What’s YOUR most unusual Christmas present?
National Express is on a search to uncover Britain’s most inspiring and unusual presents as the coach company gears up to deliver its biggest Christmas ever.
The UK’s largest coach operator, which is delivering its most extensive Christmas network to date – with 19 new towns and cities served on Christmas Day itself when no trains are running – is asking people what is the most memorable present they’ve ever had delivered.
From the heart-warming to the romantic, the quirky, funny and downright bizarre, the coach company, which will be carrying tens of thousands of people - and their Christmas presents – this year, wants to hear from people across the UK.
People are invited to share their stories by emailing email@example.com or tweeting the coach company using the hashtag #nxpressies.
The most unusual Christmas present chosen will win a short break in the UK including of course, free coach travel, while National Express will also offer free coach travel to any stories it retweets.
To kick-off the search coach company employees have shared memories of the most memorable presents they have ever received.
In a staff survey many revealed they received engagement rings after romantic partner’s popped the question on Christmas Day while others said they received far more unusual – and bizarre tokens of appreciation on December 25.
One staff member reported opening a Georgian wig stand while another was surprised to receive a 17th century death warrant issued by King Charles II to a rogue Parliamentarian Lord.
Heart-warmingly though, favourite presents were those from children, with many treasuring handmade items from little ones such as a necklace made from macaroni, and family photos taken by and framed by kids.
National Express Managing Director Tom Stables said: “We’ve got the Christmas period all wrapped up this year with more coaches than ever before, including on Christmas Day when no trains are running. Now we want to hear about the most memorable things people have unwrapped during their Christmasses past. Whether the gifts are thoughtful or funny, or just completely unexpected and bizarre, we want to hear about all the amazing things which have been gifted under Christmas trees across the land.”
The coach company launches its search after it was revealed many rail travellers face significant disruption over the festive period.
Large parts of the rail network are set to be impacted by engineering works throughout December and right into New Year but National Express is providing festive travellers, including those to the major airports, with a direct solution.
It is delivering its biggest Christmas yet by more than doubling the number of Christmas Day coaches connecting towns, cities and the major airports, right across the UK.
For the first time ever on December 25 National Express will be serving Stansted Airport, as well as Heathrow and Gatwick, in addition to an extra 19 towns and cities from Edinburgh to right down to Portsmouth.
And, on Boxing Day when trains are traditionally still out-of-action, National Express is running a near-normal service.
Scheduled works on Great Western, South Coast, Abellio Greater Anglia, Heathrow and Gatwick Express lines will lead to considerably extended journey times, multiple changes, and reduced frequency services for many rail travellers. Those choosing National Express coach however can go direct, often quicker than the train and unlike train travellers, relax in the knowledge of a guaranteed seat.
Customers are already giving National Express the vote of confidence with their wallets – a flurry of advanced festive bookings has seen passenger numbers snowball, with advanced bookings for Christmas Day already up by 180 per cent and bookings for December as a whole up ten per cent. And, as a result of the early demand, the UK’s largest coach operator is already committing to add thousands of extra seats as required in the coming weeks to cater to demand.
It’s a wrap - in brief:
- More than doubling the number of Christmas Day departures = thousands of extra seats on offer
- 19 extra locations served on Christmas Day including Derby, Chesterfield, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Edinburgh, Norwich, Thetford, Cambridge, Newmarket, Maidstone, Gillingham, Canterbury, Gillingham, Portsmouth, Folkestone, Maidstone, Fareham, Basingstoke and Stansted
- Advanced Christmas Day bookings have rocketed 180 per cent year-on-year while bookings for December as a whole are up ten percent year on year, with tens of thousands already all set to travel
- National Express ready to add extra seats as needed to cater to demand
- Daily direct coach services where some rail travellers face multiple changes, disruption and delay
Saves of Christmas
- Hundreds of thousands of low December fares available from £7
- For the best deals check out National Express’ dedicated low-fare finder online at www.nationalexpress.com
- Free travel for kids – A Family Coachcard allows a child to travel for free with a paying adult
- Young Persons, Senior and Disabled Coachcards priced at just £10, all offer a third off standard fares
For more information or to book visit www.nationalexpress.com.
Notes to editors:
Rail disruption summary
Gatwick Express is affected from December 26 to January 3, with some passengers facing almost an hour-and-a-half added to journey times and up to three changes. Routes between Gatwick, London, Heathrow and Brighton will be impacted.
Heathrow Express trains will not be running from the evening of December 24 to December 28.
Great Western Railway affected from December 24 to January 3, with some passengers facing a reduced service longer journey times of up to an hour ten minutes and up to three changes. Areas affected include Cardiff, Bath, Exeter, Swansea and Reading to London and Heathrow
South Coast Railway affected from December 27 to January 1, with some passengers facing up to an extra 50 minutes on top of their journey and up to three changes. Areas affected include routes from Bournemouth, Poole and Southampton to London, Heathrow and Gatwick.
Services operated by Abellio Greater Anglia are affected from December 27 to January 3. Services between London Liverpool Street and Ingatestone will be affected, impacting on departures from Ipswich, Colchester and Norwich to London, Heathrow and Gatwick. Passengers will face up to three changes and delays of up to an hour.