The May bank holiday weekend is usually an excellent time to go travelling, say to the seaside. It's not such a good time to go to the seaside this year because there's a pandemic and also the weather forecast is poor. But I wondered anyway how much a trip to the seaside costs, mainly for future reference, and in case it's useful for anyone else.
a) a return
b) day trip
c) from London
d) by train
e) travelling on Bank Holiday Monday, i.e. off peak
f) without a railcard
I've picked twelve coastal resorts and rounded fares to the nearest £.
£40 (split at Colchester)
£30 (advance ticket)
£20 (advance ticket)
£46 (advance ticket)
Forget Great Yarmouth, both for reasons of time and cost. Bournemouth's also a long and expensive journey so probably not there either. A return ticket to most of the resorts inbetween costs about £30 (and would be more like £20 if you had a railcard). Portsmouth & Southsea's surprisingly good value so long as you take the right train. But there are two much cheaper ways to get to the seaside and they are Southend (£15) and Brighton (£13). Southend's cheap because c2c fares have always been excellent value, and Brighton's astonishingly cheap so long as you travel by Thameslink at the weekend (or on a bank holiday). The catch with both is a lack of sand, but the beach isn't always the main reason people go to the seaside.
The May bank holiday weekend is also an excellent time to go bluebelling.
Here are four places you might go for a splash of blue.
It's cheaper to get to the hills around London than to get to the seaside. A tenner (or just over) should cover it. Box Hill's cheaper than Sevenoaks despite being the same distance from central London. The outlier is Tring, which is barely four miles from Wendover but costs a lot more to get to because it's on a completely different line. Pick your bluebelling target carefully.
And now, because this is my blog, this is how much it would cost me to go to these four places.
The first column is how much I would have paid when I had an annual Z1-3 Travelcard with a Gold Card offering 1/3 discount on rail fares. The second column is how much I'd have to pay now that I don't have one. Journeys are from Bow rather than from central London.
The price is now much higher because I no longer have my 1/3 discount and I'd have to pay for the tube journey to and from the railway terminus. Overall it's about twice as much as the previous fare, which is an interesting financial deterrent compared to what I'm used to. Obviously my annual Travelcard was a substantial investment up front so these figures aren't entirely comparable, but it's going to take me some time to get used to how expensive fares really are.
This May bank holiday I intend to go see some bluebells on foot instead, hopefully dodging any heavy showers. The seaside will have to wait.