How to get to Cornwall

Cornwall is a popular holiday destination accessible by train, by car and coach and by air. For general information to help with planning your journey to the West Country, visit www.traveline.org.uk. Using public transport is an environmentally friendly way of visiting and getting around Cornwall. It is possible to holiday in Cornwall without bringing your car.  

By Road

From London and the East, the quickest way to get to Cornwall is to take the M4 motorway to Bristol then take the M5 to Exeter. For a more scenic route, follow the M3 from London and then join the A303, which will take you through many villages and towns, as well as past Stonehenge, to Exeter.

From the north of the country, take the M6 followed by the M5 to Exeter.

From Exeter, you can then join the A30, which goes past the northern tip of Dartmoor and Bodmin and runs all the way to Penzance.

Alternatively, if you are heading to North Cornwall and would like to take a more scenic route, take the coastal route on the A39 from Bridgwater to Barnstaple via the northern edge of Exmoor, after which is continues to Bude and Cornwall

By Rail

From London, First Great Western runs direct train services from Paddington to Penzance. You can also travel while you sleep on the Night Riviera Sleeper service, a direct train service from Paddington to Penzance that runs Sunday to Friday. Have supper in London, board the train in the evening and wake up in Cornwall!

From the north of the country, Cross Country runs direct train services from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh via Newcastle, York, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol all the way to Penzance, calling at various stations in between.

For all rail enquiries and timetables go to www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 08457 484950.

By Coach

National Express runs coach services from the South Coast, the north of the country from Bradford, London and Heathrow Airport to the main towns of Cornwall.  For more information on fares and timetable call 08717 81 81 81.

You can find useful information on public transport in Cornwall by visiting the local government website www.cornwall.gov.uk and visiting the ‘Transport and Travel’ section which has information on local bus services, timetables and train lines.

By Ferry

Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth are closest ports to Cornwall and a number of ferry companies run services from Europe to these ports.

Brittany Ferries runs services from France (Roscoff, St. Malo, Caen, Cherbourg) to Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth. There is also a service from Spain (Santander) to Plymouth.

P&O Ferries run services from France (Cherbourg, Le Havre) to Portsmouth and Spain (Bilbao) to Portsmouth.

By Air

Cornwall has it's own airport on the North coast at Newquay, with flights all year round from London Gatwick and Manchester. In summer, you can also fly from Belfast, Glasgow, Newscastle, Norwich and Dusseldorf (Germany). There are regular bus services (Western Greyhound no. 556) from Newquay airport to Newquay town and Padstow, from where you can catch connecting bus services to other towns and villages in Cornwall. The airport also has 3 car hire companies, or if you prefer to take a taxi, you can also use Biotravel, a local environmentally-friendly taxi firm whose vehicles have 50% lower carbon emissions that other taxis.

Bristol Airport has direct flights from Leeds-Bradford, Newcastle, Isle of Man, Scotland and Belfast, as well as many cities in Europe. Once you have arrived at the airport, you can catch the Airport Flyer, an express coach to Bristol Temple Meads train station (where you can take a Cross Country or First Great Western train to Cornwall) or Bristol Bus Station (where you can take a National Express coach to Cornwall). There are also 6 national car hire companies based at the airport if you would prefer to drive to Cornwall, and taxi comapnies.  

Exeter International Airport has direct flights from Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newscatle and Norwich, as well as Amsterdam, Dusseldorf (summer only), Paris, Dublin, Geneva (winter only) and other international destinations. Stagecoach bus service 56 links Exeter Airport with Exeter St David's train station and Exeter bus station. From Exeter St David's you can catch a Cross Country or First Great Western train service to Cornwall. There are 4 car hire companies based at the airport and a taxi service.

Once you get there

It can be a liberating experience to leave the car at home for a day, allowing visitors to take the time to appreciate the beautiful scenery around them. For a wealth of inspiring ideas for ‘car free’ excursions in Devon and Cornwall, including lovely old railway lines, open top buses, walks and cycle routes, go to www.carfreedaysout.com.