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.



  1. Daniel Hardbeam September 1, 2017 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the positive review, and delighted that you like our service – we hope that you travel with us again soon. We are about to roll out a complimentary drinks service (soft drinks, wine, beer) for all future journeys longer than one hour, so all the more reason to choose your friendly coach service ahead of the busy trains! (Don’t worry – we limit the driver to maximum two alcoholic beverages per journey). Dan

    • TMM September 4, 2017 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Dan thanks for the update. That’s AMAZING! We we’re actually so impressed we’ve booked to travel from Leeds all the way to Ireland with National Express / Eurolines. Hopefully this will be in place in time for our journey.

  2. Sam September 1, 2017 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    My daughter and I took the National Express form London to Cardiff three years ago, and it worked like a charm. There were power outlets so we could watch a DVD on route when we weren’t window gazing (American tourists). It was quite comfortable as well. Compared to the US bus service, so much better and affordable.

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