A Trip To London By Train


A train on a track with smoke coming out of it

Having some recent interest in UK railways, I thought it would be useful to create a thread describing how to get from A to B by train on UK mainline routes.  Please feel free to provide feedback or corrections as necessary and enjoy!   With a desire to visit the excellent London Transport Museum at Covent Garden, this article will start with a few notes on how best to travel between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington by rail.

Train Services Between Bristol And Paddington:

A train traveling down train tracks near a forest

First Great Western operates trains on lines from Bristol Temple Meads direct into London’s Paddington station. In addition, there are relatively regular services from London Waterloo via Clapham Junction and connections from other parts of the country via South West Trains. Having visited London a few times before, I was aware that to get to Covent Garden from Paddington required at least one change of train which would impact my journey time significantly. On this occasion, I checked out Great Western’s website and found that there is a direct train service between Bristol and Heathrow airport via Reading with a very convenient stopping pattern for me. There are also many more services available from Bristol Parkway station but as I wasn’t going anywhere near there, it didn’t occur to me to check them out until now.   It may be worth double-checking if you have a specific journey in mind to see if there’s a suitable direct service.

Bristol And Paddington Journey:

A train traveling down train tracks near a forest

I Googled around a bit and found a few examples of timetables between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington from the past but these didn’t quite match up with my timetable. I have created a Google Calendar entry which can be accessed by clicking here. In this calendar, you’ll find timetables for all the services I’ve checked out available between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington since April 2012. It also contains some notes on connections at Reading or West Drayton stations and whether they are accessible or not (i.e. escalators in operation, etc). This will make your life easier if you are planning to visit London from Bristol by train.

Heathrow Express Train Service Between Bristol And Heathrow Airport:

Another service available from Bristol Temple Meads station is the luxurious Heathrow Express service which takes just 15 minutes or so to get you to Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport, a major international hub with connections to many destinations worldwide. I used this service on my recent trip and found that not only was it quick but it’s also very pleasant with large leather seats and an onboard bar!   This may be a worthy option if you’re planning a long stay in London. The downside is the price of £26 for a single adult one-way ticket or £33 return (which I considered excessive). You can pay less if make use of a railcard or “buy one get one free” deal which is occasionally available.

Direct Trains From Bristol To Heathrow Airport:

There are direct trains from Bristol Temple Meads station to Heathrow airport via Reading that leave throughout the day. I wasn’t aware of these services initially and traveled by the express service (mentioned above) but it may be worth checking them out if you’re on a budget.   Take note though – these trains require an Underground journey between Paddington and Heathrow terminals via Baker Street station (which is not accessible).

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