Plymouth Railway Station
I travelled to Plymouth by train and trains arrive/depart from/to London (Paddington) with First Great Western Trains and other parts of the country with Cross Country Trains. First Great Western offer local services to rest of Devon, Cornwall and neighbouring counties.
I travelled with Cross Country Trains on my first trip to Plymouth (November 2011). Ticket prices can vary especially when travelling from the North of England. A standard class return ticket can cost as much as 150 gbp but you can get tickets cheaper if you book in advance. For example I paid 83 gbp for an advanced return ticket from Leeds to Plymouth (the train journey takes 5 and a half hours each way!) which is considered good value.
On my second trip (March 2011) I travelled via London with East Coast and First Great Western Trains. At the time it had worked out half the price going to Leeds-London-Plymouth-London-Leeds than if I went direct from Leeds. I cost me 66.50 gbp for a round trip to Plymouth via London as opposed to 125 gbp return if I travelled direct from Leeds! It was great to include London in my itinerary because I had opportunity to meet up with friends and enjoy the capital as well as enjoying Plymouth!
The train journey from London to Plymouth takes approximately 3.5 hours and the train travels through Reading, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St David's, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth. Certain trains travel onto Cornwall and terminate at Penzance.
From Leeds, the Cross Country Train Service (The service starts from Edinburgh) travels through Wakefield, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Birmingham, Cheltenham Spa, Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St David's, Newton Abbot, Totnes and terminates at Plymouth. Certain trains do travel onto Cornwall and terminate at Penzance.
Please check out the train companies' websites for further information including timetables and fares.
Plymouth Railway Station offers adequate station facilities for the travellers.
Plymouth Bus Station
Plymouth's bus and coach station is located at Bretonside, a few minutes walk from the city centre and is serviced mainly by National Express with regular services from London and elsewhere around the country. The Bretonside Bus Station is also the hub for local services around Devon and Cornwall and is fairly well organised with easy to read timetables and information boards.
For city bus services see next tip or 2nd website.
PS Don't be put off on arrival by the homeless guys hanging around or sleeping on the benches they are usually pretty harmless!
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Mountbatten ferry is great way to get in to the city, I regularly use it. Parking on Mounbatten itself is free & unlimited time.
The ferry only takes a few minutes to get from one side to the other & saves you having to drive in to the city where it can be the norm to struggle to find a parking space in one of the citys ever decreasing carparks.
The price is only 1 pound each way & 50 pence for children over 5, the service seems pretty continuous the longest I have had to wait is 10 minutes. The ferry drops you off at the Barbican area if Plymouth. From here it is only a 5 -10 minute walk in to the main shopping area itself.
If you are interested in a river or coastal cruise check out their website. Although I have not used them for this.
- Sailing and Boating
The Tamar Bridges
To some Cornish people the River Tamar separates their beloved county from England, and as you cross over the river into Cornwall there is a sense that you’re entering somewhere different.
The source of the river is just under 4 miles from the sea near the north coast and flows south for some 60 miles into the Hamoaze and Plymouth Sound, and it’s here at its southern end that most people travel in and out of Cornwall.
Although there is still a ferry service that runs between Plymouth and Torpoint, it’s the two Tamar bridges that carry the majority of people. Linking Plymouth on the Devon side of the Tamar with Saltash on the Cornish side these two bridges are very different.
When it was built in 1961 the road bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the UK, and according to the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Company it carries 16 million vehicles a year - 10 times the original amount.
The bridge was a joint enterprise between Cornwall and Plymouth City Councils with revenue raised by tolls - and at £1.50 is still one of the lowest for a major crossing in the country (Jan 2015).
The road bridge may be impressive but the Royal Albert Bridge next to it has become iconic. Constructed by the famous Isambard Kingdom Brunel to carry his Great Western Railway across the Tamar a hundred years earlier, this brilliant engineer overcame no end of difficulties to give us this unique design with its ‘oval shaped arched trusses’.
