This post contains a paid for advertorial in collaboration with National Express.
At the weekend, Gareth and I decided to head to Manchester for a day trip to meet up with the family and grandparents before they jetted off back to Australia. As usual, we headed online to book our train tickets and we were shocked to find that the prices were coming in at around £50.00 for a return journey which was pretty expensive compared to what we normally tend to pay. Bear in mind, we live in Leeds and the journey only takes just over an hour.
Whilst looking at the train times, I had an email from the lovely team at National Express coaches to ask if I would like to work on a collaboration with them. I know this may sound silly to some people but I never really thought about travelling on the coach, but I don’t know why as the coach journey to Manchester only takes an extra 10 minutes and is so much cheaper – I mean ridiculously cheaper!
The online booking process was pretty straightforward and before our trip, we were getting emails in advice on what to do in Manchester and what to expect with regards to the weather etc – that’s right you guessed it, it was forecast rain!
We woke up on Saturday morning and headed straight to Leeds coach station which is situated just behind Leeds Kirkgate markets. National Express always recommend that you are there at least 10 minutes before departure which I think is pretty standard. I was very excited, as I didn’t really know what to expect. As we were boarding the coach, the driver was super friendly and very helpful. We didn’t have any seat reservations which to be honest, Gareth and I never really book anyway but we managed to be seated together. You can, however, purchase your seat in advance for an extra £2.00 on selected services if you did want to be guaranteed to be sat together but as I said, we didn’t have a problem with this at all.
The coach itself was so clean and the seats were very comfortable. I actually heard a few people commenting on how nice the coach was. One thing that I was so impressed with was the complimentary on-board VUER app and the free WIFI! The fact that you can watch movies, documentaries, news, children’s entertainment etc really sealed the deal for me. Gareth was very impressed and selected David Attenborough straight away. There are also power sockets to keep your battery going so you can make full use of this app.
An hour and ten minutes later we were in Manchester and meeting up with the family. I had so much fun exploring the city and we pulled into the Principal hotel for a coffee. It is such a beautiful building and I felt as if I had time-travelled back in time to the 50s. I would love to go back and stay there, to be honest. We then headed to Cheadle to Gareth’s Dad house and we had some homemade macaroni and cheese made by Grandma, which was delicious. Before we knew it, it was time to leave and say the emotional goodbyes. Off we headed back to Manchester coach station to board a coach home. I really couldn’t fault this service whatsoever and here’s some added information that may convert you to a coach traveler for your next journey:
Gareth and I just travelled down for the day so it was unnecessary for us to include luggage in our journey but it is nice to know that if we booked a long haul or overnight visit somewhere, we could easily store our luggage on the coach in the baggage compartment. National Express has a generous luggage allowance with 2 medium suitcases, each weighing no more than 20kg and a small piece of hand luggage as well.
Modern & Comfortable
The one thing that I can’t stand on trains is when we’re having a heatwave and either there’s no air conditioning or it just doesn’t work. What’s nice to know is that National Express coaches have full working air-conditioning services onboard so need to panic during those summer months. The coaches also have toilets and as mentioned before, free WiFi and entertainment with the VUER app.
Travelling by coach is the most environmentally friendly way of transport, generating up to 5 times less Co2 per passenger than the standard car journey. National Express quotes that their policy is to not leave engines running for prolonged periods of time so vehicles are fitted with a mechanism that automatically switches of the engines after 5 minutes of idling.
Would I travel National Express coaches again? 100% yes! I might actually be converted – turns out that you can’t always count on the weather, but you can count on National Express.
Although this was a paid partnership with National Express, all opinions and comments are my own.