UK train tickets - ticket types & discounts

Loco2 is connected to the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), which runs the centralised booking system for all rail operators (e.g. Virgin, First Great Western, Scotrail) in the UK. This means we sell the range of tickets for all journeys from all rail operators, with advance purchase discounts applied automatically.

If you are having trouble finding the journey or fare you want, try a search using "London (any station)" rather than a specific station, as not all fares are available from every station and it may be cheaper to book a different route.

Most UK trains open for booking 84 days (12 weeks) in advance and this is when you'll find the cheapest tickets. We always recommend booking as far in advance as possible to get the cheapest UK train tickets. For more details on booking horizons, please see How far in advance can I book?

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Train ticket types and discounts in the UK

Fare conditions vary, with the cheapest tickets offering the least flexibility while more expensive tickets are usually a bit more flexible. You should always check the fare conditions associated with your tickets before buying, and if necessary read more general information about Ticket Types: Fares & Flexibility.

Please note that train tickets within Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are currently not available on Loco2. However, trains to Belfast and Dublin (and some stations beyond the capitals) are available as part the SailRail offer from National Rail.

Fare type Details Price/Discount
Advance Non-flexible Advance fares are the cheapest train tickets in the UK. One-way tickets offer discounts of up to 80% compared to buying tickets on the day. Available up to 6pm or midnight the day before travel, depending on operator and availability. Note that sometimes UK train-operating companies provide further discounts on Advance tickets sold via their own website. This means that it can occasionally be possible to find cheaper tickets for UK trains when booking directly with the train-operating company. Up to 80% discount on walk-up fares.
Off-Peak Single Discounted tickets for travel at less popular times, bound to a specific date but not a particular train. Time restrictions vary by route and destination. Available in advance and on the day of travel. Variable depending on route operator
Off-Peak Open Return Off-Peak Open Return tickets are usually only slightly more expensive (sometimes as little as £1) than Off-Peak Single tickets so it's probably worth buying a return ticket even if you might not use the return portion. They offer a discount on Anytime tickets, for travel at less popular times. Available in advance and on the day of travel. Variable depending on route operator
Super Off-Peak Single A few train companies offer Super Off-Peak tickets for the least popular travel times, which vary by route and destination. Available in advance and on the day of travel. Variable depending on route operator
Super Off-Peak Open Return Super Off-Peak Open Return tickets are usually only slightly more expensive (sometimes only £1) than Super Off-Peak Single fares so it's probably worth buying a Return ticket even if you might not use it. Available in advance and on the day of travel. Variable depending on route operator
Anytime Single Super Off-Peak Open Return tickets are usually only slightly more expensive (sometimes only £1) than Super Off-Peak Single fares so it's probably worth buying a Return ticket even if you might not use it. Available in advance and on the day of travel. Full price tickets
Anytime Return Typically twice the price of two Anytime Single tickets. Full price tickets. Buy anytime, travel any time of day on your specified date. The outward journey must be made within 5 days of the date shown on the ticket and up until 04:29 the following morning; the return portion must be used within one calendar month and up to 04:29 the next morning. Full price tickets

Special offers for trains in the UK

In addition to the discounts offered on everyday tickets, each rail operator offers a range of special offers. Since there are 20 rail operators in the UK we don't maintain a list of all the special offers; a comprehensive list can be found on the National Rail website.

Special Offer Details Price/Discount
London Transfer If your journey involves travelling via, or across London to connect with another National Rail service, your ticket will normally include the cost of transfer on London Underground (Tube), Docklands Light Railway (DLR) or Thameslink services between the relevant main London stations. Look for the Ԡ' symbol, which is shown on eligible tickets. Free, included in the price of eligible tickets.
Children under 5 Up to two children under the age of 5 may accompany each fare-paying passenger free of charge, unless otherwise specified. Children who are travelling for free may only occupy a seat if it is not required by a fare-paying passenger. Free for eligible searches, will be applied automatically.
Children 5- 15 Children aged 5 to 15 can obtain a 50% discount. Proof of age may be requested on board the train. 50% off most tickets, will be applied automatically.
CIV Tickets CIV fares are special tickets for UK travellers connecting to international services (e.g. Eurostar). They have fewer time restrictions and offer protection for international travellers, when used in conjunction with your onward ticket. See Tickets to London St. Pancras International CIV for further information. Typically more expensive than Advance tickets, but cheaper than Anytime fares.
2FOR1 Offers in London Gain two-for-one entry to tourist attractions in London and the South East by presenting your National Rail ticket. Valid train tickets are eligible to obtain discount. See Days Out Guide.
SailRail to Ireland Cheap SailRail tickets are available between any station in Britain and rail stations in northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Rail and Sail tickets include train travel to designated ferry ports, passage on a ferry to Ireland and onward trains in Ireland, all on one ticket. Advance fares can be booked up to 18:00, 1 day in advance. Single tickets bought on the day are only slightly more expensive. Advance tickets from £39 one-way, Singles from £44 for an adult. Children are half price, under 5s are free.
GroupSave GroupSave offers groups of three to nine adults travelling together 1/3 off Off-Peak tickets on participating train company services. All members of the group must travel together for outward and return journeys. No card is required to access GroupSave discounts. 1/3 off Off-Peak tickets on participating train company services.

Railcard discounts in the UK

Railcards Details Price/Discount
Two Together Railcard

Discount card for two named adults, 1/3 off rail fares when they travel together by train.
Card costs £30 and is valid for one year. Get 1/3 (34%) off Standard Anytime, Off-Peak and Advance fares, with various time restrictions.
16-25 Railcard Youth travel card available for 16- to 25-year-olds, or full-time students.
Card costs £30 and is valid for one year. 1/3 (34%) off most rail fares throughout Great Britain, including all Standard and First Class Advance fares.
Family & Friends Railcard Family railcard offers discounts on small groups, up to four adults and four kids. Card costs £30 and is valid for one year. 1/3 (34%) off most adult fares and 60% off kids’ fares throughout Great Britain.
Senior Railcard Senior railcard for travellers over the age of 60. Card costs £30 and is valid for one year. Gives you 1/3 off most Standard and First Class rail fares throughout Great Britain.
Some important things to note:
  • All tickets and special offers are subject to availability.
  • Please refer to the fare conditions for applicable terms.
  • Tickets are available in GBP or converted in Euros
  • We aim to keep this information up to date, but it should be referred to as a guide only. Please let us know if you think something needs updating.

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