London to Plymouth by Train, Bus and Car

How to get from London to Plymouth

Plymouth Hoe
Nigel Hicks/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Plymouth in Devon, about 240 miles west of London, is most famous as the place from which the Pilgrims left for the New World in 1620. 

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 is the largest in Western Europe - as well as commercial shipping and ferries to France and Spain. The harbor has many small anchorages and marinas - so if you are a yachtsman, you can probably sail into Plymouth from a number of points along England's South coast. 

Use these information resources to compare transportation options for speed, price, comfort and convenience and to make a smart travel choice.

Read more about  Plymouth.

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 winter 2017, the cheapest round-trip ticket (Super off peak return) started as £96.70. when purchased in advance. You can save about £1 leaving from Waterloo Station but it's a false economy as these train take from one to two hours longer an involve changing trains at Exeter St David's Station.

 

Choose your tickets carefully for this journey because the variation in prices for different services is enormous. On the day we found the £96.70 fare, we also found another for £267. 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 three hours between 8am and 11:30pm. The journey takes between five and nearly seven hours and costs from about £7 to £18 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.