Planning your journey
Choose your destination
To make family holidays extra-enjoyable, make sure you plan ahead. Start looking into family-friendly destinations with a range of activities that will work come rain or shine. Once you’ve decided, get the map out and choose your rail route before steaming ahead with your itinerary.
Looking for inspiration? Chessington World of Adventures and Peppa Pig World are both easy to get to by train and promise a fun-filled day out. For more destination ideas, take a look at our complete list of sights and attractions.
Book your train tickets
To avoid hassle and to save money, it’s often best to book train and attraction tickets in advance. For the extra-organised, breathe a sigh of relief as you can book as far as 12 weeks before you travel. Check out our flexible range of train ticket types, where you’ll find several travel options.
Our Group Train Travel discounted tickets are perfect for schools and large groups. Otherwise, take a look at our selection of Railcards, which includes the 16-25 Railcard, 26-30 Railcard, Disabled Persons Railcard, Family & Friends Railcard and more.
|Children’s train ticket prices
|Children aged 5 - 15
||Fares are half the price of an adult ticket
||Full adult fare (unless they have the 16-17 Saver, 16-25 Railcard or another type of discount)
Access train tickets from your phone
To save you precious time at the station, make the most of our paperless tickets and keep them on your phone with digital To get started, simply download the SWR app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. From there, you can do everything from browsing ticket options and exploring routes to purchasing tickets and scanning your eTickets.
Plug sockets for charging phones and laptops are available on the majority of our trains, so remember to bring your charger along to avoid that dreaded low battery notification!
It’s a good idea to book an off-peak train when travelling with children. Not only can you save on ticket prices, but the station will be calmer outside of rush hour and the trains will likely be quieter, too. We also advise you to look at our GroupSave tickets, which often make journeys cheaper for families.
You have plenty of flexibility when it comes to your ticket options, so you’re still able to pick the best time to suit you when planning your family trip. Sign up for cheap ticket alerts to find out when our cheap Advance tickets go on sale. These are a great way to save money on specific, one-way routes. If you’re looking for a bit more flexibility then our Semi Flex Return, Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak, Evening Out or Sunday Out train tickets could be for you.
We understand that sometimes you may have to catch the train during busier times, so we’re here to help make things a little easier. If you’re travelling into London during rush hour, use our handy tool to see how busy your train is expected to be on the day of your journey. Find out the predicted number of carriages on your train, how many seats are expected to be available and more.
Look out for offers and discounts
Did you know that travelling by train can often get you discounts at various destinations? With SWR Rewards, you can make great savings on days out, food and drink, hotels, shopping, theatre trips and more. Simply show your tickets when booking to unlock these awards, and receive discounts off attractions ranging from SEA LIFE to Kew Gardens.
Travelling by train also grants you access to a whole range of 2FOR1 offers on attractions all over the country, so it’s always worth checking what savings you can make as you plan your itinerary.
Travelling with us
Can children travel on their own?
We suggest you follow guidance from the British Transport Police, which states that children and young people should ideally be accompanied by a responsible adult on the train.
If your child has to travel alone or with other children, talk to them beforehand about station safety and what to do in emergencies. Plan ahead and write down which station they’ll be arriving at and what time, as well as who will be meeting them. Advise them to:
- Stick together at all times
- Listen closely to announcements and follow instructions both onboard the train and in the station
- Keep away from the platform edge and off train tracks
- Find a member of staff to talk to if they need help
Travelling with kids
To help make your journey by train as seamless as possible, read our guide on travelling with kids to help with what to do before and during your journey.
Travel with South Western Railway and enjoy a seamless journey, helping you make the most of your family holiday with minimal hassle. From the free station Wi-Fi and shops where you can grab those last-minute bits and bobs, to ensuring your time onboard is comfortable and entertaining with free Wi-Fi on board, we’ve got you covered. For more travel inspiration, tips and all the information you need to get from A to B, check out our travel blog Where Next.