London to Nottingham by Train, Bus and Car

How to Get From London to Nottingham

Nottingham Christmas Market
Frank Fell/Getty Images

Here's how to travel from London to Nottingham for a lot more than a search for Robin Hood.

Most people know that Robin Hood and his Merry Men hung out on the outskirts of Nottingham in Sherwood Forest. But there's a lot more to this city (only 128 miles north of London) than Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest and the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham. Did you know, for example, that it is the birthplace of the Salvation Army?

Or that the notorious sheriff is often a woman (six women in the twenty years since 1997 and, from what we've heard, not wicked at all).

Today this small city is home to:

  • one of the world's leading universities
  • the claimant to the title of England's oldest inn, Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem , with cellars in caves that date to the building of Nottingham Castle in 1065
  • the last commercial Nottingham lace factory, supplying the fashion industry with lace made on antique machines.

If you are heading for the Peak District National Park or touring the cities of the Midlands, it makes a good base or an enjoyable day stop.  Here's how to get there - 

How to Get There

By Train

Station Fire Update: A major fire on January 12, 2018, caused considerable damage to Nottingham Station. As of the end of January, trains were running to schedule but there was some disruption to station facilities around Platform 7, where the fire was at its worst. 

East Midland Trains run direct services to  Nottingham Station from St Pancras International in London at 15 minutes and 29 minutes after the hour. The journey takes approximately 1h40m. They also run an hourly service, at 26 minutes after each hour, that requires changing trains in one of several different stations.

This trip takes about the same amount of time and there is no difference in the fare. The standard, off peak, advance round trip fare - based on buying two single (one-way) tickets starts as low as £31, depending upon the train you take. But choose carefully because it can rise to more than £100.  In fact, the fares between Nottingham and London in 2018 are incredibly complicated and varied.

How to Find the Cheapest Train Fare

The array of outbound and inbound trips and all their different fare combinations can make you crazy. Luckily, there's a computerized National Rail Enquiry Fare Finder to help. The best way to use it is to be totally flexible about the time of day you can travel. After you've entered the dates and destinations, you have a choice of entering the time of day you want to arrive or leave. Leave that blank. To the right of that box, is a tick box you can chose that says "All Day". Choose that and you will be directed to the absolutely cheapest fare possible. 

By Bus

National Express run a regular bus service, approximately hourly, between London Victoria Coach Station and Nottingham Coach Station.

The journey takes about 3h 30min, with advance purchase, round trip tickets, in 2018, starting at about £10 when purchased as two single (one-way) tickets.. Tickets can be booked online.

UK Travel Tip National Express offers a limited number of "funfare" promotional tickets that are very cheap. These can only be purchased on line and they are usually posted on the website a month to a few weeks before the trip.  If you can be flexible about the time and day of travel, you can save a bundle. Check out the online fare finder on the National Express website.

By Car

Nottingham is 128 miles north of London via the M1 and the A543. It takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes to drive but can take much longer because the M1, usually cloggled with articulated lorries, is one of England's busiest roads.

Keep in mind too 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 a quart.