To make life easier for UK travellers, the National Bus Company called for the merging of all individual state-run bus companies in 1972. While the resulting bus conglomerate was initially called “National”, it received its final name – “National Express” – only two years later. Today National Express successfully operates intercity bus services within the UK.
Travellers can, for instance, take the coach from London to the coastal town of Brighton or to the university city of Cambridge. Overall, the National Express bus network covers 655 destinations on a total of 42111 bus connections.
COVID-19 Update: National Express has temporarily suspended all timetables and plans to have a provisional restart on 1 March 2021. It’s worth noting any services are subject to change based on government advice. To assist passengers during these times, National Express will be offering more flexible ticket policies for those who need to cancel or amend their trip.
Travel comfortably across the United Kingdom with National Express with plenty of leg room as well as air-conditioning controls. As a rule, you can connect to free WiFi and charge your device with handy USB ports. So there's no need to be bored during your journey! Whether you're going to university, travelling for an extended holiday or visting family, you can enjoy a generous luggage allowance of two suitcases in addition to one piece of hand luggage. For an added fee, passengers can also reserve a preferred seat in the first five rows.
Information about the bus amenities and on-board services
- WiFi on Board
- extra legroom
- compartments for hand-luggage
- luggage transportation
- bulky luggage transportation
- discount for frequent passengers / members
- bike storage
- specific seat selection
Taking the coach is an affordable way of travelling anyway, but you can get even more bang for your buck thanks to National Express offers. If you travel in a group, then you can benefit from reduced fares. If you are a senior citizen, a young adult or if you travel with your family then you should think about purchasing a National Express Coachcard, which will get you discounts on any trip for the next 12 months.
COVID-19 Update: To assist passengers during this time, National Express will offer free ticket amendments for travel up to 30 September 2021 or a full refund. Passengers must either complete the National Express ticket amendment form prior to their original outbound journey or apply for the refund via the online refund form.
Overview over National Express Discounts
|Group Deals||25% off Standard Fares||Book a trip for a group of four or more at least three days in advance.|
|Group Deals for Airport Transfer||£20 per one-way ticket||Book a trip to any of London’s four major airports for a minimum of three travellers|
|Senior Coachcard||Save 1/3 on Standard Fares (valid for 12 months)||Valid for travellers 60+: Pay £12.50 for your Senior Coachcard|
|Disabled Coachcard||Save 1/3 on Standard Fares (valid for 12 months)||Valid for travellers with a disability: Pay £12.50 for your Disabled Coachcard|
|Young Persons Coachcard||Save 1/3 on Standard Fares and get 10% off on trips to festivals and other events (valid for 12 months)||Valid for travellers between the age of 16 and 26 or full-time students: Pay £12.50 for a one-year Coachcard of £30 for a three-year Coachcard|
National Express CoachcardsCoachcards are not only a smart option if you are planning to travel a lot. Basically, if the ticket price for a journey is over £30, you instantly make up for the cost of your Coachcard (i. e. £12.50). What’s also good is that some of the Coachcards come with additional offers. If you buy a Young Persons Coachcard, for instance, you do not only get 1/3 off every Standard Fare but you will also get a 15 per cent discount on trips to festivals and other events. Owners of a Senior Coachcard benefit from a Money-back guarantee: if they can’t manage to save the cost of the Coachcard within a year, they get a refund. They can also claim a free return journey if their bus is delayed by an hour or more. Coachcards are valid on any National Express Standard Fare. Excluded are Fun Fares and trips operated by third party providers. In order to claim your discount, you only need to tick the Coachcard box while buying your ticket and insert the number of your individual Coachcard. Don’t forget to take it with you on the journey as you will have to show it to the driver.
Fun FaresLooking for a Fun Fare is another way of saving money when travelling with National Express. Fun Fares are the cheapest tickets and they are available exclusively online. You can easily find them with the CheckMyBus search engine: simply type in your travel details and look out for the cheapest price. Remember, though, that a Fun Fare ticket is not refundable, however you can amend your booking should you decide to take an earlier or later bus. Fun Fares cannot be combined with other forms of discounts. Promo Codes and Special Deals: National Express frequently gives out promotional codes or offers reduced fares on select days or routes. To keep up to date you should check out all current National Express Deals.
National Express Skimmer PassIn spring 2017, National Express launched their Skimmer Pass: customers, who are planning on travelling fairly frequently in the upcoming weeks, can purchase this pass to buy unlimited travel across England, Scotland and Wales for a limited amount of time. The Skimmer Pass is available in three versions: 7 days, 14 days and 28 days. It costs £69, £119 or £199 respectively. If you’re interested you can buy your unlimited travel pass online on the coach company’s website. This is also where you can select the dates, for which you want your pass to be valid. Once you’ve received it including the individualised serial number, you can easily book bus trips online – you will be charged nothing when you enter your Skimmer Pass number.
National Express offers an extensive network of bus routes which covers the entire United Kingdom. With 42111 routes connecting 655 cities, passengers can easily find popular connections between major cities, such as the London Manchester or Glasgow Edinburgh bus routes, as well as small towns throughout the country.
Those looking to travel outside the UK can take advantage of cross-border connections offered by National Express, like the London Paris bus connection. Bus routes to major airports are also very popular with travellers looking to avoid expensive parking fees. Airports served by National Express include London Heathrow Airport, London Stansted Airport and Manchester Airport. You can find all available routes in our search engine or check out some of the most popular bus routes below:
National Express Timetables
From Scotland to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, National Express offers regular bus routes every day. However, the frequency of the connections may vary depending on if you're travelling from a big city or a smaller town. The company also offers bus routes that require a changeover, which basically enables passengers to travel from any location in the UK to their desired destination. National Express also operates connections to all of the UK’s major airports to help passengers catch their flights on time.
The connections are operated as 24 hour services and many of them are even available on Christmas Eve, when National Express adds more seats in order to offer travellers an alternative in times of the annual Christmas rail shutdown.
The first motorbuses appeared on streets throughout the UK by 1918, however it wasn’t until 1968 that the National Bus Company was created. This brought independent coach operators together under one name, and just six years later the National Express name was used for the first time. By the 1980s, National Express faced some stiff competition around the country, particularly for routes to and from London, however thanks to the introduction of new services and lowered ticket prices, the company was able to come out on top, winning the “coach wars.”
By the 1990s, the company continued to grow, expanding services to airports, and also building coach stations in Liverpool, Leeds and Southampton. Today, National Express is the UK’s market leader, with routes all over the country.