How to Get From London to Leeds by Train, Bus, Car, and Air

How to get from London to Leeds

Bridge over the Aire in Leeds
••• One of the many picturesque bridges across the River Aire in Leeds. This one is near The Clarence Docks and The Royal Armouries. Ferne Arfin

Leeds is 195 miles almost due North of London's Trafalgar Square. It's the birthplace of the iconic British brand Marks & Spencer and is today one of the fashion, food, and sports capitals of England. The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds is the place to visit for authentic jousts and to see full sets of Samurai armor. It also holds the world's only complete set of Indian elephant armor which is a truly amazing sight.

Whether you are heading to shop, to dine, visit a museum, or to catch up with your favorite team, these information resources will allow you to compare travel options.

How to Get There

By Train

Virgin East Coast Trains run services to Leeds Station from London Kings Cross every half hour. The trip takes about two hours,10 minutes. Fares in 2017 started at about £44 for a round trip purchased in advance as two one-way off-peak tickets. That fare involved leaving London between 9:35 a.m. and 10:35 a.m. and leaving Leeds between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Using the National Rail Enquiries Cheapest Fare Finder, we found an even cheaper fare of £38 but that involved leaving London at about 5 a.m. and returning at 10:25 a.m., though not a particularly practical solution.

UK Travel Tips The cheapest train fares are those designated "Advance" - how far in advance depends upon the journey as most rail companies offer advance fares on a first come first served basis. Advance tickets are usually sold as one-way or "single" tickets. Whether or not you buy advance tickets, always compare the "single" ticket price to the round trip or "return" price as it is often cheaper to buy two single tickets rather than one round trip ticket.

To find the cheapest fares, use the National Rail Enquiries Cheapest Fare Finder. If you plan ahead and you're flexible about when you travel you can save a lot of money. When you fill out the search form on the fare finder, tick the "Any Time" boxes to the right to for the best deals.

By Bus

National Express Coaches operate buses from London to Leeds from Victoria Coach StationBuses leave every half hour until 11:30 a.m. and then hourly until 8 p.m. The journey takes about four hours, 30 minutes. Bus tickets can be purchased online. Use the online fare finder to get the cheapest tickets.

UK Travel Tip National Express offers a limited number of "funfare" promotional tickets that are very cheap (£6.50 for a £39.00 fare, for example). These can only be purchased online and they are usually posted on the website a month to a few weeks before the trip. It is worth checking the website fare finder to see if "funfare" tickets are available for your chosen journey.

By Car

Leeds is 195 miles north of London via the M1 and M621 motorways. It takes about three hours, 40 minutes to drive in perfect conditions. (Word of advice: it is never perfect conditions on the M1 motorway, so realistically plan on a trip of four and a half hours or more). It is also less than an hour from York via the A64. Keep in mind that gasoline, called petrol in the UK, is sold by the liter (a little more than a quart) and the price is usually more than $1.50 to $2.00 a quart.

By Air

If you are really in a hurry, it is possible to fly into Leeds Bradford Airport from London Heathrow. The flight takes about an hour and costs between £95 and £260 round trip. In July 2017, British Airways was advertising the best round-trip fare, at £93. There are inexpensive bus and coach transfers from the airport to the city center, but by the time you factor in at least half an hour at each end of the journey (longer if the trip starts at Heathrow during the rush hour), you are really better off taking the train.