Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Train tickets and Theatre tickets: how far in advance to book?
Notices

Train tickets and Theatre tickets: how far in advance to book?

Reply

Apr 18th, 2015, 12:30 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 911
Train tickets and Theatre tickets: how far in advance to book?

Train tickets. We’ll be in London the first week of July and plan on getting Travel Cards from a rail station once we’re in the city to use for several of the 2-4-1 offers. We also need two other sets of train tickets. We’ll be going to Harry Potter Warner studio tour for a day (close to booking which day) so we need round trip tickets for that -- 5 tickets -- 2 seniors, 2 adults, and 1 child. We, husband and I, also need tickets to York, then three days after that, tickets to Edinburgh. Should we book both point to point tickets, York then Edinburgh, as soon as possible for lowest fares? And when should we book the round trips tickets to HPST? Should we wait until we arrive in London and get them at the same time as we get the travel cards?

Theatre tickets. We’re thinking about seeing the long running “Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie, at St Martin’s Theatre, or “As You Like It” at the Globe Theatre. How far in advance should those tickets be bought? We’re still deciding between the two, and not sure we have time for both of them. I know they are completely different, but any thoughts on which to choose? Thanks.
kathleen is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 18th, 2015, 12:47 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,282
<>

Yes http://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/

<>

on the day is fine
sofarsogood is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 18th, 2015, 01:25 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 951
If you will be booking with Virgin for the distance journeys, it is smart to register at their site ahead of time. You will be rewarded (at least I was) with coupons good for 10% off first tickets purchased, then 20% off next purchase. There also followed a 30% coupon which I sadly had no use for.

Buying the first tickets with the 10% coupon seemed to generate the 20% coupon the next day, so perhaps wait 24 hrs before that second purchase.

Here's my earlier thread, where I was helped tremendously!
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ch-a-train.cfm
nyse is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 18th, 2015, 01:33 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,856
Mousetrap you can usually book on the day (unless there are huge theater parties booked in) - but for the Globe if you want seats and not groundling tickets you should book as soon as your dates are firm.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 18th, 2015, 02:34 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 911
sofarsogood, A different trainline. I had no idea. I've only been checking on the national rail site. From your experience, are they similar or better in quality and price?

nyse, I will use your advice if I book with Virgin. The website seems a bit complicated at first glance, but probably isn't if I stay with it.

janisj, Have you been to either performance or either theatre? Do you have a preference? For seating, I usually book a first level up if the main floor seating design doesn't have a good slope to it, and in St Martin's it doesn't appear to be so, in their virtual tour. Do you know? And I've been told that the seats in the Globe are very hard, though you can get a cushion while there to sit on. Is this true?

Thanks all, I appreciate your help.
kathleen is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 18th, 2015, 06:48 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,856
>>I've only been checking on the national rail site. From your experience, are they similar or better in quality and price?<<

Apples/oranges. The National Rail site is NOT a railroad company. It finds you all the trains/companies running on the route you want to take. The trains are run by the various companies.

Re the theatres -- the two shows and the two theatres are also apples/oranges. I've been to both venues lots of times. The Mousetrap has been running for more than 60 years. Great theatre - no. A fun night out - yes. The stalls (what Americans call the Orchestra) at the st Martin's is slanted enough you should be able to see fine. The Dress Circle (First Balcony) is also good. However the rows are very close together in both. You will feel very cramped and though they are upholstered, they are not at all soft

The Globe is an entirely different animal being a faithful reproduction of an Elizabethan theatre. The groundlings must stand throughout the performance, and in the lower gallery you sit behind and a little elevated above the Groundlings - I wouldn't book either if I had a choice. Otherwise you sit above the stage and look down. I'd book in the Middle Gallery (middle balcony) either in the front row or in the center sections, being careful to not end up behind a pillar. The front row is great since you can lean on the railing. Yes you do need to get one of the cushions.

Only you can decide if you'd rather see the Mousetrap or Shakespeare.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 08:53 AM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 911
Thank you janisj. The theatre information was very helpful! I appreciate all the detail in your answer. It helps a lot..
kathleen is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 09:25 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
Should we book both point to point tickets, York then Edinburgh, as soon as possible for lowest fares? And when should we book the round trips tickets to HPST? Should we wait until we arrive in London and get them at the same time as we get the travel cards?>

Yes indeedy for York and York to Edinburgh - I'd go to the virgin site mentioned above or www.nationalrail.co.uk - should have same fares but Virgin as mentioned may have extra incentives. But book as early as possible as cheap fares sell out early, very early often - full fare is much much higher if you wait until the day of the train.

Like others said anything near London just buy on the day - ask for a Day Return if you don't want to leave before 9:30am on work days.

For lots of good info on British trains - www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

don't automatically get mouse trapped - there are IMO many more things that most will enjoy more than this play that has been on for decades only because it has been on for decades.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 10:06 AM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 911
I am having trouble with the train sites. I registered at Virgin site, but alas that 10% incentive is not there anymore. Mainly my confusion is that the prices are all over the place. Of course I understand that they will vary depending on the time. But even switching from Virgin site to National Rail and choosing the exact same train and departure time is bringing up different fares, with Virgin being more expensive. Saying one person or two (or seniors on the national site) complicates it even more. I may have to take a break from tickets for awhile.

