

Though how Off-Peak tickets are sold varies - it depends on the TOC which will be providing the service AND whether you will be booking single or return tickets.

These tickets are not typically discounted if you book ahead, but if you do book them online, you can avoid potential last minute queues for ticket desks or ticket machines at the station.
Although, LNER is a TOC which takes a different approach, because it also offers 'Super Off-Peak' tickets on its long distance routes and they are discounted if you book in advance.

It's also worth knowing how seat reservations are managed when booking Off-Peak tickets for longer-distance journeys.

Off-Peak tickets are more flexible than Advance tickets, because they can be refunded prior to travel if you subsequently change your travel plans - and they can also be exchanged to a different departure outside of peak hours, but the exchange MAY require the payment of a £10 admin fee.

Another difference with Advance tickets is that Off-Peak tickets allow a stopover on the outward OR return leg of a journey at no extra charge, so for example, you could stop over in Bath on the way from London to Bristol.
However, if you can book ahead for such a long-distance multi-destination day trip, you'll save by purchasing those separate Advance tickets for the longer journeys.

'Super Off-Peak' Tickets:

These TOCs - c2cChiltern Railways, EMRGreat Western RailwayGreater Anglia, Southern, SoutheasternSouth Western Railway and Thameslink are TOCs which offer 'Super Off-Peak Tickets - in effect they have sub-divided certain periods of time, during which tickets will be offered at a cheaper rate than the Off-Peak tickets.
So when travelling on a Monday-Friday some departures may be cheaper than others.

 'Super Off-Peak' tickets tend to be available on a wider range of departures at weekends, meaning that it can be easier to find cheaper prices when travelling on a Saturday or Sunday.

Though this distinction between Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak rates isn't always particularly obvious when looking up journeys online, you may be automatically be offered an Off-Peak OR a Super Off-Peak price -  but the T&Cs for using each of these two types of ticket are pretty much the same.


Anytime Tickets:

These tickets also live up to their name, because one of the key advantages of using Anytime tickets is that once purchased, they can be used on any departure on the date(s) you'll be travelling - some TOCs will allow a choice of departure over more than one day.
Meaning that they can used on trains leaving at peak business hours, the departures on which off-peak tickets aren't valid.

So by booking Anytime tickets, you remove the need to be at the station in time to catch a specific train.

The other key advantage of Anytime tickets is that they refunded or exchanged to a different travel date(s), with no additional fees to pay - and they also allow for a break of journey in both directions of travel, if you will be booking return tickets.

So they are the most flexible type of ticket for British train journeys, but that flexibility comes at price, because Anytime tickets are the most expensive type of British train ticket.
If you purchase walk-up tickets at a station during peak hours, for the next train to be leaving on a long-distance route, you will be typically be paying the Anytime price.

Anytime tickets are not typically discounted if you book ahead, so you won't usually save money by purchasing these tickets online.

It's also worth knowing how seat reservations are managed when booking Anytime tickets for longer-distance journeys.


4) What to look out for when booking return (two-way) journeys:

How websites manage the sale of Return Tickets can be one of the most confusing aspects of booking British train journeys - so here are seven key things to be aware of when booking return tickets for British train journeys:

(1) A return journey and a return ticket are not the same thing.

(2) That's because what the websites are striving to achieve is enabling travellers to choose between the different types of ticket available for travel in each direction, particularly for journeys when Mondays to Fridays are working days.
The cheapst option when making a return journey can often be booking a different type of ticket for each direction of travel.

For example, if you know days or weeks ahead you will need to be somewhere at specific time, you can book an Advance ticket for an outward journey, but you will then be able to book an Off-Peak or Anytime ticket for the return journey, in order to have the flexibility of a choice of departures.

(3) If Advance tickets are available, the most typical scenario is that you will initially be asked to select a departure for your outward journey, then having done so, you will be asked to choose a departure to return by.

But if you select Advance tickets for both directions of travel, you will actually be purchasing two single tickets, but paying for both of them in one transaction.
The discounted Advance tickets are marketed as being single (one-way) tickets, because the price charged for them isn't affected by whether you will be making a single, or a return journey.

(4) What will impact on the price of return journeys is the popularity of the train and/or date, on which you travelling back to your starting point - high demand will push up prices.
So when booking Advance tickets for a return journey it can be cheaper OR more expensive, to return later the same day, or a few days later, or even weeks ahead.

(5) Particularly check the prices and tickets if you will be making a return day trip – and won’t be travelling at business hours when Monday to Fridays are working days.

‘Day Return’ tickets can be often be an option on shorter-distance routes and they tend to be much cheaper than booking two single Off-Peak tickets for each direction of travel - and can also be cheaper than booking Advance tickets for the outward and return journeys.

These ‘Day Return’ tickets are usually sold at a fixed price, so they can be a good option if you’ll be booking at the last minute.

Also worth knowing is that some TOCs seemingly won't offer single (one-way journey) Off-Peak tickets at all on Mondays to Fridays, but will offer Off-Peak Day Return tickets - at less busy times of the day.

(6) Some TOCs sell 'Open Return' tickets for journeys on which you will be travelling back on a later date to your outward journey - though this type of ticket will typically only be available on routes on which those Advance tickets aren't an option.

Booking an 'Open Return' ticket will be cheaper than booking two single (one-way) 'Off-Peak' tickets, but the savings don't tend to be particularly substantial, especially if you will be making the return journey on Mondays to Friday.

(7) The different options you can be offered on booking screens for return tickets can be particularly confusing.

