Cheap train tickets in the United Kingdom, are out there and we’ve made it our mission to help you find them.
When it comes to cheap train tickets, one rule is more important than the rest—book in advance! By doing so, you can get great prices for destinations all over the UK including London, Manchester and Edinburgh—you can even find cheap tickets to European destinations, too!
Left things too late to book in advance? Don’t panic! We’ve got plenty of other tips to help you find last-minute cheap UK train tickets.
Looking for cheap train tickets to London or Manchester? Well, there’s a knack to finding cheap train tickets and luckily for you, we’re pros—from the obvious (booking in advance) to the more subtle (opting for Super Off-peak times), we’re here to guide you through the best hacks to finding cheap train tickets online.
What buying an Advance ticket means:
Advance tickets go on sale way before the day of travel (usually around three months).
The earlier you buy an Advance ticket, the cheaper they are, however, they are non-refundable, so be sure to book the right journey!
Advance tickets can only be bought as singles and are only valid for the train the ticket was booked for, making them non-flexible.
If you buy an Advance ticket with Omio, it means you won’t have any stress at the station as your ticket will already be on your phone. We’ll also remind you about your upcoming trip, so you don’t have to overthink it.
Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak—what’s the T(icket)?
Off-Peak tickets are available outside of commuter hours and are a great way to get discount train tickets. Their availability varies on the route, time of travel and day of the week.
Buy at any time—both in advance and on the day of travel. If you’ve bought in advance, you can change the date for a fee—this makes Off-Peak tickets semi-flexible.
Good news! You can find Off-Peak tickets during the weekend, great for day trips or weekends away. Off-peak returns are available, too.
A rare beast, the Super Off-Peak ticket works in the same way as Off-Peak but with more restrictions on when you can travel.
Save money, buy a railcard
Choosing the right railcard can seem daunting but once you do, you can get up to 50 percent off each journey, which helps you save money in the long run. Best of all, you can use your railcards on Omio!
With many different railcards available, it’s important to find the right one for you—take a look at the different types below.
Who’s it for
For anyone between the ages of 16 and 17
For anyone between the ages of 16-25 and mature students in full-time education
For anyone between the ages of 26-30
For anyone aged 60 or over
For two people, aged 16 or over, who travel together often
⅓ off when travelling together.
Family & Friends Railcard
For up to four adults travelling with four children aged 5-15
⅓ off for adults / 60% off for children
Disabled Persons Railcard
For anyone with a disability that makes travel difficult
⅓ off for you and a friend
For anyone in London and the south-east, aged 16 or over
With the Omio app, you don’t need to worry about getting your tickets at the train station as they’ll already be on your phone! Mobile tickets are available for all train journeys in the UK, so if you have our app, all your tickets will be saved directly to your account.
Still got a Nokia 3310? Nice but sadly, our app doesn’t support those, meaning, you’ll need to collect your tickets at the station.
When you arrive at the station, head to one of the automated ticket machines, select “collect” tickets and enter your reference number. You’ll then need to insert the card you used to make your booking. Once the machine has found your tickets, it will print them for you.
Trains on Bank Holidays are often off-peak, which is cheaper than travelling on a normal weekday. However, maintenance work usually takes place on Bank Holidays so it could affect your journey. We recommend checking with the train company you’ll be travelling with before booking to see if there’ll be any disruptions to your journey.
Second class has more basic amenities, with smaller seats and fewer perks. However, you will still have access to toilets, charging stations and occasionally, a trolley service. Second Class is more affordable, so is the better choice if you’re looking for cheap tickets.
First Class is more expensive, but you also get more for your money. You’ll have more space and more benefits, such as free WiFi and snacks. Tickets are often more expensive, but it is worth taking a look if you’re booking in advance as you can usually find a bargain.
If you can travel after 9.30 a.m., that means you are entitled to an Off-Peak ticket, which is cheaper than an Anytime ticket. Also, if you can avoid popular times to travel, i.e. Friday evening, you’ll be able to find cheaper tickets.
The rule of thumb is that peak train times are similar to commuting hours, so between 6am and 10am and 3pm and 7pm.
Peak train times vary throughout the UK so it is best to check with the train company you’ll be travelling with to find out theirs.
An Anytime ticket allows you to travel on any train at any time for your desired journey. Buying an Anytime ticket means you have the utmost flexibility, but that comes at a cost. We suggest avoiding these if you’re looking for cheap tickets.
UK train companies
With 28 different train companies, train travel in the UK can be hard to navigate. The good news is they all offer the same ticket types so if you’re looking for cheap tickets, you’ll know which ones to look for. Below, you’ll find a list of the most popular train companies in the UK and what they offer.
Please note, as a safety precaution, it is now a requirement that face masks be worn on all train journeys throughout the UK.
Serves the areas of Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk as well as some of London and Hertfordshire. Abellio Greater Anglia operates at roughly 150 stations and also operates the Stansted Express airport service from London Liverpool Street.
On mainline services, coach B is the designated quiet coach, but only on the service between London and Norwich
There are baggage storage areas on most services
Up to two dogs, or other domestic animals, can travel with passengers
All trains come with accessible toilets
Bicycles are allowed on board free of charge, space permitting. On busy routes, such as London to Norwich, a place must be booked in advance
Connects London with the south-east of England, the West Midlands, north-west England and Scotland. In terms of population and use it is regarded as the most important rail route and serves over 50 stations.
Children under the age of five travel for free. Children aged between five and 15 can travel at a discounted price
There are baggage racks for passengers to use, and a designated baggage area for larger bags
Bikes are allowed on trains free of charge as long as they have a reservation
Up to two pets per passenger are allowed free of charge
There are power sockets, free WiFi and a quiet zone in each train