Spend Money, Transport, Travel

National Express An Honest Review | Is It Really That Bad?

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?

  • 90%
    Booking Process - 90%
  • 90%
    Staff - 90%
  • 98%
    On Board Experience - 98%
  • 90%
    Value For Money - 90%


Travelling with National Express was an absolute pleasure. The service we received on board was shocking (in a good way) and the value for money was great!

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.