Europe Trains Guide

United Kingdom (ATOC/NR)

Country info: United Kingdom

Rail companies: ATOC (Association of Train Operating Companies) under "National Rail" brand name

For tickets & schedules from London to France, Belgium, Germany see or

UK Rail Network Map

Currency: 1 euro = app. 0,80 British Pounds (GBP)

Train travel in United Kingdom: train types, tickets, fares, discounts & other useful info



National Train Service:

Train types in United Kingdom: Commuter, Regional, InterCity, Sleeper & International high-speed trains

  • Commuter: urban & suburban service around major cities/aglomerations in Great Britain, no seat reservation required
  • Regional: regional service on short & medium distance routes all over United Kingdom, no seat reservation required
  • InterCity: intercity express service connecting major UK cities & towns, no seat reservation required
  • International (EuroStar): high-speed service connecting London with France & Belgium, seat reservation compulsory
  • Sleepers: long-distance premium sleeper trains connecting London with Scotland & Cornwall:

a) 'Caledonian' Sleeper from London Euston to Aberdeen, Inverness & Fort William (The Highland) & from London Euston to Edinburgh & Glasgow (The Lowland), both operated by First ScotRail

b) 'Night Riviera' Sleeper from London Paddington to Plymouth, Truro & Penzance, operated by First Great Western


Types of train tickets on National Rail network:

  • Advance: discounted one-way tickets on many long distance journeys (purchase in advance required, valid only for specific date & train, limited availability per each departure, but general discounts (such as Rail Card) apply)
  • Off-Peak: single or return tickets for travelling on off-peak time trains, thus less busy (where there is more than one Off-Peak fare for a journey, the cheaper fare with more restrictions will be named Super Off-Peak), general discounts (such as Rail Card) apply
  • Anytime: fully flexible single or return tickets without restrictions, thus buy any time & travel any time, general discounts (such as Rail Card) apply
  • Rovers & Rangers: tickets for unlimited travels within a specified area (from one day pass to monthly pass)


Discounts, special offers & ways to save money for passengers traveling by train in United Kingdom (NR):

  1. Simple & easy way to travel cheaply by train in Great Britain is to purchase train tickets in advance (Advance Tickets). If passengers had no chance to get tickets in advance, then it is good idea to travel during the off-peak period (Off-peak Tickets)
  2. Passengers planning to travel in Great Britain by trains should always keep in mind that UK rail network consists of many private rail companies, each offering various offers, discounts & promotions. Knowing such information helps save quite a lot of money. For instance, Virgin trains offers various low-fare tickets on almost all their routes, while "virtual" company Megatrain offers train tickets starting from only £1 (when purchased in advance). List of British railway companies & their offers can be found at
  3. Youths (<26 years old), Seniors, passengers travelling with family & friends or just two passengers traveling together planning multiple trips whether nationwide or in specific region can take advantage of National Rail's Rail Card, which allows the holder to receive up to 1/3 discount on standard tickets fares. NR Rail Card valid year long cost from £30 (cheaper Regional Rail Cards also available)
  4. Passengers traveling in small groups (3 to 9 passengers) can take advantage of special NR GroupSave (NB: available not for all the rail companies & not for all the departure), which gives 1/3 discount on off-peak train tickets
  5.  In case you plan multiple trips within UK and don't want/can't hunt down cheap discounted ticket, then it makes sense to think about purchasing Interrail pass, it can be worth it even for couple long-distance trips.
  6. Passengers planning multiple train journeys in United Kingdom might consider purchasing SCIC-NRT international ticket for domestic journeys in UK (more info about use of international tickets for domestic train trips can be found 'Western Europe-how cheap it can be?'). For instance, London to Inverness & back ticket valid for 15 days & allowing unlimited stopovers on the way costs only 231,60 euro (plus if passenger holds Rail Plus Card such SCIC-NRT tickets will be even 25% cheaper). Basically in such cases SCIC-NRT international ticket can be a rail pass for the predefined route


International Train Service:

a) Regular discounts

Not available

b) Special offers (SparSchiene)

Ticket offers with limited number of tickets per each departure (purchase in advance required):

France: from London to Paris by EuroStar high-speed train (from £45 one-way or £58 return), from London to Lille by EuroStar high-speed train (from £45 one-way or £58 return), from London to Avignon (from £67 one-way or £99 return), from London to Marseille (from from £67 one-way or £99 return), from London to Lyon (from from £63 one-way or £89 return), from London to Nice (from from £81 one-way or £121 return), from London to Montpellier (from from £81 one-way or £121 return), etc.

Belgium: from London to Brussels by EuroStar high-speed train (from £45 one-way or £58 return), from London to Antwerp/Ghent/Bruges (from £51 one-way or £69 return), etc.

Germany: from London to Cologne (with change in Brussels) from £46,50 one-way or £89 return, from London to Frankfurt (with change in Brussels) from £65 one-way, etc.

Netherlands: from London to Amsterdam (with change in Brussels) from £49,50 one-way or £99 return, etc.

Switzerland: from London to Zurich (with change in Paris) from £76 one-way or £123 return, from London to Basel (with change in Paris)from £76 one-way or £123 return, from London to Geneva (with change in Paris) from £72,50 one-way or £113 return, etc.

c) CityStars

Not available


How to Buy Train Tickets in United Kingdom:

National (domestic) tickets (including offers) can be purchased online via National Rail website

International train tickets (London to Paris/Brussels & other European destinations) can be purchased online via or



Do you still have further questions or want to share your own travel experience? You are welcome on our Forum page


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