Rail tickets, & Alnwick to York

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Nov 29th, 2005, 12:41 PM
  #1
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Rail tickets, & Alnwick to York

Rail tickets from York to London can be pretty pricey I noticed. I checked out the GNER site, and it looks like buying way ahead (up to 3 months) for a specific train is the cheapest way. I believe I can order over the internet here in the states, and pick them up at the train station. Have I got that right? Or are there inexpensive tickets to be had at the last moment, since it would be nice to just jump on the next train after we're done touring York (Fri. afternoon, Apr. 7th)?

Second question: We'll be driving down from Alnwick to York, arriving by 6:00 or so for a few days stay, seeing the Minster, the York Castle Museum, etc. (I'm traveling with my 15-year-old daughter, and we HAVE to make a Harry Potter stop - and I'm looking forward to seeing the gardens at Alnwick Castle anyway.) Is it fairly easy and worth it to stop and see Hadrian's wall? Are other sights highly recommended? Or would we be crazy to detour to Castle Howard? (Other sights on the trip are Windsor Castle, the Dales and Fountains Abbey.)
Thanks!
rickandpat is offline  
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Nov 29th, 2005, 01:12 PM
  #2
 
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Trains:

If you go to the Nationalrail site, select the journeys about the time and day you want, then go to the "fare options" page, you'll see the rules for each fare type laid out.

On journeys over about 100 miles (like York-London), there's usually a significant difference between advance purchase (which in theory can often be bought up to the night before) and purchase on the spot. The real difference, apart from price though, is that on these longer journeys there are only a limited number of lower-price tickets available.

Friday afternoon is usually especially busy, as it's both a business and a general public peak period. The cheapest options are very likely to sell out some time in advance. Months ahead if you're travelling over Christmas: weeks ahead at other busy times (like Easter): a day ahead right now.

Buying on the spot for York-London usually involves fares about three times advance purchase rates.

Note that this rule does not usually apply on shorter journeys (like London-Brighton, or London-Cambridge) where there's usually no point in buying tickets ahead of time.
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Nov 29th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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I have just done that very thing and have now learned a LOT about the ins and outs -
1) picking up the tix at the station is a breeze, no worries
2) if you buy on the website, thye will tell you that 2 singles may be much cheaper than a return ticket. This was true in our case. HOWEVER -
what we found to our chagrin, is that if we'd bought a cheap return ticket we would have been able ot make changes for only 5 pounds, but you can't do that if you only have a single ticket.

3) if you go to the trainline.co.uk tickets are often cheaper, and they will get cheaper until about a month before when they get more expensive. It is NEVER cheaper to buy same day tickets- just like airlines.
mztery is offline  
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Nov 29th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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I'll address question #2.

It sounds like you are staying near Alnwick - right? If so and you have time on the day before you head down to York other wonderful things to see north of Alnwick are Bamburgh Castle and Lindesfarne (Holy Island).

If you leave Alnwick in the morning -- not even the crack of dawn you will have plenty of time to stop at a couple of Roman fort and see quite a bit of the Wall. My rec woul dbe Housesteads and Vindolanda since they are soo close to each other and vindolanda has a reconstruction so you can see how the towers looked 2000 years ago.

But Chesters is great too and closer to your route south.

In fact - you will probably have plenty of time to see a couple of major sites along the Wall and visit Durham Cathedral too, and still get to York by early evening.
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