There are presently two main companies who offer coach journeys between London Victoria coach and bus station and these are:
- National Express – journeys leave from London Victoria coach station and although journey times can vary according to the time of day, traffic and the stops, the journey time from London tends to be Newport (2 hours 45 minutes), Cardiff (3 hours and 20 minutes) and Swansea (4 hours 25 minutes). Expect to pay around £45 for a one way ticket, although they do often have sales fares for around £10.
- Megabus also have routes between London Victoria and locations in South Wales which include Cardiff, Newport, Aberystwyth, Cwmbran and Pembroke Docks. Prices tend to be very competitive i.e. a typical journey from London to Newport can cost anything from £5 through to £15. Megabus, for the most part, always tend to offer better deals than National Express. Megabus also have their elite service, the MegaBus Gold (see video below). With both coach companies, the earlier you book, the better chance of a cheaper ticket. Update: The Gold service seems to have been removed from the Cardiff to London route.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to get to South Wales is by train. Trains to Cardiff, Newport and Swansea leave from London Paddington train station. The journey time between London Paddington and Newport is usually around 1 hour and 45 minutes, with Cardiff just over 2 hours and Swansea around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Prices one-way for a standard ticket, if booked in advance, on average can start from £40 through to £100. The trick is to book as early as possible. I have got tickets for as low as £20 each way via Trainline Online – Book Here!.
By Car and Driving
The drive from London to South Wales is a relatively straightforward one, provided you do not hit any severe traffic problems, something which is never guaranteed of course.
- The trip on average should take you close to 3 hours if driving from central London (let us say from Earls Court) to Cardiff City Centre. Newport should take you 20 minutes less and Swansea roughly half an hour extra.
- The route is mostly along the M4. Take the M4 until you hit the A48 just before Cardiff as you pass Newport. The sign posting is pretty self explanatory. Journey distance is close to 150 miles (240 Km).
- Do not forget that coming from England into Wales, after you pass the Severn Bridge, you will have to pay a toll and this is just under £7 for a typical family size car. Check Severn Bridge Toll fees here.
Flying and Airports
You can fly into South Wales by flying into Cardiff International Airport (which though is not actually in Cardiff) and is a relatively easy 20 minute ride into central Cardiff or 40 minutes drive to Newport or half an hour to Swansea. There is no airport in Swansea or Newport thus Cardiff airport is the one option. Travelling by train between South Wales and London is a much more pragmatic option but if you do wish to fly, from London, there actually seems to be no direct flights. So the best advice is really to head to Paddington train station and to travel by train. If you do wish to fly, then a private jet from London City Airport is my recommendation.
Cycling is certainly not the way that many people travel between London and South Wales, but there is actually an established and officially laid out route for this cycle journey and this route is known as Route 4! Route 4 will take you from London to Cardiff via Reading, Bath and Bristol and is a little over 400 miles in distance to Cardiff. I have not personally yet cycled the route, but I am really keen to and hope to soon. The route is laid out such that it takes you past many important attractions including Hampton Court, Kennet and Avon Canal and the Roman Baths in Bath. You can learn more about Route 4 from the Sustrans website.
Arriving in Cardiff by boat is certainly quite unusual for most people, but having said that, it is not impossible given that the city is on the water. Cardiff Bay has some moorings and the best advice I can give you to find out more is to follow this link to the Harbour Authority site.
Once in Cardiff, the easiest way the ctiy is to use the hop on hop off tour bus. This bus take you to all of the main attractions including Cardiff Castle, Cardiff Bay and the Millennium Stadium.