Flights to Tunisia from East Midlands cheaper than train to London

Last week, the Mayor of Greater Manchester revealed you could travel to Jamaica for less than the cost of a return ticket from Manchester to London. So we decided to see where we could fly for the cost of the train journey from Leicester to the capital. We compared three levels of train prices: anytime returns, off-peak returns and super off-peak.

We ran the numbers on Tuesday April 26 and an anytime return from Leicester to London, departing Wednesday April 27, will cost commuters £182, according to ticket sellers, Trainline. We used the prices set by the airlines to see where we could fly direct from East Midlands Airport in May for less money – there were plenty of options.

For around £30 less you can book return flights to two cities in Turkey. Flights to and from the coastal city of Antalya would cost you £150, or you could fly to see the archaeological sites of Izmir, on the west coast of the country, for £153.

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Flights to and from Enfidha in Tunisia, on the country’s northeast coast, are even cheaper at £138 pp – the only catch is that you’ll need to take a two-week break as flights are few frequent. Lanarca in Cyprus is another possible destination if a beach holiday is your thing, at £150 for return flights.

An off-peak return to London St Pancras is certainly cheaper, but will still cost you upwards of £100 – £105.50 to be precise. By comparison, you could fly to Burgas, Bulgaria for £90 or Dubrovnik, Croatia for £89.

An off-peak return to and from London would cost Leicester commuters £70. However, there are still plenty of places to fly for less. A return flight to Corfu would cost as little as £69, Crete would set you back around £50 and a stopover in Budapest even less at £36.

Some flights to more traditional holiday destinations such as France, Spain and Italy could even cost less than £20 for the return journey. Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, highlighted the issue of the cost of rail travel in a Tweet last week.

He said you can travel to India, Jamaica, Brazil and Ivory Coast for less than the £369 cost of a return ticket from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston. Mr Burnham, who has long campaigned for cheaper rail fares, wrote in the Evening Standard: “As long as rail tickets cost more than plane tickets, the transport economy in the UK will be completely in the wrong place when it comes to tackling the climate crisis, but the truth is, that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said more than a million train tickets will be cut this spring in what is being called the Great British Rail Sale. Passengers are currently eligible to travel with up to 50% off off-peak fares between April 25 and May 27 as the government attempts to ease the cost of living crisis.

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