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Cheap train tickets to London

It’s one of the most asked questions when it comes to booking train tickets. There’s always something going on in the capital, and we always want to get there for the best price. Let’s take a look at some of the best deals and some of our tips for bagging cheap train tickets to London.

Can I get cheap train tickets to London from Edinburgh?

If you’re coming from the Scottish capital, you’ll know that it can be quite a distance to get down to London. For a very long time, there wasn’t much in the way of choice, either.

In October 2021, Lumo joined LNER on the scene, meaning that you now had the choice of two companies to take you direct from Edinburgh to London King’s Cross. Indeed, for a while, there were plenty of cheap train tickets to London on the former.

If we look at planning a trip a month in advance, that can still be the case. The difference just isn’t as large anymore:

As we found when we put LNER versus Lumo to the test, prices can fluctuate. Sometimes LNER is cheaper and sometimes Lumo is cheaper. It’s often more about when you travel. For example, Friday mornings are the quietest time during the week, as very few people commute down to London on a Friday. There aren’t any peak restrictions on a Friday down to London either, so this keeps the fares lower.

There is another option, though. You can take Avanti West Coast down to London Euston, instead. The price of this can be very variable, but you’ll find the biggest saving in the evening rush hour when you’re coming back. Here’s an example:

It’s a little slower than using LNER or Lumo, but the price difference can be huge.

Are there cheap train tickets to London from Exeter and the South West?

If you’re coming from Exeter, did you know that there’s another route you can take to get to London? It’s a bit slower, but if you travel with South Western Railway to London Waterloo, you could find that it’s a lot cheaper, too.

If we want to book a month in advance, here’s what we get:

As you can see, there’s quite a price difference. Just look out for the snail symbols and the South Western Railway logo.

I’m travelling from the North West of England!

If you’re travelling from the North West, then you’re likely to be travelling through, or connecting at Crewe. Did you know that London Northwestern Railway run a budget-priced service down to London from there? This can make it a lot easier to get cheap train tickets to London.

Even when you’re travelling in the morning ‘peak’, you can make a great saving:

We’ve also written more in our top money-saving tickets guide about how you can bag a bargain from the North West to London.

What if I’m coming from within the South East?

In the South East of England, it can be much harder (or impossible!) to get cheap train tickets to London. There isn’t as much choice, and fares can be really high if you travel at the wrong time. So, when are the best times to travel to get a cheap ticket?

Many companies offer a ‘Super Off-Peak Day Return‘ that’s only valid on weekends and Bank Holidays. If you’re making a journey with one of the following companies, then this is the best time to travel:

  • c2c
  • Great Northern
  • Greater Anglia
  • Thameslink.

Other companies offer Super Off-Peak tickets too, but they’re available every day of the week (usually with a lot of restrictions on weekdays).

If you’re travelling on South Western Railway, you can buy an ‘Evening Out’ ticket on a Monday to Saturday. This allows you to arrive in London after 14:00 and leave again after 19:00. On a Sunday, it’s valid at anytime and it’s known as the ‘Sunday Out’. When you book with Railsmartr, we’ll automatically offer these tickets if they’re the cheapest option.

Finally, on routes where you have a choice of company, we’d recommend comparing both. It’s cheapest to use Greater Anglia from Cambridge to London, and Thameslink from Brighton to London, for example.

We’ve also written guides on getting the best fares for travelling to Heathrow and Gatwick Airport.

Can I bag cheap train tickets to London from Birmingham?

The good news is that you have three companies to pick from if you’re travelling from Birmingham to London! You can pick from Avanti West Coast, London Northwestern Railway and Chiltern Railways.

Avanti West Coast is the ‘premium’ option, as it’s the fastest. London Northwestern Railway works a bit more like a stopping commuter train, and Chiltern falls somewhere in the middle. Here’s what the fares look like if you book a month in advance:

Avanti West Coast are generally the most expensive option. When it comes to Chiltern Railways and London Northwestern Railway, it can very much depend on which specific train you’re after. In theory, Chiltern Railways fares start at a cheaper price point, but London Northwestern Railway seem to offer their cheapest fares on more of their trains.

Want to know more details about each company? We’ve taken a trip on all three and wrote about the best train from London to Birmingham.

Are there any other tips that I should know?

Looking to know more about the Capital? Take a look at our guide to travelling to London. We’ll tell you about getting the best fares on routes like Sheffield to London and Southend to London, as well as whether it’s worth upgrading to First Class on Avanti and LNER.

Thinking of taking a trip soon? You can book it all with Railsmartr. We’ll be sure to show you the slower and cheaper options, so you can get the best value fare for your journey.

Changed your mind? Need to travel on a different day? No problem at all. You can change or refund your ticket (if it’s refundable) without any extra fees.

All fares stated on this page are for ONE adult with no Railcard discount and were correct at 12:00 01/06/23. They’re subject to change at any time and Railsmartr are not responsible for any loss or disappointment incurred as a result of the information provided.