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Cheapest Christmas fares: Buy your train tickets today

Train companies release advance tickets for Christmas Eve

You could save up to 79% by booking your train ticket home for Christmas today, according to Which? research.

With 12 weeks to go until Christmas Eve, many of the cheapest advance fares were released for sale today – so if you’re travelling over the holidays, it’s a good idea to book your journey as soon as possible.

The table below illustrates the savings that can be made by booking today compared to buying tickets at the station on the day.

Christmas Eve train ticket savings
Walk-on farea Advance fareb Savings % saved by booking now
Aberdeen to Edinburgh £34.60 £10.20 £24.40 71%
Birmingham to Edinburgh £117.30 £42.70 £74.60 64%
Bristol to Glasgow £153 £75.60 £77.40 51%
Cardiff to Liverpool £73.30 £25 £48.30 66%
London to Edinburgh £151.50 £32.50 £119 79%
London to Glasgow £151.50 £49 £102.50 68%
Manchester to Bristol £89.20 £27.20 £62 70%
York to Birmingham £67.30 £18.50 £48.80 73%

Table notes
aThe cost of buying an anytime ticket on the day of travel. bThe cheapest available advance ticket to travel on Christmas Eve. Prices gathered on 02 October 2017.

Advance train tickets

Train companies release a limited number of advance tickets for each of their journeys. These are typically made available 12 weeks before departure, although it varies depending on the company.

Snapping up these tickets, either online or at a train station, is one of the simplest ways to save money on your ticket. However, with millions of people travelling to visit their family for the festive period, advance tickets for these dates tend to sell out quickly.

For even bigger savings, see our list of 10 tips for finding cheap train tickets.

How to book your train ticket

To buy advance tickets online, visit nationalrail.co.uk or go directly to the website of the train company you’re travelling with. These sites won’t charge booking fees and may offer advance fares not available elsewhere.

Alternatively, you can buy tickets at a station via the ticket office or self-service machine – just make sure to book for the right day of travel.

If you’re making a lengthy journey, check if you can split your ticket by buying each leg of the journey separately. In some cases, you may be able to pick up the cheapest fare for each leg, resulting in a lower cost than a single ‘through ticket’. This is a little-known method of cutting the costs of your travel, and one that train station staff may not tell you about.

Find out more: Splitting your ticket – how to reduce your fare by up to 88%

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