It opened in the spring of 1859 but Brunel was too ill to attend and he died in the September.
Both of these bridges have needed work to keep them going for future generations and so far there seems to be no sign of them giving up just yet. There’s a viewpoint on the Plymouth side just before you cross over the road bridge (which you can walk across for free), but it’s also worth dropping down into Saltash for some even better views.
- Road Trip
Cremyll Passenger ferry takes you between Stonehouse in Plymouth and Cremyll, Mount Edgecombe in Cornwall. There is a free carpark at Admirals Hard, on the Plymouth side.
The Ferry only takes 7 minutes & costs £1.00 each way.
First ferry of the day starts at 06.50, service finishes at 20.15
You get wonderful views on the revevelopement of the impressive Royal William Yard. Which used to be a navel base which is now a top notch housing developement.
- Sailing and Boating
Plymouth Ferry Port
Plymouth's ferry port services the Brittany Ferries boats to (and from) Roscoff and Santander. The terminal is located at Millbay docks, just off Union Street, about a 15 minute walk west from the city centre.
From the train station it is about 20 minutes walking or alternatively the First Group #4 bus stops just before the roundabout at the start of Union Street, from which it is about 5 minutes walk.
The terminal is open roughly 9 to 5 every day and an hour or so before departures.
There's only basic facilities such as a cafe, bureau de change and toilets but there are a couple of pubs, cafes and fast-food places on Union Street and the road leading down to the docks.
For foot passengers there's a short covered walkway directly onto the ferries and boarding, security and passport control are usually swift and hassle-free.
- Sailing and Boating
- Budget Travel
Plymouth City Bus - The Dayrider
The City of Plymouth has an excellent local bus service radiating out from The Royal Parade in the city centre covering all the city and suburban areas and even tentacling out into country areas such as Wembury to the east and St Budeaux, in the shadow of the Tamar Bridge looking across the river to Cornwall, to the west.
If you are spending some time in Plymouth and want to get out and about around the city and its immediate environs then a good option is the Dayrider from City Bus which is valid from purchase until the last service that day on all City Bus services with no limit to the number of journeys (tho' note it is NOT valid on the rival Stagecoach services who offer a similar ticket but without the extensive network).
And a couple of small addendi: most of the City Buses are "Low-riders" thus allowing disabled and push-chair access too. Drivers are generally friendly and helpful and all-in-all it really is a good service :-)
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
Local Bus routes in Plymouth
Buses available at Bretonside Bus station, next to Staples in Plymouth.
Locations include Exeter, suburbs of Plymouth, Tavistock, Callington, Oakhampton.
Quite expensive adult tickets unless you buy a day saver ticket
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Plymouth Railway Station
Plymouth does have an airport but not an international one and so most travellers not driving will probably arrive by train. The main railway station is on the Paddington to Penzance line with regular daily services and the overnight Riviera Sleeper 6 nights a week. The station itself is situated a short walk from the town centre and has a local bus stop just outside. Taxis from the station are usually plentiful with reasonable fares.
The station has a couple of cafes, a convenience store and a WH Smith newsagents and booksellers and is a Cloud Wi-fi zone.
Plymouth City Buses
I wanted to visit Royal William Yard which is situated on the outskirts of the city centre in Stonehouse and a bus ride is required. I caught the no. 34 Plymouth City Bus from Royal Parade in the City Centre to the destination. It cost me 1.30 gbp (one way) and took me approximately 10 minutes. If you're planning to make a number of trips during your time in Plymouth it could be worth investing in either dayrider tickets and period passes.
The Plymouth City Bus company provides Plymouth's local bus service.
You can find out further information about the city's local bus services and obtaining bus timetable and maps at the city centre's travel centre. The address is: 3rd Floor Debenhams, Royal Parade, Plymouth.
