Return train tickets can be bought in various forms in the UK. There are a bunch of rules and restrictions surrounding their use, and we’re here to help you understand the best ways to use them so that you can save as much money as possible! Read on for our complete guide.

Return tickets explained

These are for return (two-way) journeys from your chosen destination, but what types of Return ticket are there? Find out below, as we give you a breakdown of the different variations and answer some frequently asked questions. 

What are Return train tickets?

Return train tickets (or two-way tickets) are tickets that are valid for both an outward and returning journey from the same station or destination on your chosen route. There are a few different types of Return tickets available in the UK, varying in flexibility and price, and you can view these when searching for a return journey on our site or app. Try searching for a journey on our booking widget above with a specific return date, then compare it to one with the ‘Open Return’ option selected. This should give you a better understanding of the various price differences. In general, if you opt for our Off-Peak options, you’ll usually be able to find a better deal.


How much is a Return train ticket?

It depends on your route and time of travel. For any route, you have a better chance of getting a lower price by travelling during Off-Peak times - these differ by route, train operator, and time of day, but you can usually find them outside of the standard work commuter hours on weekdays, and on weekends and bank holidays. You can also check for ticket prices and times while on the move by using our app.


Booking Single vs. Return tickets

Trainline tip: It may be a good idea to check the prices for two Single ticket journeys (outward and return), as this can sometimes save you money when compared to the Return ticket option for the same journey. If you do this, you won’t have flexibility for dates of travel, but you'll have the option of choosing Peak or Off-Peak times. This can be a handy way to secure cheaper Return train tickets, but you'll need a bit of luck — these fares are hard to track down.


Can I get a discount on Return tickets?

Yes, you can use any applicable Railcard for your journey to save up to 1/3 on your fare. To see what Railcards you can apply for, head on over to our Railcards page.


Can I get a Return ticket refund?

Yes, you can normally get a Return train ticket refund from the train company in charge of your journey. But, if you’ve bought your ticket with us, we’re happy to do the legwork for you and get in touch with the relevant train company on your behalf.

Types of Return train tickets

Just to confuse you a little more, there are several variations of Return tickets for the UK rail network. Don't fret though! We're here to walk you through the options.

Anytime Return train tickets

The Anytime Return train ticket is a flexible ticket with no travel time restrictions. The outward portion of your journey is valid for five days, including the issue date, and you can use the return portion of your ticket at any time within one calendar month of the issue date.

For more info, please visit our Anytime tickets page.

Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak Return ticket

Travelling with Off-Peak Return and Super Off-Peak Return tickets means you need to make the outward part of your journey on the date shown on the ticket. The return part of your journey, meanwhile, needs to be completed within one calendar month of the ticket’s issue date. You must travel during Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak times, depending on which ticket type you have.

For more info, please visit our Off-Peak tickets page.

First Class Return train tickets

First Class Return tickets can be issued either with or without time restrictions (Off-Peak or Anytime). On both your outward and return journey, you’ll be able to access the First Class carriage, and it’ll generally be cheaper if you travel during Off-Peak times. In fact, an Off-Peak Return journey in First Class can sometimes end up cheaper than an Anytime Return ticket in Standard.

For more info, please visit our First Class tickets page. 

Open Return train tickets

Although not an official ticket type an 'Open Return' train ticket simply means you have more flexibility on the train you decide to travel back on, either on the date specified or within one calendar month of your outward journey.

There are five different types of tickets that offer flexible return options:

  • Anytime Return: Your outward travel can be anytime within five days of the date on your ticket. Your return travel must be within one calendar month of the outward travel date specified.
  • Anytime Day Return: Your outward and return travel can be on any train on the date specified.
  • Off-Peak Return: Both journeys must be on an Off-Peak train, the outward journey on the date specified. Your return travel must be within one calendar month of the outward travel date specified.
  • Off-Peak Day Return: Your outward and return travel can be on any Off-Peak train on the date specified.
  • Super Off-Peak Return: Both journeys must be on a Super Off-Peak train, the outward journey on the date specified. Your return travel must be within one calendar month of the outward travel date specified.

If you're booking a return ticket with us, to find 'Open Return' options you can either:

  • Search for a Return journey and you'll be asked to choose which train you want to return on, even if the ticket you select is an Open Return ticket.
  • Select Open Return when you search and you don't need to select the train you want to return on.

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Need a different kind of ticket? Check out the other options available on our UK train ticket types page, or head over to our help section for more in-depth FAQs.

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