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Trip Report Britrail pass worth it?...and general winter Britain travel issues.

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I am from the states and this is a 'quick' summary of winter travel in Britain and the BritRail pass's advantages and disadvantages.

Before coming to Britain I decided to try the BritRail pass and it was worth it, but it was worth it for me. For others it may not be so advantageous. I bought the 8 day non-consecutive, low season flexipass for $385 USD. I went to Liverpool, from there I went to Edinburgh in the early AM, with a day trip to Glasgow and back (I know, too short), then back to Reading (where I was based out of the entire time), a day trip to Salisbury, a day trip to Warwick Castle, a weekend trip to Manchester to see my dad who was on a business trip, a freebie to Windsor Castle, and finally a trip from Reading to Heathrow.

Why was it worth it?

-Considering all those trips' walk up prices would've been altogether $650 USD. I compare them to walk up prices because I would wait for a day when the weather was 'nice' (no horizontal rain) and decide to up and go that day.
-The ticket enables you to stop on and off. Example, from Manchester to Reading you can stop in Oxford for a couple of hours (which was all that I needed), or even a stop in Coventry (also quite nice for a half-day trip)
- Gives you the liberty to just up and go as opposed to being on a time table, or checking the prices and trying to travel on off-peak periods.
- If you're lucky they won't even check or validate your pass for a day. I got a freebie to Windsor Castle that way. (yeah yeah, I know, it's bad, but I didn't even realize it 'till I got back)
- During the winter, I did not struggle to find a seat at ANY time anywhere. From London to Reading it's a bit more crowded but seats were always available. However, if I were to buy this pass in the summer, I would probably spend the extra couple hundred and go first class.

If you know someone here who has a southwest discount card or southeast discount card, and don't plan on travelling outside these areas, don't buy any passes and use them to buy your tickets... it's much much cheaper.


- First of all, London is absolutely crowded at any time of the year, so if London is your only destination, anytime of the year is good (or bad, whatever)
- The weather is not that bad, but it is unpredictable. The weather forecast could tell you at 10pm that the next day will be sunny and you can wake up to showers all day long. However, it hardly dips below freezing, and if you're Americana and from outside California, Arizona, or Florida, you will get on quite fine.
- Outside of London, the attractions are ALL TO YOURSELF. I went to stonehenge and got amazing pictures and a great time with few queues and few people. At Warwick castle I was literally one of 5 people in the entire premises, and at Windsor i was one of maybe 20. (I really am not making this up... I went during weekdays, however)
- Scotland gets colder than the rest of Britain, but it's not unbearable. You don't even need extra layers, just maybe some gloves and a beanie.

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