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Do I really need advanced resv seats on trains around England in July?

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We will be traveling around England for a couple weeks this July. We are adept at train travel. I know I could just google my question and/or read any of the bazillions of books and websites to find my answers, but I also know lots of you who read this forum will be able to help me, too, so I'll ask.

How important is it, in July, to buy advance reservations for trains from places like Bristol to Preston, or Preston to London, or Edinburgh to London? I know that it's usually cheaper to buy well ahead of time, but the trade-off, of course, is flexibility vs cost savings. The big question I'm asking is: how likely is it, in July, that mid-day trains, for example, would simply be sold out completely ahead of time?

Thx in advance.

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