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Sep 24th, 2013, 11:45 AM
  #1
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SW England

My sister and I will be visiting England in late April next year. We will fly into London, stay overnight and then take the train to Bath where we'll stay one night. We were thinking of taking the train from Bath to Penzance and staying three days before training it back to London for the flight home. I've heard that getting to Penzance from Bath on the train will mean changing trains more than once and maybe using local trains. Does anyone know how difficult it will be to take this route?

We're open to suggestions as to where to base ourselves for our three days. We want to go up and down the west coast (St Michael's Mount, Tintagle, and and other interesting places along the way.) Is Penzance just too far south to make it a realistic base for us?

We've never been to this part of England so any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
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Sep 24th, 2013, 12:27 PM
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Not difficult at all - takes from 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours depending what time you travel. There's a direct train, or you may have to change once or twice.

Search for times and prices here http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/servic...journey/search
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Sep 24th, 2013, 02:07 PM
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If you want total flexibility to hop any train any time in England take a look at the BritEngland Pass - valid on all regular passenger trains in England - just hop on any one anytime - such fully flexible tickets can cost a ton - otherwise if you wish to lock yourself into a certain train weeks in advance you can go to the site sofarsogood mentions and book deep discounted tickets that however are train-specific and non-changeable non-refundable for the biggest discounted tickets.

a 3-day Flexipass costs $215 (20% cheaper Nov-Feb) or about $70 a day over just over 40 pounds for each of the three days of unlimited travelk - as many trains as you like in one day 0- a flexipass is good for 2-months and you chose what days to use as you go along - need not be consectuive.

So for 40-45 pounds for each train ride with complete flexibility may be a good deal - check what discounted fares are available and compare - if even close go for the complete flexibility - a full fare ticket to say Bath can cost a ton and there are no off-peak times such as not leaving London before 9:30 am, etc. Anyway one option to consider.

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Sep 24th, 2013, 02:34 PM
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Full fare London to Bath is about 85 pounds in 2nd class - there are discounted and restricted tickets for 29 pounds so you can see the difference - cheapest means booking early and putting up with restrictions which is fine if you are sure of what you are doing.
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Sep 25th, 2013, 12:17 PM
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Thanks everyone. PalenQ I have a few questions. I do like the idea of a flexipass, I've used one in the past. I looked on the britrail website and I see that 2 passes (seniors) would be $489. I looked at the boundries and if I saw right, we could go from London to Bath, Bath to Penzance, and Penzance to London on the SW flexipass which is a bit cheaper than regular ones. I think it said the pass included the Heathrow Express but I'm not sure. Would the pass also be good on the train from London to Hampton Court?

Also, if I have the flexipass, do I still need to make reservations for each trip (first class) or do we just get on a train in first class and look for vacant seats?

Thanks so much for your help.
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Sep 25th, 2013, 01:37 PM
  #6
 
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London to Bath tickets from £10.60
Bath to Penzance tickets from £13.30

Surely you can find better ways to spend your money than on an overpriced rail pass?
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Sep 25th, 2013, 02:25 PM
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We're open to suggestions as to where to base ourselves for our three days. We want to go up and down the west coast (St Michael's Mount, Tintagle, and and other interesting places along the way.) Is Penzance just too far south to make it a realistic base for us? >>

on the contrary, PZ is a great base for exploring the west of Cornwall, from [working east to west] St Michael's mount, Newlyn, Mousehole, Lamorna, Porthcurno, Land's End, Sennen, Cape Cornwall, the Gurnard's head, and St. Ives. The outlier on this route is Tintagel which is quite a lot further up the north Cornwall coast - about 90 mins each way according to google maps. Very difficult to do by bus, but ok were you going to hire a car, which I would definitely recommend if you are going to make the best of seeing this area, as public transport, though available, may not go to where you want to go, when you want to go there.

