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London to Cardiff: Best Way to Get There and Where To Stay [2024 Edition]

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Looking for the best London to Cardiff transport routes?

Cardiff, the capital of Wales, makes for an exciting day trip or weekend getaway from London. Just 150 miles separate the two cities, making travel between them convenient.

With over a decade of experience traveling between England and Wales’ capitals, I’m delighted to provide insider tips to help fellow travelers plan this convenient train, bus or driving route. This guide covers everything you need to know to plan your journey from London to Cardiff.

Planning your trip? Use my favorite resources!

🏨 Accommodation: I recommend Booking.com
✈️ Flights: for the cheapest flights, I use Skyscanner
🚗 Rental Car: I recommend Discover Cars
🛡️ Travel Insurance: for the best deals I rely on SafetyWing

Getting From London to Cardiff Wales

You can choose to travel by train, coach, bus, flight or car. We break down routes, journey times, ticket prices and tips for each option.

London to Cardiff Distance

The distance between London and Cardiff is approximately 150 miles if travelling directly. This equates to around a 2-3 hour journey depending on your chosen mode of transport.

The options available to you are taking the train (the most popular), getting a bus, the coach, driving yourself by car, taking a flight, or splashing out on a private taxi.

London to Cardiff Train

The most popular option and fastest route overall. Also a fairly affordable option.

London Paddington to Cardiff Central by train

Direct train services operate frequently between London Paddington and Cardiff Central stations. The major operator is Great Western Railway.

London Paddington to Cardiff Central train times

Trains run regularly throughout the day from early morning to late evening. Fastest journey times are around 2 hours. You can check the train departure and arrival times here.

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How long is the train journey from London to Cardiff?

The duration of the train journey from London to Cardiff is typically between 2-2.5 hours depending on the specific service taken. The fastest times are around 1 hour 50 minutes.

How much does it cost to take the train from London to Cardiff?

Standard off-peak day return train tickets from London to Cardiff start from around £49. But there are ways to find cheaper fares:

  • Advance Tickets – Book in advance for lowest fares from £22
  • Travel Off-Peak – Ticket prices are higher during peak commuter times
  • Group Tickets – Discounted group travel tickets for 3-9 people
  • Railcards – Senior, Student, Young Persons and Family & Friends railcards offer 1/3 off

London to Cardiff train stops

The direct train services between London Paddington and Cardiff Central do not make stops at other stations along the way. Some services with intermediate stops may take slightly longer.

Tips for the Train Ride from London to Cardiff

✅ Book advance tickets for best fares
✅ Travel outside peak times to save money
✅ Check timetables and platform changes to avoid delays
✅ Bring snacks and entertainment for the 2+ hour journey

My extensive personal experience riding the rails between these cities equips me to recommend the best fares, booking tips and highlights for this quick 2-hour train journey.

👉 Travelling from Cardiff to London by train? Book your tickets in advance here:

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London to Cardiff train FAQs:

What time does the first train from London Paddington to Cardiff Central leave?

The first direct morning train departs at around 06:00 am on weekdays and 07:00 am on weekends.

Is the London to Cardiff train cheap?

If you book in advance and/or travel off-peak, train tickets can be affordable.

How often do trains run from London Paddington to Cardiff?

There are direct trains every 30 minutes at peak times, and one per hour off-peak.

What other stations do trains call at?

Direct train services do not stop at other stations along the way. Some services with stops take slightly longer.

What’s the fastest journey time between London Paddington and Cardiff Central by train?

Around 2 hours for the fastest direct train services between the stations.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 👉 Fancy a sightseeing tour of Cardiff city? You can explore all the highlights of Cardiff on this 24-hour Hop-on Hop-off bus tour:

London to Cardiff Bus

Taking the bus is the most affordable option, but also the slowest route.

How long is the bus ride from London to Cardiff?

The bus journey duration is around 3-4 hours depending on traffic. It is slower than the train but can be very affordable.

How much is the bus from London to Cardiff?

Expect to pay from £5 – £15 for bus tickets from London to Cardiff if booked in advance online. Prices are higher when paying onboard.

Tips for the Bus Ride from London to Cardiff

✅ Book tickets in advance for cheapest fares
✅ Prepare entertainment and snacks for the long journey
✅ Check luggage restrictions before packing
✅ Be aware buses may get caught in traffic

Take it from me, a UK resident, having relied on buses to get around at home as well as around the country, I can attest they are a slower yet affordable London to Cardiff option if booked smartly.

👉 Travelling from Cardiff to London by bus? Book your tickets in advance here:

Related post: For a guide of all the best day trips from London, read up on all the Top day trips from London.

London to Cardiff drive

Neither the quickest nor the cheapest route, but driving is the most flexible option. Quicker than the bus and coach, but slower than the train.

How long is the car ride from London to Cardiff?

Driving takes around 2.5-3 hours to cover the 150 miles via the M4 motorway at average driving speeds. Allow extra time during peak hours.

➤ You can hire a rental car for your trip here:

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What are some great stops along the way?

Stopping en-route allows you to break up the journey. Highlights include Windsor Castle, Bath, Gloucester Docks and the Severn Bridge crossing.

Tips for the Car Ride from London to Cardiff

✅ Have change ready for tolls along the M4
✅ Use a GPS if unfamiliar with the route
✅ Plan stops to break up the drive
✅ Watch out for variable speed limits

As an avid road tripper always up for a motorway adventure, I’m always asked about the best route recommendations and I’m happy to share for those preferring the flexibility of driving between the cities.

👉 Read more: How to Get from London to Brussels by Train

London to Cardiff Coach

The second-cheapest option after the bus, but comes with extra comfort and features (WiFi, WC etc.)

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London to Cardiff Megabus

Megabus offers affordable fares from £5 when booked in advance online for their London to Cardiff direct coach.

