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Best trains?

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Island of Malta...
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Best trains?

We are planning an 11-day stay next Jul/Aug, & we'll be based in London Euston but plan to visit The Cotswolds, Leeds & Windsor. Which trains are the best priced? I went on the national rail site but got confused with all the prices and different trains available. We're a family of 4 with kids from 11 up. Will the travel card help?

Kent, UK
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1. Re: Best trains?

Windsor - direct train from Waterloo, or from Paddington with one change at Slough.

Do you want to go to Leeds or Leeds Castle because they are not the same.

Where abouts in the Cotswolds do you want to go? A lot of them aren't easily accessible by train.

Edited: 10:39 am, December 25, 2012
Kent, UK
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2. Re: Best trains?

A Travelcard is no good for any of those, although you may be able to use one together with an additional ticket if you have some already, to save money.

Edited: 10:54 am, December 25, 2012
Island of Malta...
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3. Re: Best trains?

Leeds Castle rather than Leeds. Regarding Cotswolds I think it's better to take an excursion because as you said they are not easily accessible. Maybe we should join Londonwalks

West London
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4. Re: Best trains?

Yes, the British rail system is hellishly over-complicated.

I went on a tour of the Cotswolds starting in Oxford with these people, and enjoyed it:

http://www.cotswold-roaming.co.uk/

A "Family & Friends railcard" gives you a 1/3 off many train prices but costs £28, so it may or may not be useful to you.

Canterbury, United...
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5. Re: Best trains?

The National Rail website can be confusing as it's an umbrella website representing all of the UK's train operating companies; when you click Buy Now it will open a new window taking you to the appropriate train operating company's portal.

The only trains for Leeds Castle (nearest station: Bearsted) is the Southeastern Trains service departing from Victoria for which the walk-up fares are the same as advance fare (although sometimes the Southeastern website runs a seasonal promotions giving an online discount) - the main price differences you need to be aware of will concern your departure times: "anytime" or "off-peak". Off-peak is the cheaper and is for departures after 09:30 Mon-Fri and all-day Sat/Sun/public holidays.

The one-off cost for the railcard is less likely to pay for itself if you are only making two or three journeys. Have a look at GroupSave instead which allows 3 or 4 people to travel off-peak for the price of two on many networks. nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/…details.html

Southeastern Trains also has a Kids For A Quid offer which may work out better southeasternrailway.co.uk/destinations/…

You can also get discounted entry to attractions with your rail ticket. Leeds Castle is often on the 2 for 1 offer from Visit Kent on certain dates http://www.visitkentoffers.co.uk/

I think (but not totally certain) that the South West Trains service from Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside walk up fare is the same as advance too. South West Trains also has a combined ticket for Windsor Castle www.southwesttrains.co.uk/windsor-castle.aspx

Kent, UK
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6. Re: Best trains?

>>The only trains for Leeds Castle (nearest station: Bearsted) is the Southeastern Trains service departing from Victoria for which the walk-up fares are the same as advance fare <<

>>I think (but not totally certain) that the South West Trains service from Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside walk up fare is the same as advance too.<<

There aren't any Advance fares on either of those routes.

Island of Malta...
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7. Re: Best trains?

Thanks to all of you for your replies. It IS undoubtedly complicated, since there are numerous trains available. How is the tourist supposed to know which train goes where? And from which station it leaves??

Stirling, United...
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8. Re: Best trains?

The online journey planners give you all the train times and if your departure station is London (All) or London (Terminals) will tell you which station the train departs from.

The attraction's own website will usually tell you the nearest station(s) and often the routes served.

U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London
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9. Re: Best trains?

Here is the info you need for taking the train for Windsor.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g186419-c157699/Winds…

If you scroll to the bottom, Southwest trains offers a discounted Castle entry ticket when you purchase it at the same time as your train ticket. It saves an adult 2.90 GBP.

Different rail companies work out of and to different locales. From Paddington to Windsor, for example, you would use First Great Western. You can't "choose" to use a different company between those two places.

You can choose, instead, to go from Waterloo to Windsor, and then you would travel with Southwest trains--and only Southwest trains.

Really, you just buy your train ticket and go--you needn't worry about the "best" train company.

You may consider going to the Cotswolds--which are not awash in train stations--with London Walks, who host forays there on the weekends.

walks.com/Standalone/…default.aspx

Surrey UK
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10. Re: Best trains?

This map may help

tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/london-rail-and-…

Or this one

nationalrail.co.uk/passenger_services/maps/L…

Or this one

nationalrail.co.uk/passenger_services/maps/n…