From Saturday 26th July to 22nd August 2014 you can get £15 fares on South West Trains Off Peak when travelling with a Day Return. Kids go for £7. Apparently over 180 destinations on the South West Trains Network are covered, although this is more helpful for the people who live in those destinations and want to visit other places on the network than people visiting from London or further afield, who most likely want to go to a pretty town or visit the seaside.
There is a map of key destinations covered by the offer here. It includes Bournemouth, Wareham, Poole and Weymouth for access to seasidy day breaks, and Winchester, Salisbury, Southampton and Portsmouth for city day breaks.
This may inspire more of us to Make it a South West Summer, with destinations like Salisbury, where my great pal Caroline lives, covered by the offer. Salisbury for the rest of you is a lovely cathedral city with a bus that stops outside the train station that can take you on a tour of nearby Stonehenge – one of the UK’s most ethereal attractions. Other destinations covered by the offer include Portsmouth, where you’ll find the Mary Rose Museum that focuses on, you guessed it, the shipwreck of the Mary Rose – an English Tudor ship wrecked in the Solent north of the Isle of Wight. There’s also Winchester, which has many very, very old buildings, lots of which are now shops and restaurants, meaning you can enjoy a lovely pizza at somewhere otherwise standard, like Ask, under glorious oak beams. Which is nice.
The terms and conditions state that, “travel is permitted between any two stations on our network during off-peak times. Not valid to/from stations west of Salisbury (Tisbury to Exeter St Davids or Warminster to Bristol Temple Meads inclusive) and travel to/from the Isle of Wight.”
This has led me to scratch my head over what is technically west of Salisbury and what looks like it is covered by the deal even though it looks a bit west to me. With some help, I present a list of stations definitely NOT covered:
North West of Salisbury
Bristol Temple Meads
West of Salisbury
Exeter Central/Exeter St. Davids
Travel to/from the Isle of Wight isn’t covered either, possibly because its Cowes Week during the offer period.
So go forth and enjoy a day trip somewhere in the east… I might go to Portsmouth.