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Bristol to London commute

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Illinois
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Bristol to London commute

I have a friend who is planning a trip to London next summer (2013). She will be traveling with her mother and 18 year old son. Her plan was to stay with relatives, and of course she would like my advice as I have been to London several times.

However, I recently found out that the relatives live in Bristol, which IMO is not exactly close to London. I have suggested that she stay in London and given her links to TexScott's budget hotels and flats lists. However, I am trying to figure out the options if she still wants to stay with her relatives.

So far I have found a BritExplorer pass on National Express which seems to cost £79 each for 7 days of unlimited travel. With this it seems that she could travel in and out of London on any bus that is not full for £79. However, the bus ride is about 3 hours, so not overly practical. It looks like booking in advance you could get a return for about £10-12, so the pass doesn't save a ton of money except that it doesn't seem you would be locked into the specific bus as I think you are with an advance fare.

On National Rail, it looks like the journey from Bristol Parkway (is that the main station in Bristol?) is about 1h 45m (which seems more reasonable if still not ideal) and advance fares seem to be in the range of £50 return. I see a season ticket for £181.40 for 7 days (about £26/day), which I assume would allow them to travel on any train (that goes through or stops at Warminster or Salisbury - no idea if that's most of the trains or not). It doesn't seem to have off peak restrictions.

Is there some other discount that would be better that I am missing? Maybe groupsave? I don't know how to find those fares.

Is the Warminster/Salisbury a major restriction? I tried putting via Salisbury into the journey planner and it increased the trip duration to 3h. However, I think via means changing trains or at least stopping at Salisbury, and I don't know if that's the same as the restriction on the season ticket. Without that restriction, the season ticket goes up to £300 ish, at which point I think a hotel in London would be cheaper.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Amsterdam, The...
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11. Re: Bristol to London commute

I just looked at the Tune hotels in London. Three nights at the one near Westminster (just the other side of Waterloo Station from Westminster Bridge) has rooms from only £130 for three nights (cheaper if you don't need a room with a window).

They should really stay in London for at least two or three days but convincing them seems to be an issue. Good luck.

tunehotels.com/our-hotels/westminster-london

UK
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12. Re: Bristol to London commute

They did say they would be happy (in fact, I think they insisted) to pick them up at Heathrow.

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Then the perfect logistics would be, they arrive at LHR, get whisked off to Bristol, spend a few days there exploring, plenty to see.

Then go back to London (pretty cheap if booked in advance middle of the day), have a few days in London, then its an easy journey from London to LHR for flight back.

As you say, all you can do is recommend and let her make the decision now.

Unfortunately once people get an idea in their minds such as "oooh I can stay in London for free" then however impractical or costly it turns out to be, they often tend to stick to their first thought - "never mind if I'm saving more than hotel fare by not commuting and not using up 3 hours a day and getting a longer time in London, and can do more, its free!" :-)

Do let us know what happens :-)

13. Re: Bristol to London commute

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Amsterdam, The...
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14. Re: Bristol to London commute

I think what you also should point out to your friend is that they are relying on 100% efficiency in the UK transport network. What happens if they are delayed or suffer train cancellations.

Also take into account that on long distance train they will need to have specific reservations. Miss their train and it will become very costly.

The more you think about this the crazier the idea gets.

UK
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15. Re: Bristol to London commute

another travel option could be the much-maligned Raileurope pass.

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You probably mean Britrail. And that does look pretty good for one person.

£99 for 3 days at the moment, normally £125.

With three people though, thats still £99-£125 a day they could put towards a 3 night hotel stay in london and cut out the commute.

london
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16. Re: Bristol to London commute

Firstly 'Bristol' is a big place.

If they live far from the train station, then it's going to take a lot longer.

What is their postcode?

Secondly, a weekly season ticket for Bristol - London is £287, or £861 for 3, £41/day.

A Britrail England Consecutive pass costs:

$427 for 3 days (£30 pp/day)

$539 for 4 days (£30 pp/day)

$765 for 8 days (£20 pp/day)

A Britrail England Flexipass costs:

$545 for 3 days in 2 months (£40 pp/day)

$677 for 4 days in 2 months (£35 pp/day)

$969 for 8 days in 2 months (£25 pp/day)

A Britrail London Plus Pass costs:

$447 for 2 days in 8 (£50 pp/day)

$855 for 7 days in 15 (£25 pp/day)

From Bristol Temple Meads, the main station in Bristol, it's 1 hr 45 minutes to Paddington, and a bit more from there on to where you are going.

Booking far in advance you should be able to do a day trip from Bristol to London for £42, arriving in London around 10:30am (on a weekend you could get there earlier than that for that price).

The Britrail pass is therefore a much better deal, because you can use it on any train, including the expensive morning trains, and no booking is required.

There's nothing wrong with staying near Bristol, but I would suggest that you base your holiday around that fact, rather than trying to go into London too much - a trip based on visiting in and around Bristol is not objectively worse than one based in London, it just depends what you want to do. But certainly going into London every day would be crazy, given that the round trip journey is going to be something like five hours.

Southampton
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17. Re: Bristol to London commute

Bristol is really nice and has lots of attractions such as SS Great Britain. Also it is close to Bath and Cardiff if they lose interest in the city. Convince your friends to have a lovely holiday in Bristol with a day trip to London at some point. There are plenty of people who come for holidays in London who seem to spend half their time on bus trips to exactly the area your friends are staying in.

18. Re: Bristol to London commute

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