Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert reveals exact dates to book cheap train tickets home for Christmas

MARTIN Lewis' MoneySavingExpert has revealed exactly when Brits should book cheap train tickets if they're heading home for Christmas.

You could miss out on the best prices for your fare if you don't book your ticket soon.

Some train companies have already released tickets ahead of the festive period.

In the consumer site's latest weekly newsletter, it said that the best time to book tickets is about 12 weeks in advance, with return fares going for as low as £38 over the festive period.

According to MoneySavingExpert, 14 out of 18 train companies have got fares available for sale up until the start of the Christmas period (mid December).

Four of the train companies already have tickets for sale over the Christmas period – these are TransPennine Express, South Western Railway, LNER and Grand Central Rail.

We checked out train tickets available to buy ourselves – and it pays to be organised.

You can buy a single ticket from London to Doncaster, and another single ticket for the trip back, for just £51 departing on 23 December and coming back on January 3.

These prices will likely only continue to rise as the big day draws nearer – so it's best to bag yours now to beat a possible price hike.

MoneySavingExpert has put together a handy guide on what Christmas train ticket availability.

All the information has been updated as of today, September 28, and the table will be updated over the coming days and weeks.

Some dates for travel aren't available yet due to engineering works happening on some train routes including the North Route and the Anglo Scottish Route.

How else can I save money on my tickets?

There are other ways to save cash on your journey back home for the festive season.

Here's six hacks to use to shave money off your bill.

Split tickets

Instead of buying a ticket that goes directly to your destination, you could save money by splitting your journey up.

There are websites and apps that can help you to do this, such as TrainPal, Split Ticketing and Trainsplit.

These websites will show how much you could save by buying separate tickets for each leg of the journey, instead of direct tickets.

For example, you can save £48 just by breaking up your journey from Bournemouth to Milton Keynes, costing you £38 instead of £86.

Buy a single, not a return

Booking two single tickets can actually work out a lot cheaper than booking a return journey.

Money-saving blogger Jordon Cox, dubbed Britain’s Coupon Kid, previously told The Sun: “Have a look around at single fares each way, to see if you can grab a bargain instead.”

Jordon is best known for travelling from Sheffield to Essex via Berlin, saving £7.72 and getting a free mini break on his way back.

Get cash back

You can get free money by using cashback websites to book your tickets.

The sites work by agreeing offers with companies which they pass on to customers so you can get money back on your shopping.

You need to set up an account and log in, then click through to the offer to buy your tickets.

For example, Top Cashback currently has a deal where you can get up to £7 cash back booking through Trainline.

Railcard discounts

Buying a railcard could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

In total there are nine types of railcard available – you can check them all out on’s website.

With the 16-25s, the 26-30s, and the Family & Friends railcard you can save a third on your fares – they cost £30 each.

Work out if they will save you money based on your annual train fare spend.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re spending over £90 a year then they should be worth the up-front cash.

Claim cash for delays

You can get at least 25% of your fare back if your train is delayed by 15 minutes or more under the nationwide “delay repay” scheme.

The amount of money you can get back depends on how long your train was delayed by – but you’ll get a full refund if your train was delayed by 120 minutes or longer.

Ask for a Delay Repay claim form from your train operator if you think you’re eligible. The details will also be on their website.

Set up price alerts

Ticket booking websites often have alerts you can sign up which can help you track when to buy fares at the cheapest price.

Trainline’s ticket alert tool is free and claims to save 61% on your tickets when you book ahead instead of buying them on the day.

However, make sure to check fees before booking – you might end up paying more than you thought you would.

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