A few thoughts on how to make train travel and public transit easier in the UK. We’ve got family visiting and have supplied them with some advice, which I’ve also compiled below.
Make a plan for getting to your hotel from the airport. Most airports are connected by rail to the cities and are easily accessible. I usually fly in and out of Manchester airport, which has a train station in it.
Before you decide to hire a car, check if it might be better to travel by train. The trains are pretty effective and dealing with a car in a city can be a bit of a nightmare.
The cheapest train fares are found 12 to 16 weeks out, so book ahead, but not too far ahead. I generally check The Train Line website for ticket prices.
If you have a tight train connection, (sometimes they are only 5 minutes or so) see if you can check what platform you’ll arrive into and where your next train leaves from. I’ve found the National Rail app pretty helpful for this.
If you’re looking for your connection on the display board at the train station, check by departure time, not destination because if you aren’t going to the last stop, your destination may not be highlighted. (For example, if you are traveling to Leeds, but the train carries on to York, it may just be listed as the York train).
You can eat and drink on the trains! Which is great if you are catching a Friday night train and want to get the party started early. Or even on a day time train, it can be pleasant eating lunch and looking out the window.
Check construction works. Especially around bank holidays or Christmas. We didn’t, and are now driving 4.5 hours to Heathrow because we didn’t realize Virgin trains don’t run on Boxing Day. Don’t make that mistake!
Hope all you readers enjoy the holidays and have a merry Christmas!