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Will the last person to leave London please turn the lights off!

Press Release   •   Apr 28, 2009 23:00 BST

29 April 2009

This May Bank Holiday weekend will see a flock of city-swapping Londoners leave the capital behind for alternative UK destinations including Manchester, Birmingham, and Glasgow. According to Virgin Trains, which has just launched a brand new timetable, over 20,000 people have already booked their advance tickets to escape the hubbub of the city – a 30% increase compared to last year.

Thriving Manchester is proving the most popular destination choice for the great getaway, as this year’s advance reservations hit over 7,800 tickets – double the amount sold this time last year. England’s ‘second-city’, Birmingham, and routes to Glasgow will also be busy, with a combined 5,500 Londoners choosing the train to travel to both fantastic cities. Overall, this is considered to be the busiest May Day Holiday since Virgin Trains began running its West Coast service in 1997 even without the additional walk-up tickets expected to be sold throughout the weekend.

Says Arthur Leathley, Communications Director Virgin Trains, “The May Bank Holiday weekend is always a popular travel period, however we have certainly seen a surge in interest this year – particularly by Londoners wishing to escape the rat race for a few days exploring the UK. Optimistically, the continuation of the good weather of last week could provide a great break for the British public in the most popular destinations of Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. With more frequent services than ever before we are keen to encourage more people to holiday in the UK and use the train wherever possible”.

Steve Cere, Station Manager at Manchester Piccadilly agrees: “Manchester is a great all-round holiday choice for young and old alike, and ticket sales for May Bank Holiday have reflected its popularity. Visitors to the city can indulge in a generous helping of quirky shops, museums and eateries, contemporary and historic architecture, and a legendary and friendly nightlife scene”.
Tempted? Virgin Trains fare: London – Manchester weekday returns from £50*

Birmingham’s tourist attractions include:
* The new Bullring shopping experience, with £500 million of retail excitement - capped by the iconic Selfridges;
* 180 miles of canals, with 216 locks: walking the towpath gives you a chance to see the city and its surrounding towns in a new light. In the centre of the city, over 15 miles of canal have been improved to make safe and enjoyable walking - you don't need a boat!
* The ‘Walk of Stars’ on Broad Street, which includes a brass star dedicated to local hellraiser, Ozzy Osbourne. Broad Street is also the best place to go for a late-night drink.

Tempted? Virgin Trains fare: London – Birmingham weekday returns from £31.50 (see note)

Scotland is home to:
* The historic city of Edinburgh, where visitors can tour the Edinburgh Castle and climb Arthur’s Seat, walk the Royal Mile, and shop on Princes Street in the New Town (not forgetting a trip to traditional Jenners at No. 48 and more modern Harvey Nichols);
* Home of the Scottish Parliament, Victorian Glasgow, with its attractive grid street system, the Theatre Royal, and Glasgow Cathedral;
* Outside of its city centres, Scotland’s landscape is world-renowned for its breathtaking beauty.

Tempted? Virgin Trains fare: London – Glasgow weekday returns from £97.90 (see note)
For further information or to book Virgin Trains log on to or telephone 08457 222 333.

- Ends –

For further information please contact Sarah Rhodes, Mindy Bhachu or Lewis Stagnetto on 020 7403 6900 or

Note: Advance fare prices taken from Virgin Trains website to travel between 30th April and 5th May 2009. All advance tickets are subject to availability.

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