Guide to buy train tickets online for journeys in England

To buy train tickets online for journeys in England, I recommend The Trainline website where you can easily search for any train journey. Remember that in England if you buy train tickets in advance it is cheaper than buying them the day before or the same day at the train station.

Then I also leave you a small guide, where I explain step by step how to perform a search and the different options that you will find.

What will you find in this article?

Step-by-step guide to buying a train ticket online in the UK

1. Go to the Trainline website

2. Complete form

To search for the train route: The first thing you have to do is enter the train route you need, if it is one way or round trip and the dates. Thus, step by step you will have to complete:

  • From: place of origin, if you are buying a train ticket to get to London from the airport, enter “airport” here and you will get all the available airports
  • To: destination, here you can put London (any) and direct routes will appear as options, which usually go to important stations in the center of London such as London Victoria, London Bridge or Liverpool Street Station.
  • Out: departure date and time from which you want to leave (leave after), or you can also search according to the time you want to arrive at your destination (arrive before).
  • Return Journey: Here you must add the return journey, and again you can put the date and time for the return journey.
    • Same day return to return the same day.
    • Anytime return With this option, the train ticket is valid for one month to make the return journey at the time you want. Open Return Option: This option is the open return ticket option, that is, without the exact time for the return journey. If you click on this option you should pay close attention to the details of each ticket, so you will see that it will give you options later:
  • Number of adults and children who are going to make the trip. For train journeys, passengers between the ages of 5 and 15 are generally considered children. A maximum of two children up to 5 years old travel free if they are accompanied by an adult with a ticket. To go, for example, from most London airports to the center, children over 5 years of age will need a ticket, but once you are in London to travel by public transport, children under 10 years of age travel free , as long as the journeys made are within the London transport zones .
  • The Railcards box gives the option to add the option of a discount. If you are going to make the journey with several people, I recommend you choose the Group Save option here, since there are usually offers if you travel in a group, and the offer will be applied automatically if it is available for the journey and the number of people you have chosen . The other options that appear in the Railcards box are for people who have a certain discount card for transport in the UK, so I would not recommend trying any of the other options as they will ask for that card when checking the tickets. on the train.

3. Choose routes

Once all the options have been chosen, you can click on Get times & Tickets, and now you will see a screen similar to this:

You will see the information in the table in the following order:

  • Detail of the round trips (OUT) and return (RETURN)
  • Date
  • Station of origin and destination
  • Options with train departure times available with the arrival time of each train, total journey time and number of changes. Here it will put «0 changes» if the train is direct. If it is not direct, you can click and it will show you what changes you will have to make.
  • The cheapest routes will be highlighted.
  • For each train you will have the option to choose between different available tickets, and you will have to choose one outward and one return.
  • You will see that there are usually different options for the return ticket, such as “Anytime return”, in case you do not want to choose a specific time for the return ticket.

When choosing the tickets you will see on the right of the screen a summary with the options chosen, the possible discounts that have been applied, and the total price. Although it is necessary to choose a time for the outbound train, the normal thing is that on the right, in the summary, explain that although you have chosen that time you can ride any train of the same company with the same destination as long as it is from the same time slot, that is, if you have chosen a train outside rush hour, you can get on another train as long as it is also outside rush hour. In case of doubt you can always ask at the station when you arrive. If you are going to buy a train ticket to go from one of the London airports to the center, I usually recommend choosing a train that leaves more or less 1 hour later than the supposed landing time of the plane, since sometimes it takes a long time to leave the airport.

Now you must click on Continue.

Surely in the next step it will ask you if you want to reserve seats. You can choose seats or continue without choosing seats.

To continue and make the payment you must register on the web, giving your email address and choosing a password.

How to collect train tickets:

Once you have registered, you must choose how to collect the train tickets. Sometimes the only option is to collect the tickets at the train station itself before the train journey, and the truth is that it is usually the easiest way.

At the train station you will find a «Self-Service ticket machine» where you can collect the train tickets, simply by entering the code that is sent to you by email when purchasing the ticket and entering the debit or credit card you used. to buy the ticket as proof.

Other ways to buy train tickets

To buy train tickets for the Express services that make fast journeys from London airports to the city center, it is possible to do it more easily through the following links. With these options, you simply have to choose the day for the one-way trip from the airport to the center, and you can travel at any time that day, not having to worry about choosing an exact time. You can also choose a return ticket, and the return ticket is valid for 30 days from the date of the one-way ticket, and the ticket will be valid for any time.

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