Trains to London
The sprawling capital of England is today home to 366 train stations and a population of more than 8.6 million. Known for imposing landmarks such as Big Ben, the London Eye and Tower Bridge, as well as its iconic red buses and telephone boxes, the city is a centre of architectural greats and harbours a rich history. Literary giants such as Oscar Wilde and Charles Dickens resided here and thousands flock to the Globe theatre each year to see authentic renditions of Shakespeare’s world-famous plays.
Just a short stroll from Waterloo, visitors can take in some of the most famous sights and attractions that London has to offer. Five minutes away from Waterloo Station, visitors will find the Southbank Centre, Hayward Gallery and National Theatre which together host a number of cultural events, from the London Literature Festival to the World Press Photo exhibition. Further along the South Bank, the London Eye soars 443ft into the air, offering panoramic views of the city’s skyline.
The River Thames is undeniably one of the most recognisable rivers anywhere in the world, and now thanks to highly ambitious environmental campaigns London can boast of being home to the cleanest river that flows through a major city (maybe you'll even spot a fish!). A 10-minute walk along the river and across Westminster Bridge takes visitors to the foot of the Houses of Parliament, headed up by majestic Big Ben. Westminster Abbey – the thousand-year-old church that serves as the setting for every Royal coronation – is just one minute’s walk from here.
The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are both located at Trafalgar Square, a short distance from Buckingham Palace to the west and Charing Cross station to the east. In the bustling central district of Soho, the area covering Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, eclectic crowds of students, artists and office workers relax in the bars, nightclubs and restaurants. London’s West End is home to an extensive list of award-winning musicals and plays making it a popular evening destination for thousands of visitors.
If you're travelling to London from abroad, we recommend buying a Visitor Oyster Card, this is the best way to get around the city and take in the sights. You can buy the card with a pre-paid set of credit, which will allow you to use the Underground, Overground and buses for the amount you have paid for. Don't worry if you run out of credit on your Visitor Oyster Card, you can top it up with more money at all Underground stations, as well as many shops across London.
You may also decide to purchase a London Pass, which allows visitors to London receive free access to a number of popular destinations around the capital, a free 1-day bus tour, and a free guidebook to get the most out of your trip to London. Buying a London Pass also includes an option to buy an Oyster travelcard, giving you a quick way to use TfL transport by simply 'tapping in and out' at all Underground stations as well as on buses.
Heading to London for Pride?
On Saturday 6th July, hundreds of thousands of people will be travelling to the capital to celebrate all things Pride. This year, a 50-metre long rainbow flag will be parading the streets from Portland Place to Trafalgar Square – shutting down Oxford Street and Soho for the day!
With so many people heading into London at once, planning your journey in advance will help to make things as smooth as possible. Charing Cross station will be the closest mainline train station to the parade, but if you have a little extra time, we’d recommend taking a train to Blackfriars or Victoria instead – just a 20-minute walk away.
How to find the cheapest train tickets to London
There are a handful of helpful tactics for getting cheap train tickets to London, great whether you’re travelling to the capital for work or leisure. Read on below for our top tips on unearthing the cheapest available fares for the days you want to travel.
One of the best ways to get cheaper train tickets to London is to equip yourself with a National Railcard. If you know you’ll be taking more than a couple of train journeys a year, then it’s well worth paying for a Railcard as you’ll be able to save up to 1/3 off the price of your train tickets*. As a bonus, you’ll be able to spend the money you save doing fun things in London instead! To buy a Railcard or to see all the different types that are available (and their eligibility requirements), check out our Railcards page. Railcards cater to different age ranges and circumstances so, from the Senior Railcard, to the Disabled Persons Railcardand the newly-introduced 26-30 Railcard (Millennial Railcard), you'll be sure to find your match.
Next up and a great way to save money on train tickets to London - purchase an Advance ticket. In many cases, the earlier you buy these tickets, the cheaper they’ll be. They typically go on sale 12 weeks ahead of the departure date, so if you know you’ll be heading to the big smoke on business or for a day out, simply look out for the ‘’Advance ticket’’ type when searching for train tickets with us. You can also sign up for our handy Ticket Alerts, to receive an email as soon as Advance tickets are available for your chosen route. The good news doesn’t stop there though, as you can even combine your Railcard with an Advance train ticket for amazing savings!
Want to learn more? Visit our Advance train tickets page for a complete guide.
Travelling during Off-Peak periods is another good way to increase your chances of securing the cheapest train tickets to London. Try to book an Advance ticket for an Off-Peak time using our Journey Planner, then add your Railcard discount and voilà, you’ll be well on your way to cheap train tickets.
For more info, head over to our Off-Peak train tickets page.
Be sure to compare the differences in price between a Return (two-way) ticket to London and two Single tickets, as sometimes one method can be cheaper than the other. Another tip is to see if there are any price differences between a train to a specific London station, rather than selecting ‘’London, Any’’ as your arrival destination.
Last, but not least, if you’re travelling to London in a group of three to nine people, you could make use of the 34% discount applied to Off-Peak services thanks to GroupSave, a type of discount that doesn’t require you to purchase a Railcard (but which does appear in the Railcard dropdown when making a booking). Please bear in mind that GroupSave is not applicable for all journeys by the different train companies and will automatically be applied if valid for your journey and selected in the Railcard drop down. All tickets must be purchased in a single booking, and all passengers must travel together on the day of departure.
Want more handy hints on how to save money on train tickets? Check out our cheap train tickets page.
*Conditions and peak travel time exclusions may apply on some Railcard types.
Need some info about services within London? Check out our trains in London page!