Normally take the train for leisure journeys? Read on... OK, so I've recently moved from Birmingham to Bristol and I used to get the Chiltern Railways £15 return to London to visit friends. Now we've only got First Great Western as the rail operating company, so I checked advance tickets on sale for a weekend in March for myself and my girlfriend - cheapest advanced singles come to a total of £69, with 'saver' open returns available at £98 (that's £49 each!). I'm starting to feel the sting at this point for what is normally a cheap weekend catching up with friends. Now, as it's a leisure journey, we're not quite as time sensitive as we would be for business travel (for which the train is the default!), so I check out the National Express website. They do a totally flexible return for about £26 each but also do their own version of advance singles where you are more restricted - so I check availability as both journeys are 'off-peak' and it's no more restricted than the cheaper train option..... £14 all in. For two people. To London. There and back. It'll take an hour longer than the train according to the timetable and could be even longer with traffic taken into account. I think we can live with that when saving over £50. Just thought I'd post this as I've not used National Express for a good few years with the exception of airport runs (for which they are not that cheap!), and didn't realise they did value tickets. Only other negative is that we can't just take our bikes to avoid using the tube.