Look out for the prices for each type of ticket and be aware of the TOTAL cost for making the Outward and Return journeys – it can be worth checking the different options to see which will be cheapest.
For example if you will be making a day trip a Day Return ticket can be cheaper, or more expensive, than travelling each way with Advance tickets.


5) How British train tickets are sold online

There are in effect three different types of online ticket booking services for British train journeys.

1:  Each TOC (Train Operating Company) operates its own independent ticket booking site - through which it sells tickets for journeys by its trains, AND they usually also sell journeys nationwide, regardless of which TOC is operating the service.

When a TOC does also sell tickets for journeys online that it doesn't operate, don't be surprised if its own services aren't highlighted.
You may see faster and/or cheaper services for sale that are not operated by the TOC whose website you are using.

The key positives of booking direct with a TOC for travel by the trains it operates, are:
- no booking fees;
- access to exclusive offers such as discounted weekend break journeys, or savings when travelling as a group of more than three adults, or when travelling as a family;
- occasional access to unique services, such as selecting a specific seat(s) from a seating plan;
- particularly if you are in resident in the UK you may have a wider choice of delivery options, including receiving tickets by post;
- the peace of mind of dealing direct with a TOC, if you need to manage your booking by amending it to a different train, or seek recompense for a train delay etc.

Booking direct with a TOC is a particularly good option when you’ll be making a direct long-distance journey and the cheaper/cheapest ‘Advance’ tickets are still available.

Each TOC also manages special travel requirements, so booking direct with a TOC can also be a good option if you will be travelling with an ordinary, non-folding bicycle, or want to use an Assisted Travel service.

However, if you’ll be looking for Advance tickets only a couple of days ahead of your travel date, you might save money by using the alternative ticket booking services described below.


2: National Rail is the organisation which manages most aspects of the UK rail network, apart from operating the trains.

It offers an online ticketing service, which is in effect a targeted search engine for the booking services managed by the TOCs.
You enter where you want to travel from and to, then having done so, it will direct you to the booking site of the TOCs which operate the service(s), so it’s a highly useful tool if you don’t know which TOC operates a particular route.

Once you’re connected to the relevant TOC’s booking website, you can book as though you’d gone directly to the TOC in the first instance, so can access features such as choosing seat preferences etc.
Though you will have to register with the TOC in order to complete a booking.
You also won’t pay a booking fee, either to the TOC or to Nationalrail.co.uk.

By using the service you also don’t have to know which types of ticket will be available for the journey you will be taking.
For example, if it only lists Off-Peak tickets when you look up a journey, you can be sure that Advance tickets either weren’t ever available on that route, or that they have sold out.

It’s also a particularly useful tool when multiple TOCs provide DIRECT services between destinations, over the same or different routes.
You can compare departure/arrival times, length of journey and prices.

It also often shows alternative indirect routes, but on NationaRail.co.uk, the prices for these indirect routes tend to be more expensive than you'll find on the other ticketing services, but that isn’t always the case.


3: Tickets are also sold by independent companies that sell tickets nationwide - in other words they sell journeys regardless of which TOC (Train Operating Company) is providing the service you will be travelling by.

These websites are those listed below which have '(national)' beside the company/brand name.

The positives of using these services are;
(i) a lack of a need to know which TOC operates the route or trains you will be taking;
(ii) you don’t have to register with multiple TOCs in order to buy tickets;
(iii) the same consumer protection that a TOC will offer will also apply to a booking with these third party sites.

The core negative is that this type of website usually charges booking fees, but the fees per booking tend to be less than £2.

However, RailEurope (formerly known as Loco2) is an exception, as it doesn’t charge booking fees for UK journeys and still offers access to every departure and route, regardless of which TOC is providing the service.
RailEurope also has a ‘price-hack’ service, which can save money when the cheaper Advance tickets have sold out.


6) When do tickets become available for booking

Generally tickets for train journeys in England, Scotland and Wales are placed on sale 12 weeks ahead of the travel date, but as is the case with so many other aspects of buying British train tickets, this can be variable.

But the five key things worth knowing when looking for Advance tickets are:

1: Off-Peak and Anytime tickets will usually be available regardless of whether the Advance tickets have been placed on sale.

2: Off-Peak and Anytime tickets can be available more than 12 weeks ahead, but if you want to save money avoid booking them and wait until the Advance tickets have been released.

3: The discounted Advance tickets can be placed sale a week or two AFTER the Off-Peak and Anytime tickets, so the Advance tickets may only be available when looking up journeys 10 - 11 weeks ahead.

4: Contradictory to the above, if a TOC (Train Operating Company) is running a promotion it may release Advance tickets for sale more than 12 weeks ahead - Avanti West Coast and GWR typically place Advance tickets on sale more than 12 weeks in advance.
So the rule = if you look up a journey more than 10 weeks ahead and want to save money, don't book any type of ticket other than Advance tickets.

5: Advance tickets aren't placed on sale until a TOC can be sure that it will be able to provide its usual train service.
If works on the line require a bus substitution service to be provided, Advance tickets may not be made available at all - and these works are much more likely to be carried out at weekends.

More information about this is available when the specific question of, when are tickets placed on sale, is answered further down this article.


7 How tickets are sold at stations

Generally if you'll be booking tickets for a long-distance journey before around 18:00 (6pm) the day before your travel date, you can use a ticket counter to obtain tickets for the same rate as the online price.
Meaning that if the discounted Advance tickets are available on the route you wish to take and at the time you want to travel, you can buy them at the station.

