London train stations date back to the late 19th century and they’re still as busy to this day. In a city the size of London, no single railroad station could handle such a large volume of passengers. Instead, over a dozen mainline stations serve the city centre. Most are in this list – others in central London include Marylebone, Cannon Street, Moorgate, Farringdon, and Blackfriars. Broadly speaking, geography determines where you travel: stations in the south of the city serve destinations south of London and so forth.

    Various train operators hold the franchises to run train services. It’s usually possible to buy tickets for immediate travel, but for long-distance services, you’ll get a discount if you buy in advance. Some stations are must-see London attractions in their own right. Here, we guide you whenever you wonder which London train station you need to use for getting into or out of the UK capital.



    Britain’s biggest and busiest station

    Waterloo is one of just a few mainline stations south of the River Thames. Around 94 million users alight at its 24 platforms. It’s conveniently located for SouthwarkSouth Bank, and Lambeth, but you can walk to Westminster easily. Many of its trains serve a relatively small but densely populated area, traveling to towns in SurreyHampshire, and Berkshire.

    The West of England Main Line serves destinations as far as Exeter, though it’s less important than Paddington in that respect. Waterloo is also the terminus of the South Western Main Line, which links London with coastal Southampton and Weymouth. A direct link to Portsmouth connects with the Isle of Wight ferry service. Initially, Eurostar used Waterloo as its London base but these international trains now depart from St Pancras.

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    Location: Waterloo Rd, Bishop's, London SE1 8SW, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 4.30 am to 1.05 am, Saturday from 4.30 am to 1.45 am, Sunday from 5.30 am to 1.05 am

    Phone: +44 (0)3457 114141



    See the famous bear on Platform 1

    Paddington Station owes its splendid design to the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Although the building has been refurbished, it retains much of its original character. Today, the station is famous for its statue of Paddington Bear, which sits under a clock on Platform 1. The station lies to the west of the city centre but is handy for neighbourhoods like Notting Hill and Little Venice. Paddington is also the final stop on the Heathrow Express.

    From here, you can board a long-distance train to BathBristolCardiffExeter, and Plymouth. Other notable stations on the GWR network include ReadingCheltenhamOxford, and Swindon. Travelers to Penzance using the Night Riviera trains will ride the only sleeper service that begins and ends in England.

    Location: Praed St, Paddington, London, UK

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +44 (0)3457 114141


    King’s Cross

    The East Coast Main Line's southern terminus

    King’s Cross links London with Edinburgh in Scotland. It broadly follows the same route as the A1 trunk road. On its way north, it stops at PeterboroughGranthamNewark and Retford. Next, it calls at Doncaster and Leeds in Yorkshire and continues to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Durham in the northeast. Other King’s Cross operators include Grand Central to Bradford, First to Hull and commuter services run by Thameslink and Great Northern.

    However, its most famous platform leads to nowhere. Moviegoers and bookworms will know Platform 9¾ from the Harry Potter franchise. Look out for the baggage cart laden with an owl cage and suitcases, embedded in a wall. 6 London Underground lines pass directly through the station and the Circle line is a short walk along Euston Road. Once London’s red-light district, the immediate vicinity has been regenerated – the upscale shops and restaurants of Coal Drops Yard are immediately behind the station.

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    Location: Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9AL, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 5 am to 1.36 am, Saturday from 5 am to 1.11 am, Sunday from 5.30 am to 1.36 am

    Phone: +44 (0)3457 114141


    St Pancras International

    High-speed rail links, home or away

    St Pancras was historically the terminus for the Midland Railroad. Today, trains still serve East Midlands destinations such as NottinghamLeicester, and Lincoln. High Speed 1 services to Kent also begin at the station. Thameslink operates cross-London trains which call at St Pancras en route from Bedford to Brighton – they also stop at Luton Airport.

    However, St Pancras station is best known as the home of Eurostar. From this historic station, you can be in Paris or Brussels in less than 3 hours. Amsterdam takes just under 4 hours. Inbound, the tourist-friendly neighbourhood of Camden isn’t far from the station. Fitzrovia is just on the other side of the Euston Road.

    Location: Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London N1C 4QP, UK

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +44 (0)2078 437688


    photo by Przemysław Sakrajda (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Liverpool Street

    High-speed connections to coast and countryside

    Liverpool Street Station is in the heart of the City financial district, reasonably close to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. This commuter station is the 3rd busiest station in the UK – in a typical year, about 64 million passengers pass through its ticket gates. The station is one of the 4 stations on the UK edition of the Monopoly board game.

