The Train from London Waterloo – Destinations and Ways to Save Money

A train from London Waterloo will go to destinations in the South West and South Coast of the UK. Waterloo is the busiest station in the UK with more than 90 million entries and exits a year. 90 Million! That’s a lot.

Popular destinations from London Waterloo vary depending on whether you are a commuter or a day tripper/holidaymaker.

The top three destinations out of London Waterloo are:

  • Bournemouth
  • Poole
  • Southampton

Other destinations from Waterloo include:

Salisbury     Windsor     Portsmouth     Ascot     Epsom      Reading

Guildford     Staines     Woking     Basingstoke     Winchester 

Exeter     Yeovil     Shepperton     Kingston     Weymouth

Hampton Court   Chessington     Sunningdale

Teddington     Brookwood     Wimbledon     Byfleet & New Haw

Waterloo to Southampton

Southampton is also a port, and ferries leave Southampton and go to the Isle of Wight with Red Funnel Ferries and the Hythe Pier on the Hythe Ferry. Trains take roughly 1hr 20mins – 1hr 40mins. There is a free shuttle bus  every 15 minutes from the train station that takes 7 mins to get to the ferry terminal.

Book train tickets from Waterloo to Southampton

Waterloo to Poole

I always think of the waterpark when I think of poole. A pool in Poole, imagine that. Very popular with little ones. 2hrs to 3hrs 20 mins from Waterloo.

Book trains from Waterloo to Poole 

Waterloo to Bournemouth

Bournemouth has a lovely long beach and so is a popular UK seaside destination, but is also home to Bournemouth University, which has a varied list of arts courses including Scriptwriting for Film and Television. Many students can also get a third off rail travel by using a Young Persons Railcard. 2hrs from Waterloo. 2hrs – 2hrs 15 mins from Waterloo.

Book trains from Waterloo to Bournemouth

And the rest…

Waterloo to Salisbury

Salisbury has Salisbury Cathedral, which is very grand indeed and has a modern font which behaves like a water feature. It is set in grassy grounds with lots of quaint little cafes nearby. It is 1 hr 30mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Windsor

Windsor is home to Windsor Castle and Legoland. It is just under 1 hr to Windsor & Eton Riverside from Waterloo. The castle is not far from the station and Legoland is served by a shuttle bus that picks up from both stations. Shuttle buses cost £4.80 for an adult return and £2.40 for a child return, information can be found here.

Waterloo to Portsmouth

Portsmouth is a port, so lots of ferries leave from Portsmouth and go with Direct Ferries to; St Malo, Caen, Cherbourg and Le Havre in France, Bilbao and Santander in Spain, Fishbourne in the UK and Guernsey and Jersey which are islands off the coast of, and belonging to, the UK. The train from Waterloo to Portsmouth takes 1hr 30mins – 2hrs. Portsmouth & Southsea station is closer to the ferry terminal than Portsmouth Harbour but shuttle buses operate from both. Allow 45 minutes to get from the train station to the ferry terminal to be on the safe side.

Waterloo to Ascot

Ascot has Royal Ascot, the famous annual horse races – where a lot of women wear a lot of hats. (One each for the most part). The racecourse is a seven minute walk from the railway station and trains from Waterloo take just under 1hr.

Waterloo to Epsom

Epsom has the Epsom Derby. The racecourse is usually served by a bus that takes 10 mins from the station, but during the festivals shuttle buses are laid on between the station and the racecourse these cost £3 one way or £5 return, regardless of your age. Otherwise its a 1/2 a mile walk from Tattenham Corner Station or 1 mile walk from Epsom Downs Station. Trains to Epsom take 35-40 mins.

Waterloo to Reading

Reading is a commuter city and station at which many journeys are split to save money. It is on the outskirts of the Network Rail area. There are lots of willow trees that hang over the river at Reading and it also has the Reading Festival, which can be seen from the train tracks that run alongside the festival area right by the station. Trains take 1hr 20mins from Waterloo to Reading.

Or you can hop on the Underground at Waterloo and get the train from London Paddington to Reading instead, which is a shorter journey.

Waterloo to Guildford

Guildford is another commuter destination in Surrey and, ‘luxury shopping capital of the UK.’ There is a castle you can visit for £3. Guildford is 40mins from Waterloo. 40mins to 1hr 15mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Staines

Staines, also a commuter destination and now actually called Staines-upon-Thames is also the closest train station to Thorpe Park, the fantastic water-based theme park loved by so many brits for so much more than its log flume. 30 – 50 mins from Waterloo and the 950 shuttle bus runs from the station to Thorpe Park every 15 mins.