Booking tickets just before travelling long-distance:

If you will be making a long-distance British train journey and buy walk-up tickets at the last minute, you will have to pay the Off-Peak or Anytime prices.
When Mondays to Fridays are working days, if you'll be buying tickets at peak business hours, the more expensive Anytime price will be the only price available on the next train(s) to leave.

Despite being (much more) expensive than Advance tickets, seat reservations WON'T typically be available if you book an Anytime or Off-Peak ticket at the last-minute.
That's because reservations aren't automatically included when Anytime and Off-Peak tickets are sold at stations - and it will be too late to book Advance tickets, which do include a seat reservation.

So if you will be travelling with a TOC that does offer reservations for online advance bookings and book last-minute walk-up tickets at a station, not only will you be paying a higher price than those travelling with Advance tickets, unlike them you won't have assigned seats either.
And this double jeopardy is what fuels much of the resentment at the cost of travelling by train in Britain, but with a modicum of advance planning, it's a scenario that can be avoided.

Booking last minute tickets for shorter distance journeys:

If you will be travelling when Monday to Friday are working days on shorter-distance routes, the price you will pay will also depend at which time of day you will be buying tickets at the station.

If you WON'T be travelling at morning business hours, usually 07:00 - 09:30*, you will be in effect be purchasing Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak tickets.
*Off-Peak tickets also may not be available between 16:30 and 19:00 especially when travelling away from London at these times - note that each TOC manages its own periods of time when Off-Peak tickets will and won't be available, there's no national standard for this. 

But if you will be making a day trip, check to see if Day Return tickets are available, particularly when using a ticket a machine.
They'll be more expensive than single tickets, but don't get fixated by the price.
If you WON'T be travelling at peak-business hours, a Day Return ticket will be cheaper than buying a single ticket for your outward journey - and then another single ticket at the station you will be returning from.

Though if you will be travelling at peak business hours on Monday-Friday, be wary of the fact that a ticket machine may offer you an Off-Peak ticket, despite the fact that you won't be able to use it on the next train(s) that are leaving.
Off-Peak Day Return tickets also won't be available at peak business hours.

Buying last minute tickets for shorter-distance journeys at a station during weekends, or on national holidays, is simpler because only the Off-Peak, or cheaper Super Off-Peak rates will be offered, so you can just hop on the next train to leave.


When booking tickets last minute at a station, you can often take any train to your destination, regardless of which Train Operating Company is providing the next train to leave, OR whether the next train to leave is an express train or stopping train.
This is a key difference with how tickets purchased at stations can be used in comparison to many other European countries including France, Germany and Italy.

However, that hopping on the next train scenario doesn't always apply, particularly if one service takes a different route to another, so it can be worth booking at a staffed ticket desk, instead of using a ticket machine, so that you can confirm what your options are.



What ShowMeTheJourney has set out to provide is some CONTEXT for the tickets and journey options you SHOULD encounter when making a booking either online or at the station.

Click the questions or scroll through the entire page - taking the time to read the info will be money and stress saver.

What do I need to be aware of I want to save money when booking long distance journeys?

How can I buy tickets at the cheapest possible price - when not travelling long distance?

How far ahead can I make an online booking when travelling by train in Britain?

What should I be aware of when BOOKING TICKETS if my long distance journey involves a change of train?

Can I choose between different companies when making a long distance train journey?

Anything in particular I need to know when booking 1st Class Tickets?

What do I need to know about Seat Reservations?

What do I need to know about child tickets?

... And tickets for Senior Travellers?

What do I need to be aware of when booking tickets from outside the UK?

What do I need to know about booking train tickets for journeys to mainland Europe

More info about booking tickets for international train journeys from Britain is available on the London to Europe guide here.

What do I need to be aware of if I want to save money when booking LONGER-DISTANCE JOURNEYS?

If you typically take more than two long-distance train jorneys per year in Britain, check to see if there is an annual Railcard which will suit you.
The most popular Railcards are
Friends and Family
(for those aged 60 and over)
26 - 30
16-17 Saver (a newly introduced Railcard)

UK residents can purchase these Railcards online or at a staffed ticket desk at a station, while visitors to the UK can purchase them at stations.

You will have to do some maths, to see if a combination of purchasing a card and savings on the ticket price will be an overall money saver, but based on SMTJ's experiences, you'll be making savings once you have made more than two trips of around an hour each way.

What is this based on? 
A Two Together Railcard costs £30
A journey from my local station to Brighton takes 1hr 10 mins and the Off-Peak Day Return fare = £22
So when two people are booking tickets with this particular card, the cost per person is reduced to approx £15 = a total saving of £14.
Meaning that two trips with the Railcard would save £28, so once a third trip is made, the total saving, even when factoring in the cost of the card, becomes £12.


In summary these are the key things to be aware of if you want to save money on British train journeys:

- avoid peak business hours when Mondays to Fridays are working days;
- don't book Anytime tickets if at all possible;
- on the routes on which they are available, book Advance tickets as soon as you know your travel dates;
- on your travel dates be as flexible as possible re: departure and arrival times
- if you will be travelling in a group of three or more adults, or with children, check to see what 'offers' are available;
- if you will be making multiple train journeys while holidaying in a specific region, look out for Rover tickets, which will give you the freedom to hop on and off trains;
- if your journey involves connections, you may be able to save money by booking separate tickets for each of the trains you will be taking;
- check to see if an alternative route will be cheaper;
- it can be worth comparing prices across ticket agents.

Avoid travelling by train when services will be particularly busy, because at these peak business hours when Monday - Friday are working days, the discounted Advance tickets either won’t be available, or will have sold out (if you typically haven't booked months in advance) -  AND the cheaper Off-Peak tickets won’t be available either.

