I would prefer not to use National Express. Conditions on coaches can be awful, in my experience. I wish we had something like Polskibus in the UK.

Are there any alternatives? I mainly use them to get between airports and Birmingham when it's dark.

  • 2
    Welcome to travel.SE. Can you edit your question to be a little more specific as to what it is you're trying to do where and when? As it stands your question looks more like a rant.
    – Karlson
    Apr 29, 2013 at 19:34
  • 'better' is subjective, so I've edited your question to make it more structured and just to ask for objective alternatives. Have added an answer as well, hope that helps.
    – Mark Mayo
    Apr 29, 2013 at 20:27
  • 3
    Have you considered taking a train? Usually a lot more comfortable than a bus, and when booked in advance can be quite good value too. Apr 30, 2013 at 9:47
  • @KristvanBesien Usually we travel too early or too late for trains.
    – cja
    Apr 30, 2013 at 10:24

4 Answers 4


There are a few other companies in the UK, although none are particularly great - it's not huge distances so they go for packing you in, more than anything.

  • Megabus - if you get tickets well in advance, they can be incredibly cheap. They also have a sleeper service from London to Glasgow/Edinburgh.
  • Eurolines - although as they're an associate company of National Express you may not like them - but they run coach services to / from London with various cities in Northern Ireland, Ireland and continental Europe. Advance ticketing is required

Bonus - EasyBus - although only in London at present, if you get it in advance, tickets can be very cheap to the airports, from as little as two pounds.

  • 1
    There are also some other companies who operate long distance coaches, but only for one region. The Oxford Bus Company have excellent buses - wifi, power, decent legroom etc - but that only helps between Oxford and London, Heathrow and Gatwick...
    – Gagravarr
    Apr 29, 2013 at 21:18
  • Stagecoach Gold claim to provide a higher standard of travel: Stagecoach Gold is a luxury bus service available at no extra cost. Nov 19, 2017 at 15:30

Another altenative maybe to consider the train, if of course you can find a cheap ticket or one that is similar to the price you would pay on either National Express or the other companies mentioned in Mark's answer.

Cheap train tickets is a resource zone for finding cheaper train tickets. It's packed with hidden tips and tricks for cheap rail fares.

  • Usually we travel too early or too late for trains.
    – cja
    May 1, 2013 at 11:03
  • @cja Ah shame, might be helpful for future use however.
    – Simon
    May 1, 2013 at 11:09

The easiest way to figure out one's coach travel options in Britain is to try Traveline (on Wikipedia) journey planner:

We’re a partnership of transport companies, local authorities and passenger groups which have come together to bring you routes and times for all travel in Great Britain by bus, rail, coach and ferry.

To get the coach services only deselect everything but coach in the travel mode settings:

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This will show in the search results who the particular route is serviced by, for example, the route from Tiverton to London (Hammersmith) is serviced by Berry's Coaches:

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You can then search for that name on the Internet and see who runs it and on what other routes.


Here's one more, serving the Birmingham area which you seem to be interested in:

Thandi Express

Thandi Express runs daily scheduled services between the following towns - Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Coventry, Luton, Barking/Illford, East Ham/Stratford/Manor Park (East London), Woolwich, Charlton, Dartford, Gravesend/Rochester/Strood/Gillingham (Kent) , Southall, Slough (West London), Leicester, Nottingham/Derby, Sheffield, Bradford/Leeds/Huddersfield/Dewsbury.

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