As well as being a much greener mode of transport, travelling to London by train is often faster than driving or flying.
London by Train Within The UK
London is the hub of the UK's rail network, with frequent services to all corners of the country from the city's centrally-located mainline railway stations.
Rail services in the UK are run by a set of private train operating companies. Your point of departure will determine the best service to take and at what station your train will arrive in London.
The fastest city-centre-to-city-centre journeys to London are:
- Bristol: 1 hour 45 mins (via First Great Western)
- Cardiff: 2 hours (via First Great Western)
- Birmingham: 1 hour 30 mins (via Virgin Trains)
- Manchester: 2 hours 10 mins (via Virgin Trains)
- York: 1 hours 50 mins (via East Coast Main Line)
- Newcastle: 2 hours hours 50 mins (via East Coast Main Line)
- Edinburgh: 4 hours 30 mins (via East Coast Main Line)
- Glasgow: 5 hours (via East Coast Main Line or Virgin Trains)
- Leicester: 1 hour 25 mins (via Midland Mainline)
- Nottingham: 1 hour 30 mins (via midland Mainline)
- Derby: 2 hours (via Midland Mainline)
- Sheffield: 2 hours 30 mins (via Midland Mainline)
London's Major Stations
Arrive at the station in plenty of time and be sure to board your train a couple of minutes before the scheduled departure time, as many trains have automatic doors that shut 40 seconds before departure. Most rail services offer First and Standard Class accommodation. Many long-distance and inter-city services have a buffet car or at-seat trolley service for drinks and snacks.
All of the major stations have direct Tube links (the exception is Fenchurch Street, which is close to Tower Hill and Aldgate Tube stations). London's larger stations have shops where you can buy food and drink and something to read on your journey. A chemist is also standard. Some stations even boast retail outlets selling clothes, gifts and more.
Using Trains with a Disability
There is variation in wheelchair accessibility for different trains and stations. It's a good idea to check before travelling to ensure a hassle-free journey. Arrangements can be made for passengers with mobility impairments, including people who use wheelchairs. Train operating companies can usually arrange for staff to meet you at the station, accompany you to the train and see you safely on board. Ramps can be provided for people using wheelchairs, to get on and off trains easily.
See the National Rail Enquiries/Disabled Passenger site for more information.
A Disabled Persons Railcard qualifies you for up to a third off train fares. See the Disabled Persons Railcard website for details.
Train Tickets to London
Booking in advance secures a seat and can also save you money. You can book your tickets online and enjoy big savings at thetrainline.com or visit the National Rail Enquiries website. Also see our page.
Railcards and Rail Passes
Several different types of card are available offering up to one-third off train fares:
- Young Persons (aged 16-25) and full-time students £30
- Family and Friends Railcard (up to 4 adults and 4 children aged 5-15) £30
- Senior Railcard (aged 60+) £30
- Network Railcard (off-peak services in South East England) £30
- Disabled Persons Railcard (disabled people and their carers) £20
Please note, that Network Railcard discounts are not available on Oyster pay as you go. For more information see the Railcards website
International visitors can purchase a BritRail Pass, which gives you the freedom to travel on all National Rail services for a set period of time. Note: BritRail Passes will only be available if you're accessing the form from outside the UK.