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What is an Open Return ticket?

In a nutshell, an Open Return ticket is one where you don’t need to have to come back on a selected day. The return part of the ticket is valid for one calendar month. It’s a flexible ticket.

What kinds of Open Return ticket are there?

There are a couple of different kinds of Open Return ticket. Some of them are completely flexible, while other have same time restrictions. Here are the most common types:

  • Anytime Return tickets are the most flexible. The outward part is valid for five days, rather than just one. As the name suggests, you can use them at any time
  • Off-Peak Return tickets have some time restrictions. The outward part is valid for just one day
  • Super Off-Peak Return tickets have the most restrictions. Usually, they have restrictions in the morning and evening rush hour, and a select few of them also have restrictions on a Saturday.

How do I know when my Open Return ticket is valid?

This is a great question, and there’s no ‘hard and fast’ rule when it comes to these tickets if you have an Off-Peak Return or Super Off-Peak Return.

On every ticket, you’ll find a restriction code. At the bottom of an eTicket, it’s at the bottom of the ticket, such as in this example:


Restriction code on an open return ticket


You can either type in ‘nre.co.uk’ followed by the restriction code (eg. nre.co.uk/2V) or you can click here to visit their dedicated page.

Can I get a reservation with an Open Return ticket?

Of course! When you book your ticket with Railsmartr, just pick the train you’d prefer to travel on.

This doesn’t affect the flexible nature of an Open Return ticket, and there’s no need to travel on this service if you change your plans.

If you don’t have a reservation, many trains have a dedicated unreserved coach. You can take a look at our guide to finding the unreserved coach for more handy tips on this.

Why can’t I find an Open Return ticket?

You might find that on some journeys, it’s not possible to get an open return ticket. This will be for two reasons:

  • Your journey is too short. On short trips, it might only be possible to get a day return
  • The ticket you want to buy is priced by LNER. They’ve adopted ‘single-leg pricing’ on the fares that they’re in charge of. This means that a single costs roughly half of what a return fare used to. Of course, if you normally break the return leg of your journey across several days, this won’t be possible anymore. Feel free to contact us if you’re struggling to find a suitable alternative.

How do I book one of these tickets?

You can do it easily with Railsmartr! Just select ‘Open Return‘ if you’re not sure when you’re going to be coming back:

Railsmartr website showing how to book an Open Return ticket

What’s more, when you book with us, we won’t charge you any fees. Open Return tickets are fully refundable, so if you change your mind before you travel, you can get a fee-free refund. That’s 100% of your money back!

Author Richard

Hi, I'm Richard and I've been working for Railsmartr since 2022. I make sure that everything we communicate with customers is top-notch and write exciting and informative content for the website. When I'm not at work, you'll still find me on the rails - though often in the far corners of Europe!