Find out how to get cheaper train tickets
We have created the below handy guide aimed at consumers who are looking to get their train tickets cheaper through discounts, promotions, deals, pricing errors and anything else we can find.
Travelling in the UK can sometimes be off-putting as public transport tends to be so expensive. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to some of the best deals available, so you can see the UK by bus or train without breaking the bank. All information is current at the time of listing, but it’s always worth checking the individual websites to make sure.
Travel with Megabus for £1 (or use your Tesco Clubcard vouchers)
Train and coach fares across the UK and Europe start from as little as £1 each way, plus a 50p booking fee. Naturally, these deals sell out very quickly, so it’s advisable to book as early as you can and be flexible about when you travel. However, Megabus regularly offers plenty of coach and train journeys for under £10 throughout the UK.
You can also use your Tesco Clubcard vouchers for Megabus and Megatrain travel in the UK and Europe, with every £5 of vouchers getting you £10 of travel. Tesco Clubcard vouchers can also be used for discounts on cheap rail travel site Red Spotted Hanky, or for half price National Railcards.
Train Travel from £5 with Southern Railway
Southern Railway is offering over one million tickets priced at £5, £8 and £10 for customers booking in advance online. Tickets are released 12 weeks before the travel date, so it’s advisable to book as early as possible, although cheap fares may be available up to 6.00pm the day before you travel. Tickets are released weekly, so keep checking their website. You must be registered with Southern Railway to be eligible, but you can use this offer in conjunction with railcard discounts for an even bigger saving.
Southern Railway also offers a Day Save ticket which gives you unlimited off-peak travel across their whole network, for £17.90 when you book online. Tickets must be purchased at least three days before you travel.
Rangers and Rovers
Rangers and Rovers are types of tickets which allow passengers to travel for a set time period, usually 24-48 hours but sometimes more throughout a specific region. If you are on a day trip or making multiple journeys, even if its just a return trip you could save money with a ranger or rover ticket.
Add a Second Adult Rail Passenger for Half Price
Several UK rail companies are currently running Duo offers, where one passenger gets 50% off when two adults are travelling together, so if you split the cost, you’ll each receive 25% off. Greater Anglia, Northern Rail and Gatwick Express are all running similar schemes, except different terms and conditions apply to each one. Details can be found on their websites.
Virgin Trains Advanced Travel
Virgin Trains have a handy search tool designer to find advanced train tickets which are usually priced much cheaper than when booking nearer to the travel date.
Group Rail Travel Discounts
Virgin East Coast is currently offering discounts of 25% on advance standard and first class tickets for groups of three to nine people when you book online.
Chiltern Railways also offer generous discounts with their Groupsave tickets, which allow four adults to travel when only two pay, so it’s half price if you all split the fare. In addition, up to four children ages five to 15 travel for £1 each, with under-fives travelling free. This offer is only available at off-peak times, and you must all be travelling together.
Rail Discounts for Students
The 16-25 Railcard offers 34% off train travel for anyone 16 to 25 years of age, and those over 25 who are in full-time education. At present, NUS Extra cardholders can get a 12% discount off a 16-25 Railcard by logging in via this link. This will give you a promotional code which you can then enter on the 16-25 Railcard website to receive the discount.
TransPennine Express are currently offering 50% off train travel for 16-25 Railcard holders when you book online by 6.00pm the day before you travel.
Students and graduates can also get an additional 10% discount on selected CrossCountry trains if you have an NUS Extra or Apprentice Extra card and book in advance online.
Rail Discounts for Seniors
The Senior Railcard offers discounts of 34% on regional and national rail travel for those aged over 60.
Seniors living in London can benefit from two schemes that allow them free and cheap travel on public transport including the Tube, National Rail, Overground and buses. The first of these, the Freedom Pass, has some pretty confusing eligibility criteria, so it’s worth using the Freedom Pass Calculator to see if you can apply.
The 60+ Oyster Card costs a one-off fee of £20 and offers you free travel nearly all the time on London’s public transport. It’s available to those who are not yet eligible for a Freedom Pass.
Rail Discounts for Children
Throughout the UK, children under five travel free and those aged five to 15 pay half fare. However, Southeastern Trains are currently allowing kids to travel for as little as £1 return. Up to four children aged five to 15 can take advantage of this offer when they are accompanied by one paying adult. The offer is valid on off-peak trains, and child tickets must be booked at the same time as an adult off-peak, super off-peak or season ticket. Further details are available on the Southeastern Trains website.
Travel by Train, Save on the Bus
Plusbus are offering unlimited bus or tram travel in a city you have travelled to by train, for as little as £2 when you buy online from one of the rail firms listed on the Plusbus site, or purchase your tickets at the station. The offer can be used on either an outward or return journey.
Loyalty Points with Arriva Buses
Arriva is now offering loyalty points in conjunction with MyIce when you buy Arriva bus season tickets or Smartrider cards. Points can be spent on further bus travel if you want. The scheme only applies on Arriva routes outside London.
Cheap Coach Travel in and around London
The Oxford Tube coach service is currently offering adult single tickets between Oxford and London for as little as £15, with returns starting at £18. Students, children and the over-60s receive further discounts. Tickets are available a month in advance from the Oxford Tube website.
Easybus is offering discount fares to Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports for as little as £2 return from various locations in central and west London. Tickets can be bought at your departure point or booked online, and you don’t have to be flying to use the service.