>Since all you netizens and web-dwellers were so helpful last year when I was planning on spending a month in London for research last summer, I thought I’d ask for help again. Two updates below.
I’m going to the UK for two weeks this summer from July 17 to the 31 (already have my round trip plane ticket from Big Rust Belt to Heathrow). On the 17th I need to get from London to Swansea, Wales. Advance train tickets are only 12.50 GBP, and the train is direct and takes less than 3 hours. That’s great! Except for one thing: it seems you can’t buy tickets online unless you have a UK address. Grrr. And I believe it’s a UK *billing* address the online booking agency (Trainline) wants. It really shouldn’t matter since I’m trying to purchase the ticket to pick up at a self-service kiosk, but apparently, it does. Same day tickets are now 61.00 GBP — a big difference! — and by the day itself they could be more.
Meanwhile, after Swansea, I’m going to Leeds and then from Leeds back to London. Were I able to purchase of all this right now, online, it would only cost me about 45.00 GBP. Now, I may be able to get those second two legs at Paddington when I arrive there, and thus still get some kind of advanced fair, but it’s subject to availability.
So here’s what I’m asking: is there any way a US resident can purchase advance train tickets online?? Am I missing something?
Update: Using a UK address and choosing the first class post option on thetrainline.com solved my problems. If I didn’t have a friend in the UK to receive the tickets I’d be SOL, though. It’s totally stupid that choosing the electronic kiosk method requires a UK billing address. I’ve written to customer service about it. Oh, and as one commenter points out, if you call the appropriate train company directly, you can order the cheap advance tickets over the phone, to be picked up at the self-service kiosk. So why you can’t do it online is beyond me — especially since National Express, the coach service, has e-tickets you print out from your own printer! (If hadn’t been for the fact that the coach tickets are actually *more* expensive *and* slower, I might have gone that route.)
Query / Problem #2
I need a place to stay in London for the nights of July 27, 28, 29, and 30. I know about Goodenough Club and actually stayed in one of their student rooms last summer. But I’d be surprised if they have a student room available this late — though I’ve written to ask — and the club is a little pricey. Yes, I know it’s London, but does anyone know of a decent B&B near the Kings Cross/British Library area that’s under 100 pounds a night? Given how much I may end up spending on train travel, I want to minimize expenses on accommodations.
Update: I’m still looking for suggestions here. Also, does anyone know anything about the Euro Hotel, the Alhambra Hotel, or the Wardonia Hotel? Along with the Penn Club, suggested by Rebel Lettriste, these look like possibilities, especially the first two.
All leads and advice appreciated! Thanks!