London is one of the most well-connected cities in the UK by train, with 17 terminal stations serving over 20 rail companies providing journeys into the city. We've highlighted a few of the most popular routes into London below, or you can start your search for other stations in our Journey Planner at the top of the page.
Popular train journeys to London
|Route||Fastest journey||Train operator|
|Edinburgh to London||4h||LNER, Virgin Trains|
|Glasgow to London||4h 28m||LNER, Virgin Trains|
|Oxford to London||52m||Great Western Railway, Chiltern Railways|
|Cambridge to London||47m||
Great Northern, Greater Anglia
|Manchester to London||1h 59m||Virgin Trains|
|Leeds to London||1h 59m||LNER, East Midlands Railway|
|Birmingham to London||1h 13m||Virgin Trains, Chiltern Railways, West Midlands Trains|
Just a short stroll from Waterloo, visitors can take in some of the most famous sights and attractions that London has to offer. Five minutes away from Waterloo Station, visitors will find the Southbank Centre, Hayward Gallery and National Theatre which together host a number of cultural events, from the London Literature Festival to the World Press Photo exhibition. Further along the South Bank, the London Eye soars 443ft into the air, offering panoramic views of the city’s skyline.
The River Thames is undeniably one of the most recognisable rivers anywhere in the world, and now thanks to highly ambitious environmental campaigns London can boast of being home to the cleanest river that flows through a major city (maybe you'll even spot a fish!). A 10-minute walk along the river and across Westminster Bridge takes visitors to the foot of the Houses of Parliament, headed up by majestic Big Ben. Westminster Abbey – the thousand-year-old church that serves as the setting for every Royal coronation – is just one minute’s walk from here.
The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are both located at Trafalgar Square, a short distance from Buckingham Palace to the west and Charing Cross station to the east. In the bustling central district of Soho, the area covering Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, eclectic crowds of students, artists and office workers relax in the bars, nightclubs and restaurants. London’s West End is home to an extensive list of award-winning musicals and plays making it a popular evening destination for thousands of visitors.
London has a tonne of things to do if you’re on a tight budget. Some of our favourite free museums include the British Museum, Tate Modern, and the Natural History Museum. If you’re booking a few weeks in advance, we’d also recommend reserving some free tickets to the Sky Garden – A spectacular viewing deck and rooftop garden located at the top of London’s fifth-tallest building 38 stories up. For the quirky and spontaneous, head to the heaving Camden Market. There's a seven-day food market with arguably some of the best street eats in London, and if you never want to forget your trip, you can get some ink at one of the dozens of tattoo shops dotted along the famous Camden High Street. Or, if you prefer the finer things in life, afternoon high tea at The Ritz should be at the top of your list, or why not hire out your very own private capsule with a champagne reception on the London Eye?
If you're travelling to London from abroad, we recommend buying a Visitor Oyster Card, this is the best way to get around the city and take in the sights. You can buy the card with a pre-paid set of credit, which will allow you to use the Underground, Overground and buses for the amount you have paid for. Don't worry if you run out of credit on your Visitor Oyster Card, you can top it up with more money at all Underground stations, as well as many shops across London.
You may also decide to purchase a London Pass, which allows visitors to London receive free access to a number of popular destinations around the capital, a free 1-day bus tour, and a free guidebook to get the most out of your trip to London. Buying a London Pass also includes an option to buy an Oyster travelcard, giving you a quick way to use TfL transport by simply 'tapping in and out' at all Underground stations as well as on buses.
How to find the cheapest train tickets to London
There are a handful of helpful tactics for getting cheap train tickets to London, great whether you’re travelling to the capital for work or leisure. Read on below for our top tips on unearthing the cheapest available fares for the days you want to travel.
One of the best ways to get cheaper train tickets to London is to equip yourself with a National Railcard. If you know you’ll be taking more than a couple of train journeys a year, then it’s well worth paying for a Railcard as you’ll be able to save up to 1/3 off the price of your train tickets*. As a bonus, you’ll be able to spend the money you save doing fun things in London instead! To buy a Railcard or to see all the different types that are available (and their eligibility requirements), check out our Railcards page. Railcards cater to different age ranges and circumstances so, from the Senior Railcard, to the Disabled Persons Railcard and the newly-introduced 26-30 Railcard (Millennial Railcard), you'll be sure to find your match. Aged between 16 and 17? Then you can apply for the brand new 16-17 Saver Railcard, which grants up to 50% off train tickets!
Next up and a great way to save money on train tickets to London - purchase an Advance ticket. In many cases, the earlier you buy these tickets, the cheaper they’ll be. They typically go on sale 12 weeks ahead of the departure date, so if you know you’ll be heading to the big smoke on business or for a day out, simply look out for the "Advance ticket’’ type when searching for train tickets with us. You can also sign up for our handy Ticket Alerts, to receive an email as soon as Advance tickets are available for your chosen route. The good news doesn’t stop there though, as you can even combine your Railcard with an Advance train ticket for amazing savings!
Want to learn more? Visit our Advance train tickets page for a complete guide.
Travelling during Off-Peak periods is another good way to increase your chances of securing the cheapest train tickets to London. Try to book an Advance ticket for an Off-Peak time using our Journey Planner, then add your Railcard discount and voilà, you’ll be well on your way to cheap train tickets.
For more info, head over to our Off-Peak train tickets page.
Be sure to compare the differences in price between a Return (two-way) ticket to London and two Single tickets, as sometimes one method can be cheaper than the other. Another tip is to see if there are any price differences between a train to a specific London station, rather than selecting ‘’London, Any’’ as your arrival destination.
Last, but not least, if you’re travelling to London in a group of three to nine people, you could make use of the 34% discount applied to Off-Peak services thanks to GroupSave, a type of discount that doesn’t require you to purchase a Railcard (but which does appear in the Railcard dropdown when making a booking). Please bear in mind that GroupSave is not applicable for all journeys by the different train companies and will automatically be applied if valid for your journey and selected in the Railcard drop down. All tickets must be purchased in a single booking, and all passengers must travel together on the day of departure.
Want more handy hints on how to save money on train tickets? Check out our cheap train tickets page.
*Conditions and peak travel time exclusions may apply on some Railcard types.
Need some info about services within London? Check out our trains in London page!