Travel guide for the UK

The cheapest ways to travel in the UK: Bus & Coach vs Train

This article was updated on September 28th, 2018.

There are many transportation options in the United Kingdom. However, comparing prices on the various bus and train websites can sometimes be exhaustive and time consuming.

This guide will help you be more efficient in the future and save you money by finding the cheapest bus or train fares.

As usual, take time to leave us a comment of your experiences below— it might come in handy to fellow travellers!

Travel by Bus and Coach in the UK

The United Kingdom is a wonderful country for travel. Within a small region, England, Scotland, Wales and the offshore islands offer beautiful landscapes that it’s really a shame not to experience some of it at the same time.

Travelling by coach in England isn’t always the fastest way but it will offer you the best views of the country and the cheapest fares.

Your best options:

If you are touring and plan to visit many areas, you should opt for the Brit Xplorer Pass provided by National Express. The pass starts from £79 for a 7-day unlimited access to any trips within the National Express network.

You can find great deals and cheap coach tickets starting from £1 with Megabus UK and National Express. If you want to take advantage of the lowest fares, make sure to plan your trip in advance and book early, as the earlier you book your trip, the better opportunity you have to get a cheap fare.

One of the convenient advantages is that most coach operators in the UK offer on-board WiFi, on national and even European services. Always useful so that you can catch up on work, do some travel planning or simply entertain yourself while travelling!

For an overview of all your bus and coach options and compare prices, view all coach routes in the United Kingdom.

Comparing Prices Between Coach and Train

Here’s what you should expect when travelling from London.

Prices Comparison For National Journeys by Coach and Train

From London to: By Coach By Train
Edinburgh £13 £34
Manchester £5 £35
Birmingham £2 £6
Liverpool £8 £25
Glasgow £11 £45
Oxford £30 £10
Bristol £5 £40
Brighton £6 £24
Cambridge £5 £9

 

Prices Comparison For European Journeys by Coach and Train

From London to: By Coach By Train
Paris £14 £70
Dublin £18 £32
Amsterdam £23 £55
Prague £36 £150
Barcelona £42 £100
Brussels £14 £46

 

* Prices based on lowest adult fares (no railcards required) available on busbud.com for coaches and nationalrail.co.uk for national trains and eurostar.com, thetrainline.com, bahn.de and capitainetrain.com for European trains for a one month advance booking for Friday, February 27th 2015.

 

Travel by train in the UK

When you travel within the United Kingdom and need to book a cheap train ticket, your best bet is to head on the National Rail Cheapest Fare Finder tool. Most train operators are listed on this source, it makes searching a way lot easier and faster.

For European journeys, Eurostar will cover most areas you need to go. You can easily find and book Eurostar train tickets with Trainline for all destinations such as Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. To get discounted train fares, you can refer friends to use their booking platform and, in exchange, you will receive travel credits which can sum up really fast.

You can always complete your trip to Ireland, Dublin or other offshore islands by looking up the multiple ferries leaving UK’s mainland.

The transportation network in the UK and around Europe is vastly developed. There are options for all types of travellers and needs. If you are in a hurry to get to destination, the train will bring you there faster. If you want to enjoy your trip, do some sightseeing or you are on a tight budget, the bus may be your best option.

Share your travel tips and preferences in the comment box below!



5 thoughts on “The cheapest ways to travel in the UK: Bus & Coach vs Train

  1. Hi! I would like to know how safe is to travel by bus with your family? The reason why I asked this is because in USA, for example, many citizens recommend you to take the train or plane, since buses are sometimes full of weird people, and that makes them a little bit dangerous.

  2. Thanks for the tips! Indeed, the UK is rich in tradition, complex in culture and endlessly diverse – a great place to visit. However, many tourist targeted scams are found here as well.

    Do be wary of the mock auction scam, sob story beggars, pickpockets, fake police, fake charity collectors, fake luxury products, the shell game, fake transport/theatre tickets, fake vouchers, bird poo scam, fake monks, falling lady scam, used travel card scam and many more! Hope this helps!

  3. While I realize it may not be the cheapest travel service, one option most people don’t consider in visiting the UK is to travel in style with a chauffeur service like Cars Exec at https://www.cars-exec.com. People think of such high-class taxi services for airport transfers only, but some also offer tourism trips. And over the past several years pricing has come down and it’s actually quite competitive with traditional taxi services. If you aren’t local to England and don’t know your way about, it’s nice to have a professional, knowledgeable driver to show you the best spots to visit.

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