- Road Trip
Arriving at Plymouth Railway Station
The first time that you arrive at Plymouth by train you’ll probably feel underwhelmed, partly because for a city of 250,000 inhabitants it’s not that big, and partly because it needs a revamp.
Apart from a minor branch line to Calstock, the only line that runs through Plymouth is the main line to Penzance, so you could hardly call it a transport hub.
A couple of improvements have been made recently, but on the whole you’ll want to leave the station and head for town as soon as possible. So what’s the best way of getting there?
If you intend stopping overnight somewhere and have luggage with you, then it’s probably best to take a cab from outside the station, as most of the hotels are not that close by. If you’re a student though most of the university accommodation isn’t far away.
If, on the other hand, you only intend coming for a day trip, then the time that you have available will mean that you’ll want to use your time efficiently, which is what this tip is really about. You can walk, catch a bus or take a taxi, and all three have their own merits.
If you decide to walk, allow around 30 minutes to get directly to The Hoe, which should be on everyone’s list of things to see in Plymouth. It’s a good way to get there because once you get up to North Cross roundabout Armada Way takes you through the central shopping area, and apart from crossing over busy Royal Parade, the walk is pretty well much pedestrianised all the way up to The Hoe, and in my view this is probably the best way to do it.
If your mobility or inclination doesn’t allow you to walk that far then the bus stop outside the station will enable you to catch any number of buses to Royal Parade, which is where nearly all the buses in Plymouth end up. It’s then only a short walk up to The Hoe.
Taking a taxi is obviously the easiest bet and there are always plenty waiting outside of the station, and to be fair they’re not that expensive.
If I can jump off of the fence for a minute, I reckon the best thing for first time visitors to do is to walk from the train station to The Hoe, walk down to The Barbican, and when you’re done catch a taxi back to the station.
Better still, take an overnight stop and allow yourself time to get to know Plymouth better.
Visitors leaving Plymouth ...
Visitors leaving Plymouth and heading into Cornwall via the A38 road will be pleased to know that the roadworks due to the widening of the road bridge over the River Tamar, have now been completed. The work was completed slightly behind schedule, at a cost of some 38 million pounds. The two new cantilever traffic lanes are open, and the main bridge decking has been replaced with steel in place of the original concrete - a massive task!
But be aware that shortly the Saltash Tunnel, just over the bridge on the Cornwall side, is to be closed for major repairs that could take two years! This will cause massive disruption to traffic both entering and leaving Cornwall via the Tamar Bridge.
A Really Useful Travel Site
Here is a really useful website that I discovered, which lists all types of travel - Train, bus and Airplane - for Europe and other parts of the World. Take a look, and keep it safe for your own use later on
Road, Air and Sea Travel Site
And Another one:
World Travellers Net
First Western National Buses
A VT member asked about 7 day bus Explorer travel cards. I am informed by the 'Western National' bus company that they are available from and WN bus driver, and cost (6 Mar 01) £UK 29.50. They will allow travel within parts of Plymouth and on WN bus routes within Cornwall.
First Western National appear not to have a website, but you can look here for ravel information: Bus Information in Devon and Cornwall Just enter your departure point in the search box, and follow the instructions.
First Western National,
Attention of TIS)
Union Street, CAMBORNE Cornwall TR14 8HS
Telephone Number: 01208 79898.
Now how did a picture of 'Buck' get on here? Haha.
We travelled to Poole by car. ...
We travelled to Poole by car. From Wellingborough (where I live) it took 3.5 hours. My car (pictured) can hold a remarkable amount of luggage. We fitted in the back 1 small suitcase, 1 holdall, 7 carrier bags of things and a brand new stereo (bought whilst there). The nearest airport to Poole is Bournemouth but this is not a popular airport for the airlines as it is only small. You can also get to Poole by ferry from St. Malo in France or from the Channel Islands.
The best way to get around Poole is by car. The town is quite small but to big to walk. There are regular buses around Poole and to the surrounding areas.
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