It's cheaper when the trains aren't as busy
Go at a less busy time of day (sometime after 09.30) and save with Off-Peak and Off-Peak Day tickets. And you don’t need to book in advance.
What are the advantages?
- At quieter times of the day, Off-Peak fares offer better value for money
- You can buy them any time before you travel with no need to book in advance
When can you use an Off-Peak ticket?
- The trains you can catch and the times you can travel with an Off-Peak ticket vary depending on when the journey is, where you’re going and which train company that you are travelling with. So be sure to check your ticket’s terms and conditions
- You can see which trains and connections are available to you when booking your tickets, or afterwards by logging in to My Account, finding your booking and clicking on 'Which trains can I use my ticket on?'
- You can travel anytime at the weekend, and Monday to Friday on most trains that leave after 09.30
- You’ll need to make your outward journey on the date shown on the outward part of your ticket
- You have to make your return journey within one calendar month of the date shown on your ticket
- Not all journey restrictions are set by Virgin Trains East Coast, so do check your ticket conditions before you buy
- If there’s more than one Off-Peak fare for a journey, the cheaper fare with more restrictions is called a Super Off-Peak ticket
Are Off-Peak tickets refundable?
Yes, but you’ll need to pay a £10 administration fee per transaction.
Can I change my travel plans?
You can travel on any Off-Peak train on the date shown on your ticket. For Off-Peak Return tickets, you must make your return journey within one calendar month (excluding Off-Peak Day tickets). If you would simply like to change train times to travel on a peak service, for travel on the same day, please pay the difference in fare at the Travel Centre. There is no administration fee to make this change. Find out how to change your ticket here. If you want to travel on a different day, you need to refund your ticket online via My Account or at the station and buy a new one. You can find out all about refunding your tickets here.
Super Off-Peak Tickets
You can travel on any Super Off-Peak train on the date shown on your ticket. For Super Off-Peak Return tickets, you must make your return journey within one calendar month (excluding Super Off-Peak Day tickets). If you would simply like to change train times to travel on a peak service, for travel on the same day, please pay the difference in fare at the Travel Centre. There is no administration fee to make this change. Find out how to change your ticket here. If you want to travel on a different day, you need to refund your ticket online via My Account or at the station and buy a new one. You can find out all about refunding your tickets here.
Do I need to book in advance?
No, you can buy an Off-Peak ticket up to a few minutes before departure.
Can I break my journey?
Yes, you can stop off at stations along your route of travel.
Can I get a discount with a Railcard?
Yes, you can save up to a third of the ticket price with a Railcard. Find out more about Railcards.
Are there discounts for children?
Yes, there is a 50% discount for children aged 5-15, and under 5s travel free. Read more about travelling with children.
Can I reserve a seat?
Yes, you can reserve a seat in advance if you want, but you don’t have to. Seat reservation is recommended on busier trains, for example on Friday or Sunday afternoons. For any train that leaves before 10:15, reservations are closed the night before. After that, reservations close two hours before the train departs the first station.
Is it possible to book a First Class Off-Peak ticket?
Yes, on a few selected journeys to/from London. Where they are available, Virgin Trains East Coast First Class tickets also let you use any of our First Class lounges for free.
What happens if disruption affects my travel plans?
If you decide not to travel due to disruption, you can claim a refund on any unused tickets without needing to pay an administration fee.
Terms & conditions
If travelling on Virgin Trains East Coast services using an Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak ticket, it is essential that you read these terms and conditions carefully. If you board a train on which your ticket is not valid, you may be liable to purchase a new ticket or pay an excess fare. If travelling with other train operators, please check with that operator for restrictions that apply to their services.
When there is more than one Off-Peak fare for a journey, the cheaper fare with more restrictions will be called Super Off-Peak. Most Virgin Trains East Coast Off-Peak tickets (code 3V) do not allow travel before 09.30 Monday-Friday. (See different conditions below for journeys to, from or via Stevenage and London). However, fares and restrictions for some journeys via Virgin Trains East Coast trains are set by other train companies so please check before travelling. Time restrictions do not apply on Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays.
General Conditions and Validity to, from or via London
1. Off-Peak and First Off-Peak
Outward journeys must be made on the date shown on your ticket, and return journeys, where applicable, within one calendar month. Only available on selected journeys.
Times you can travel:
OUTWARD OR SINGLE NORTHBOUND (code 1T or 1V): On any train from London King's Cross except those timed to depart 06.45-07.59 Monday-Friday and 15.59-17.45 inclusive, Monday-Thursday.
RETURN SOUTHBOUND (code 1T or 1V): On any train.
OUTWARD OR SINGLE SOUTHBOUND (codes 1D or 1E): On any train timed to arrive in London King's Cross at 10.08 or later, Monday-Friday.
RETURN NORTHBOUND (codes 1D or 1E): On any train.
Important note. “Off-Peak” tickets from West Scotland to/via London and vice versa are priced by Virgin West Coast, with restriction codes 3A or 5F. If used to/from London Kings Cross, then the Super Off-Peak restrictions shown below apply.
2. Super Off-Peak
Outward journeys must be made on the date shown on your ticket and return journeys within one calendar month.
Times you can travel:
NORTHBOUND (codes 9D, 9F, 1K or 1L): On any train from London King's Cross except those timed to depart before 09.06 Monday-Friday and from 14.59-18.59 inclusive, Monday-Thursday and from 14.59-18.15 on Fridays.
SOUTHBOUND (codes 9D, 9F, 1K or 1L: On any train timed to arrive in London King's Cross at 11.17 or later, Monday-Friday.
Note: Super Off-Peak Single Tickets for some journeys are sold at a special web only fare that is not available at Ticket Offices or Travel centres. If you go to a Ticket office or Travel Centre to change a ticket which was advertised as a “web only fare”, you will have to refund your existing ticket and then book a new one. This may result in you paying substantially more to buy another Super Off-Peak Single ticket.
3. Off-Peak Day Return and Off-Peak Travelcards
Outward and Return journeys must be made on the date shown on your ticket. Break of journey is allowed.
Times you can travel:
NORTHBOUND (code E8 or E9): On any train from London King's Cross timed to depart at 09.53 or later, except 15.40-19.01 inclusive, Monday-Friday.
SOUTHBOUND (code E8 or E9): On any train to London King's Cross timed to arrive in London at 11.00 or later, Monday-Friday.
Over the next few months, the restriction code that applies to some ticket types will start to be printed on tickets, to aid recognition, and these codes are shown above. Even where the code is not yet printed on the ticket, the advertised restriction as shown above will apply, as previously.