Anytime tickets MAY be the only option and this type of ticket can be more than 5 x more expensive than the cheapest Advance tickets - and typically cost twice the price of Off-Peak tickets

When travelling FROM London, the times of day when Anytime tickets can be the only option still available for a LONG-DISTANCE train journey, TEND to be:

Between 07:30 and 09:00 on Monday - Friday*
and between 16:30 and 18:30 on Monday – Friday*
*National holidays are an exception.

So keep this in mind if you will be setting off on a day trip by train, particularly a long-distance trip such as London to Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool or York, you'll typically have a much wider choice of departures at cheaper prices if you travel at a weekend.
If you do want to make such a trip to more distant destinations on a Monday to Friday, with the cheaper Advance tickets, then it's best to book these Advance tickets as soon as they are released for sale


In addition to the peak hours, the cheapest Advance tickets also tend to sell out particularly quickly on trains departing at these times:
Between 14:30 and 16:30 on Fridays*
Between 09:00 and 14:00 when travelling towards the coast on Summer Saturdays
Between 15:00 and 19:00 on Sundays.
*National holidays are an exception.


A scenario definitely to be avoided if possible, is having to book walk-up tickets last minute at a station, if you will be travelling on a route on which cheaper Advance tickets are made available.
Because if you book tickets at a station just prior to boarding, those Advance tickets won’t be an option.

So if you will be setting off in the morning, there are two things worth doing before 18:00 (6pm) on the day before your trip.
1: Look up the journey to see if any Advance tickets are still available.
2: Check to see if Split-Ticketing will save you money - read more about this.

OR If you will be departing after 09:00, then look up a journey online before you head to the station - Avanti West CoastCrossCountry, Grand Central, Greater Anglia, LNER, Northern and TransPennine Express all sell Advance tickets online until one to fours ahead of departure - depending on the TOC you will be travelling by
Though if you will be departing between 16:30 and 18:30 on Monday to Friday, the Advance tickets are highly likely to have sold out.


Book Advance tickets as far ahead as possible, as prices will rise between when they are placed on sale and the date of travel.

Avanti West CoastChiltern Railways, Cross CountryEMR, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway and LNER are among the TOCs which offer particularly large discounts on Advance tickets.

A good time to look for Advance tickets is 10 weeks ahead of your travel date - the other types of tickets may have been placed on sale a couple of weeks sooner, but often Advance tickets are held back from sale until 10-11 weeks ahead.

On long-distance routes, the limited numbers of Advance tickets for peak business-hours departures typically sell out particularly quickly, because at those times the only other option will be the much more expensive Anytime tickets.
So if you want to travel at business hours and save money it's best to look for Advance tickets at least 8 - 10 weeks ahead, though there's no fixed 'rule' for this, the price per departure will depend on the demand.


When making a booking try and be flexible with your arrival/departure times.

The cheapest Advance tickets inevitably sell out fastest on the most popular trains, and when they have done so, there can be big price differences per specific departure on your travel dates.

You will nearly always be offered a choice of train times and it can be worth scrolling through them to see if you can save money – some TOCs will flag the cheapest price available per day on their booking pages.
Take care to look at the earlier departures BEFORE the time you have chosen, as well as later trains.


In Britain trains between destinations can follow different routes, a legacy of when competing companies built the nation's railways back in the 19th century.
When trains do take different routes one can be slower than the other, because it is less direct, or because the fast express trains take one route and not another.

Different TOCs typically provide the services on each route and this can affect the price of tickets.
One operator may offer discounted Advance tickets on its route, while on an alternative route, Advance tickets won't ever be available, but the Off-Peak or Anytime prices might be cheaper.

As a result, if you can book tickets ahead, it can be possible to save both time and money, by targeting the faster trains.
In contrast, when booking last-minute tickets at a station, one route, typically the slower option, can be cheaper than the alternative.

Between these cities, trains operated by different TOCs take different routes - click the name of the route, when available, to access guides to taking those journeys.
Birmingham <> Edinburgh
London <> Birmingham
London <> Brighton
London <> Cambridge
London <> Exeter
London <> Liverpool
London <> Oxford
London <> Portsmouth
Manchester <> Liverpool
Manchester <> Leeds
Sheffield <> York


Comparing the ticket agents:

If you will be travelling long-distance and want to pay the cheapest price for a train journey, it's often a good idea to look up your journey on different types of ticketing services.

Particularly if you’ll be booking tickets for and/or travelling by departures, when the more heavily discounted Advance tickets are no longer available.
So this scenario is likely to apply if you will be booking less than a couple of days ahead of your travel date, or travelling at peak business hours.

Making these comparisons between different ticket services is also recommended by ShowMeTheJourney if:

- your long-distance journey involves a change of train;
- you will be making a long-distance journey and not travelling to or from London;
- you don’t mind having to make more connections, or putting up with a longer journey time, if it will save you money.

Make the comparison by looking up your journey on the websites of...

(1) the TOC – to see what price it is offering for your journey - check which TOC operates trains on each of the most popular leisure (tourist) routes
If you can find Advance tickets at a heavily discounted rate, you won’t have to make the effort to look for better deal.

(2) the National Rail website, as it enables easy comparison when different TOCs offer alternative services between destinations – and it can occasionally also offer cheaper alternative routes.
(3) Websites which specialise in 'split-ticketing' such as TrainSplit.com and Splitticketing.com
(4) RailEurope (formerly known as Loco2) as it offers a Price-Hack service based on Split Ticketing.

