London By Train

With London being the big, bustling place that it is it’s no surprise that there are many train stations servicing it. There are some ten major train stations in and around Central London with more smaller ones as well. It’s more than likely that you’ll be using one of these major ones as you make your way to the capital and on to one of the NFL London games.

The station you’ll most likely be coming into will be one of the following:

Charing Cross  A major train and Underground station in Central London near Embankment and The Strand. Trains to here operated by Southern Trains and Southeastern Trains. The Underground lines at this station are Bakerloo and Northern lines.

Euston Station  A major train and Underground station near to King’s Cross and Regent’s Park. The trains to here are operated by First Scotrail, London Midland, London Overground and Virgin Trains. The Underground lines at this station are the Victoria and also Northern lines.

Fenchurch Street  This station was the first to be built in the city of London in 1854. Trains going here are operated by c2c. It is a little further to the east of Central London and is close to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. There are no tube stations at this train station but Tower Hill Underground station is not too far away.

King’s Cross  The home of the Harry Potter train platform known as “9¾”, King’s Cross is one of the busiest train stations in the capital. Train operators into this station are National Express East Coast and First Capital Connect. There are many tube lines at this station including Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City plus the Victoria line.

Liverpool Street  Another train station with many Underground lines running through it. Circle, Central, Hammersmith & City as well as the Metropolitan lines all run through here. Train companies operating to here are National Express East Anglia Railways.

London Bridge  This train station is just to the south of the river by, unsurprisingly given its name, London Bridge. It’s not far from the Shard and Guy’s Hospital. It is on the Northern and Jubilee Underground lines and used by Thameslink, Southern Trains and South East Trains.

Paddington  First Great Western is the main train operator here and the station is on the Hammersmith & City, Bakerloo, District and Circle Underground lines.

St. Pancras International  This is the biggest and busiest of the train stations in Central London and has the most tube lines to it (although you do have to walk quite a way to some of them). It is also the home of the Eurostar on the UK side. The station has had a lot of work done to it since the Eurostar’s development and it is now a very nice place to be with all its shops and cafes and nice brickwork on display. It is located next to the King’s Cross station and all mainline operators come into here. The tube stations accessible from St. Pancras are Circle, Metropolitan, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Northern, and Victoria.

Victoria  This station is served by Southern and Southeastern Trains companies and sits on the District, Circle and Victoria tube lines. It is situated near to Westminster.

Waterloo  Another of the stations located just south of the river Thames and is not too far from the famous London Eye. Trains going to and from here are operated by Southwest Trains and the station gives access to the tube lines of Northern, Jubilee, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City.

It’s So Easy…

Like I say, those are the major train stations that you are likely to come into as you make your way from outside London to one of the NFL London games. As you can see, there are many different stations used by many different train operators who run trains to and from many different areas of the country. Because of this and a number of Underground lines that run through these stations, getting to and from London by train is a piece of cake!

How Long Does It Take

This is a difficult question for me to answer and your best bet is to go to a site like Raileasy and fill in their journey planner. This will give you an indication of how long the available trains will take to get you from where you are to London on the day you want to travel.

As a rough guide, you’d be looking at the following times from some of the bigger cities around the nation:

  • Manchester to London: 2 hours on Virgin Trains to Euston station
  • Birmingham to London: 1 hour 25 minutes on Virgin Trains to Euston
  • Bristol to London: 1 hour 40 minutes on Great Western Railway to Paddington
  • Edinburgh to London: 4 hours 21 minutes on Virgin Trains to King’s Cross
  • Newcastle to London: 3 hours on Virgin Trains East Coast to King’s Cross
  • Southampton to London: 1 hour 19 minutes on South Western Railway to Waterloo

Those are just examples of times and I’d suggest checking out Raileasy’s journey planner before deciding to travel by train.

How Much Will It Cost

Another crucially important question as train prices can be ridiculously high and are going nowhere but up.

Again, I’d suggest using the Raileasy journey planner as I find that this has found some of the cheap train tickets in the past.

