Travelling to Wales
Wales is well connected by air and sea. It’s easy to get here from overseas, either direct or via one of the UK’s major hubs. You can fly to Cardiff from several European cities or cross to North or West Wales by ferry from Ireland. And we’re not far from the main London airports either.
Cardiff Airport is situated on the outskirts of the capital and has over 50 direct routes and more than 900 connecting destinations worldwide through hubs including Amsterdam Schiphol, Dublin, Barcelona and Doha via Qatar Airways. There are direct, scheduled flights to Cardiff Airport, from Dusseldorf, Munich, Milan, Verona, Paris, Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Faro and Jersey with Flybe, from Dublin with Aer Lingus, from Amsterdam with KLM, from Barcelona, Malaga, Alicante and Palma Majorca with Vueling Airlines and from Madrid with the Iberia Express.
Alternatively, you could fly to London or one of the UK's regional international airports, continuing your journey by road or rail. London Heathrow Airport and London Gatwick Airport are less than three hours from Wales by car, coach or train. Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Manchester Airport and Birmingham Airport are all very handy for North and Mid Wales. Bristol Airport is around an hour and a half from Cardiff by bus and train or by car.
If you have arrived at Heathrow or Gatwick airport, you can travel to Wales via rail on the London services mentioned below.
There are direct flights to Cardiff Airport from Aberdeen, Birmingham, Newcastle, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Norwich and Jersey. In summer, you can fly to Anglesey Airport from Belfast and the Isle of Man.
UK airports that offer easy access to Wales are:
Birmingham International Airport
Liverpool John Lennon Airport
London Gatwick Airport
London Heathrow Airport
London Luton Airport
London Stanstead Airport
The Eurostar links Amsterdam, Paris, Lille and Brussels with London St Pancras. From London St Pancras you can travel to the south of the country via the London Paddington services. For North and Mid Wales depart from London Euston.
In the UK, fast and frequent rail services run between London Paddington, Reading, Bath and Bristol to Newport and Cardiff, taking just over two hours. There is a half-hourly departure to Cardiff Central, with an hourly continuation to Swansea and onward connections to West Wales including Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
There are also direct trains from London Euston and Manchester to Llandudno, Bangor and Holyhead; from Birmingham, Shrewsbury and Crewe to the North Wales coast and the Llŷn Peninsula; from Manchester and Shrewsbury to Newport; and from Portsmouth, Southampton and Salisbury to Cardiff.
From London Heathrow Airport, there’s a fast, direct rail service to Paddington, where you can change onto a direct train to Wales. From London Gatwick Airport, you can travel direct to London Victoria, then take the tube to Paddington or Euston to continue your journey. For general rail enquiries visit:
National Rail Enquiries
You may also find it useful to read the 'Travel around Wales' section.
There are several ferry crossings from Ireland to Wales each day, taking less time than you might expect.
Ferry crossings from Ireland to Wales:
Dublin Port to Holyhead
Journey time: 1hr 49mins (Fast ferry)
Journey time: 3hrs 15mins (Cruise ferry)
Rosslare to Pembroke
Journey time: 4hrs (Cruise ferry)
Dublin Port to Holyhead
Journey time: 3hrs 15mins (Superferry)
Rosslare to Fishguard
Journey time: 3hrs 30mins (Superferry)
Ferry crossings from mainland Europe to Great Britain:
By cruise ship
Cruise ships dock at the Port of Holyhead on Anglesey almost every week between May and September. Cruise lines calling in include Crystal, Hapag Lloyd, Oceania, P&O, Silversea, Swan Hellenic, Thomson, Tui, Voyages of Discovery and Windstar.
Find out more at Cruise Wales.
You can travel to Wales quickly and easily by road from anywhere in the UK. We’re within three hours drive of London. From the major UK cities Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool, each with international airport links, you can be here in just a couple of hours.
The National Express coach network links major towns and cities in the UK. Direct routes to Wales include:
London Victoria Coach Station > Cardiff, Swansea, Pembrokeshire
London Victoria Coach Station, Birmingham > Wrexham, Llangollen, Newtown, Aberystwyth
London Gatwick Airport, London Heathrow Airport, Bristol > Cardiff, Swansea
Hull, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham > Cardiff, Swansea, Pembrokeshire
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Chester > North Wales
Megabus provides low cost intercity travel in the UK, with a coach service running from London and Bristol to Newport, Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock.
Driving to Wales gives you maximum flexibility. The fastest routes are via the M4, M5, M6 and M56. As of 1 January 2013, the toll for crossing from England to Wales via the M4 and M48 Severn Bridges is £6.50 per car. There’s no toll for eastbound traffic.
Mileage and journey times by car
Birmingham > Aberystwyth 122 2hrs 41mins
Canterbury > Cardiff 220 3hrs 52mins
Coventry > Barmouth 137 3hrs 00mins
Exeter > Swansea 150 2hrs 35mins
Leeds > Llandudno 126 2hrs 21mins
London > Cardiff 150 3hrs 00mins
London > Tenby 238 4hrs 32mins
Manchester > Caernarfon 104 2hrs 04mins
Nottingham > Swansea 196 3hrs 37mins
Peterborough > Aberystwyth 207 4hrs 11mins
Newcastle > Llandudno 227 4hrs 08mins
Reading > Carmarthen 172 3hrs 02mins
York to Welshpool 152 3hrs 06mins
(Mileage and times supplied by www.theaa.com)
From Canada & USA