Train Tickets in the UK

Book all cheap trains in Great Britain

Rail map UK

Rail map UK

Train Tickets in the UK

How to book cheap train tickets in the UK? 

Book as early as possible - it can save you up to 70%! 

There are three different fare types in the UK: advanced, off peak, peak. The cheapest option are almost always the "advanced" train tickets. You can book this tickets far ahead - the booking horizons depend per rail operator - and you have to travel on the selected time and date. It's often not possible to cancel or change the tickets. 

If you want more flexibility, choose the off peak tickets.  The big plus is that you can choose your own train times on the travel date, but the disadvantage is that you can't travel during peak hours.  

Seat Reservations

Is it possible to book seat reservations in the UK? 
On most trains seat reservations are possible, but not on all. Most local trains - often only with second class carriages - do not offer the possibility to make reservations.   

Are seat reservations required? 
No - on all trains in the UK you can just hop on board and find a free seat.  

Are seat reservation included if I book online? 
If you book first class tickets online and reservations are possible for your journey, a seat reservation is automatically included. For second class tickets this is not the case.  

If you have a BritRail Pass, first or second class, you need to make reservations at the ticket office. This is not required - you can take any train and just find a free seat, seat reservations are optional in the end. 

Is it necessary to book seat reservation in the UK?
General speaking: no - if you travel outside peak hours, after 09h30 AM, it’s almost always possible to find a free seat, in most cases many seats are free and it’s very easy to pick one. But if you travel during peak hours or on busier routes like Manchester to York or London to Oxford, it’s recommended to book a seat in advance. 

Is it possible to book seats online?  
No, it’s not possible to book seats online. You can only make reservations at the ticket office at stations or through the contact centre of the rail operator (keep in mind that there are 30 operators in the UK, check your ticket to see which operator serves your route) 

The pre-booking period for seat reservations depends per rail operator: it’s at least 2 hours in advance, but most of the time it’s 1 day before departure. This means you can’t book reservations just before the train departs.

What are the costs of seat reservations in the UK? 
The reservations are free and nameless, which sounds good, but in reality this means there is a lot of “abuse” and many reserved seats are not taken.

BritRail - Rail Pass UK (only for non-UK residents)

A BritRail Pass is often much cheaper than multiple point-to-point tickets

With the Britrail Pass you can travel on the great rail network of the National Rail. This covers most UK Rail Operators such as Arriva Trains Wales, First Great Western Trains, Chiltern Railways, East Coast, Northern Rail, Virgin Trains, First Scotrail, Greater Anglia and many more.

Travel by Virgin

2nd class

  • Comfortable seats
  • Seat reservations are optional
  • At-seat catering is available 
  • Free wifi 

1st class 

  • Comfortable seats with more leg room
  • Solo seats 
  • A seat reservation is included if you buy online 
  • Quiet atmosphere
  • Power sockets at all seats 
  • Free wifi 
  • Free meal 
  • Free drinks
  • Free newspaper

More info

Travel by Great Western Railways

2nd class

  • Comfortable seats
  • Seat reservations are optional
  • At-seat catering is available on most trains 
  • Free wifi 

1st class 

  • Comfortable seats with more leg room
  • Solo seats 
  • Reservation if you buy online 
  • Quiet atmosphere
  • Power sockets at all seats 
  • Free wifi 
  • Free drinks and light refreshment are included on all long distance trains

More info

Travel by Eurostar

Routes: 

2nd class

  • Comfortable seats
  • Reservation included
  • Bistro coach where drinks, snacks and small meals are available for sale
  • Free wifi on services operated by the new E320-trains between London and Paris
  • Power sockets in the new E320-trains and coaches 5 and 14 in the older trains
  • Check-in closes 30 minutes before departure

Standard Premier class 

  • Comfortable seats with more leg room
  • Reservation included
  • Quiet atmosphere
  • Power points at all seats 
  • Free wifi on services operated by the new E320-trains between London and Paris
  • A light cold meal served at your seat is included in the price
  • Check-in closes 30 minutes before departure

Business Premier Class 

  • Comfortable seats with more leg room
  • Reservation included
  • Quiet atmosphere
  • Power points at all seats 
  • Fully flexible tickets
  • Acces to the Business Premier lounges with free drinks, snacks and wifi
  • Free wifi on services operated by the new E320-trains between London and Paris
  • A warm three-course meal served at your seat is included in the price
  • Check-in closes 10 minutes before departure

  • Eurostar - More info and photos