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Stansted Express or National Express - which is better?

Stansted Express or National Express - which is better?

Old Jan 20th, 2015, 12:19 PM
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Stansted Express or National Express - which is better?

Hello -

I'm trying to figure out whether to purchase from Stansted Express or National Express. As part of the Eurotrip we are doing, we will be landing in Stansted Airport and would like to know if it's best to go with Stansted Express or National Express. I've been reading that National Express has the 2for1 deal for the tourist sites but it is more expensive by 4 pounds compared to Stansted Express.

Any tips and stories from Fodorites?

Thank you so much!
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 01:01 PM
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Have you looked at the last posts you got in your Rome thread? After you were enthusiastic to get a a great tip from Fodorites about a cheap bus ride into town, a Roman resident stopped by to warn you that the service was terrible.

There are many Fodorites who have actually never done the things they suggest to other travelers. This is true of other social media and internet sites as well.

If you haven't already, you might want to get some guidebooks for the places you are going. Guidebooks go out of business when they repeatedly give bum steers to travelers. "Fodorites" just on and on, behind their screen names. This is your trip. Seriously. Buy a guidebook.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 01:02 PM
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Typo: Last line should read: "Fodorites just go on and on..."

There is no quality control.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 01:12 PM
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HI Sandralist -Thank you for your advice. I know you've been giving me very helpful tips in my other posts.

YES I bought the guidebooks and downloaded some tripomatic city guides.

This week, I will try to print all the threads and highlight helpful tips even from the posts last Sept.

THANK YOU!!!!
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 01:16 PM
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you do realise that the Stansted Express is the train from Stansted airport to London while National Express is the name of a coach company?

do you prefer the bus or train, have a look at their respective websites for times and prices, that'll help you decide
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 02:13 PM
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I travel from STN to central London or the other way round at least once a year. Often more. Last time was October 2014.

My observations:
National Express is a UK bus company which operates all over Europe. They have various services serving STN. The one I used was from STN via Golders Green tube station then to Victoria coach station in central London. I just got on the bus at STN straight off my flight. No reservations, no advance tickets, no hassle. Got a ticket at the ticket office near the bus stop. Took about an hour to Golders Green and probably another 30 mins to Victoria for connections thoughout Europe and the UK. 20 pounds or so.

Stansted Express is a train which shuttles between STN and Liverpool Street station in central London. You can pick up a tube from there. Train takes about 45 minutes and they go about every half hour. About 25 pounds, may be more by now.

Terravision bus is in my opinion the best transport option between STN and central London. It is certainly the cheapest, about 12 pounds. No need to buy advance tickets, just get on the bus at the airport. Pay as you get on. They go very frequently. Takes about 60 minutes to Liverpool Street and another 30 to Victoria depending on traffic.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 02:38 PM
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The Stansted Express will likely be faster than the coach, and it stops at Tottenham Hale en-route to Liverpool St giving you the Victoria line on the tube as a connection option as well.

You don't need an advance booking for the SE as it covers a short distance and there are no seat reservations, though you might save money by booking ahead. The trains are nice new ones - wifi and comfy seats. It will be more expensive than the coach though.

Which you pick will ultimately depend on exactly where you are headed in London I would have thought and/or budget.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 02:39 PM
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I've taken the Stansted Express into London, and I've also taken both Terravision and National Express buses from Stansted to Victoria station. I would say it depends on where you're staying. I used to always stay in Bloomsbury, London Liverpool was pretty convenient, but lately I've been staying nearer to Victoria station.

I haven't had any problems with any of the services.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 02:39 PM
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Bookmarking
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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sj: >>There are many Fodorites who have actually never done the things they suggest to other travelers.<<

Everyone posting on this thread (except perhaps you) have ridden both the coach and the train.

MsWorthy: We can give you MUCH better advice if you tell us your destination in London. That could make a huge difference re the best way into town.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 02:48 PM
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I just looked again at that Rome thread, and I don't think the "Rome resident" said it was terrible. She said comfort wasn't great and it was usually late getting to Rome. Anything that's running on rubber is likely to be late getting to Rome.