There are lots of guest-houses in PZ - I've never stayed at any, [as i live in Cornwall] but I might be able to advise on position. Also there are lovely gardens, lots of great restaurants and cafes, and a terrific gallery museum.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 07:51 AM
  #8
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I don't think the rail pass would be worth the money as we are only doing three rail trips. Where did you get those great prices "sofarsogood"? I've looked at national rail and haven't seen anything that good. Of course, that may be because we want to travel early in the morning and that may be the peak time prices.

annhig, we will be hiring a car for one or two days while in Penzance so it should be easy to see all of the places you mentioned. We're both big fans of Doc Martin so a short stop in Port Isaac might be in order. I've been looking at B&Bs in Penzance and there are a lot. I just have to pick one in my price range and hope I've picked well.

Back to the trains. Any opinion on whether first class is really much better than standard? This is a long planned for trip with my sister, and I thought at least one leg of the train trips could be first class, just for the experience, but yes, I do have better things to spend my money on. We will be on a kind of tight budget but I absolutely love trains so I'll just have to decide if first class is worth the extra money

Tnanks.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 09:31 AM
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This is the East Coast website http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/

All train operators sell each others tickets so it doesn't matter if you buy them from East Coast or from Great Western (the company you'll be travelling on). http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/

Plug in a random date of 27 November and this shows standard class tickets sell in the range £10.60 to £82.80, though the cheapest available appears to be £12. So you can get some bargains if you book ahead, when tickets go on sale.

Is first class worth it? If you can get a good deal it would be a nice experience. "Free newspapers" and teas/coffee aren't really free as they're included in your ticket. After all how much does a newspaper and a cup of coffee really cost? Slightly wider seats and you can feel more important than the folks in standard class.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 10:04 AM
  #10
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I doubt even first class could make me feel I'm more important than anyone so no problems sitting in standard. I'm just remembering a train trip we took from London to Edinburgh one time and we were in standard seats. Apparently there was a hen party going on and it was so crazy and loud, but it was fun watching them have fun.

I'll go to the east coast website and check them out. I'll book as soon as I'm allowed for cheaper fares. Thanks so much for your help. I am so looking forward to this trip and I want it to be something we will always remember.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 10:14 AM
  #11
 
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We enjoyed our stay at the Glencree house. Nothing fancy but wonderful hosts and a great breakfast.

TR
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...sh-holiday.cfm
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Sep 26th, 2013, 02:51 PM
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you might like to think of travelling first class from Bath to PZ. there is a great view of the caost between Exeter and Plymouth, around Dawlish, and also just after Plymouth as it goes over the Tamar bridge.

time it right, and you can have lunch in the dining car too - which you can do automatically if you are in first, I think though you may have to specify this when you book.

it's not cheap - but the food is pretty good and it's a very english experience. if you book the train tickets early enough [3 months in advance] you might even pick up a bargain.
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Sep 27th, 2013, 07:06 AM
  #13
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annhig that's just what I was thinking, first class just from Bath to Penzance. I'll definately book 3 months in advance and hopefully get a bargain. I'll check out the dining car option, that would really be an experience!

I'll also check out the Glencree House,there are so many choices, but I have plenty of time.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Sep 27th, 2013, 07:14 AM
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Also, if I have the flexipass, do I still need to make reservations for each trip (first class) or do we just get on a train in first class and look for vacant seats?>

I've had at least 40 first-class BritRail Passes and in all my trips in first class I have never ever not see empty seats and usually lots of them - I never make reservations nor do many others - the beauty of first class is just jumping on and finding nice large seats with no overcrowding often encountered in standard class.

For lots of great info on British trains check www.seat61.com (click on the link there to RailEurope to see current British Railpass prices; http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id11.html (call Byron at this one for questions like on SW Pass coverage - I have bought passes from him for years and he can definitively answer your questions!; and www.ricksteves.com.
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Sep 27th, 2013, 08:07 AM
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. I think it said the pass included the Heathrow Express but I'm not sure. Would the pass also be good on the train from London to Hampton Court?>

http://www.britrail.com/passes/britrail-south-west-pass

not clear on this map if the spur line to Hampton Court is covered or not - seems it would be as other commuter rail lines from London to say Windsor and other places near Hampton Court are covered - if run by First Great Western or Southwest Trains it says it will be covered - if I am correct the Hampton Court line from Waterloo is a SW trains so should be covered - that say so does an Oyster Card cover it so I would not burn a day on a flexipass to use it just to Hampton Court and back.
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