Need some info about trains to Wales? Or you’re just after a bit of inspiration ahead of your next UK break? Either way, we’ve got you covered. Read on for a comprehensive breakdown of Welsh train routes and how to get to the country’s best attractions by rail!
Home to excellent rugby, majestic castles, stunning countryside vistas, and of course, Tom Jones. These are just some of the reasons you might be interested in catching a train to Wales. But really, this is a country that offers so much more, especially by rail. A destination that’s fairly easy to reach for most of us in the UK, it doesn’t make sense to travel by air, so take all the stress out of your journey by avoiding the motorways and opting for a comfortable rail journey instead! Oh, by the way, Wales also boasts the train station with the longest name in the world. Ready for it? It’s Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Not a mouthful at all.
There are several ways to get from London to Wales by train. If you’re travelling to South Wales, you’ll take a Great Western Railway (GWR) service from London Paddington. GWR run trains to the western and south-western parts of the UK. On the other hand, if you’re going to North Wales, you’ll be departing on an Avanti West Coast service from London Euston. Avanti operates trains on the West Coast Main Line – some of which branch off to Wrexham, Bangor and Holyhead.
Trains to Newport take just 1h 29m on the fastest services, while services to Cardiff can take as little as 1h 42m. It takes slightly longer to reach Swansea – 2h 37m, to be precise. Need more information on how to get to South Wales by train? Check out our guide to South Wales trains.
Direct services to destinations in North Wales are less frequent but just as speedy. You can reach Bangor from Euston station in 3h 21m, and Holyhead in 3h 36m. Travelling to North Wales via an indirect service usually requires a change at Crewe station.
Finally, Wales’ national parks are accessible by train from London. For the Brecon Beacons, catch a train to Cardiff and change on to a Transport for Wales service to Merthyr Tydfil station. Merthyr Tydfil lies on the southern edge of the park and caters for hikers, campers and mountain bikers throughout the year. The train to Snowdonia takes slightly longer; hop on a service from Euston to Llandudno Junction and change onto a service to Blaenau Ffestiniog station. This will get you to the heart of the national park.
Trains from Manchester to Wales are run by two train companies, Transport for Wales and Avanti West Coast, with all services running into North Wales. Transport for Wales services run direct from Manchester Piccadilly to Wales, calling at Shotton and Llandudno Junction (among other stations). From the latter, you can change on to the Conwy Valley line for train services through Snowdonia national park as far as Blaenau Ffestiniog, in the heart of the park. The fastest direct services take just 2h 01m to reach Llandudno Junction. You can also catch indirect Transport for Wales services to Wales via Chester.
Avanti West Coast run services to Wales, although you'll have to change at Crewe. From Crewe, you can access Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead on a connecting Avanti service. Taking between 2h 03m and 2h 28m, they're a useful alternative to Transport for Wales services and run all the way to Holyhead on the north coast. Avanti runs their Super Voyager trains on the Crewe-Holyhead line; they're just as comfortable as Pendolino trains and contain the same onboard amenities, such as the catering carriage and plush First Class carriages.
There are no direct trains from Scotland to Wales, you'll need to change at least once. For example, if you're travelling from Glasgow to Cardiff or from Edinburgh to Cardiff, you can take an Avanti West Coast train to Crewe and then change onto a Transport for Wales service to Glasgow.
For train journeys to Wales from major English cities, the main train companies in operation are Great Western Railway, CrossCountry, Avanti West Coast and Transport for Wales (formerly Arriva Trains Wales). To get to Wales by rail, you’ll usually have to board at least one of these services.
You can also get a train to Wales from Liverpool, though this will generally involve at least one change if travelling to Bangor or Cwmbran, and at least two changes if you travel from Liverpool to Cardiff.
Wales also makes for a great day trip from Bristol. There are direct services from Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway to major cities in South Wales, including Cardiff and Swansea.
Need more information about the Welsh rail network? Why not check our Wales Rail Map page – you'll find the most popular routes within Wales and from England to Wales. If you’re starting your journey from somewhere else, make sure to use our handy Journey Planner or download our app, where we make it easy for you to find train routes, times and tickets. Please bear in mind that we’ll show you the cheapest fares available for your route, which may not necessarily be the fastest trains, so it’s up to you to weigh up cost versus speed.
Wales’ most famous natural landmark and a popular choice among UK treckers, Mount Snowdon is the tallest mountain in Wales and would be the highest peak in Britain were it not for the altitude of the Scottish Highlands. You can even enjoy the majesty of Snowdon from the comfort of a train, but more on that below... For now, have a look at the nearest train station to Snowdonia, so you can start planning your journey to the summit.
Although not a 100% solid fact, Wales is believed to have the most castles per square mile compared to anywhere else in the world. So you’d be missing out if you visited the country and didn’t at least see one of them! Our pick for the day (it was a tough one) is Conwy Castle. Constructed in the 13th-century under the instruction of Edward I, this stunning medieval castle has been heralded as one of the finest fortresses in all of Europe. To get there, simply book a train to Conwy and make the short five-minute walk from the station.
If you’re already a fan of rugby, then you don’t need to be told how great the Welsh game is. The Principality Stadium in Cardiff, formerly known as the Millenium Stadium, is a cauldron of thrilling atmosphere whenever the national team takes to the field. It couldn’t be easier getting there either, simply catch a train to Cardiff and you’ll be moments away from the home of Welsh rugby.
One of the most beautiful routes in the UK, travel along the Cambrian coastline and enjoy stunning views of seafaring villages and hillside castles. To experience it, book a service from Pwllheli to Aberystwyth.
If you were curious about that Mount Snowdon train we mentioned above, then get yourself on board the Snowdon Mountain Railway Service for a truly unforgettable adventure. For those of us who don’t quite fancy a lung-busting six-hour hike to the top, these traditional diesel and heritage steam trains offer a lovely alternative, with sumptuous views for miles around.
Transport for Wales is responsible for most of the train journeys within the country. They took over from Arriva Trains in October 2018. For cross-border journeys into England, you can expect to use services such as Great Western Railway, CrossCountry and Avanti West Coast.
If you need to find stations in Wales or you’re just curious about possible routes, you can use our interactive station map. Simply scroll and zoom for Welsh train stations or search alphabetically in the listings below the map. It can be a great help when planning your day trips, and you might even discover a few new and exciting locations to visit while you're at it!
Buying your train tickets to Wales in advance is the easiest and fastest way to find cheap fares. To make your life a bit easier, sign up for our Advance ticket alerts and receive handy emails as soon as tickets become available for your favourite routes. Don’t forget to apply your National Railcard to any tickets you buy, as you’ll be able to save 1/3 of the fare. Please note that Railcard discounts can’t be applied to Season Tickets.
Ready to book your train ticket to Wales? Use our Journey Planner at the top of this page to search for your preferred route. Alternatively, if you’d like to take the coach to Wales or use one to get around once you’re there, you can now book those tickets with us. Simply start a search for train tickets, and, if there’s a coach available, we’ll suggest the best tickets for you.
There are a few main stations that trains to Wales arrive into and depart from. Cardiff Central, Swansea and Newport are some of the biggest stations in Wales, so depending on where you’re travelling from you’re likely to arrive into one of these stations.
There are a number of trains companies in the UK that operate trains to Wales, including Great Western Railway, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry and Transport for Wales.
It’s easy to grab yourself cheap train tickets to Wales. 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.
Trains run frequently almost every day to Wales, 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 Wales.
Yes, there are several types of Railcards you can use to save up to 1/3 on your trip to Wales, these include:
Having a Railcard means you can use it whenever you want outside of Peak times for a whole year too.