I live in a small town called Rye. It’s practically a village. It’s very pretty and has a lot of history, but with anywhere you’ve lived for almost thirty years, it gets a bit stale after a while.
Rye suffers from a problem that many of you city slickers will be shocked by – its public transport is terrible! Trains in either direction along our single line come once an hour, the last one of the day to Ashford is at 21:38, and to Brighton, it’s 21:39. So, if you ever fancy coming to Rye to soak up its fabulous party scene *ahem* you’d better have a sofa to crash on or be willing to fork out for a taxi.
As well as being few and far between, trains from Rye to anywhere are expensive. And I mean expensive! It costs at least £32.30 to get in to London, and if you fancied going anywhere up North, the fares are up in the hundreds! I recently searched to see how much a return ticket to The Lake District would be, and the cheapest ticket was £125.40! I could get a flight out of the country for that!
Another big dream of mine is to go to Scotland. As you can imagine, the train fare to any station that far North costs around what I earn in a week. Again, a trip abroad would cost less money (as long as I stayed within Europe and kept checking for cheap flights).
So, what other options are there? Well, I could try National Express. In fact, I once planned a trip to Scotland via National Express, but I ended up staying at home. Why? The truth is, I was terrified. The journey would have taken me over a day, from start to finish, and would have involved being in London from around 10 in the morning, to after 10 at night while I waited for the “connecting” coach to Aberdeen. I’ve never been alone in London after about 6PM, and I couldn’t confidently guarantee that I’ve have a friend there to hang out with until I got my coach. The thought of being stuck in London so late, burdened by a heavy case and not wanting to stray too far from the coach station, made me feel sick to the stomach, so I bailed. Also, it was tricky to get from Rye to Hastings, where my first coach departed from, without relying on a lift from someone. Our trains don’t run early enough in the morning for me to be in Hastings for 8AM! Hastings is only 20 minutes away, by the way…
I guessed that National Express could be an option for other trips, if I could be a little more creative with my plans. I could get to Brighton by train for £15.60, potentially stay overnight, then catch a coach from Brighton to somewhere pretty. Surely there are direct coaches from a big place like Brighton, right? Errr…
The first place I looked at was St. Ives in Cornwall. The cheapest ticket? £85.20. Was it direct? Nope. So, that’s that one out the window! What about Ayr, Scotland? Well, apparently there are no coaches there… Windermere? £98.50 and a connection in London. Ugh. After researching only three places, my eyes were going out of focus. So maybe National Express isn’t the way forward after all.
So what are my options? Well, I have been looking into it. Basically, as long as I stay fairly local, I can get to quite a few places for surprisingly cheap. My recent trip to Portsmouth set me back just £15.60. From Portsmouth, I can catch a ferry to the Isle of Wight, which I will be doing this summer. Tomorrow I am heading off to Bognor Regis for a couple of days and a return ticket there also costs £15.60. So, it is possible to go somewhere for a decent price!
I spent some time looking into more options. I can get to most places along the south coast (as far as Weymouth) for relatively cheap, and I can even take a trip to the beautiful New Forest for, you guessed it, £15.60! So, it’s not like I can’t go anywhere, but there’s a huge part of me that feels totally bummed out that I can’t go just that little bit further in any direction without breaking the bank. Sea views are lovely and all, but I want mountains!!!
So, unless I win the lottery any time soon, it looks like my trips will have to be pretty local. Sigh. How I long to see the different landscapes of my own country… If anyone has any tips on getting cheap travel from the South East, please do let me know in the comments. Perhaps you know of somewhere nice I could get to from Brighton via coach, or another place that costs £15.60 by train (lol). All I want is to get away and see places I’ve never seen before. There must be a way!