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DAY TRIPS TO LONDON

3/1/16

Here are your options for going up to London for the day by train.

Advance single tickets are the cheapest if you are prepared to commit yourself to going and coming back on specific off peak trains.  Single tickets start at £5, although there are discounts for railcard holders. They are only valid on Southern trains.  Book as far as possible in advance (up to 3 months) to get the best prices. Book on line on the southern web site

Off peak Daysave tickets are often the best option if you don’t mind both going out and coming back outside the commuter rush hours. You can also buy them  from the Southern web site where they they cost £17.90 for one adult and £35.80 for up to 4 adults. Kids go for £2 No railcard discounts. The tickets cannot be used on the tube or on other company’s trains. (at 3/1/16 these tickets were currently suspended)

All daysave tickets booked on the Southern web site must be booked 7 days in advance.

You can also buy off peak day save tickets from the tourist office at a £1 surcharge.  In winter the tourist office is not open on Sundays and is only open 10-2 on Saturdays.

Day returns to Victoria are available starting at £17.90 for a super off peak ticket available outside the morning and evening rush hours.  The price rises if you want to come back in the evening rush to £28.50. Railcard or groupsave discounts are available aThe higher price ticket is available for a departure on or after 8.48 am Monday to  Friday

One day travelcards are useful if you want to travel on the tubes, buses or other companies surface lines in London and do not have an Oyster card.  The cheapest costs £22.50 for an adult but is not valid in the morning or evening rush hours. The price rises if you want to come back in the evening rush to £32.60 Railcard or groupsave discounts are available. The higher price ticket is available for a departure on or after 8.48 am Monday to  Friday

Going up to London in the morning peak on Mondays to Fridays is more difficult.  If you do this three days a week or more get a season ticket.

Otherwise lateral thinking may be called for to avoid paying the £50.20 ordinary return.

Consider buying a peak single for your journey to London and then a cheaper off peak single for your return if you will be travelling off peak (or even a daysave ticket).

Or, if you can plan in advance, buy an advance ticket to somewhere on the other side of London, such as Swindon, Peterborough or Coventry.  The ticket price will often be lower than an ordinary single, even if you travel on a peak Southern train.  The return can be cheaper too.  You do not have to go to these places. You can stop in London. But you can use the tube to go to Paddington, Euston or Kings Cross (as appropriate.

You can buy a daysave peak ticket from the Southern web site.  This is available on any Southern train all day and costs £38.  The terms and conditions say that you must book two days in advance, but at the beginning of January 2014 the web site was taking bookings on the day of travel.

Failing this, go to Aldershot.

The anytime day return from Lewes to Aldershot is £27.80 and it is valid via Clapham Junction.  Buy a ticket from Clapham junction to your final destination (A return to Victoria is £6.)  Railcard and groupsave reductions are available. You may want to buy these tickets on line. What you are doing is perfectly legal, but I have had some problems convincing staff that the conditions of carriage allow it.  You do not have to get off of the train at Clapham junction.