Spend Money, Transport, Travel

Our return back to the UK took an unexpected turn when we arrived back to Manchester airport to find that National Rail wanted upwards of £50.00 for the 1 hour train journey to Leeds. Shocked by the pricing (especially after two months on public transport within Europe and paying just £8 for a flight from Germany to the UK) we decided to look at our alternatives.

Our solution was National Express. Coming in at just £17 for the two of us (including booking fee) and taking just one hour longer than the train journey we saw it as a no brainer. However, having not been on a coach service within the UK for the best part of a decade, how were we going to find it?

Travel Details

H: Manchester Airport, England

To: Leeds Bus Station, England

Journey Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes

Price Per Adult: £8.95


As we booked our transport very much last minute, we relied on the mobile version of the National Express website for booking. Despite there being a National Express office at Manchester Airport they were unable to match the price we’d been quoted online.

Considering we were booking on a small screen, and in a rather short time period under stressful conditions we found the website very easy to use. If it’s that easy on the mobile version of the website I can’t begin to imagine how simple it is to do online via a laptop or PC.

Within minutes of paying for our booking we we’re emailed our tickets and ready to board our scheduled coach. 

Seating And Comfort

We managed to board and get the front two seats on the bus – usually reserved for those in a wheel chair however none were onboard today. This provided us with A LOT of extra legroom. Perfect for the awkwardly sized baggage we had.

The benefits of being in the front seat is being able to see clearly out of the front of the coach. As I occasionally suffer from travel sickness this helped a lot.

All the seats on the coach we’re covered in leather with plenty of padding and cushioning around the head. Sitting in these for more than two hours certainly wasn’t a problem…


The service onboard was fantastic. Aside from the free onboard WiFi, National Express offers a complimentary entertainment service. You can use this free using your WiFi enabled device (iPad, SmartPhone, Laptop)

The choice in viewing was outstanding and included TV shows, movies and magazines. Considering this is complimentary I was left shocked, but highly impressed.

Helen and I opted to start planning our next getaway by reading the latest Lonely Planet magazine using my laptop. Navigation was straight forward and reading was a pleasure.

Value For Money

Considering National Rail wanted a shocking three times the amount for the same journey (the only difference being the mode of transport and an hour) I’d say National Express is fantastic value for money.

The service was prompt, the seats were comfortable and the added extras MADE this journey. I will certainly be looking to travel with National Express again in the near future.


Days Out, Spend Money

It’s no secret that Helen and I love a good trip to the zoo. Having recently visited the Zoo in Prague during our nomad trip around Europe we jumped at the chance to visit our favourite UK based zoo while we were back – Chester Zoo!

Since being featured on the Channel 4 show, Secret Life Of The Zoo. We’ve fallen more and more in love with the amazing personalities of the animals here. 

Chester Zoo have launched the most fantastic new Play! zone and they kindly invited us along to check out some of the new play areas and ideas they have put up around the zoo alongside the animals of course!

The idea behind Play! at Chester Zoo is to create fun engagement with children and their parents throughout their day at the zoo.

One of my favourite features of the Play Zone has to be the newly opened Madagascar space. An active adventure playground designed to encourage children to explore!

Chester Zoo has some amazing viewing points. Even though the zoo at times was busy there was never a wait to see any of the animals with a choice of raised platforms, glass screens and underwater areas.

One thing that always worries me about zoo’s is the treatment of animals. After a shock horror at a zoo in China when I was just 15. Chester Zoo’s number one priority is the care of the animals and it’s so easy to see that with how happy and healthy all the animals are. 

Despite having a map, Helen’s navigation skills left some things to be desired for. Luckily Chester Zoo had us covered with signs for everyone to see guaranteeing you’re on the right road to seeing you’re favourite animal.

Just as the heavens opened we managed to take cover in one of Chester Zoo’s cafés. Helping ourselves to some delicious and well priced food while planning our route for the afternoon.

You can book your tickets for Chester Zoo and read more about the Play! Zone here.