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How to get to Penzance?

I will be in Birmingham and would like to travel to Penzance.

I'm debating if I should fly to Newquay and then travel by bus/rail. If I do so my flight would arrive at 11 am and the earliest bus connection would be at 3.10 pm. Trains are every two hours and if I miss the 12.20 train, I'm stuck waiting for two hours.

My other option is to have a half day in Birmingham and take a direct train, however this does cost more.

Any advice on the best way to travel between these places will be appreciated. Thanks

Posted by
27720 posts

Use http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ the official rail planning website.

Train from Birmingham New Street at 7:12, 9:17, 10:17 or 11:17 to Exeter (except the 10:17 - change at Plymouth) and arrive at Penzance with just that one change at 13:25, 15:11, 15:49, 17:12 respectively. Simples.

No way you could do that with train, fly, bus, train in under 6 hours.

Posted by
110 posts

Thank you Nigel.

Which website is best to book train tickets, I'm hoping to book in advance and get a discounted ticket, however, I do not have a UK credit card.

Posted by
27720 posts

Try the webpage http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/split-cheap-train-tickets/ for advice on splitting tickets - as long as you are good about following rules.

Any British railway company can sell you tickets, and when you click through on the link I gave you previously you will get the company who operate the trains.

In your case it will be Cross Country to Cross Country or more likely Cross Country to Great Western Railway.

You (or I) will need dates of travel and number and ages (for kiddoes) of travelers in the party.

If you consider using the Trainline, the link provided by MSE on the split ticket website above, realise that they add charges that actual rail companies don't.

Posted by
7124 posts

I would be taking a direct train available departing in the afternoon.
Dep 15:20 BIRMINGHAM NEW STREET (United Kingdom)
Arr 20:54 PENZANCE (United Kingdom)

Posted by
2353 posts

Good thing you have the experts here - I was going to say on a pirate ship...

Posted by
1889 posts

On the Birmingham to Penzance route, split ticket points that often work out cheaper than the through ticket are - Cheltenham & Taunton - so, you could end up with 3 tickets! Go on www.nationalrail.co.uk and put in for your entire journey - carefully note the times & fares. Now, select a possible train and click ‘details’. Note down the times when this train is at Cheltenham & Taunton - even though you don’t get off. Now try putting in for the same train, but this time with the splits. (If you pre-book seats, you may have to move seat at the split ticket point).

Note that you need to pre-book specific train to get the cheapest fares - which tend to be about 11 weeks out.

Posted by
8889 posts

Tina, do not fly to Newquay. It looks OK on the map, but there is no public transport from the airport. Trying to get from Newquay airport to anywhere will take more time and money than the flight saved you.
Much better to get a train. There are good train connections from Birmingham to Penzance (or St Ives, see my other post).
For trains, start at the National Rail site, and they will jump you to the correct rail company. Book well in advance and it is not that expensive.
You do not need a UK credit card to book rail tickets online, any credit card will be OK.

Posted by
110 posts

Thank you all for the helpful advice.

James, can you please let me know Cheltenham Spa is the same as Cheltenham. I'm trying to price out three separate tickets on National Rail's website.

Posted by
1889 posts

Hi Tina,

My guess is that you have found by split ticketing, you can reduce the price. Yes, Cheltenham Spa is the same as Cheltenham. (Spa means it is a town where natural spring waters are suppose to give health healing properties).

It is a long way (by Brit standards) from Birmingham to Penzance. Please see my response in your other post regarding late arrival in Birmingham (New Street).

www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk are the company that operate between Birmingham & Cornwall - so you might like to pre-book with them if making this trip. Virgin Trains are the company between Scotland & Birmingham.

Posted by
110 posts

Thank you.

My exact travel date isn't available to book as yet. I did check split ticketing for a weekday in October, it actually was a little more expensive. The dates I used was 20 October for a Birmingham to Penzance ticket it's GBP 70.70. Buying a ticket for the same trains Birmingham to Cheltenham Spa is GBP 20.70, Cheltenham Spa to Taunton is GBP 36.20 and Taunton to Penzance is GBP 17.50. I was looking at the train that departs Birmingham New Street at 3.17 pm.

Am I do something wrong? Or maybe, I just happened to choose a random date when split ticketing doesn't work too well.