Save with SplitSave this summer ☀️

Planning your summer trip to London? Save money on your train tickets with Trainline!

Summer, shades, saving an average of £13 per trip with SplitSave.* The recipe for the perfect summer? Possibly, yes.

Whether you’re ready to explore or want a bit more info on what train travel will be like this summer, you’ve come to the right place.

Our guide to all things summer travel will help you unleash your summer, plan great journeys, save money and book your tickets all in one place.

*Average saving for bookings from 1 March 2023 - 31 Oct 2023 comparing SplitsSave fare vs next cheapest fare available to a Trainline customer. Subject to SplitSave fares being available.

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London is home to over 8.7 million people, more than 3,500 pubs, and a staggering 369 train stations! Whether you’re travelling from the north for a night out, the west for a weekend away, the south for a city adventure or the east for the ultimate urban experience, we’re your one-stop-shop for tickets, times and info about how to get there by train (and coach, too!).

Known for imposing landmarks such as Big Ben, the London Eye and Tower Bridge, as well as its iconic red buses and telephone boxes, the city is a centre of architectural greats and harbours a rich history. Literary giants such as Oscar Wilde and Charles Dickens resided here, and thousands flock to the Globe theatre each year to see authentic renditions of Shakespeare’s world-famous plays.

If you fancy travelling on a bank holiday weekend this Spring, our May bank holiday guide could be useful.

So, if you’re looking for trains to London, start your search for times and tickets above, or continue reading to find out more about the journey, train companies, timetables, how to find cheap tickets, and much more.

How to find the cheapest train tickets to London

To get the cheapest train tickets to London, you’ll need to be super-savvy when searching for tickets. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you with our top tips for saving money on rail travel. Before you know it, you’ll have a few extra quid to spend when out and about in the city, instead of just using it to get there!

Our top tips for finding cheap train tickets to London:

  • Get a Railcard: Save up to 1/3 for a whole year
  • Book tickets to London in advance: UK train companies including Avanti West Coast, LNER, GWR, East Midlands Railway usually release tickets 12 weeks in advance
  • Travel Off-Peak: Tickets are usually cheaper during quieter times on weekdays and weekends
  • Use GroupSave: If you're travelling in a group of 3-9 people you could save 34%
  • Split your train tickets: Break your journey into separate tickets

You can find more details about each of these tips below.

1. Get a Railcard

First up, you’ll want to think about using a National Railcard. If you don’t quite make enough journeys to warrant buying a Season ticket, but you’re still going to travel by train more than a few times a year, then a Railcard is well-worth your time. Their big selling point is that they can allow you to save up to 1/3 off the price of your train tickets*. 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. Check out our Railcards page if you’d like to purchase one online or see the various eligibility requirements for each type.

2. Book tickets to London in advance

Next up on our money-saving checklist, make sure to buy your train tickets in advance. In some cases, the price of a train ticket can rise as the date of departure edges nearer. So, by purchasing an Advance ticket as far ahead as possible, you’ll be giving yourself a better chance of securing cheap train tickets to London. These tickets typically go on sale 12 weeks in advance, but you can sign up for our handy Ticket Alerts and let us do the work for you. As soon as tickets go on sale for your route, we’ll email you. Remember to combine your Railcard with your Advance ticket for a killer money-saving combo!

Want to learn more? Visit our Advance train tickets page for a complete guide.

3. Travel during Off-Peak times

When purchasing your Advance ticket, try to book an Off-Peak time. Make sure to check all the tickets in the drop-down menu when using our Journey Planner, as we’ll highlight the cheapest Off-Peak tickets available. Once again, add your Railcard discount if applicable, and you’ll be laughing!

For more info, head over to our Off-Peak train tickets page.

Before you buy your ticket, make sure to check that the price of your Return ticket is, in fact, lower than that of two single train tickets. Sometimes, one method may be cheaper than the other. The same goes for selecting your arrival station. Try checking the differences in price when selecting 'London, Any' versus a specific station.

4. Travelling as a group? Use GroupSave

Are you travelling to London in a group of three to nine people? Then you may also be able to get a discount of 34% on Off-Peak services thanks to GroupSave. This is a useful discount that doesn’t require you to purchase a physical 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 dropdown. All tickets must be purchased in a single booking, and all passengers must travel together on the day of departure.

If you're travelling with your family to London, make sure you take advantage of the Kids for a Quid deal offered by different UK train companies – if you travel in Standard Class during Off-Peak times, you can get £1 train tickets on a return journey for up to 4 children.

If you need a few more hints on getting the cheapest train tickets to London, check out our cheap train tickets page.

5. Split your train tickets

Did you know it's sometimes cheaper to break your journey down into parts and buy separate train tickets for each leg of the journey? Our latest money-saving feature – SplitSave – finds clever combinations of tickets to save you money on most routes across the UK and automatically ‘splits’ your trip into multiple legs, without any need for you to change trains unnecessarily. Just look for the SplitSave icon when searching in our app. 

*Conditions and peak travel time exclusions may apply on some Railcard types.

Popular train journeys to London

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. 

RouteFastest journeyTrain operator
Edinburgh to London4hLNER, Avanti West Coast, Lumo
Glasgow to London4h 28mLNER, Avanti West Coast
Oxford to London52mGreat Western Railway, Chiltern Railways
Cambridge to London47mGreat Northern, Greater Anglia
Manchester to London1h 59mAvanti West Coast
Leeds to London1h 59mLNER, East Midlands Railway
Sheffield to London1h 59mEast Midlands Railway
Brighton to London55mSouthern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express
Birmingham to London1h 13mAvanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, West Midlands Railway
Exeter to London2h 3mGreat Western Railway
Warrington to London1h 46mAvanti West Coast
Wigan to London1h 57mAvanti West Coast


Need some info about services within London? Check out our trains in London page!

Things to do in London

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. If you're heading to a concert, rugby or football match, Wembley Stadium, Twickenham Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the O2 Arena are all easily reached from London's main terminals.

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.

Want more info on when to go? Check out these awesome guides on when to visit London and what's the cheapest way to get to London.

Frequently asked questions

Where do trains to London arrive and depart?

There are a few main stations that trains to London arrive into and depart from. Waterloo, Victoria, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Euston, Kings Cross, St Pancras and Paddington are some of the biggest stations in London, so depending on where you’re travelling from you’re likely to arrive into one of these stations.

Which train companies run trains to London?

There are a number of trains companies in the UK that operate trains to London, including Scotrail, LNER, CrossCountry, TransPennine Express, GWR and Avanti West Coast.

How can I get cheap train tickets to London?

It’s easy to grab yourself cheap train tickets to London. We’d recommend using a Railcard, buying your ticket in advance or travelling during Off-Peak hours if you can. Read our cheap train tickets guide to find out more. 

Are trains running to London?

Trains run frequently almost every day to London, although there may be less services during the weekends and bank holidays. Check our live train times for up-to-date information on trains to London.

Can I use my Railcard to save up to 1/3 on my trip to London?

Yes, there are several types of Railcards you can use to save up to 1/3 on your trip to London, these include:

Having a Railcard means you can use it whenever you want outside of Peak times for a whole year too. 

Average savings on advance fares booked at least one week before day of travel vs Anytime fares purchased on day of travel. Subject to availability. Excludes coach.

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