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Britpass or Eurail? UK travel only

  • 27 February 2024
  • 2 replies
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Next month my family and I will be travelling from the US to the UK. It will be my wife and I and our two children aged 7 and 10. We intend to spend 11 days in the UK only, then return to the US. No additional European travel required.

We have decided to travel by train and had intended to buy a Britrail pass (8 day flexi pass) and I’ve put together an outline for each day’s travel. Even though we would only be travelling on seven of the days, the 8-day Britrail pass seemed the best option.

Then an ad popped up on Facebook advertising Eurail. So I started to investigate and the pricing is considerably cheaper, plus I can select a 7-day flexible pass.

So are there any material differences between the two services? The only real difference that I have found so far is that Heathrow Express is included in the Britrail Pass and not Eurail. London Underground is covered by neither. But we need to travel out of King’s Cross and will need to take the tube either way (either from Heathrow with Eurail or Paddington with Britpass)

Is the train coverage the same for both? They both have a mobile pass, which would be our preferred choice. The seat reservation process looks similar and both come at a cost online or free in person. Am I missing something? It seems to good to be true that the pass which covers Europe is cheaper than the pass that just covers the UK.

Thanks!

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Best answer by BrendanDB 27 February 2024, 15:57

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Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Britrail has a lot of different passes, some only valid for Scotland, Southwest, England, or the entirety of Great Britain.

Just compare prices. With the current Interrail/Eurail discount, it can be cheaper than a Britrail pass. Interrailers also have a “One Country Pass Great Britain”, but Eurailers (non-Europeans like you) seem not to have it, on the website you seem to be redirected to Britrail.

Product wise I’m a bit confused, but I used Britrail in 2017 and it worked perfectly fine. Even a bit less hassle than Eurail even back then, just a QR-code to scan at the gates and ticket inspectors. Might have changed now.

Anyway, both are valid on the vast majority of trains in Britain. Only Heathrow express (and Eurostar when travelling with Britrail or a one country pass). Heathrow express is very easily avoided by taking the Elizabeth line e.g. to the centre of London.

It’s one of the best rail countries to use it actually, you can get practically anywhere by train. Free seating mostly, on longer trains you can have free seat reservations, and when used extensively much cheaper than last minute ordinary train tickets :)

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Both Eurail and Britrail are definitely excellent value in the UK : note that there is no one-country Eurail Great Britain pass as they redirect non-European tourists to BritRail. Of course you can use a Eurail Global Pass even if you remain in the UK! Choose whichever is cheaper for your trip.

There is a 15% Eurail discount right now so BritRail is usually cheaper + it’s for 8 and not 7 days.

You need to log each train you’d like to take with Eurail, this can be done at any time prior to boarding. The app’s QR code doesn’t work on ticket barriers so you must look for staff, there is always someone in the area. These gates aren’t everywhere anyway.

With Britrail it seems that their QR code works on gates (according to Brendan).

Seat reservations are always optional and free of charge. Please do not pay anything for them in the UK! Have a look at https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm#UK

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