ShowMeTheJourney has looked up more than 100 journeys and there is no definitive ticketing service, which always offers the best price.


What is Split-Ticketing?

The lack of a British national train operator can lead to discrepancies in ticket pricing and it's often possible to take advantage of these by purchasing multiple different tickets for an end-to-end journey - this is known as Split-Ticketing.

The key thing is having a valid ticket for each part of the journey, so that when the train conductor inspects each ticket, you'll be meeting the terms and conditions of using that particular ticket.

Split-Ticketing can most often apply to these three scenarios:

(1) Completing the end-to-end journey on a direct train:

You will pay in one transaction, but you will be booking and using multiple tickets that are valid for different sections of the journey.
One ticket will be valid for the first part of the journey from your starting point to an intermediate station along the route, then another ticket(s) will be valid on the same train that you are travelling by - but this ticket will be valid to travel on from the same intermediate station that's along the route.

What you will need to do is show your second set of ticket(s) to the conductor, when they repeat the ticket inspection later in the journey.

The ticket valid from your starting point will open any ticket gate at the station at which you will be commencing a journey, and similarly the ticket valid to your destination will open the ticket gate, so that you can exit the station.

The big plus of this scenario is that your journey time won't be any slower than if you'd booked a conventional ticket valid for the end-to-end journey.
The disadvantage of using split tickets to travel on one train is that you may not be able remain in the same seat(s), or even the same coach, for the entire journey - though this isn't always the case

The ticket for each part of your journey will also likely have seat reservations, but the seat you will be assigned for the initial part of the journey, MAY then have been reserved by another traveller for the second (other parts) of your journey.
So if that is the case, you will have to give it up and move to the seat(s) you have been assigned with the ticket that covers the next part of the journey.

The trick to avoiding this change seat scenario is to see if an unreserved seat (s) will be available for your entire journey - if it is then you can occupy it, because you won't have to travel in the specific seat(s) you have been assigned for your ticket(s) to be valid.

(2) Completing the end-to-end journey on multiple trains, despite direct trains being available:

Particularly when different TOCs offer services along sections of a route, it can be possible to save money by changing trains between those alternative services.

In the one transaction you will be in effect be purchasing separate tickets for each train you will be travelling by and you will then show each respective ticket to the conductor on the train.
These tickets will also open the ticket gates at each station where you will be changing trains, if you want to make full use of its facilities between trains.

The advantage is of course the potentially significant savings, but the disadvantages are:
(i) it will be slower than taking the direct trains;
(ii) the connections between the trains can be quite tightly timed;
(iii) making the connections isn't guaranteed in the event of a train being delayed during its journey.

(3) When direct trains aren't an option:

Having to make connections between trains managed by different TOCs is often inevitable when making British train journeys, particularly if you won't be travelling to or from London.
Major cities which aren't connected by direct train include:
Bristol <> Leicester, Nottingham and Oxford, 
Cardiff <> Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle
Liverpool <> Bristol, Exeter and Southampton
Norwich <> Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle
Nottingham <> Edinburgh and Newcastle

On routes like these, using the likes of RailEurope (formerly known as Loco2)or TrainSplit.com or Splitticketing.com can help track down the best price for each leg of a route and also enable the payment for the necessary combination of tickets in one transaction.
Then making the end-to-end journey, will typically be no more complicated than booking and using the tickets issued by the other types of booking service.

SIX things to look out for when using split-ticketing:

(1) Keep an eye on the departure and particularly the arrival times, it can be easy to focus solely on the price and not realise that the journey time is double that of a more expensive option.

(2) Watch out for connecting times between trains, as you can’t assume that the train(s) will arrive on time, though the ticketing sites will do so.
It's highly likely that many or all of the tickets you will be booking and using for each section of the journey will be Advance tickets, so they will only be 'valid' on the specific departure you have been booked on to.
Though in the event of train delays causing connections into booked trains being missed, you will be able to take an alternative train to your destination at no additional coast - as confirmed in the National Rail condtitions of travel.

(3) NationalRail.co.uk can offer particularly expensive prices when it comes up with alternative indirect routes, but avoid assuming that these prices will be what you have to pay - the other websites can often offer this type of journey at a reduced rate.

(4) You will be charged a fee for using a split-ticketing service, Splitticketing.com is open about the fact that it retains a percentage of the money it has saved you, by working out the cheapest combination of tickets.
However, if you can be confident that you can make separate bookings for all the suggested trains yourself, you can avoid paying this percentage.
You'll need to
- pay particular attention to connecting times between trains,
- if you will be remaiing on the same train it needs to be calling at the stations that ticket will be valid to and/or from,
-check the arrival/departure times at each station, when it suggests remaining on the same train - you won't be able claim refunds if the combination of Advance tickets you buy, won't ultimately allow you to complete a journey.

(5) Splitticketing.com can omit departures from its journey search results, if it can’t find a deal AND the cheapest Advance tickets have also sold out - so it doesn’t provide a comprehensive list of every journey and ticket option.

(6) When RailEurope (formerly known as Loco2) finds a price-hack deal, it discards the standard ticket offering and only shows the price, which involves the Split-Ticketing.
The logic being that there’s no need to pay the full-price, but if you don’t want to use Split-tickets, it won’t give you that option.

Back to the list of questions.


How can I buy tickets at the cheapest possible price for SHORTER-DISTANCE journeys?

A definition of shorter-distances would be helpful, but there is no fixed rule for this, so here is some necessarily broad advice which will hopefully be useful.

If you can book ahead of your travel date, it's worth looking up any journey online to check whether the discounted Advance tickets will be available.

