AD| Please note this post contains an advertisement for National Express. I was gifted the journey to Manchester and back home again. All opinions are my own.
As the year comes to a close, I always find my self reflecting and reminiscing of where life has taken me in the year. As the year started, I, as usual, set out my goal to explore more of home country throughout the year; feeding my never ending bucket list of places I need to see. So when National Express approached me and asked if I wanted to see Manchester and York, I immediately said yes.
There is something about York…
For me, York has been my number one destination to see for a long time. With The Shambles being dubbed as the real life Diagon Alley, the Harry Potter obsessive in me has been screaming for a visit! The only problem (previously) being, it’s a long time for my boyfriend to drive and trains are extortionate price. Luckily, National Express came to my rescue on this occasion and off I was on to the 6 hour journey to Manchester!
The weekend we went, I clearly forgot to wear my lucky travel earrings. Our original plan had changed in the space of a few hours before we took off. Our original plan was to head to Manchester, take a day trip to York and then head back from Manchester. There was a slight snag with the accommodation in Manchester, so we ended up grabbing an Airb&b in York for the whole weekend instead. We took the coach to Manchester and then hopped on a train to York, before returning from Manchester anyway. (National Express does actually offer a direct service to York too by the way!)
We got to the airport quite quickly and got comfy in our seats on the coach straight away. You can reserve your seats on some services for £2, but on this occasion we decided to not to. You are always guaranteed a seat anyway, but the reservation comes in handy if you absolutely *need* a window seat (if you get travel sick!). I dragged my other half with me on this occasion, but if I was heading on a solo adventure and had no one else to talk to, the window is definitely something I would want as it gets quite busy!
I’m sure I am not the only one, but when someone says “coach travel” I imagine the idea of a rundown coach, ripped seats and in the middle of a desert. Chugging along slowly and needing to pee desperately. I am happy to say that National Express is the complete opposite of this vision and incredibly modern. Admittedly, I got quite excited that there was a toilet on board. Yes, I am that annoying traveller that needs the bathroom every 5 minutes, so knowing that I didn’t have to wait 3 hours for a stop to pee was such a relief (pun not intended!).
Not only do they have bathrooms on board but they all coaches have leather seats (mega comfy!), air conditioning, power sockets and free entertainment. We didn’t make use of the free entertainment in the end. My boyfriend and I shared some headphones and listened to some Disney soundtracks (don’t tell anyone that part) watching the world go by.
The National Express Environmental factor..
When I said National Express was modern, not only did I mean about the equipment on board but actually a big supporter of reducing their carbon footprint. With all the fleet being less than 5 years old, any coaches that were purchased after summer 2014, meet the engine emissions requirements. A 56 seated coach actually is more environmentally friendly than driving on the road your own car. Not only that, but with coaches being the most environmentally friendly way to travel any way, each coach is fitted with a system to switch off the engine after 5 minutes of it not moving. As we enter 2020, I am doing more and more each day to reduce my own personal carbon footprint too. Coach travel is a good way to start for me personally for these weekend trips, instead of hopping on a plane to somewhere else in the UK.
Let’s talk budget
The biggest thing for me when I travel is that it must always be plausible in one pay check. With the exception of Disney World (my biggest splurge) I am always searching for the best and cheapest deals I can find. National Express is big on keeping costs low and reasonable for everyone. The lowest ticket on their site is about £5 (plus a booking fee). My route was a little more, but totally acceptable.
Heathrow to Manchester > £30pp
Manchester to Heathrow > £27pp
This service was direct and involved no change overs. Knowing myself well enough, once I get comfy I really don’t want to move for a while! I was thinking of this while booking and how right I was! I was so comfy I ended up falling asleep several times on the way there. Which was new to me, as I usually cannot fall asleep while travelling!
This service stopped at several other places but none long enough to grab food. I packed a lunch for my partner and I and we had a nibble in between our own personal mime renditions of Into The Unknown (Frozen 2) and I’ll Make A Man Out Of You (Mulan). There were some vending machines in the Manchester Coach Station and a few sweet shops which was handy in case you forgot your most important snacks.
Overall, I would recommend National Express to anyone in the UK as a good method to travel. They take the stress out of directions for drivers and you can quite literally sit back and relax. I know this was a big thing for my partner as he usually drives me to these places. I also usually get travel sickness in cars but didn’t find myself feeling poorly at all on either journey. We also wanted to add that even though we were sitting for 6 hours each way, the seats were so comfy that we didn’t get a numb behind! (a pet hate for my boyfriend!) I am disappointed in myself for not considering coach travel sooner. This is definitely going to be firmly added in my agenda for 2020!
You can book your next trip with National Express by clicking > here <
Stay tuned for my guide to York which will come next week!
Do you travel by coach often? Will you consider it after my post? Let me know in the comments!