National Express Coach London to Cardiff

National Express also operates direct coach services between the cities. Tickets start from £5 when booked online.

How long is the coach ride from London to Cardiff?

The coach ride takes 3-4 hours depending on traffic conditions en route. It is generally slower than the train.

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How much is the coach from London to Cardiff?

Advance online fares start from £5 with Megabus and National Express. Prices are higher when paying onboard.

Tips for the Coach Ride from London to Cardiff

✅ Book early online for the cheapest fares
✅ Check baggage allowances before packing
✅ Bring entertainment and snacks to pass the time
✅ Be prepared for potential delays in heavy traffic

👉 Travelling from Cardiff to London by coach? Book your tickets in advance here:

Flights from London to Cardiff

Taking a flight is the overall slowest and most expensive option.

How long is the London to Cardiff flight?

Flights take around 1 hour from London airports like Heathrow and Gatwick to Cardiff Airport.

Is it cheaper to fly than the train in the UK?

Not usually – domestic UK flights are more expensive than rail travel if booked in advance. Trains are generally better value.

London to Cardiff FAQs

Below are the most commonly asked questions about travelling to Cardiff from London:

Are there direct trains from London to Cardiff?

There are frequent direct train services running between London and Cardiff. The main operator Great Western Railway offers regular direct trains from London Paddington station to Cardiff Central station throughout the day, taking approximately 2 hours for the fastest services.

Which London station goes to Cardiff?

The main station in London for direct train services to Cardiff is London Paddington. Located in central London, Paddington is well-connected to the Underground network, making it convenient to reach from across the city. It is the terminus station for Great Western Railway trains heading west towards destinations like Cardiff.

How to go Cardiff from London by train?

The most straightforward way to travel by train from London to Cardiff is to take a direct Great Western Railway service from London Paddington station. Trains depart frequently throughout the day, reaching Cardiff Central station in around 2 hours. Tickets can be booked in advance online for the best fares.

Is Cardiff worth a day trip from London?

Cardiff makes an excellent destination for a day trip from London, being just 2 hours away by train. With its castle, museums, parks, shopping, and more, there are plenty of things to see and do in the Welsh capital during a day visit. Its compact city center is easily walkable, so you can pack lots of sightseeing into a single day.

How long does the coach take from London to Cardiff?

The coach journey from London to Cardiff generally takes between 3-4 hours, depending on the specific route, number of stops and traffic conditions. National Express and Megabus both offer direct coach services linking London and Cardiff, which are most affordable when booked in advance online. The coaches have restroom facilities onboard.

Is bus cheaper than train London?

Travelling by coach is usually cheaper than the train when booked in advance between London and Cardiff. Megabus and National Express offer fares from as little as £5 if booked well in advance online. Train tickets cost more, but the journey is significantly quicker at around 2 hours.

Top Things to Do in Cardiff

Having a keen interest in seeking out the best of Welsh culture, landscapes, and history, here are my recommendations of the best can’t-miss Cardiff experiences for first-time visitors to make the most of their time:

🏰 Cardiff Castle and City Tour

I recommend the Private guided walking tour of Cardiff which includes Cardiff Castle and all the top city highlights.


📺 Gavin and Stacey Tour

Fans of the hit TV show Gavin and Stacey can go on a tour of the various show locations like Nessa’s Slots and Stacey’s home, on Barry Island.

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🚶🏽‍♂️Cardiff Market Guided Walking Tour

Explore the other side of Cardiff on The Cardiff Dark Side Tour. You will learn LOTS of interesting facts about the city and its most popular landmarks such as Central Market, Cardiff Castle and others. Don’t miss such a unique opportunity!

📺 Fan of Doctor Who?

Take this 2.5 hour walking tour of the city and discover all the locations in the hit TV series, learn how the city was utilized for intergalactic purposes, and how it was transformed to become 1970s New York, ancient Pompeii, London, Paris, and more!

👉 For a comprehensive guide of what to see and do in Cardiff, read: 24 Best Things to Do in Cardiff

Free things to do around Cardiff

See the list below of all the best places to visit in Cardiff for free:

  • Bute Park
  • National Museum Cardiff
  • The Millennium Centre
  • Centenary Walk
  • The Arcades
  • Cardiff Market
  • St. Fagan’s Museum
  • Mermaid Quay
  • Norwegian Church Arts Centre
  • Cardiff Bay Barrage
  • Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve
  • Penarth Beach and Pier
  • Caerphilly Castle
  • Taff Trail hike

🏨 Where to Stay in Cardiff?

Drawing from my experiences lodging in properties across all budgets, below are my top recommendations for conveniently located Cardiff hotels and hostels suitable for any traveler’s needs:

📍$ Budget option: ML Lodge Cardiff (double room, family-friendly) – Pleasant 6.0
📍$$$ Luxury option: Parador 44 (Junior Suite) – Exceptional 9.5

Conclusion: London to Cardiff

With frequent trains taking just 2 hours, and buses and coaches not much longer, Cardiff makes an easy day trip or weekend break from London. Advance booking can secure the cheapest fares. Whether you go by rail, road or air, you’ll find the journey straightforward and enjoy discovering the Welsh capital.

I hope these tips make navigating this easy transport link between England and Wales’ biggest cities straightforward to enhance your UK getaway!

Further reading: Wales and London

The Complete UK Packing List (+ Free Checklist)
The 15 Best Beaches Near Cardiff Wales
The Best Sightseeing Helicopter Tours in Cardiff
55 Lesser-Known Facts about Wales
The Most Unforgettable Day Trips from London
Where to Stay in London as a First Time Visitor
47 Incredible Facts about London
12 Best Mazes In and Around London
Best Stand Up Paddleboarding Destinations in London