London to Plymouth by Train, Bus and Car

How to get from London to Plymouth

Plymouth Hoe
Nigel Hicks/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Today, you can visit Plymouth Hoe, in the area known as the Barbican, the actual departure point, and perhaps join the locals for their Thanksgiving commemorations.The Barbican is still an active anchorage for the city's fishing fleet.

And Plymouth remains an active deep water port with one of the largest natural harbors in the world. It's used by the Royal Navy. Its navy yard - Her Majesty's Naval Base, Devonport - is the largest naval base in Western Europe and the Royal Navy's only nuclear repair and refuelling facility. It's also a commercial shipping port, the home of ferries to France and Spain and, within the harbor, there are many small anchorages and marinas. If you are a yachtsman, you can sail into Plymouth from a number of points along England's South coast. 

So there are plenty of good reasons to visit Plymouth and, if you're not a fan of seaborne transportation, here are some other good ways to get there.

How to Get There

By Train

Great Western Railway trains leave hourly for Plymouth Station from Paddington Station, throughout the day. The journey takes between three to three and a half hours. In summer 2019, the cheapest round trip was £67.50 when purchased in advance as two off-peak, one-way tickets.

Choose your tickets carefully for this journey and avoid buying a round trip ticket because the variation in prices can be enormous. On the day we found the £67.50 fare, we also found a round trip ticket for the same trains and times that cost almost £40 more. Whenever you go, use the Cheapest Fare Finder, described below. If you can be flexible about the time of day you travel, you can really save a bundle.

UK Travel Tip 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.
It can still be confusing to try to match up cheap tickets with rail times and travel dates. Simplify your life and let the National Rail Enquiries computer do it for you. Use their Cheapest Fare Finder search tool. If you can be flexible about times and dates that's even better. Tick the boxes marked "All Day" in the extreme right of the tool to get the absolute bottom dollar available fare.

By Bus

National Express run regular coach trips to Plymouth Bus Station through the day from London Victoria Coach Station . Direct coaches leave every few hours between 8am and 11:30pm. The journey takes between five and nearly seven hours and the fares (as of summer 2019) ranged between £11 and £23 each way.

UK Travel Tip National Express offers a limited number of "fun fare" promotional tickets that are very cheap (£6.50 for a fare normally £39.00, 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 to see if "funfare" tickets are available for your chosen journey. Because these fun fare tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis, it can be rather confusing trying to match the cheapest tickets with the trip you want to take. Make your life easier and use the company's Online Fare Finder. The tool presents you with a calendar, showing the fares available on any give day. If you can be flexible about your travel dates, you can save quite a lot.

By Car

Plymouth is 238 miles west of London via the M4, M5 and numbered A roads. It takes about 4 1/2 hours to drive. 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. 

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