News Top 5 by train: all aboard for best value UK city breaks

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Top 5 by train: all aboard for best value UK city breaks

The October holidays are here, and what better way to keep the family entertained than an action-packed adventure by train?

While train travel has a reputation for being pricey, it can actually be easy on parents’ pockets. Under 5’s travel for free on all trains in the UK, while children aged 5–15 get some eye-wateringly good savings.

Since we’re totally obsessed with making travel cheap, easy, and fun, we took a deep dive into our data on train fares, hotel prices and dining costs to find Britain’s best value destinations by train this month.

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5. Oxford

The city of dreaming spires is famous for its prestigious university, but there’s much more to this quaint city than sipping cider in traditional pubs and punting along the Thames.

What to do

2-for-1 attractions include Broughton Castle – which has a genuine moat – and the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum where you can stroll through a recreation of a World War I trench.  For real train buffs, the Didcot Railway Museum is a must-visit: and they have a 2 for 1 offer for rail passengers, too.

Where to stay

HotelPrice per night*
Jury’s Inn Oxford£75
Premier Inn Oxford£71
The Dial House Guesthouse£110

4. Manchester

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Famous for football and Britpop, buzzing Manchester was made for exploring. From sampling Asian flavours in Chinatown to rubbing shoulders with hipsters in the Northern Quarter, it’s certainly not grim up north.

What to do

There are some seriously great 2-for-1 attractions for train travellers: including the Manchester United Museum and Tour, a must for any footie fan. We recommend keeping your shoes on for a trip to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, where kids can enjoy creating their own versions of the iconic building blocks. The Museum of Transport is an interesting way to spend a day and learn more about train and bus travel. Water babies can get up close and personal with aquatic creatures at SEA LIFE Manchester.

Where to stay

HotelPrice per night*
Holiday Inn Manchester Central Park£63
Premier Inn Manchester Heaton Park£64
The Westlynne Hotel£60

3. Glasgow

Renowned as one of the friendliest places in Britain – if not the world – Glasgow is well worth the trip north of the border. It’s within easy striking distance of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, perfect for families who enjoy the great outdoors.

What to do

2-for-1 offers in Glasgow include the Hampden Experience and Scottish Football Museum, a great day out for sporty kids and their parents. There are also historic attractions like The Tenement House – which contains genuine furniture from the early 20th Century so you can see how people really lived. If you’re lucky enough to get some autumn sunshine, pop into Greenbank Garden. It has more than a thousand plant species, and a peaceful walking trail.

Where to stay

HotelPrice per night*
Novotel Glasgow Centre£76
Ibis Budget Glasgow£62
Number 10 Hotel£61

2. Liverpool

It’s hard to escape the Fab Four during a trip to Liverpool. The city on the Mersey is proud of its strong musical heritage, but also has a range of maritime and historical attractions. It’s small enough to explore on foot, even with kiddies in tow.

What to do

Train travellers get 2-for-1 entry to the Liverpool Football Club Stadium Tour and Museum, so budding footballers can see what it’s like to stroll onto the pitch. 2-for-1 entry is also available to Liverpool Cathedral: as the largest in Britain, it has amazing views from the top.

Since Halloween is coming up, a tour of the Williamson Tunnels – also available 2-for-1 – should be on the cards. This intriguing labyrinth was built in the 19th Century by an eccentric philanthropist named Joseph Williamson, and excavations are still going on today.

HotelPrice per night*
Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre£95
The Devonshire House Hotel£61
Beech Mount Grove Suites£63

1.  Birmingham

Topping our list as the best value destination by train is Birmingham. A huge industrial powerhouse during the 19th Century, today Birmingham is better known for its trendy canalside cafés, excellent shopping at the Bullring and budding arts scene.

What to do

Your 2-for-1 entry will go far in Birmingham. You can use it to take a canal cruise from Sherbourne Wharf, adding a boat trip to your weekend adventure. It can also be used at the National Sea Life Centre where kids can meet Molokai – the giant green sea turtle – as well as a small colony of penguins. The 2-for-1 can also be used to visit the award-winning Black Country Living Museum, where costumed actors stroll through the streets which look, sound and (unfortunately) smell much as they would have 300 years ago.

Where to stay

HotelPrice per night*
Crowne Plaza Birmingham£73
Novotel Birmingham Centre£61
BLOC Hotel Birmingham£43

Research conducted on the top 10 UK Cities, taken from Visit Britain. Each city was ranked based on train prices, average hotel prices and cost for food at destinations. Train fares were searched via the Skyscanner app on Thursday 4th October for return adult and return child tickets from the most popular cities to the city selected. Average hotel prices based on Skyscanner hotel price data collected at the time the consumer exited the site or the Skyscanner app. Average hotel prices are based on all exits for all room types for 3 & 4 star hotels made in the UK for stays during 2017. Food costs were sourced from Numbeo.

*All prices correct at time of writing on 14th October 2018, and are based on lowest price estimates for the 26th-27th October 2018. Room rates are subject to change, and may be higher or lower based on demand, occupancy, and dates chosen. 

If we’re on the right track, read on for more train travel inspiration

Money off voucher: Choo-choos a train get-away

You can save even more money using our exclusive voucher code: just search for tickets on the Skyscanner app and add the code SKYTRAIN when you check out. You’ll save £4 split across your next two journeys, so £2 a pop. It’s valid until the 30th November 2018.

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