But on many routes, if you will be travelling shorter distances, the time of day you will be travelling can have greater effect on the ticket price than if you book in advance.

On routes and services when Advance tickets are NOT available, the Off-Peak tickets* become the cheapest option - and this type of ticket won't typically be cheaper if you book ahead.
 c2cChiltern Railways, EMRGreat Western RailwayGreater Anglia, Southern, SoutheasternSouth Western Railway and Thameslink also offer 'Super Off-Peak' tickets, which are cheaper than Off-Peak tickets.

The prices of 'Off-Peak' and 'Super Off-Peak' tickets are influenced by the time of day when you will be travelling, in theory if you can travel when trains will be least busy, you can save money.

So on Monday to Fridays avoid travelling into large cities, particularly London, before 09:30/10:00 and sometimes it can also be cheaper to avoid travelling away from them between 16:30 and 18:30.

But on Mondays-Friday each TOC (Train Operating Company) sets its own times as to when it will offer Off-Peak tickets and how they will be sold generally - on some routes the Off-Peak rate won't be available if you book single tickets.

However, when travelling at weekends the cheaper Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak tickets become the default ticket.


Something to watch out for if you will be making a day trip, especially if you have previously booked Advance tickets, so are used to travelling each way with single tickets, is the potential availability of Day Return tickets.
They typically only cost up to £1 more than the price of a single Off-Peak ticket for a one-way journey.

Though they can be listed simply listed as ‘Return Tickets’ so it’s the price difference that can be worth looking out for.

When making a return journey on the same day, a Day Return ticket is usually cheaper than booking 1 x single Advance ticket and 1 x single Off-Peak ticket.
When booking online, the search results may highlight the cheapest 'ticket' price and an Advance single ticket will be cheaper than a Day Return ticket - so an Advance ticket(s) can seem like the best deal - but check to see if that is the case

The Day Return tickets can also be listed beneath the Advance tickets in the Outward Journey column and if that is the case, they will be more expensive - but the Advance ticket price will only be valid for travelling in that one direction.

Particularly check whether single (one-way) Advance tickets will be offered in both directions when making a day return trip, especially if you will be travelling on Monday-Friday.
If they won't be offered for both the outward AND return journeys, it's likely that a Day Return will be the cheapest option.

Also look out for how the prices of Day Return tickets are displayed, on some booking websites the tickets will be separated into two columns, one for the booking of outward tickets and the other for return journeys.
However, the Day Return ticket can be solely in the Outward journey column, despite not being a single ticket.

In the return journey column, you may see a sum of between £0 - £2 and If you do see £0, it doesn't mean that the Day Return tickets aren't available.
Instead the message that's being conveyed, is that there is no charge for the ticket for the return direction - because BOTH directions of travel are being included on the Day Return ticket listed as an outward journey.

Back to the list of questions.


How far ahead can I book tickets for British train journeys?

This is another aspect of booking British train tickets, which is dependent on which TOC (Train Operating Company) is operating the service you will be travelling by.

According to the National Rail website and the general ticketing information you can find at stations, tickets should be released for sale 12 weeks ahead, but there are multiple exceptions to this.
Avanti West Coast places tickets on sale up to 24 weeks ahead for journeys on Mondays to Fridays.

Other TOCs will release Off-Peak and Anytime tickets more than 12 weeks ahead, so if you look up a journey more than 12 weeks ahead, don't assume that these more expensive types of ticket, will be the only option for making your journey.

If you will be travelling long-distance on train services provided by Chiltern Railways, Cross CountryEMR, Grand Central, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Hull Trains, LNER, Northern, ScotRail, Southern, Southeastern, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express - the Advance tickets SHOULD be available more than 10 -11 weeks ahead of the travel date.

Around 10 weeks ahead can be a good time to book a long-distance train journey in England, Wales and Scotland, the cheapest Advance tickets will more than likely have been placed on sale and be still available - and the price can be compared with the Off-Peak and Anytime prices.

If you will be travelling on a Monday - Friday outside peak business hours and don't see any Advance tickets when looking up a journey around 10 weeks ahead, it can be a good idea to sign up to the TOCs ticket alert service - the discounted Advance tickets should be released at a later date.
If you will be travelling at weekends and can't see any Advance tickets, see the notes below.

When the TOC releases its tickets for sale is when they will also become available on the National ticketing services.

Travelling on a Saturday or Sunday:

If you will be travelling LONG-DISTANCE on a Saturday or Sunday and look up a journey LESS than 10-12 weeks ahead, you may not see any Advance tickets available.
That's because the TOCs usually won't release Advance tickets for sale if works on the railway line will be impacting on a route.

So the lack of Advance tickets can be a red flag - not only will the cheaper tickets not be available, but making the journey will ALSO be more awkward.
However, take care, because the TOC will still usually offer non-discounted Off-Peak tickets for sale up to 12 weeks ahead, regardless of whether there will be works occurring on the line.

In those circumstances check back a couple of weeks ahead of your travel date to see if the Advance tickets have been placed on sale, or sign up to the TOC's Ticket Alert service.
Don't book the more expensive 'Off-Peak' tickets until you are certain that they will be the only type of ticket available for your journey.

Details of nationwide future works on the railway lines can be looked up HERE.

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What should I be aware of when booking tickets for a long distance journey that involves making connections between trains?

When looking up a journey pay special attention to the connecting time between trains.
You can be offered tickets for sale when the connecting time between trains is less than 10 minutes – but making the connection is NOT guaranteed in the event of a train being delayed.

