If you’re planning a visit to London, you may be surprised just how easy it is to get to the capital from Bournemouth. Taking the train is a popular option because you can get right to the heart of the City from the centre of town. The journey from Bournemouth to London Waterloo takes on average two hours, with a South West Trains service departing twice an hour. You can also catch the CrossCountry from Bournemouth bound for Manchester before switching to South West Trains at Southampton.
Go by South West Trains
The train journey from Bournemouth to Waterloo takes you through the beautiful New Forest, then on to Southampton, Winchester, Basingstoke and Woking before entering London via Clapham Junction. Depending on your plans, you can take a fast train, which stops at just the major cities or a stopping route, which also calls at various smaller stations (as many as 18), including Christchurch in Dorset, Ashurst New Forest, Southampton Airport Parkway and Fleet. The fastest train journey into Waterloo takes just 1 hour 45, and if you’re not impressed with the stunning National Park scenery or Southampton Docks dashing past the window you could pass time in the buffet car or log into the free onboard wifi.
Bournemouth station at your service
Bournemouth train station is a charming structure, which opened in 1885 as Bournemouth East. It’s situated in the heart of the town centre in the Lansdowne area and conveniently shares a footprint with Bournemouth bus station. You can leave your car in the large station car park, which has more than 300 spaces. A major regeneration programme from Bournemouth Council and National Rail has seen significant redevelopment of this terminus which, as well as improving access to and the appearance of the train and bus stations, has also created sheltered cycle storage and lockers – so you don’t have to head for London with unnecessary luggage.
Just the ticket
Bournemouth train station’s ticket office is manned between 5:40am (6:40am on Sundays) and 20:40pm every day, with accessible ticket machines available whenever the trains are running. Information services are on hand every day, around the clock, to help you plan your route and onward journey. The station also provides payphones, refreshments (café and vending machines), toilets, luggage trolleys and waiting rooms for your comfort and convenience. For passengers requiring access assistance, staff are on hand 20 hours a day and there are ramps to the platforms and trains as well as step-free access to the station itself.
Onwards and upwards
There are many ways you can plan for your visit to London while waiting at Bournemouth station. Why not add a Travelcard to your rail ticket for the convenience of just hopping on a Tube or bus when you get to Waterloo? Browse through the complimentary literature for ideas of attractions along the route and you can even add an experience to your ticket such as Madame Tussauds so you’re ready to go as soon as you get there.
Go by National Express coach
Besides the train, there are many other options for making a journey from Bournemouth to London. By car, it’s just over 100 miles along the A31, M27 and M3, M25 north circular and M4 motorways, entering London via Chiswick in 2 hours’ 20. If you’d prefer someone else did the driving, you can catch a National Express coach for as little as £12 return (£22 average) and be at London’s Victoria coach station in just over two hours. Bournemouth does have an airport if you’re feeling extravagant; you can jet in to Heathrow for as little as £42 if you don’t mind the erratic times or dates they typically fly.
Making the most of your London trip
Getting to London from Bournemouth can be inexpensive, quick and simple. With careful planning and by being a little flexible you can get some great deals. Bournemouth and London are often combined by visitors planning a two-centre holiday and it’s easy to see why. Pair Bournemouth’s beauty, peace and natural attractions with the thrill and pace of London life, just a couple of hours’ apart, and you can experience two very different aspects of Britain in the same day. Pick up some literature about London while you’re at Bournemouth station and plan your Tube stops, entertainment and dining on the way. And why not visit the handy Pumpkin newsagent on Platform 2 and stock up on hot and cold snacks, drinks and literature to enjoy on the train as you watch the scenery and cities of Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey rush by.