With its compact size and diverse landscape, Wales is perfect for exploring by train. Uncover history and legends, walk along staggering coastlines and enjoy some of the UK's best beaches. There are plenty of routes linking cities and holiday resorts, making it easy to travel throughout Wales by train. When you're planning Wales travel routes, Omio helps you by comparing the fastest and most cost-effective journeys for you. Once you've found your train to Wales, Omio will help you find the best train ticket for you.
There are 15 train routes within Wales, and they're all operated by Transport for Wales (TfW). One of the country's main routes is the North Wales Coast Line, which runs along the north coast of Wales with stops including Bangor and Holyhead. Another popular train line is the Heart of Wales Line, which runs from Llanelli in the south of the country towards the north of Wales and Shrewsbury in England. Minor services include West Wales Locals and the Ebbw Valley Railway. There are also cross-border routes operated by Great Western Railway, CrossCountry and Avanti West Coast. These include the Wales to London train route.
Four train companies operate in Wales—Transport for Wales, CrossCountry, Avanti West Coast and Great Western Railway. Transport for Wales is responsible for 15 routes within Wales including the popular Cardiff to Rhyl and Aberystwyth lines while Carmarthen to Swansea and Wrexham to Llandudno are popular holiday routes. CrossCountry trains run directly from Birmingham to Newport and Cardiff. Avanti West Coast is a long-distance train provider that operates a route between Crewe and Holyhead in north Wales, from here you can take ferries to Ireland. Great Western Railway links Cardiff and Swansea in the south of Wales with London Paddington.
Popular trains to Wales include the direct Swansea to Carmarthen route, which takes just under an hour. Services from Newport to Chepstow and Swansea to Bridgend are both direct and take around half an hour. The Holyhead to Bangor train in North Wales takes just half an hour. Cardiff to Bangor is a long journey of approximately five hours and requires a transfer at Shrewsbury. All of these popular train services in Wales are regularly with train times running from early morning until late evening.
There are four types of train tickets in Wales. If you know when you plan to travel, the most cost-effective tickets are Advance tickets, where you can usually reserve a seat. Anytime tickets offer more flexibility as they allow you to travel at all times, however, this means they are more expensive and reservations can't be made so seats aren't guaranteed. Benefit from cheap train tickets to Wales by buying off-peak and super-off-peak tickets. Off-peak times vary from route to route so always check first but are normally outside of commuter hours. Most tickets are available via mobile or email, you can print your tickets at your departing station if you prefer. Find out more about how to buy cheap train tickets in Wales, and the rest of the UK, with our ticket guide.
The four largest Welsh cities are Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Bangor and they all have good train links with other parts of Wales as well as the rest of the UK. Cardiff is in the south of Wales and is the capital of the country and has Wale's largest train station, with direct rail links to popular Welsh destinations such as Newport, Wrexham and Holyhead. Swansea is a busy industrial town as well as the gateway to the beautiful Pembroke coastline—which is one of the UK's most popular National Parks. There are frequent train services that run from Swansea to smaller Welsh towns such as Carmarthen, Tenby, Newport and Llanelli. Newport lies just inside the Welsh border and is a major transfer hub with connections to London, Swansea, Cardiff and Llanelli. The cathedral city of Bangor is situated in the north of Wales and is on a direct route from England to Holyhead, providing a link via ferry to Ireland.
Trains to Wales run from all over the United Kingdom. You can purchase train tickets to Wales from the rest of the UK as well as from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland with Omio. The busy port city of Bristol is on the Great Western Railway route from London Paddington to Cardiff or Swansea and takes around 58 minutes. If you're travelling from London to Wales by train, all services leave from London Paddington and arrive at Cardiff Central. The train times for the London–Cardiff route are fairly regular, with trains departing once or twice an hour daily. This service is one of the most popular trains to Wales and takes just under two hours. Travelling by train from Glasgow Central Station or Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, to Cardiff or Swansea takes approximately six and a half hours with a connection at Crewe or Birmingham New Street—currently, there is no direct train between the Welsh and Scottish capital. The train to Wales from Dublin involves a ferry crossing at Holyhead, and from there, direct trains run to Cardiff or London.
Loved for its stunning landscape, Wales is home to three of the United Kingdom’s 15 national parks. From the towering mountains of Snowdonia to the rugged coastline of the Pembrokeshire National Coast, the country is a playground for the outdoorsy type. Brimming with picturesque villages, such as Minffordd and Saundersfoot, Wales can’t help but charm, and with many of these villages having their own rail station, they’re easily reachable by train. The country's capital, Cardiff, is the major transport link to the rest of the UK, with most trains to the south of Wales arriving or departing from here. The capital was rehauled in the early 2000s and now boasts one of the country's most popular attractions, the Wales Millenium Centre, which is an arts centre in the popular Cardiff Bay area. If you want to catch the train to the north of Wales, you can arrive at stations such as Bangor and Llanfairpwll, which is in the centre of the quaint island of Anglesey.