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Train Travel with Children

There are loads of discounts for children

Travelling by train is convenient and fun, for children and adults alike. Whether it’s a short hop, a day trip, or taking the family on holiday, here’s what you need to know about travelling with kids.

Depending on their age, children under 16 are able to get discounted fares – or even travel for free!

Children under 5

Children under 5 years of age travel for free on most journeys but check with your train company to make sure. Please note, children under 5 who are travelling without a ticket may only occupy a seat that is not required by a fare-paying passenger. To have a reserved seat for a child under 5 you will need to purchase a child rate ticket. These come with seat reservations (if available), and there is also a 50% discount on most tickets.

Children aged 5 to 15

Children aged 5 to 15 get a 50% discount on most tickets. You can also get further child rate discounts with a Family & Friends Railcard – see more below.

We suggest that children who look older than 16 carry a form of ID to show that they are entitled to a child rate fare. For example, a Child Rate Photocard, which can be obtained for free at any staffed National Rail station.

Children over 16

There are still ways to save money after a child has reached 16. Choose from the links below to find the right offer for you:

Family & Friends Railcard

With the Family & Friends Railcard, up to 4 adults and 4 children can travel together on one card – and you don’t even have to be related. Adults can save 1/3 and children’s tickets cost 60% less.

Children on sleeper trains

The following applies when travelling with children on a sleeper train:

  • Where children travel in sleeper accommodation, they must either share a room with another member of their travelling party or have sole occupancy of a room

  • Where they have sole occupancy of a room, there must be an accompanying adult travelling in the same coach

  • Where children travel in seated accommodation they must be accompanied by an adult in the seated coach

For more information see our Sleeper Trains page or contact your train company.

Train is the bestest way to travel!
Maya, age 5

Travel Tips


  • Bring the whole family

  • Check with your train company about their discounts for children

  • Play some trainspotting games


  • Forget to bring a snack

  • Be surprised if you are asked for ID if you look older than 16

  • Stare at your screen the whole journey – there are exciting things going on outside the window!


Yes, children get discounts on almost all train tickets. Children under 5 travel for free on most routes. Check with your train company to make sure.

Yes, if seat reservations are available on your train, you can reserve a seat for your child. However, if the child is under 5 and travelling without a ticket, you cannot reserve a seat for them, and you must be prepared to give up their seat if another passenger needs it. If you want to reserve a seat for a child under 5, you can buy them a ticket for children aged 5 to 15.

Yes, you can bring your child on a sleeper train. They must be accompanied by an adult throughout the journey.

Quote image credit: Edis Potori