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London to Cardiff

from £29.50
The Welsh capital has so much to offer. Here's our guide to London to Cardiff by train.

Available train operators on this journey

  • Great Western Railway
  • South Western Railway

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What are my London to Cardiff train options?

There’s only one logical option for this trip, which is to take the direct London Paddington to Cardiff train. This is operated by Great Western Railway. You’ll usually find two trains per hour on this route, and they all stop at the following stations Off-Peak:

    • Reading, Didcot Parkway (1x per hour from December 2023), Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Newport, and Cardiff Central.

The typical journey time is around two hours. During the early morning and late evening, some trains also stop at Didcot Parkway. Here are the on-the-day fares:

    • Anytime Return - £280.40 
    • Off-Peak Return - £125.00 
    • Super Off-Peak Return - £94.20.

The outward part of the Off-Peak Return is valid between 09:17 and 16:40 and after 18:32 on weekdays. It’s valid at any time on weekends and Bank Holidays. On the return trip, you can leave Cardiff after 08:09 on weekdays.

Meanwhile, you can use the outward part of the Super Off-Peak Return between 10:15 and 15:01, and after 19:01 on weekdays. The return part is valid to leave Cardiff before 05:30 and after 09:40 on weekdays. There aren’t any restrictions on weekends or Bank Holidays.

Are there any other routes I can take?

If you’re looking to travel on a London to Cardiff train on a budget, then it’s also possible to go via Warminster and Salisbury. For this journey, you’d need to go from London Waterloo. This is an extremely slow option but can be worth it if the trains from Paddington are either too expensive or fully reserved. Here are the on-the-day fares:

    • Anytime Open Return - £132.30 
    • Off-Peak Return - £71.30.

How do I get the best London to Cardiff train fare?

You’ll find the best London to Cardiff train fare by booking with Railsmartr, of course! Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of different options for this route, so there isn’t really a 'secret' to finding a cheap fare. However, we’ll still offer you the best option for the journey that you’re making. Here’s what the fares are like a month in advance: 

london to cardiff train fares on railsmartr

The best advice that we have for finding a cheap London to Cardiff train is to aim for the trains that terminate at Cardiff Central. These trains usually leave London Paddington at 18 minutes past the hour. The trains at 48 minutes past tend to be busier, as they continue to Swansea or Carmarthen.

If you really want to take the slower route via Salisbury, then we don’t offer that route automatically, as it takes more than twice as long. Instead, you’ll need to search from London Waterloo to Cardiff Central. When the results appear, you’ll need to add ‘&via=SAL’ to the end of the URL.

What are the trains like?

You’ll find the same type of train on all of the London to Cardiff train services. These are InterCity Express trains, and they have five, nine, or 10 carriages. Every seat has access to a three-pin power socket and there’s free WiFi available. All seats in Standard Class are in a 2+2 layout:

All of these trains also have First Class. The seats are in a 2+1 layout and have all of the same features you’ll find in Standard, as well as USB charging points. 

Is there anything else I should know?

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your London to Cardiff train tickets. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ when it comes to rail fares!

Don’t forget that we don’t charge any fees, either. That includes if you change your mind and want to travel on a different day. If your ticket is refundable, we’ll refund it fee-free, too.

All fares stated on this page are for ONE adult with no Railcard discount and were correct at 10:00 26/09/2023. All information is issued in good faith. 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.