Also extending the connecting time to alternative later trains is NOT normally an option when booking online, so in these instances the best option can be to book at the station - because that can provide for more options.

Although if you do go ahead and book an end-to-end journey with a tightly timed connection, then tickets will be valid on a later departure IF the connecting train has been delayed - as stated in the National Rail condtitions of travel.
Though you won't be able to re-arrange any seat reservations, so will have to hope that spare seats will be available on the alternative train.

However, if your journey involves connecting between trains operated by different TOCs then it can be cheaper to book separate tickets for each part of the journey, on the websites of the TOCs operating the trains you will be travelling by.
When you initially look up a journey, you'll see which TOC will be operating each of the trains you'll be taking.
Though in this scenario be particularly wary of the connecting times between trains - a plus of this method is that you can extend the time you'll have in which to make connections.

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Cam I choose between different Train Operating Companies (TOCs) when making a long-distance journey?

Despite it being one of the key objectives of opening up UK rail travel to multiple operators, travellers often won't have a choice of TOC (Train Operating Company) when making a long-distance journey – particularly  for journeys with similar travel times.

However, when competing TOCs operate trains on different routes, there can be compromises available between ticket prices and journey times - meaning that it can matter which TOC you choose.

For example when travelling between London and Birmingham you can choose to travel with
Avanti West Coast: typical journey time = 1hr 22min
Chiltern Trains: typical journey time = 1hr 46min – 1hr 53min
London NorthWestern Railway: typical journey time = 2hr 4mins

However, the difference in journey times is due to the fact that each of these TOCs uses a different route between the two cities.

In contrast, the longer-distance routes when trains operated by different TOCs can be directly compared INCLUDES these journeys:
London <> York
York <> Edinburgh
York <> Newcastle
Newcastle <> Edinburgh
Leeds <> Newcastle
Manchester <> Sheffield
Newport <> Swansea
Chester <> Holyhead
Preston/Lancaster/Carlisle <> Edinburgh/Glasgow

When travelling on these routes, the different TOCs can be compared on the national independent ticket booking services or on National Rail's online ticketing service

If you will be booking Advance tickets, you may be able to save money by comparing the prices charged by the different companies.

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What's good to know about booking and using First Class train tickets in Britain?

These are the key five things worth knowing if you're considering travelling First Class on a British train.

(1) If you will be travelling long distance by express trains, First Class Advance tickets are usually cheaper than Standard Class Off-Peak and Anytime tickets.
Also the most heavily discounted First Class Advance tickets can still be available on a specific departure when the cheapest Standard Class Advance tickets have sold out.

So when looking up a journey it can be possible for First Class to be cheaper than travelling Standard Class.

(2) It’s also possible to travel in one direction in First Class and the other in Standard Class.

(3) When comparing the price of First Class and Standard Class tickets for long distance journeys consider the complimentary benefits of travelling First Class - all First Class passengers on each departure receive the same benefits, irrespective of the price paid for the ticket.

Some Train Operating Companies (TOCs) including Avanti West Coast and LNER offer First Class passengers complimentary restaurant car style meals* on some departures.
*At weekends meals can be replaced by a choice of complimentary sandwiches and other snacks.

(4) Avanti West Coast, Grand CentralLNER, ScotRail, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express offer 'Weekend First' services.
Meaning that if you will be travelling on a Saturday or Sunday with Standard Class tickets, you can board and occupy unreserved, available seats in First Class and then pay a supplement to the train conductor - with the price depending on the length of the journey

(5) First Class is not available on some fairly lengthy regional express services operated by Transport For Wales, Northern and ScotRail.

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What's good to know about Seat Reservations?

The four key things worth knowing about seat reservations for train journeys within England, Scotland and Wales are;

(1) They're not mandatory - you don't HAVE to reserve seats.

(2) They're only available on certain journeys/routes.

If you'll be travelling long-distance on trains operated by Avanti West CoastCrossCountry, EMR, Grand Central, Great Western RailwayHull TrainsLNERScotRail, and TransPennine Express, then seat reservations will be available (click the names of the companies to see which routes they operate).

Seat reservations are not available when making journeys on trains operated by c2cChiltern Railways, Great NorthernGreater Anglia*, London NorthWestern Railway** Northern, Southern, SoutheasternSouth Western Railway*** and Thameslink.
*Reservations are usually available on the London <> Norwich route;
**Seats are assigned when booking tickets online, but are not marked as being reserved on the trains.
***Most routes

(3) If you have a reservation you don't have to travel in those assigned seats for your ticket to be valid.

(4) If you want to add a reservation, to an existing booking*, or because you will be travelling with a rail pass, including Britrail or Eurail passes, there is no is no charge for doing so.

*If you buy an Advance ticket either online or at a station, the reservation(s) will automatically be included on the specific departures you selected when booking.

Seat Reservations and Anytime and Off-Peak tickets:

Because Anytime and Off-Peak tickets allow the freedom to choose between departures, they don't include reservations.

When booking these types of ticket online for journeys by Avanti West CoastCrossCountry, EMR, Grand Central, Great Western RailwayHull TrainsLNERScotRail, and TransPennine Express you will have to select a specific departure.
Having done so you will be typically be given the opportunity to add a complimentary reservation(s) on that particular train - but you won't be committed to travelling by it, you can take any train permitted under the T&Cs of your ticket.

