We all understand that one of the most complicated (but essential!) things about living in a new country is understanding the public transport network. Luckily, Liverpool is a city than can be easily explored on foot. You can cross the city centre in less than 20 minutes – and all of our residences are just a short walk from our school.
But what if you live in a homestay or you simply want to update your Instagram page with some amazing pics from around the UK? Well don’t worry, we are here to explain the ways you can use the trains in Liverpool to make the most of your time here!
Where are the important stations?
Liverpool Lime Street is the ‘main’ station in the city. From here you can take trains to both local and national destinations. This station is 8 minutes walking from our school.
Liverpool Central is the second most important station. From here you can take the train to local destinations as well as some neighbouring towns/cities such as Chester, Southport and the Wirral. Liverpool Central is 4 minutes walking from our school.
Where can I go by train?
Merseyrail (yellow trains) are local commuter trains. You can use Merseyrail trains to travel around the city centre (although we always recommend walking!) as well as some neighbouring towns/cities such as Chester, Southport and the Wirral. If you are in homestay then it’s possible you will use this service to travel to school every day. You can catch Merseyrail trains from both Liverpool Central and Liverpool Lime Street stations. You can see the network route map here.
In your free time, you can visit the following places using Merseyrail:
Chester – this beautiful Roman city is a great place for exploring history, walking along the city walls and enjoying the shops and boutiques. It’s only 42 minutes on Merseyrail from Liverpool Central with up to 60 trains per day.
Blundellsands/Crosby Beach – perhaps you didn’t expect to find a beautiful beach in Liverpool? Take a short walk (5-10 minutes) from Blundellsands Station to Crosby Beach where you will find an iconic set of sculptures called ‘Another Place’ by world-famous British sculptor Anthony Gormley. Over 100 statues stretch along the beach for over 1.5 miles – it’s a great place for photos, a long walk in the fresh air with friends!
Northern Rail (purple trains) are also commuter trains, but they travel a bit further out of Liverpool than Merseyrail. You can travel to towns and cities across the north of England with this company but it’s especially useful for travelling to the area between Liverpool and Manchester. If you are in homestay in Broad Green, Roby, Huyton or Rainhill – you can use Northern Rail trains to travel to school. You can see the network route map here.
In your free time why not take the opportunity to explore Manchester using Northern Rail?
Manchester – this vibrant and cosmopolitan city is a great daytrip from Liverpool. Manchester is a city with sport at its heart. The National Football Museum is located in the city centre – entry is free! The city has a rich industrial heritage and this can be seen today with many buildings creatively converted to provide a world-class shopping and leisure experience to visitors.
Northern Rail operates frequent trains to Manchester (Piccadilly & Victoria Stations – both are perfect for visitors) from Liverpool Lime Street Station. The journey time is approximately 1 hour.
Another company (TransPennine Express) also operates services to Manchester which are faster (just 30 minutes) but usually more expensive.
Transpennine Express (blue and silver trains) offer longer distance trains with routes across the beautiful Pennine mountains. Because the journeys are longer we recommend booking in advance in order to get a seat reservation.
As we said above, you can travel to Manchester (Victoria Station) with this company. The journey is very fast – just 30 minutes! However it is less frequent and more expensive than Northern Rail.
Transpennine Express is the perfect way to discover the majestic city of York. Founded by the Romans, the city centre is dominated by the huge 13th Century gothic cathedral. For great views of the city you can walk around the Roman walls. Inside the ancient city you will find beautiful narrow streets (don’t miss ‘The Shambles’) with tiny treasure-filled shops and boutiques. Yorkshire is famous for tea so don’t miss a cup (and maybe a cake!) at one of the city’s tearooms – the most famous is called Betty’s.
Transpennine Express trains to York depart from Liverpool Lime Street every hour. The journey takes approximately 2 hours so we recommend waking up early to enjoy a full day in this magical city.
Where can I buy tickets?
The easiest way to buy train tickets in the UK is by TheTrainline website or app. Train tickets are available for all train companies and all routes. You can use the app to check the timetables, compare prices and buy mobile tickets (QR codes or collect from a machine in the station). You can book seat reservations for free using TheTrainline. TheTrainline charge a very small fee/commission for selling you the ticket.
All train stations have a ticket office and/or ticket machine. From your local station you can buy train tickets for any route/destination in the UK.
Buying directly from the train company website/app can sometimes be cheaper as you can avoid commission. Compared with using TheTrainline this is a bit more complicated and the cost saving is usually small.
Can I get a discount?
Usually the best way to receive a discount for train travel in the UK is to look for an ‘advance’ ticket. You will find these on TheTrainline, at the ticket office or directly on the train company websites.
Different train companies have different offers for advance tickets – so the best idea is to try to plan your journeys in advance if possible. Spending a little time comparing times, days and prices can often save you a lot of money!
Train companies in the UK do not offer student discount. But if you are aged 16-30 and you plan to use the train a lot, you can buy a railcard for £30 a year which will give you discounts of 1/3 on rail travel in the UK. Visit www.railcard.co.uk for more information.
If you travel by train to school every day, it is possible to buy weekly or monthly tickets for your route. Your homestay host can assist you with this.