Merry Mileage: The Cheapest Ways to Get Home This Christmas

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Travelling Home for Christmas Map

  • The biggest saving of £44 can be made by taking the train from London to Leeds w/c 17th Dec
  • Save money by driving to Plymouth instead of taking the train
  • Coaches are overall cheapest mode of transport – if you don’t mind a longer journey
  • We recommend traveling a full week before Christmas in almost all cases

If you’re looking forward to a long-overdue visit home at Christmas but don’t own a car, then you’ll no doubt already have started searching for deals on UK travel. Well, so have we. Take a look at our price comparison table which highlights the most cost-effective ways to travel from London to the rest of the UK over the Christmas period.

Rail vs. Road

We’ve compiled a table of one-way ticket prices for both the train and coach, setting off from a London station to six different UK destinations in England, Scotland and Wales, compared to the same journey by car

We ran these searches for two different days in the calendar – the 17th December for early birds, and Christmas Eve for those leaving it to the last minute.

Each ticket price is based on the service which departs closest to 12 noon on each day. Results can be seen below:

Train

Coach

Car

Destination (all departures from London)17th Dec 2014Xmas Eve17th Dec 2014Xmas EveAny Time
Birmingham£11.00£11.00£7.00£9.00£21.60
Cardiff£22.20£31.70£9.99£14.99£27.88
Edinburgh£51.00£64.50£41.50£41.50£74.77
Leeds£22.50£67.00£11.99£24.70£35.82
Norwich£9.00£9.00£8.99£23.10£21.79
Plymouth£50.60£52.50£28.00£28.00£43.76

(Prices correct as of 8/12/2014)

So what advice can we give seasonal travellers based on our research? Leave the car at home. Unless you’re going to Plymouth…

  • The cost of buying enough petrol to drive home is higher than almost every train journey you would make on the 17th
  • That is, unless you happen to drive to Plymouth, in which case you’ll stand to save roughly £10.
  • Even at Christmas you’ll find ticket prices online much more appealing than the prospect of paying to fill up the tank to cross the country.
  • Driving to Leeds or Cardiff would cost less on Christmas Eve than taking the train – almost half the price in the case of Leeds!

Travel Early

  • Only four journeys would cost the same price whether you’re travelling on the 17th December or a week later, while each of the others increases in price by Christmas Eve – some a lot more than others.
  • It’s only a penny cheaper to leave for Norwich by coach on the 17th than the train – but the price more than doubles if you plan to leave by coach a week later.
  • The price to Leeds from London leaps spectacularly between the 17th and 24th, with the coach price more than doubling and a train ticket very nearly tripling in cost from £22.50 to £67.00. The next highest price increase is only £14.11; the Norwich trip mentioned earlier.

Travelling Home for Christmas Map

Travel by Coach

  • Travelling by coach is by far the most cost-effective option – but make sure you’ve left plenty of time in your schedule to take the trip.
  • The fastest journey we could find from London to Edinburgh involved an overnight drive landing there at 7.55am on the morning of the 17th – after almost nine hours’ travel.
  • A journey to Plymouth by car is expected to last a shade over four hours – it’s up to you whether you wish to spend about an extra ten pounds to get there faster by train.

Shop Around

Our ticket prices are based on trips made as close to noon as possible through just one main travel website each – if you’re flexible on time and have a railcard or web-exclusive deal you should be able to find a better deal.

No matter where you’re heading off to, have a safe journey home.

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The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.