The theatre options are somewhat of a "group" decision, but since I was the one who initially was emphasizing Mousetrap, I may back off. I may be the only Agatha Christie fan in the group, and the seats that I want are the most expensive. I know that if I waited for the day, they wouldn't even be there. May rethink this idea. What others should we consider? There is an Alfred Hitchcock at another theatre, so maybe that? Or others?
kathleen is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 11:00 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 697
But even switching from Virgin site to National Rail and choosing the exact same train and departure time is bringing up different fares, with Virgin being more expensive.

You need to provide details otherwise people will just be guessing - and as has been pointed out Nationalrail doesn't sell tickets

(or seniors on the national site)

Seniors require a railcard to get the Senior discount.

http://www.senior-railcard.co.uk/
dotheboyshall is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 01:11 PM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 911
Okay. I've sorted some of the problem. Virgin within the last couple of hours updated some fares showing on the national site and they are exacting the same now as on the Virgin site. But the lowest fare, showing up on both sites now and not previously, ie: July 8, LV [email protected]:21, is 13.60GBP, 1 adult. On national site the train is Grand Central and on Virgin I don't know, but assume it's the same train. So if I booked through National rail would I be redirected to Grand central or Virgin to finish the purchase? The train leaving previous to the 11:21 time was another one that changed on Virgin from 19.30GBP to 14.60GBP. The senior railcards are not for us, so that part of the confusion is finished.
kathleen is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 01:47 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
. But even switching from Virgin site to National Rail and choosing the exact same train and departure time is bringing up different fares, with Virgin being more expensive>

One reason to go to the non-partisan www.nationalrail.co.uk site - represents all of the 28 or so individual rail franchises - take the cheapest train as they are pretty much all the same in what they offer IME.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 01:58 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,282
<>

If you choose the 11.21 KGX to York the National Rail site will redirect you to Grand Central as it's one of their trains. But you can also book the same train on the virgineastcoast site it doesn't matter - the train companies sell each other's tickets.

If, as you said earlier, you've registered on the virgineastcost site then just book it through them- - seems little point in giving your details to another website.

Grand Central is another train company offering a few trains per day between London and the north east of England.

If you want to save 60p (yes really!) the 11.08 train on the virgineastcoast site is £13.

My advice is to just stick with one company's website to buy tickets and virgineastcoast is as good as any.

If you're booking tickets from York to Edinburgh you may encounter anotger train company - Cross Country, but these can still be searched for and booked through virgineastcoast.

It's really not as complicated as it sounds - sometimes too much information causes confusion.
sofarsogood is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 03:01 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,856
If by Alfred Hitchcock you mean The 39 Steps . . . Definitely NOT Alfred Hitchcock! It is a farce, hysterically funny, VERY fast paced. It would be a terrific choice if the group has any knowledge of the original, and fun even if they've never heard of Hitchcock.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 03:08 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,856
Re the train . . . If an of you are seniors, definitely get the senior rail cards. You download the form and take them to the UK and pay for the rail cards at the station before you collect your tickets. You can book senior fares even though you don't yet have the cards in hand. Just as long as you pay for the cards before collecting the tickets - you can do both transactions at the same time.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2015, 05:03 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 911
I think I'm going to wait until tomorrow, then book thru the National site. Somehow I feel more comfortable with it, though I can't say why. I won't wait long though since the savings is significant. Thanks so much dotheboyshall, nyse, sofarsogood, Palenq, and janisj. If I have more trouble, I'll ask for help again.

The 39 Steps was the one I meant. We'll definitely consider it!

The senior railcard is 30GBP, so doesn't make any sense for us this time. But I can see it working at another time, hen we're staying longer in the UK.
kathleen is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 20th, 2015, 05:14 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
How much does the Senior Rail Card cost - is it too costly to make any difference in light of what you'd have to pay for it for just a few trips - well do the maths on www.nationalrail.co.uk - may not be worth it for a few trips or it may... but do not automatically buy the card - it costs about $50 so see if there will be at least that much savings over the cheapest fares available - can't see for a few trips worth the hassle but have not done the maths.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 20th, 2015, 05:16 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,856
Pencil it out but an advantage of the senior rail card is you can get first class tix at a significant savings so even w/ the cost of the rail card it makes 1st much more affordable.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 20th, 2015, 05:58 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,832
Note of caution. Whilst it is generally cheaper to book sooner rather than later, I have noticed when booking long distance rail fares that the price often drops to its lowest about 10-14 days after release. So whilst a fare booked the day the journey is released will indeed be cheaper than one booked on the day of travel, it is NOT necessarily the cheapest fare you will get. I've studied fares on the same route for literally weeks to draw this conclusion.

Look on the 'destination' tab on the Virgin site, which, once you've picked a destination, will give you a grid like arrangement of fares for any month. You will notice that the furthest away dates are higher than the rest of the grid. Follow the grid for a week or two and you will see those higher prices drop.
RM67 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 20th, 2015, 06:08 AM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 911
Thanks. I will look at the "grid".

Also I won't be using the senior rail cards. "Did the math" and isn't logical for these two journeys.
I do appreciate the help!
kathleen is online now  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:51 PM.