10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard

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10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard

I've bought a Family & Friends Railcard for the past 7-8 years. I love travelling by train and generally find it a lot less stressful than driving. I love not having to faff about trying to find parking spaces or being stuck in traffic jams and a train journey will normally get us to our chosen destination a lot more quickly than a car. A Family & Friends Railcard offers fantastic savings to families across a full year and costs just £30. For more information about the Family & Friends Railcard visit www.familyandfriendsrailcard.co.uk. Here's why I love ours: 

1 - You can make huge savings on train tickets

The most obvious reason I love our Family & Friends Railcard is the huge savings you can make. You can save 1/3 off adult and 60% off kids fares and it covers up to four adults and four kids (aged 5-15).  You can have two named adults on your card and at least one of you needs to travel to be eligible for the discount. The second adult doesn't need to be related to you so it's a fab card to split with a friend. It's highly unlikely Steve will ever travel solo with the kids by train without me there so I have my brother named as our second card holder.

2 - You can travel with friends and family and share your discount

Up to four adults and four children can receive a discount when travelling with a cardholder - this is fab for big family getaways and we once used this discount to bring the grandparents to Drayton Manor with us which saved us lots of cash and it was nice to be able to treat them. 

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - Thomas Land

3 - Enjoy 2 for 1 entry to SEA LIFE London when you travel by train

Regular readers of this blog will know that we're huge fans of visiting aquariums. Despite visiting Genoa and Palma aquarium this year, we'd never made it to SEA LIFE London so decided to plan a day trip to London over half term. You can print a 2 FOR 1 voucher to visit SEA LIFE London or book your time slot online here or pick up a booklet from Kings Cross and complete a voucher at the back of your booklet. You'll need to hand in your completed voucher and show your train ticket at the admissions desk to receive the discount. We visited during October Half Term and had pre-booked a slot online, I'd recommend booking a slot later in the day if you can as it was quieter then. If you don't pre-book, you may have a little wait for the next available slot. 

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - SEA LIFE London Rock Pools

Like most aquariums, SEA LIFE London is busy but it was manageable. Our visit lasted around 2 hours. We found it to be super informative and there's a huge section on sharks - I'd say if you love sharks, SEA LIFE London is a must-visit attraction. We learned about the life cycle of a shark (did you know 60% of sharks lay eggs?), were able to see some baby sharks (apologies about the song now being stuck in your head) and walk underneath and over sharks too.

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - SEA LIFE LONDON Seahorses

Another SEA LIFE London highlight was being able to touch a starfish in the supervised rock pools (a first for H, H and J), watching the rays and checking out the huge variation of jellyfish on display - they were beautiful. If you're looking for an educational day out with the kids, I'd definitely recommend checking out the 2 for 1 SEA LIFE London deal. It's a winner for all ages and loads of toddlers seemed to be enjoying their visit when we were there too.

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - SEA LIFE London Rays

4 - Take advantage of Merlin's exclusive partnership with National Rail 

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - Coca Cola London Eye from Jubilee Bridge

National Rail has teamed up with Merlin's Magical London to help families save up to £46 more when they travel with their new 'Fan-Tastic' offer. Since 2012 over 5 million people have taken advantage of 2 for 1 entry to London's Merlin attractions when travelling by train. Merlin attractions included in the 2 for 1 offer when you travel by train include:
  • The Coca-Cola London Eye (Save £41.81)
  • Madame Tussauds London (Save £46.01)
  • The London Dungeon (Save £29.61)
  • SEA LIFE London (Save £29.61)
  • Shrek's Adventure! London (Save £28.61)

The Coca-Cola London Eye, The London Dungeon, SEA LIFE London and Shrek's Adventure! London are all next door to each other and you can make savings on more than one attraction if you want to make a day of it. London's Southbank is such a lovely place for families to visit with a lovely play park, street theatre and entertainment, lots of restaurants and fairground rides. You can easily spend a full day exploring this area.

*Savings are based on standard online prices

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - Shrek's Adventure on Southbank

5 - Our card pays for itself in one use but lasts a full year

A Family & Friends Railcard costs just £30 per year and often, it pays for itself in one trip. We first used this year's card to travel to Manchester Airport to catch a flight to France and saved over £100 using a railcard for this one journey alone......

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - airport savings

6 - Enjoy 2 for 1 entry and discounts to lots of London attractions when you travel by train

As well as 2 for 1 entry to Merlin's London attractions, there are over 350 places you can enjoy discounted 2 for 1 entry across the UK when you travel by train (including the Tower of London which we visited at the start of the month using this deal). You can see the full list of attractions and discounts available when you travel by train here: www.daysoutguide.co.uk/familyoffers

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - 2 for 1 Tower of London

7 - It encourages us to leave the car at home

Our railcard definitely encourages us to leave the car at home and explore more of the UK together. Not having to worry about breaking down, traffic or finding parking spaces is a huge plus and as Steve and I car share, our railcard means I can afford to take the kids on train trips by myself during the school holidays when Steve is working. 

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - Cramlington Train Station

8 - You can use it to buy discounted tube tickets 

You can use your Family & Friends Railcard to buy discounted tube tickets. Children under 10 travel on the tube free of charge but now that Harry is 12, he has to pay for a ticket and this discount is super handy. Adults can receive 1/3 off a London Zones 1-6 off-peak travel card and children aged 5-15 can buy the same ticket for just £2.30. Bargain! (T&Cs apply). To buy these discounter travel cards, visit a tube ticket office and present your railcard. 

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - Kids learning how to use the tube

10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard - kids on the tube escalator

9 - I can use the railcard to make savings on local travel too 

We have a train station in my hometown of Cramlington and there are hourly trains to Newcastle. the Metrocentre and Morpeth. The trains only take 14 minutes and are a super convenient way for us to travel into Newcastle for the day or to make a connection elsewhere. Without a Family & Friends Railcard, our fare would be £18.20 return for the 5 of us but with a railcard, it's just £9.90 which is half price and cheaper than the equivalent bus fare for us all. A Family & Friends Railcard is definitely worth considering even if you're not planning any big trips this year.

10 - You can use your railcard for tickets bought in advance or same day  

There are lots of different ticket types that are eligible for a Family & Friends discount (sadly First Class is usually excluded) and I love that you can plan in advance and receive discounts on the cheapest tickets or use your railcard to buy a ticket on the day of travel if you fancy an impromptu day out. If you can, I'd always recommend booking in advance for the best savings and making seat reservations. I learned the hard way that travelling with kids without seat reservations is not fun and definitely won't make that mistake again. 

It's really easy booking tickets with a Family & Friends Railcard, you can book tickets online (simply select the correct railcard type) or at a station ticket office with your railcard. You must remember to travel with your railcard and show it to the inspectors with your tickets when they're making their checks. 

As you can see, we love our Family & Friends Railcard. I predict we've saved thousands on both train travel and days out over the past few years and I wouldn't be without it.
Find out more and buy your railcard online here

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10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard



  1. Great tips which I will deffo be using! We have saved lots with ours. My two tips to add are to look for 20% off buying a F&F railcard deals. They happen a few times a year and always worth checking if there's a promotionon when you want to buy. Other tip is to consider a F&F 3 yr railcard available online for £70, which works out about £23 a year - this is what we have.

  2. We have a family and friends railcard and have done for years as we save so much when we go on days out via train. I had no idea about the savings you could make with it on days out etc though, thanks for the tips x


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