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What is the train from Bristol to London like?

Looking to travel from Bristol to the Capital, or vice-versa? No worries. We’re here to show you what it’s like, how much it costs and how you can travel smarter with Railsmartr. Here’s our guide to travelling to taking the train from Bristol to London, and how to book train tickets from Bristol to London.

How frequent is the train from Bristol to London?

Usually, the train from Bristol to London runs twice every hour. It stops at Bath Spa, Chippenham, Swindon, Reading, Didcot Parkway and London Paddington. They typically leave Bristol Temple Meads on the hour and half past the hour, every hour. This might be different during engineering works, though.

If you’re happy to change trains, then you can make the short hop up to Bristol Parkway, where there are usually an additional two trains per hour into London. If you live in the north end of the city (such as Stoke Gifford or Filton) then you might find this to be more convenient.

How much does the train from Bristol to London cost?

So, this is the stickler! How much is it to book train tickets from Bristol to London? Let’s take a look at what we get if we want to make a one-way trip on a Saturday morning a month in advance:

fares for trains from bristol to london on a saturday on the railsmartr site


It’s a pretty consistent £30 for most of the direct trains, with that £40 fare being for a journey with a change at Bristol Parkway. Earlier in the morning, we were able to find a fare for £23 with a change, so it is worth looking at this option too. Travelling on a weekday morning? The prices are a little more volatile:

fares for trains from bristol to london on a friday on the railsmartr site


In this case, it’s cheaper to change at Bristol Parkway for an earlier arrival. There isn’t much of a difference in journey time for a Bristol to London train journey, either.

If you’d prefer some flexibility, the Super Off-Peak Return (valid to leave Bristol after 10am on weekdays, any time on weekends and Bank Holidays) is £71.20.

When you come back, it’s not valid to leave London between 15:16 and 19:01 (it’s valid any time weekends and Bank Holidays). If this is the ticket that you’d like, just press the ‘Returns’ button when you book with Railsmartr:

railsmartr site showing how to select the 'return' option for tickets


Can I make the fare cheaper?

So, can you make the train from Bristol to London any cheaper? Well, there are a couple of things that you can do to try and get the cost down. First of all, you could book from Bristol Temple Meads to Bristol Parkway, then Bristol Parkway to London. On a Saturday morning, you could save a couple of quid:

railsmartr site showing train tickets from bristol parkway to london


In this case, it’d be £4.80 for a single from Temple Meads, so you’d save just over two pounds on the fares available from Temple Meads at the same time of day. A return isn’t much more, so you’d save more if you could get the same single fare price both ways. During weekdays, particularly in peak times, there might be more savings to be had on train tickets from Bristol to London.

By default, we’ll search for fares from Bristol to London via Bristol Parkway (as well as the normal route via Bath), so we’d recommend searching from Bristol Temple Meads to London first, before you try this option.

Looking to maximise your savings when you’re going from Bristol to London by train? Search for tickets to London Waterloo:

railsmartr site showing cheaper tickets from bristol to london by travelling via salisbury


It’ll take around twice as long, but we’ll show you these trains if you can get an even cheaper fare. In this example, it’s £19.60 one way, and you’ll need to change at Salisbury. Just look out for the snail symbols.

What is the journey like?

All of the direct Bristol to London train services (and the ones that go from Bristol Parkway) are served by Intercity Express Trains:

great western railway intercity express train


They have five, nine or 10 carriages. You’ll find a good mix of airline and table seating, and every seat has access to a power socket. It’s possible to upgrade to First Class, too, and there are cheap on-board upgrades available at weekends. You can find more information about upgrading here.

If you don’t have a pre-booked seat, then you should aim for Coach G. This is the unreserved coach on London trains.

When you’re leaving Bristol Temple Meads, the trains to London typically leave from Platforms 9 to 15. These are some of the furthest platforms from the station entrance, so you’ll want to arrive at least 10 minutes before the train leaves, if you can. The trains are usually available for boarding around 20 minutes before departure. You can find a map of the station here if you’re unsure.

At London Paddington, the platform will usually be advertised up to 20-25 minutes before the train leaves.

Is there anything else I should know?

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your tickets from Bristol to London by train. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ when it comes to rail fares. Not only that, but we’ll show you the slower, but cheaper options that some websites won’t.

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 15:00 31/07/23. 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.