How to travel by train from Manchester to Birmingham

Manchester to Bournemouth by train

How to travel by train from Manchester to the South Coast's premier resort town

What had been a generally hourly service of direct trains has recently been restored on this route.



From Manchester to Bournemouth by train

Travel Information

Final Destination: Bournemouth

All trains also call at: Winchester; Southampton Airport Parkway and Southampton

1 x train per hour


Book Early and Save: Yes

Online Bookings Usually Open: From 12 weeks ahead of travel of the travel date

Booking Advance Tickets

If you want to travel at the cheapest possible price, look for the 'Advance tickets', though the three key things worth knowing about booking and using 'Advance' tickets in usual circumstances are:
(1) Your ticket(s) will only be valid on the departure you selected when making a booking.
(2) But when travelling by CrossCountry trains, you can amend your ticket free of charge, regardless of when it was booked and when you will be travelling from 2 hours after purchase and up to 15 minutes before your train is due to depart, as long as the stations are the same.
(3) If the train you are booked on is delayed, you cannot then just hop on an alternative train operated by a different company.

Finding a late deal

CrossCountry atypically offers the ability to book Advance tickets until up to 15 minutes before departure.


When you book an Advance ticket for this train journey, you will be automatically assigned a seat(s), but if you book the other types of ticket ahead, you can request a complimentary reservation
However, if you buy Off Peak or Anytime tickets just prior to boarding at the station, a seat reservation won't be automatically included with your booking.

Though CrossCountry now offers a service buy which holders of Anytime and Off-Peak tickets can book reservations up to 10 minutes prior to departure time.

Potential changes to ticket booking

If you're looking up a journey less than 12 weeks ahead and Advance tickets aren't available, it can be a good indication that works will be impacting on your travel date.
It can be worth checking traffic updates on the CrossCountry website.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
CrossCountry *

CrossCountry Guide

If you will be buying tickets last minute for CrossCountry trains so won't have received a reservation, you can arrange reservations up to 10 mins before departure by using the 10 minute reservation service.

Another aspect of how CrossCountry offers tickets for sale outside of the norm is that if you book any type of ticket ahead, you will automatically receive a seat reservation.
If you book Off-Peak or Anytime tickets you can transfer them to a different departure.

National Rail *

National Rail Guide

In Great Britain each Train Operating Company provides its own booking service for journeys by its trains, but many of their websites also sell tickets for nationwide journeys, regardless of which company operates the trains on the routes you wish to travel by.

The National Rail website is plugged into all of the train operator's booking services, so when more than one of these companies offers tickets for a route, it in effect offers a price comparison service.
It isn't a ticket agent, so you will be connected to the website of your choice in order to make a booking.

On this journey

Good to Know

Some of the trains which used to travel at Bournemouth at being terminated at Reading on the current timetable, but it's worth targeting the remaining direct trains.
In the hours when the direct trains aren't available connections are required at both Reading and Basingstoke.

Much of this journey through the middle of the south of the country showcases that England is indeed a green and pleasant land particularly once the train has passed, but the train won't pass through any outstanding landscapes.
The one highlight comes towards journey's end after Southampton when the railway passes through The New Forest national park, if you're lucky you may catch a glimpse of the wild ponies.

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