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AnnDe
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Posted 4 weeks ago

I'm from Greece and on July 15th I'm planning a train trip to the United Kingdom, a 60th birthday present. I was born 6/2/1964, first question can I have the senior citizen discount? my plan is to use the interrail pass for 2 months. I would like to tour Cornwall, Wales, Scotland maybe if I can get to the Orkneys islands.
I've traveled many times by train for long periods. London is the only city I have visited in the UK. I traveled a year ago for a month in Ireland. for this particular trip I cannot make a plan. I intend to stay in hostels and go from city to city. Do you have any design to recommend? any cities where i can stay and do day trips around? such as Cornwall, Wales, etc.
If you can recommend me any site or blog Thank you very much.
I'm sorry for my poor english
Anna

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MisterSteve
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813 comments

replied 4 weeks ago

your english is fine if you mean your birthday is 6th February, if it's 2nd June then your american is good enough. This is a key point when making reservations and dating passes! Either way you will be 60 before 15th July so can have the senior pass. Exactly which pass is more complicated than you think. For a two month validity you would need a Global pass but if you intend to fly to Britain there may be a cheaper option. For rail travel only in Great Britain you have a confusing choice Interrail One Country Great Britain (which covers all 3 countries) but that only goes to a one month validty or the one that gets missed - the Britrail Pass which is seperate from Interrail and claims to have a two month version (which might be a mistake). Britrail is directly marketed by the train operators in Britain at https://www.britrail.com/ but with one mad point -they don't sell it! Sales are done through an agent, usually ACP Rail https://www.acprail.com/rail-passes/britrail/ even if you go for Inerrail, ACP have a good map at https://www.acprail.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/britrail-map-2022-scaled.jpg

Britrail Scotland only gets some discounts on Scottish ferries, I'm not sure whether the full pass does (logically it should).

We have no major royal events or football tournaments this year which have caused accomodation shortages for the past couple of years but we still have ongoing train strikes in England (like this week). These will not end before the next national election which is supposed to be this year but there is no fixed date. Trains operated by Scotrail and Transport for Wales are not affected by this (those operated by GWR, Avanti, Cross Country and LNER into Scotland or Wales are affected). Strikes are alwasy announced at least 14 days in advance and are normally 1 or 2 days so with your flexible plan you should be able to skip them.

Reservations are never compulsory in GB but are advised on trains England - Scotland, and London - Cornwall. However, these trains always have around 60 seast which are not reserved so if you are in the line at that gate at the London station early you should be able to find a spare seat. Reservations are FREE from any station ticket office with a reservation terminal - do not pay the stupid prices charged by Interrail or ACP!!!!

Since you've been to Ireland the fact that neither Interrail One Country GB nor Britrail covers Northern Ireland shouldn't be a problem.

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MisterSteve
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813 comments

replied 4 weeks ago

PS if flying you can avoid London, for example easyjet offer Athens to Manchester or Edinburgh

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AnnDe
Traveller
4 comments

replied 4 weeks ago

Thanks for answers! I'm thinking to buy "global pass 2 months in a row"

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AnnDe
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replied 4 weeks ago

Is there anything else at a better price if you want to travel for 2 months or so?
I will choose a flight to London, I find very good prices

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AnnDe
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replied 4 weeks ago

do you see it as a good idea to start my trip from Cornwall and head to Wales and be in Scotland Edinburgh beginning of august?

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MisterSteve
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813 comments

replied 4 weeks ago

London flights give problems, the first being London! If you don't want to be there it's best to avoid, it's expensive and the trains to your other locations can be very full. If you had to stay a night in london just to get the cheaper flight you could lose the saving on the accomodation. Also only City airport is actually in London but won't have cheap flights. Heathrow is a long way out of the centre, but is the best London Airport to reach Cornwall and South Wales if you use the bus link to Reading and stay out of London. Gatwick is half way to Brighton so is wrong direction for everywhere. Stansted and Luton are a long way north of London, you can reach Scotland without going through London but Cornwall is a long journey.

I've just noticed that easyjet has Athens to Bristol flights shown, this would be the very best for Cornwall, even if more expensive than London. I would try a mix of easyjet Bristol arrival and Edinburgh departure (or other way around).

Edinburgh is VERY busy in August because of the arts festival (for nearly the whole month) - accomodation within 100km will be expensive and may already be fully reserved.

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MisterSteve
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813 comments

replied 4 weeks ago

The IR two month continuous Global Pass is the cheapest if you use it every day. But you won't because any time on ferries and the islands won't be included. Whether the One Country flex pass will become cheaper depends on how many days you will be using trains in your plan. I can't see Britrail prices because ACP won't display to UK IP addresses.

For locations to stay, Cornwall will be busy and expensive for your whole trip, inland locations are cheaper. In North Wales Llandudno is a very good base town for several days - the station "Llandudno" is in the centre, station "Llandudno Junction" is about 6km away, it has more trains and is about 1.5km from the centre of Conwy which is smaller and very old. Rail travel around Wales has a problem with gaps but the Trawscymru bus network will connect them (not included in rail pass but not expensive). The T4 from Cardiff to Newtown, T1 from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth and T2 from Porthmadog to Bangor fill the big gaps. https://images-transportforwales.passenger-website.com/2023-07/TfW_Bus_Network_Map-web%20V2%20July%202023.pdf https://traws.cymru/en

In northern England, Liverpool and Manchester are each worth at least a day trip but are so close you should pick one as a base and travel to the other when needed, Manchster has direct trains to Glasgow or Edinburgh, both have good train services to Llandudno. York is worth 2 or 3 days and has frequent trains from Manchester, Edinburgh and some other places in Scotland.

In Scotland, your pass is valid on the Scotrail normal trains on the West Highland Railway (Harry Potter viaduct) but not on the steam train.

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AnnDe
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4 comments

replied 3 weeks ago

Thanks

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nltrainer
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1310 comments

replied 3 weeks ago

There is NO continuous 2-MO BR Pass. There is only a pass for up to 1 mo continuous OR for 15 days in 2 month (Passdays).
Most SNR discounts in GB are only for those who actually live there.

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MisterSteve
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replied 3 weeks ago

"Most SNR discounts in GB are only for those who actually live there." WRONG WRONG WRONG

The national Senior Railcard can be bought by anyone of the correct age. Tickets with the discount can be bought in advance online without the card (so you can reserve and get cheaper prices) as long as the card is bought before the first train journey. Any discounts shown simply by age without a railcard are available to anyone of the correct age (which might vary between offers!) . The thing available ONLY to residents are the 4 seperate nation bus passes (or London all transport Freedom pass) for people of the correct age and these are only valid in one country.