Waterloo to Woking

Woking is a commuter town. 25-50 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Basingstoke

Basingstoke is also a commuter town. 45 mins – 1 hr 20 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Winchester

Winchester has Winchester Cathedral which costs to get into but is impressive even from the outside. The once capital of England is quite a charming little city with many old Tudor buildings. Ordinary chain shops and restaurants have found homes in these beautiful wooden-beamed buildings. Approximately 1hr from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Exeter

Exeter, gateway to Devon… Exeter is a university town but also has Exeter Cathedral and a 14th century labyrinth of underground passageways and Exeter’s Historic Quayside. 2 hrs 45 mins to 3hrs 25 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Yeovil

Yeovil is not only the gateway railway station for those wanting to visit Glastonbury with its lovely town centre, Abbey and Tor, it also has a Railway Centre with steam trains. Lucky you. 2 hrs 20 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Weymouth

Weymouth – the sea, the sea! 2 hrs 40 mins – 2 hrs 55 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Hampton Court

To me Hampton Court Palace is significant because the ghost of Hernry VIII’s wife is said to haunt it. Catherine Howard purportedly runs screaming yet headless through the halls. Hampton Court is 30 – 36 mins from Waterloo. The palace is 200m across the bridge from the station.

Waterloo to Chessington

Home to Chessington World of Adventures. 10 mins walk from Chessington South rail station. 34 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Kingston

Kingston is served by Shepperton station too. 28 – 43 mins to Kingston from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Sunningdale

Sunningdale is a commuter destination and wealthy residential area. 47 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Teddington

Teddington is a commuter destination which has a lock you can visit. There’s some info here. 33-37 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Brookwood

Brookwood is of particular interest to me because of the Necropolis railway that once ran from central London to the cemetery. A private railway line was used to transport coffins and mourners. Sometimes twice daily. The station was sadly bombed in the war and never rebuilt and so the railway line was ripped up. But you can still go on guided walks of the route for a suggested donation of £3. An in-depth Fortean Times article can be found here. 35-45 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Wimbledon

Wimbledon, tennis dahling. 16 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Byfleet & New Haw

Byfleet & New Haw – Mercedes-Benz World is here, if cars are your thing. There are exhibitions about the history of Mercedes-Benz and they offer guided tours and driving experiences too. 35 – 40 mins from Waterloo.

Waterloo to Strawberry Hill

A commuter town in Twickenham home to  Strawberry Hill, Horace Walpole’s Gothic Castle, a Gothic Revival building commissioned by the son of Britain’s first Prime Minister. It’s five to ten minutes walk from the station and is sign-posted. 35- 45 mins from Waterloo.

So whether you’re a commuter or day-tripper, Waterloo provides a gateway to some excellent cities, towns and attractions. If you think this guide is missing something, do let me know…


50p Train Ticket from London to Birmingham

Thanks to Ian Visits for sharing this AMAZING deal – book two one way 25p tickets to end up with a 50p train ticket from London to Birmingham in September and October 2013. Click the image below to go to the site and book yours. Hurry!


Go to the Bullring and check out the cool spacey Selfridges building, eat a curry at one of the multitude of fabulous curry houses, check out vintage clothing in the huge shop there, stay the night and go clubbing. Go to the jewellery quarter or visit the chocolate industry leftovers. Whatever, it’s cheap. I wonder where else we’d all flock to if trains were this cheap. An interesting thought really.

Chiltern Railways. Winner.

How to Book Trains in the UK and Save Money

We live in a nation of train fare hikes. It’s all to do with something really boring called RPI (retail price index) – which adjusts the prices of stuff we buy to reflect inflation every year. Last time I checked, RPI was +1% (apparently) but in some places went up by as much as +14% due to some ridiculous loophole. The fare I buy most often (London to Bristol) went up by so much I now travel by coach between Bristol and London, to my dismay. So if you were one of the many people who were caught out – by a fiver or more added when purchasing your ticket on the day of travel – you are not alone.

The first way to avoid getting stuck, is to buy your ticket in advance. I know this is a pain in the arse. But even if you book 24 hours in advance you will still likely save money. In India, fares are released 120 days in advance and get booked up pretty quickly – no walk up fares unless you get Tatkal (emergency) tickets – so for now, we may need to look at changing our mindset to one where we just accept that we need to plan ahead. I always buy my train tickets online and from the company that operates the train on the route I am travelling on. First Great Western, in the case of the Bristol to London journey. I even book my train ticket online from my phone if I am at the station, rather than from the counter, and pick it up from one of the fast ticket machines.

Try and book a week or more in advance if you can. Britain has the cheapest advance fares in Europe. When all those companies say things like ‘save up to 80% on train fares’ what they are actually saying is, buy in advance and the standard fares are up to 80% cheaper than they would be if you purchased your ticket on the day of travel.

Another way is to split your tickets. This means that you buy tickets per segment of your journey, instead of just the one ticket to cover them all.

