diamond geezer

 Wednesday, March 23, 2011

As I discovered at the weekend, it's expensive taking the train when you don't want to return from the same station you first arrived at. If only I'd known there was a special Rail Rover ticket before I set out, I could have saved pounds. So I've done some research into special rail deals that provide a bargain price for unlimited journeys over a certain area over a certain period. What follows is incomplete, but might be useful to you one day.
(Be warned that most of the tickets are valid off-peak only, i.e. from 09:30-ish on weekdays)
(For a proper job check out National Rail's full list, or the much friendlier RailRover website detailing 88 UK-wide possibilities)


UK
» All Line Rover: for true rail addicts, allows unlimited travel on most National Rail services at any time for 7 or 14 consecutive days (7 days £430) (14 days £650)

Scotland
» Central Scotland Rover: As many off-peak trains as you like between Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and thereabouts (3 days out of 7, £33)
» Highland Rover: Ride the romantic lines to Mallaig, Kyle of Lochalsh, Wick, Inverness, Aberdeen (4 days out of 7, £74)
» Freedom of Scotland Rover: Pretty much the whole of Scotland (4 days out of 8, £121.80) (8 days out of 15, £163.40)

Wales
» Eight Day All Wales Explorer: Covers all trains in Wales for eight days, obviously, but also buses [leaflet] (8 days £84)
» South Wales Explorer/North & Mid Wales Explorer: Similar, but geographically restricted (8 days £57)
» Various Welsh 1-day rovers are also available (here's Ian on a North Wales Rover)

North
» Northern Rail Rover: There are three of these, between them covering the whole of Northern England. Choose between North West, North Country and North East. As an example of what you can do with one, here's Ian's in-depth account of four days using the North West Rover (4 days out of 8, from £74-£79)
» Coasts and Peaks Rover: From Holyhead to Sheffield, Liverpool to Derby and Manchester to Shrewsbury, this covers a vast area (4 days out of 8, £60)
» Day Ranger: There are tons of these, usually restricted to a compact geographical area or a single line. Ride from Settle to Carlisle to your heart's content for £26, for example, if you're a viaduct fan. One of the most expensive is the Cumbria Day Ranger at £36, while the freedom of East Lancashire is only a tenner.

East
» Anglia Plus: Spend a day (or three) travelling wherever you like within an area bounded approximately by Cambridge, Ely, Ipswich and the Norfolk Coast [map] (1 day £15) (3 days out of 7, £30) (children £2)
» East Midlands Rover: If you've ever felt the need to ride between Bedford, Cleethorpes and Stoke for a week, this one's for you (7 days, £87.40) (or 1 day, £29, over a smaller area)

Southwest/West
» Freedom of Devon & Cornwall: [map] (3 days out of 7, £40)
» Freedom of South West: [map] (3 days out of 7, £70)
» Freedom of Severn and Solent: [map] (3 days out of 7, £40)
» Freedom of Heart of England: Birmingham and miles (and miles) around [map] (3 days out of 7, £67.20)
» Ride Cornwall Ranger: Now this is a bargain (although actually getting to Cornwall may break the bank) (1 day, £10)
» West Midlands Ranger: Crewe, Hereford, Rugby, Brum Brum [map] (1 day, £20)

South
» Kent Rover: The whole of Kent, should you fancy three days sampling the whole of Kent [map] (3 days, £35)
» All Network Downlander: Allows one day's unlimited off-peak travel on any of Southern's services (right up to London) plus unlimited bus travel within the South Downs area. You have to book online, at least two days in advance (1 day, £12.50)
» Oxfordshire Day Ranger: Compass points from Oxford [map] (1 day, £13)
» Thames Rover: Banbury to Basingstoke and London Paddington [map] (7 days, £70)
» Zone 1-6 Travelcard: All of London, its trains, trams and buses, in a single plastic rectangle [map] (1 off-peak day, £8) (1 day, £15) (7 days, £50.40)


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