Is Britrail Valid in Scotland?

Feb 11th, 2009, 04:17 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 338
Is Britrail Valid in Scotland?

I'm getting conflicting info when checking on the Britrail Flexi Pass? The Britrail site says that the pass is good through out England and "up to the borders of Scotland and Wales" while RailEurope sells the pass and claims that it is good throughout Scotland. What we want to do is:

Edinburgh - Pitlochry
Pitlochry - Stirling
Stirling - Fort William
Fort William - York
York - London

We may just buy point to point tickets for whichever leg is cheapest and use a 4 day Flexi Pass for the rest if it's valid through Scotland. Does anyone have any experience with this? Any suggestions for a better order? We are committed to flying into Edinburgh and back from London. Fort William looks like it's a pain to get to and we're willing to consider any more accessible alternative provided there's a distillery nearby. One important consideration is that this will be during Christmas so renting a car and contending with snow and the "wrong" side of the road doesn't sound logical.
Otzi is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 05:19 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,618
Hi Otzi,

Perhaps the pass descriptions on RS' web site would help: http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/greatbritain.htm

I think that site makes the different areas covered clear which pass you want. Cheers.
scotlib is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 06:06 PM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 19,000
You can see the whole layout color-coded graphically here:

http://www.britrailinfo.com/maps/map_en.pdf

About the "Flexi" pass designation. This doesn't denote an area of validity but rather the fact that you are buying transport for a certain number of days out of some period, with the dates flexible. For example, the 4-day you mention means you can travel any four days within two months. By contrast, the "Consecutive" passes are good for some number of days in a row.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 09:57 PM
  #4  
 
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<<< One important consideration is that this will be during Christmas >>>

No trains in the UK on Christmas Day virtually none on Boxing Day, virtually no trains in Scotland on New Years Day, few trains in Scotland on 2nd Jan

Assuming you are travelling at different times then I'd recommend going to the FirstScotrail website and have a look at the passes they offer

http://www.scotrail.co.uk/travelinfo...sandfares.html

Fort William to York is a killer trip of at least 8 hours and a couple of train changes. I'd seriously consider stopping in Edinburgh overnight.

This also has the advantage of you being able to use the above pass and buy a cheap ticket for Edinburgh to York & York to London through the NXEC website. NOTE the cheap tickets don't become available until sometime between 8 & 12 weeks in advance

www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com
alanRow is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 10:03 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for the great advice and links. I think I was confusing the "Britrail Pass" with the "Britrail England Pass". There seems to be a pretty good deal on the Flexi Pass for our group of six people - 4 days travel for $1318.00 or $220 each. Special half price rate for group members 4-6.

alanrow - Just to go from Stirling to Fort William looks like a 4 hour plus trip! I considered rearranging things to go from Pitlochry to Fort William but that was even worse at 6:43. Maybe Inverness is a better destination in the Highlands. Is it worth a visit?

Maybe a van rental would make more sense. Split between 6 people the cost is about the same plus it would give us more mobility. Is the area around Fort William prone to snow/ice storms in late December? I've had no problems driving the Austrian Alps in December, but from what I remember of this part of Scotland is that the roads are pretty twisty and narrow. Plus there's that whole other side of the road thing.
Otzi is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 10:46 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,537
WHY are you going to Ft William at all? There is no "there" there. Spending an extra 4 hours on trains to get to -- Ft William??

I personally would not relish the idea of driving a 7 to 9 passenger van (6 passenger won't cut it unless you have no luggage) around the highlands in winter.

You might get decent-ish weather - or absolutely awful stuff. And you would not know which it is until you get there. So pre-booking a van would be quite iffy.

If it were me, I'd do Edinburgh > Inverness (though I'ness isn't that great either). Stay a few days in/near Inverness to day trip to nearby sites/distilleries/etc. Though double check which places are open in Dec.

Inverness > Stirling (maybe stop over in Pitlochry enroute - but no real reason to stay there in winter).

Stirling > York

York > London

Do take into account the limitations on Christmas travel and that New Years in Scotland is a MAJOR holiday and lots of places require multiple night stays.
janisj is online now  
Feb 14th, 2009, 06:56 AM
  #7  
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My son and I are major history buffs and Fort William seems to be a good base for exploring all that clan warfare and Bonnie Prince Charlie stuff. It looks like a good amount of bloody action took place around there. My MIL also wants to see the commando statue near the camp (Achnacarry Castle) where her father trained in WWII. But perhaps it would be better to save that excursion for a summer trip.

I was considering Inverness but even their local tourism office doesn't seem to think there's anything worth seeing there. Sounds like a modern city with not much of historical interest. Am I wrong?

New line of thought: How about Jedburgh? Mary Queen of Scots connection and the old abbey. Pictures I've seen of the town look fascinating.

Otzi is offline  

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