Just some examples of train ticket prices to and from the Saints @ Dolphins game on the weekend of October 1st, travelling to London on Saturday and returning on the Sunday from a few different places I tried look like this:

  • Manchester to London 1st class: £160 return
  • Birmingham to London: £20 return
  • Southampton to London: £40 return

That Manchester ticket price looks out of the ordinary but there are so many variables it’s difficult to give all options. Again, it really is best to head over to Raileasy’s journey planner and input your own journey details to get a more accurate picture of prices for you.

One of the things I like about the journey planner (apart from the cheaper tickets it can find) is the times option you’d like to travel. I’d advise you work out roughly what time the game will finish then leave yourself plenty of time to get to the train station afterwards as you’ll be queueing to get out of the stadium then again to get to the tube station then again to get on the tube train etc. I always pick a late train for the return journey personally, as I like to go and sit in the station and have a coffee and something to eat before my journey.

Airport to Central London

With the NFL being an American organisation and American Football being an American sport, it’s no surprise that there are some international supporters at the NFL London games. It’s not just people coming in from America but also from continental Europe as the game is big over there as well.

If you’re flying into London you’re likely to come into either Heathrow or Gatwick airport. Getting to Central London from either of these two airports is very easy. They both have train services provided specifically for getting people into the capital from their locations.

Heathrow provides two services that do the same thing and take people from the airport to Paddington train station. They have the Heathrow Express which is a direct, non-stop service to Paddington train station and takes 15 minutes to do so. It departs from the airport every 15 minutes as well. They also have the Heathrow Connect which also ends up at Paddington train station but makes other stops along the way. This train departs every 30 minutes and takes between 31 and 49 minutes to reach Central London.

Both of these trains can be used to travel back to the airport from Paddington train station as well.

Gatwick airport is served well by rail and has trains going to many different stations around the UK. Your best bet is to check out their official Gatwick airport page to plan properly, but as we are dealing with the two main airports and Central London, as that’s where fans will be staying, I’ll say that trains to and from Gatwick use London Bridge, London Victoria and St. Pancras International.

Their Gatwick Express service uses London Victoria and departs every 15 minutes. These trains take 30 minutes to reach its destination and are a non-stop service.

Check out the Gatwick “To and From” timetables here.

Tickets for all services to and from the airports can also be found on Raileasy and might be worth a look.

Train to the Stadiums

Trains to Wembley Stadium station go from Marylebone station which is by Regent’s Park if you are travelling from Central London and they travel on the Chiltern train line. You can get to Wembley Stadium from the Midlands, Oxfordshire, and Buckinghamshire as well, should you be coming from further-a-field.

Again, all these tickets can be sourced via the Raileasy train ticket finder.

Stadiums by Tube

One of the reasons I like the games being in London is because of the ease with which we can get around. This ease of travel, for me, is thanks to the London Underground system. Yes, it can have its downside sometimes with line and/or station closures but I’ve never found it difficult to navigate around such things with only a moment or two of route re-planning.

Wembley Stadium is so easy to get to via the Underground system it’s almost fool-proof. The stadium is supplied by two stations on the tube system and these are Wembley Park on the Metropolitan line and Wembley Central which is on the Bakerloo line. You can get to Wembley Central via the London Overground line as well. The tube lines going to Wembley can be got on from many stations in Central London and both stations are mere minutes walk from the stadium.

Combined Train and Tube Tickets

If you’re travelling by train and tube to either of the stadiums on the day of the game, don’t forget to check out Raileasy’s journey planner as they will find and include any London Underground tickets you’ll need for your journey as well as your train ticket(s).

Another great source for planning your journey is the Transport for London website, which will give you ideas for your journey from home to Central London or stadium depending on the parameters you give it. It can be found at; www.tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey

The Transport for London website is also a good place to get a copy of the London Underground map to best plan your route around London if sight-seeing and for getting to the games.

Paying for Your Underground Travel

We now don’t have to mess about with machines or kiosks paying for tickets or topping up Oyster cards as we can use our contactless credit and debit cards. With a quick swipe over the barrier sensor and away you go. Just don’t forget to swipe again at the end of your journey as you’ll be charged a larger fixed rate if you have an unfinished journey on your card!

Having said that, you can still buy a ticket or an Oyster card for your journey around London if you don’t yet have a contactless bank card, so no need to worry about not being able to get around.