If you will be buying an Anytime or Off-Peak ticket at a station for a journey provided by those TOCs listed above,  a minimum of 1 -4 hours* before departure, you can request a reservation on a specific train (*the time limit varies between operators, TransPennine Express offers reservations until 10 minutes before departure)

Or having already booked your ticket online, or at a station, you can subsequently request a reservation on a specific (different) departure at a later date
You won't be able to book the reservation(s) separately online, but they can be arranged at an Advance Travel desk or by contacting the TOC you will be traveling by, either by email or social media.

However, you will typically need to request reservations 1 - 4 hours ahead of departure, hence reservations won't be available when buying walk-up tickets last minute at the station.

Travelling with a rail pass:

Keep that 1 -4 hours ahead time limit in mind if you will be travelling with a rail pass, including Britrail or Eurail passes, as you won't be able to make an optional reservation just prior to boarding.

That's because if you will be using a rail pass or 'Rover' ticket on a train service operated by  Avanti West CoastCrossCountryEMR*, Grand CentralGreat Western Railway*Hull Trains,  ScotRail*, LNER and TransPennine Express (*=long distance routes only) and you do want to reserve, you'll need to book your reservation 1 - 4 hours ahead of departure.
So if you want to set off in the morning you will usually need to make reservations by the end of the previous day.

You can often avoid having to book reservations at stations, many TOCs will enable reservations to be booked by using direct messaging on their social media services.

There is no charge for booking a rail pass reservation at stations, but you will need to use a staffed ticket desk (at an Advance Travel desk when available) and not a ticket machine.

Note that reservations are not mandatory when travelling with Avanti West CoastCrossCountryEMR*, Grand CentralGreat Western Railway*Hull Trains,  ScotRail*, , LNER and TransPennine Express - and are not available when travelling with any other operator.

Thanks to the lack of mandatory reservations, and no fees to be paid if you do want to make an optional reservation, Britain is a relatively uncomplicated country in which to travel with an InterRail pass or Eurail Pass, particularly when compared against the depth of knowledge required to travel by train with the optimum ticket.

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How can child tickets be booked and used?

Children aged 5 – 15 travel at a 50% discount on any UK train, and those aged 4 and under can travel for free when accompanied by an adult ticket holder – though the terms for how those 4 and under can travel,  can vary between the TOCs, you either will or won't have to travel with the child on your lap

Though if you will be traveling as a family and make two or three long-distance journeys during a year, it can be worth investing in a Friends and Family RailCard.

Some TOCs including c2c; Greater AngliaLNWR; ScotRail; Southeastern and Thameslink offer deals in which child tickets can cost only £1 or £2 when children aged 5 - 15 travel with an adult.

Back to the list of questions..

... And tickets for Senior Travellers?

There is no national train ticket policy for senior travellers (aged 60 and over), but it's possible to save money on rail tickets by using a RailCard.

So if you’re visiting from outside the UK no discounts are available if you’re 60 and over - unless you purchase this RailCard at a station.

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What do I need to be aware of when booking tickets from outside the UK?

If you're booking train tickets online from outside the UK, the best ticket collection and delivery option is usually to collect your tickets from a ticket machine at a station just before boarding.

It will save the costs and hassle of having tickets posted abroad - and some TOCs don't offer international postage as a delivery option

To collect your tickets from the machine, you will need to use;

(1) your card that you used when making a booking – you won’t be charged again, it’s for I.D. purposes,

(2) the reference number that you will have been sent on your ticket booking confirmation email


If you will be making multiple journeys by train during a visit to Britain, or making repeated visits over a 12 month period, it can be worth purchasing one of the Railcards which are valid for train travel in Britain - because you don't have to be a British citizen to buy and use them.

So it's worth checking if you or your travelling party meet the criteria, though if more than one person will be travelling together, there will be the POTENTIAL to save money, even when you have factored in the up-front cost of purchasing the Railcard at a staffed ticket desk at a station.

Each Adult using a railcard receives a discount of a third of the cost of booking pretty much any UK train journey and child fares are reduced by 60%.

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What do I need to know about booking train tickets for journeys to other European countries?

Tickets that CAN be booked on the Eurostar website:

(1) Direct trains to Bourg St Maurice, Bruxelles, Calais, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Moutiers and Paris.

(2) Any station in Belgium tickets - the key feature of these tickets is that they live up to their name, so how distant your Belgian destination is and the journey time doesn't impact on the ticket price.

When on the Belgian train, your Eurostar ticket will be valid if you’re using it within 24 hours of your original departure.
Though these tickets cannot be used on Thalys trains between Bruxelles and Antwerpen or the ICE and Thalys trains between Bruxelles and Liege.

(3) Journeys to Amsterdam and Rotterdam – but only those which;

(i) involve taking the direct trains
(ii) or involve taking a combination of Eurostar trains + the Thalys high speed train between Brussels/Bruxelles and The Netherlands;

(4) Journeys to SOME major cities in France not served directly by Eurostar– including Avignon, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nice, Nantes and Rennes.

(5) Journeys to destinations in Germany that are served by direct ICE and Thalys trains from Bruxelles, including these cities - Aachen, Cologne/Koeln, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt (Main)

When booking these tickets to destinations in Germany, Eurostar will in effect re-direct you to the B-Europe booking site

Tickets that CANNOT be booked on the Eurostar website:

Eurostar’s booking site does not sell tickets for journeys to other destinations in The Netherlands or Germany.

If you want to book train journeys to other destinations in Germany or The Netherlands, between Britain and other countries including Spain and Switzerland you can use RailEurope (formerly known as Loco2) or The Trainline.
Though RailEurope will charge a booking fee for all international journeys and The Trainline will also charge a booking fee on some routes.

When travelling to Italy you may have to split the booking between London to Paris and Paris to Italy tickets.

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