If you are leaving at a peak time – before 10am or after 4pm, to be on the safe side – buy a ticket that covers the part of your journey up until 10am, then change trains at 10.01am or after (off peak) and carry on with a ticket that covers the rest of your journey.

If you buy two tickets for the same journey on the same train, the train you are travelling on must stop at the station you are splitting the ticket at. This means that in some circumstances, you can’t stay on the same train with your two tickets and would be staying on the train at your own risk. Always check the route.

If you are travelling on a route with more than one train operating company, check the websites for each one. The operators have different fare structures – It may be that the part of your journey with Virgin will be more or less expensive with the part of your journey with First Great Western.

More tickets = less money spent

If there is a group of you travelling, always check to see if the train operator provides group travel discounts. You will find more information about these on the website of whichever operator operates the trains on the line you are travelling on. My most regular route, as previously mentioned, is Bristol to London, operated by First Great Western. The group travel discount is called Groupsave.

Groupsave is offered by the following train operating companies:

  • c2c
  • Chiltern Railways
  • First Capital Connect
  • First Great Western
  • Greater Anglia
  • London Midland
  • South Eastern
  • Southern
  • Southwest Trains
  • Stansted Express

Yet another way to save money is to get a railcard. Railcards save you 30% on off-peak fares. Sadly I’m no longer 25 or younger, so the 16-25 railcard is off my list.

Apply for a 16-25 Railcard (Otherwise known as Young Persons Railcard) If:

  • You are aged between 16-25 or a full time student
  • You have a UK passport or Driving Licence
  • You have a passport-sized photograph of yourself

My Railcard

I’m not 60+ either, so I cannot purchase a senior railcard.

Apply for a Senior Railcard online or at the station if:

  • you are aged 60 or above
  • you want to get 30% off your off-peak train travel
  • you have a UK passport or Driving Licence
  • you can procure a passport-sized photograph of yourself
  • you have internet access or access to a train station ticket hall

I have not produced a family so far, so I won’t be getting a Family & Friends Railcard.

Apply for a Family & Friends Railcard if:

  • You and one other adult can be named on the card to get a discount on any two to four adults travelling together when one of them travelling is named on the card and at least one child (and up to four) is travelling too
  • You want to get a 30% discount on your tickets when the above is the case
  • You and the other adult you want named on the card have valid UK passports or driving licences
  • You and the other adult you want named on the card have passport-sized photos of your smiley faces
  • You and the other adult you want named on the card have access to the internet or to a train station ticket hall

Hurrah, everyone can get a Network railcard so I’ll have one of those bad boys.

Apply for a Network Railcard if:

  • You regularly make journeys within the Network Rail Area after 10am in the morning & before 4pm or after 7pm (off-peak)
  • You want to save 30% on the off-peak journeys you make within the Network Rail Area
  • You want to take up to four kids on trips within the Network Rail Area and save 60% on their fares
  • You have a valid UK passport or driving licence
  • You have access to the internet or train station ticket hall

The Network rail area covers routes out of London, to a point. On my London to Bristol route, for example, the area extends to Reading. This means I could potentially buy a ticket to Reading with my card then change to the standard fare from Reading to Bristol. The Network Rail area map can be found here.

Network Rail Map

Network Rail Map

To apply for either the 16-25 (and full time student) Railcard, Senior Railcard or Family & Friends Railcard, you will need to have on you:

  • A valid UK Passport
  • A passport-sized photo
  • Internet access or access to a train station ticket hall ( but not a London Underground ticket hall or Heathrow ticket hall)

To Purchase a Network Railcard, you will need to download the application form, fill it in, and take it to a train station ticket hall with your recognised form of ID and photo, or pick up a form at the station and do it all there.

Use your common sense when working out which card you are eligible for and when to use it. The 16-25 Railcard, Senior Railcard and Family & Friends Railcard can be used on all off-peak journeys that are not exclusively within the Network Rail Area – for which you would use a Network Railcard.

It is SO worth having one. You’ll save the amount you spent on the card in just a few journeys.

Behind the Scenes at Blackfriars

All in orange at Blackfriars

This is what I’d look like if I was part of the team constructing the new Blackfriars station, which was opening 19th May 2013. I’d like to thank Network Rail and First Capital Connect for allowing me the chance to do this. (And to Ham for taking the picture).

The new station has taken three and a half years to complete. The bridge has been made wider, and there are four platforms. There will be new carriages 50% longer than their predecessors. And there will be more services that are more direct.

Barges were used to transport 14,000 tonnes of materials during the build, saving 2000 lorry journeys.

The views from the station are spectacular with the Shard and Tate from one point and St. Paul’s the other…

(the weather can’t be helped).

The interior is light and airy, and there are solar panels covering the roof…