    It serves the East Anglia region including EssexCambridgeshireHertfordshireNorfolk, and Suffolk. Visitor destinations include Norwich and Cambridge. Liverpool Street is also the city terminus for the Stansted Express airport service and connects to several London Underground routes including the Central Line and Circle Line. There is a wide selection of shops, many on an upper mezzanine level, from which the view across the station concourse is magnificent.

    Location: Liverpool St, London EC2M 7PY, UK

    Open: Monday and Friday–Saturday from 3.10 am to 1.03 am, Tuesday–Thursday from 4 am to 1.03 am, Sunday from 3.40 am to 1.03 am

    Phone: +44 (0)3457 114141


    Fenchurch Street

    A commuter line linking south Essex to the City of London

    Fenchurch Street is one of the UK capital’s smaller mainline stations. The Tower of London and the River Thames are close to the station. Operator c2c carries more than 17 million passengers every year. You can board trains for destinations in East London and Essex. The furthest point on the line is Shoeburyness on the eastern edge of Southend-on-Sea.

    Fenchurch Street station is unusual because it does not directly connect to the London Underground network. However, Tower Hill station is only a few minutes walk away. Sometimes, late-night services divert to nearby Liverpool Street station, especially during weekend maintenance and engineering work.

    Location: Fenchurch Place, London EC3M 4PB, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 5 am to 12.34 am, Saturday from 5 am to 12.41 am, Sunday from 5 am to 12.11 am

    Phone: +44 (0)3457 444422


    photo by Joshua Brown (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    London Bridge

    The UK capital’s 4th busiest train station

    London Bridge station is in Southwark, close to The Shard and Borough Market. This busy station, south of the River Thames, is mostly a commuter station and as many as 56 million people travel through it every year. It’s one of London’s fanciest stations thanks to a renovation which finished in 2017.

    Services go to south-east London and many towns in Kent and Sussex; they also serve destinations north of London. London Bridge also connects to other mainline stations including Waterloo, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, and Charing Cross. The name also refers to the adjacent Underground station which is on the Northern and Jubilee lines.

    Location: Station Approach Rd, London SE1 9SP, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 4 am to 1 am, Sunday from 6 am to 1 am



    London’s 2nd-busiest station

    Victoria Station is where you’ll arrive if you catch a train to London from Gatwick Airport. Around 74 million passengers use the station each year, but they’re not all vacationers. Victoria is a busy commuter station serving KentSurrey, and Sussex too. Trains bring travelers from places like BromleyBrightonEastbourneEpsomDorking, and Croydon to the capital.

    Victoria Station has a wide range of facilities, including plenty of shops, cafés and restaurants. The Circle, District and Victoria lines on the Underground network stop here. From the station, you can walk to prominent London attractions like Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

    Location: Victoria St, Victoria, London SW1E 5ND, UK

    Open: Monday–Sunday from 4 am to 0.45 am, Friday–Saturday 15 minutes before the 1.10 am, 2.10 am, and 3.10 am trains

    Phone: +44 (0)3432 221234


    photo by Ewan Munro (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified



    London’s first inter-city station

    London Euston is the terminus of the West Coast Main Line. It is one of 3 mainline stations on the Euston Road in the borough of Camden, together with King’s Cross and St Pancras International. Around 71 million people travel every year from Euston to Birmingham, the northwest of England (including Manchester and Liverpool), and Scotland. High Speed 2 services eventually terminate at Euston.

    Euston is also where you board the Caledonian sleeper (overnight trains from London to Scotland). Trains travel to Edinburgh or Glasgowwhere they split and continue to destinations such as Aberdeen and Inverness.

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    Location: Euston Road, London NW1 2DU, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 4.30 am to 1.34 am, Saturday from 4.30 am to 2 am, Sunday from 5.15 am to 1.34 am

    Phone: +44 (0)3457 114141


    Charing Cross

    London’s most central mainline station

    Charing Cross Station is at the heart of central London, standing at the junction of 6 key traffic routes. It's a short walk of popular tourist spots like Nelson’s ColumnCovent Garden and the theaters of West End.

    Rail service provider South Eastern Trains is responsible for all Charing Cross services. Express and stopping trains serve much of Kent, with trains via TonbridgeSevenoaksAshford, and Folkestone, eventually terminating at Dover. Other trains run across the north of the county to destinations such as Chatham and Ramsgate.

    Location: Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DR, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 4.30 am to 0.50 am, Sunday from 6.30 am to 0.46 am

    Julia Hammond | Contributing Writer

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