But she also said that it was better than the alternatives, and she herself has often suggested SITbus on Tripadvisor.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 10:17 PM
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< I've been reading that National Express has the 2for1 Deal for the tourist sites >

You can get 2-4-1 offers by having a London Travelcard bought at a National Rail ticket office

http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 12:09 AM
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2 for 1 offers:
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-...p.By.Step.html
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 05:06 AM
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1. There's unlikely to be any advantage to booking either in advance.

2. Which you pick may well depend on where in London you want to end up, and the onward journey you're going to have to make from the destination point(s) of either.

3. You won't get the 2-for-1s if you have a National Express ticket (since it isn't a train company), but you could with Stansted Express tickets. But you can also, as posted above, get them with a London travelcard issued by a national train company (rather than London Underground), so you needn't let that be the deciding factor.

4. So it comes down to: where is your final destination in London?
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 05:21 AM
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HI janisj and PatrickLondon - We have reserved a 2 star-hotel near Victoria/ Pimlico area.

Having said that, we're trying to decide whether to keep this reservation or book a room at LSE Passfield Hall - as it seems it is more central and cheaper.

If we book Passfield Hall, closest stop would be Euston station butif we keep our reservation at Victoria, we can just either coach it from Stansted airport direct or use the Stansted Express then tube it from Tottenham Hale...

Since we are only in London for 4 days, we want to be closest to the tourist attractions as possible and if we can save a buck or so, we would like that too!

Any advice? Thank you so much!
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 06:04 AM
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"You won't get the 2-for-1s if you have a National Express ticket"

in fact you can

http://www.nationalexpress.com/wayst...r1-offers.aspx
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 07:44 AM
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>>as it seems it is more central and cheaper. <<

Cheaper is good -- but Both the LSE accommodation and Victoria are VERY central. Don't decide based on location alone. Victoria is just as convenient for transport and is walking distance to places like Buckingham Palace and the river/Tate Britain.

If you DO decide to stay in Victoria - the Express coach might be your best option - where exactly is the hotel? Some of Pimlico is quite a walk from the coach station, other bits a quite near.
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 10:52 PM
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Oops. I didn't realise National Express ran their own scheme.

Routes to Passfield Hall: National Express bus to Victoria has a stop at Golders Green and it looks as though it's right beside the tube station on the Northern Line straight to Euston. Golders Green station claims it has step-free access between the platforms and the street, but you should assume there may well be some steps somewhere to get your luggage up and down.
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 10:56 PM
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>>I didn't realise National Express ran their own scheme.<<

I didn't either.

Man - that scheme has certainly flown under the radar!
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 11:38 PM
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">>I didn't realise National Express ran their own scheme.<<"

I'm not sure that either it - or the 2for1s the Stansted Express promotes on its site - are really comparable to the National Rail one that this forum, and its rivals, feature so much.

The words on the National Express site are badly out of date (or the offers are rapidly lapsing), and read as if you get just one discounted admission per ticket. This might be sloppy web maintenance - or an indication National Express doesn't think such a complicated promotion is really bringing in enough business to justify managing the admin for it properly.

Britain's inter-city bus system doesn't hub on London the way its trains do, and has a titchy share of inter-city travel anyway. National Rail 2 for 1's are intended to stimulate new train traffic to London from places convenient for daytrips to London. There's only one such place with a substantial bus operation to London (Oxford) and National Express doesn't own it.

I suspect it's very unlikely National Express will continue its promotion for long - and since it competes with the trains, it's hard to see the admin being merged.

The Stansted Express one seems to require you to book individual offers with them, which rather undermines the spontaneity that's part of the 2 for 1 appeal.

Ironically, most tickets on the Stansted Express are also eligible for the straightforward National Rail 2 for 1. Given the poor road links between central London and Stansted (getting from the M11 to anywhere in the centre can take a lifetime, and most central London dropping points for Stansted buses are inconvenient for tube connections. No fun with luggage), it's always wisest to use the train anyway.

Unless there's some amazing cash deal from the buses, just get a return train ticket at Stansted (tickets sold on the plane, or on mobile phones, don't qualify for the National Rail 2 for 1), then, after understanding how then National Rail 2 for 1 works, use it throughout your time in London for discounted admission.
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