family of 3 traveling to Great Britain

Old Apr 7th, 2015, 04:22 PM
  #21  
 
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>

Um, where exactly do the pubs drink?
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Old Apr 7th, 2015, 06:38 PM
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A few caveats regarding Pal's train information. The West Highland Line which runs between Glasgow and Mallaig does not offer a first class option, neither does the Inverness/ Kyle of Lochalsh route. Also note that tickets are very inexpensive on most Scottish routes, certainly on these. For example, Fort William to Mallaig, tickets run £12 and anytime tickets, providing the flexibility Pal promotes, are essentially the same price. On the Inverness/ Kyle of Lochalsh route tickets are £22. Anytime tickets may only run a couple of £'s more. The most costly tickets for your proposed itinerary will be the London/York/ Edinburgh route and the train from Glasgow (?) to Lake District and on to London. On another post, I stated that you can get advance tickets for London/ York for £30, if that is your plan. In short a Brit Rail pass will easily run you several hundred dollars and you may will be over- spending by a considerable amount. A regular family pass is far more likely to be a better option. Check your routes and prices on www.nationalrail.co.uk

Also note that except for the London/ York/ Edinburgh ( and return via Gladgow ) there is somewhat limited train service. You can't just " hop willy- nilly on any ole train". If you have an itinerary, you have some kind of schedule.

Apparently Pal has not ridden in 1 st class on the train from Kings Cross to either York or Edinburgh during the high season. Last July/August, I was in first class from London to Edinburgh and, again, from London to York and first class was full on both occasions. It was also full on my trip from Glasgow to London and at least the car I was riding in was full from York to Oxford. Everyone seems to be opting for 1 st class.


IMO, 1st class is really only a priority if the train ride is more than 3 hours. Even then, take the extra cost into consideration.
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Old Apr 7th, 2015, 06:56 PM
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Hmm.....I apparently wasn't paying close enough attention to what I was reading. Thank you janisj for clarifying Oxford and Cambridge
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 09:19 AM
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It's really easy to get to Oxford from Heathrow airport. There is a bus company called "the oxford bus co" and they run a service called 'the airline.' You buy your ticket directly from the bus driver, so you don't have to worry about the timing after your flight. Your luggage gets loaded underneath the coach, and it takes about 90 minutes.
You could take this bus after your flight, stay overnight in Oxford, wander around some of the colleges or take one of the great walking tours offered by the city tourist office, and then take a train to York.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 09:58 AM
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neither does the Inverness/ Kyle of Lochalsh route.>

I sat in the small first-class section, along with the conductor, on this route - not sure if they have it today or not.

In several decades of train travel I never saw a full first-class car at least one the pass lets you in on that line - the Gold part - I've seen first class cars that were chock full with discounted tickets but TMK the pass allows you into the Gold section meant largely for business travelers - but I have not ridden British trains in a few years now and things may have changed. Are you sure there were not two types of first class on that train as was always the case when I traveled?

The first-class car you were riding in may well have been full - again I have ridden London to Edinburgh in August and the premium first-class car was sparsely full but two other "first-class" cars with seats all reserved with discounted tickets that were seat specific were indeed full. Not sure what the case was - maybe it is not that way anymore or historytraveler did not realize what the real situation was (and has been for many years but again things can change quickly).
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 10:38 AM
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I do note now on www.banh.de/en that there is only 2nd class on the Inverness to Kyle line - does not surprise me since there were only two rows of first class several years ago when I took it and no one was sitting in them and 2nd class was full and SRO at times - I also note now that reservations are required - also new and one of the few trains in Britain that requires them - maybe other Scottish trains do.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 10:39 AM
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I like jennifer's suggestion of Oxford for a night then a train to York. No locking into flights or trains that you might miss, and an easy journey to an interesting place.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 12:04 PM
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Edinburgh is a good place for day trips IMO.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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Pal, when you book your ticket you automatically get a reservation. Of course, if other seats are available ( not reserved ) when you board you, are free to sit in them. Also note that there is only second class on the West Highland line from Glasgow to Mallaig.

I've done the LHR, Oxford,York trip in both directions, and it is a good option. As stated the bus from LHR to Oxford is easy. No reservations needed, and they run about every 20/30 minutes. Oxford would be a great place to spend the afternoon before going on to York the next day.You arrive at Gloucester Green in the centre of Oxford, so easy to get to most hotels,B&B's.

Or, as has also been suggested, spend your first night ( or two ) in London. Then you can buy advanced train tickets and be certain of catching your train to York.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 01:48 PM
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www.nationalrail.co.uk of course is the site on which you can peruse fares from all of Britain's 30 or so independent rail franchises and book as well for no fee. Some advise going right to the franchise whose trains you are hopping to see if there may be a minor discount on top for booking right on the sight - I hear East Coast Trains site may give a quid or two off but have not tried it. www.thetrainline.comis a similar all Britain train booking site but does I believe charge about 5 pounds for an order if not per train - order I believe it must be.

So when thinking about a pass and if flexibility is required check what full-fare fully flexible tickets may cost and then see whether the pass is a good deal or not - and yes some trains like in Scotland may be rather cheap compared to others in the more propserous Britain. So all the fares are available with the varying conditions - some discounted fares, if their allocations remain, I guess are available up to the day before the train or even up to it - those would be the least discounted ones but could still be a sizable discount over full fare - and then there are things like Day Return Fares - a slight discount over full fare and can't leave Mon-Fri before 9:30 I think - not good for folks wanting to get an early start on day trips to places like Bath or York or Stratford, etc.

Groups will find a Party Pass with a BritRail Pass (or BritEngland, etc) where the 3rd thru 9th adults traveling on the same pass pay just 1/2 of what the first two adults pay - two couples traveling together could get a neat discount off the fully flexible railpass and if you have more... well at times a pass can be a real bargain and kids under 16 always a free pass or on the pass for free.

Young folk traveling in Europe who buy a Eurail Youthpass can buy a BritRail Youthpass for 50% off, making it a very attractive offer to any youth traveling around Britain every much. Plus Nov-Feb all passes, even party passes, are discounted 20% - Off-Peak Special - all those are factors as to whether a pass is a good choice and an economical choice too.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 04:16 AM
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oh, just thought of something--brit rail pass is free for our 10 year old--does that apply to same day/book ahead leg tickets too?>

Not sure of what you mean by same day/book ahead leg tickets - I guess you mean if you do not have a pass - then I think no - but there is a Family Pass you can buy in Britain that would do that but the cost of that may be significant and no worth it for a few trips.

Look at www.nationalrail.co.uk and see what fares are for kids that age - do not think they are free unless on some special deals.

http://www.familyandfriends-railcard.co.uk/

Says card costs 30 pounds or about $ 50, valid for a year and gives adults 1/3 off most but not all rail fares and kids 60% off - so no not even free with the Family Card - with the railpass always free on any train anytime (except overnight trains where you pay for a sleeping berth - the train fare being paid by the railpass).
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