Train times and tickets
Longer UK journeys
For longer UK journeys (over 50 miles / 80 km as a rough guide), save money by booking tickets before you travel. Cheap tickets are available up to 12 weeks in advance, sometimes even earlier, and may sell out closer to the date of travel.
How to buy
Look up prices on the National Rail Enquiries website. The orange ‘Buy now’ button will take you to the rail operator’s website to complete your purchase. You can do this from outside the UK - rail operators accept overseas credit cards. Consider buying a railcard to get a third off some journeys.
Collecting your tickets
You can collect from any station that has a ticket machine (check facilities for your station on the National Rail Enquiries website). Take the debit or credit card with you that you used to purchase your ticket. The machine will ask you for this as identification. Another option is to have tickets posted to you for an additional fee. Print-at-home or e-tickets may also be available.
Short UK journeys
For short UK journeys (under 50 miles / 80 km as a rough guide), it is fine to buy your tickets on the day of travel. There is usually no cost saving if you book in advance.
If your departing station has a ticket office or ticket machine, then you must buy your ticket before you board the train. If you are departing from a smaller station that does not have these facilities, buy your ticket on the train from the guard. Look up the facilities at your station on the National Rail Enquiries website.
Journeys from Europe to the UK
Visiting the UK by train is a great way to avoid the hassle of airports, and is much more environmentally friendly than flying. Look up train times and buy tickets:
Common ticket types in the UK
The simplest way to get the best fare is to enter your journey details at National Rail Enquiries. This will automatically show you the cheapest available tickets.
Off-Peak Day Return
Valid after the morning commuter peak. If you hope to depart around 09 00, look up your journey on National Rail Enquiries to see which departures qualify as Off-Peak. You must return the same day.
Valid after the morning commuter peak. If you hope to depart around 09 00, look up your journey on National Rail Enquiries to see which departures qualify as Off-Peak. Return on an Off-Peak train within one calendar month.
Super Off-Peak Day Return
Only available at the quietest times of day, and are only available on some routes. Look up your journey on National Rail Enquiries to check availability.
Anytime Day Return
No time restriction on your outward journey, meaning you can travel in the morning peak if desired. These tickets are usually more expensive. You must return the same day.
Find out more about all of these types of tickets (and more) on the National Rail Enquiries tickets page.
All travel advice on Scenic Rail Britain is provided in good faith. Fares and rules are subject to change. Scenic Rail Britain cannot take responsibility for any errors. Always research your journey carefully to get the best possible fare.