How to get from London to Bournemouth [2023]

How to get from London to Bournemouth [2023]
Note – This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy via these, I may earn a small fee. This has absolutely no effect on the price you pay. As an eBay and Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you’re wondering how to get from London to Bournemouth, then you’re far from alone. Bournemouth is home to some of the best sandy beaches near London, so day trips and weekend breaks by the sea are very popular in this Dorset coastal town. There are so many things to do in Bournemouth too!

I’ve lived in the Bournemouth area for around two decades, and have often travelled between the two. In fact when we first moved here, we were selling that flat in London we used to live in and travelled back there every single weekend for about six months. Now, we often visit London for social or business reasons, and have travelled by car, train and coach.

If you’re wondering how to get to Bournemouth from London, then this travel guide has you covered. All the options for travelling from London to Bournemouth by train, coach or car are explained. By someone who’s taken this exact route so many times! In fact I live by Hinton Admiral station near Bournemouth, and the trains go past the end of my garden multiple times per day.

First of all, you can take a look at the options in brief if you like buy using the handy comparison chart below. Next, I’ll outline the options for taking the train or bus from London to Bournemouth, or for driving. I’ll also throw in a few tips, such as where the train station is in Bournemouth. the best car park to use, and when to buy tickets.

Read on to plan your journey to the beautiful seaside town of Bournemouth!

How to get from London to Bournemouth comparison chart

TransportTravel timePros ConsTop tips
Train1 hour
& 45 min
Fast, no driving, no traffic jamsTickets can be pricey on day of travelBook advance tickets & get on a fast train
Coach2 hours & 25 minCheap, convenient, 2 departure pointsSlower, less spacious, risk of trafficCharge phone & use loo beforehand
Car2 hours & 10 mins +No planning, freedom, can be cheaperGridlock & no parking at peak times Don’t drive when busy & plan where to park

London to Bournemouth by train

  • From: London Waterloo (Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City underground lines)
  • To: Bournemouth train station, BH8 8HX
  • Travel time: 1 hour & 45 minutes (approx)

It takes around an hour-and-three-quarters to reach Bournemouth from London Waterloo and this is the easiest option. Buy as far in advance as possible for the cheapest fares.

The first option is to take a train from London to Bournemouth. This is the means of transport I personally use most, and highly recommend.

The train goes from London Waterloo to Bournemouth. This is just south of the Thames and can be reached via four different tube lines. Book onto a direct train that doesn’t make too many stops, and you could be arriving at Bournemouth train station in an hour and 45 minutes.

Bournemouth train station isn’t in the very centre of town, so do bear than in mind. What’s nearby is a large Asda supermarket and some Bournemouth University buildings and accommodation. It’s an easy, flat and then downhill walk into town or to the beach via Holdenhurst Road and Old Christchurch Road.

Top tips:

  • Book a fast, direct train that doesn’t make too many stops
  • Buy tickets as far ahead of time as you can for the best prices
  • Bear in mind that Bournemouth train station is 20 – 30 minutes’ walk from the town & beach

High points:

  • Relax while someone else drives
  • Fastest means of transport
  • No traffic jams

Low points:

  • Last minute tickets can be expensive

Click here to check train and bus fares

London to Bournemouth by coach

  • From: London Victoria coach station (10 – 15 minute walk from train station)
  • To: Bournemouth coach station, BH8 8DN
  • Travel time: 2 hours & 25 minutes (approx)

It takes about two hours and 25 minutes to reach Bournemouth from London Victoria coach station. Fares are cheap, but this is the slowest and least comfortable option.

National Express operates coaches from London Victoria coach station daily. These services are on the whole clean and efficient, but are slower than the train. The coach also feels more cramped, and you can’t get up and walk around like you can on the train.

That said, we used the National Express service instead of the Bournemouth to London train when we needed to get to Hammersmith now and then to visit Charing Cross Hospital (which is in west London and nowhere near Charing Cross station on The Strand).

For that route, it was just as quick, and cheaper than the train. So if you’re living or staying in West London it might work, though there aren’t as many coaches to choose from. The stop is very close to Hammersmith tube station.

The London to Bournemouth bus tends to be cheaper than the train. It’s a question of how long you can sit still for, and whether you want to spend an extra 40 minutes or so on board. Also factor in the walk between London Victoria train and tube station and the coach station. They’re not as close together as you might think and the walk takes 10 to 15 minutes.

As for Bournemouth coach station, that’s right by Bournemouth rail station. So again it’s a walk of 20 minutes plus from there to reach the beach and town centre. Also bear in mind that if you visit during the summer holidays, weekends or a heatwave, traffic en route may slow down the service. Everyone seems to go to Bournemouth beach from London then!

Top tips:

  • Consider whether to travel from London Victoria or the Hammersmith stop
  • Fully charge your phone beforehand if you want to use it all the way
  • Use the toilet before you board too
  • Be prepared not to sit together

High points:

  • Cheap tickets
  • Can be convenient
  • Choice of 2 departure points

Low points:

  • Slower than the train
  • Seating more cramped
  • Heavy traffic can slow you down
  • Victoria coach station 10 – 15 minutes’ walk from train or tube

Click here to check bus and train fares

London to Bournemouth by car

  • Travel time: 2 hours & 10 minutes +
  • Car parks:
    • Bath Road South car park, BH1 2EW
    • Pavilion and Westover Gardens car park, BH1 2BU
    • Richmond Gardens multistorey car park, BH1 1JD
    • BIC car park, BH2 5BH
    • King’s Park Park & Ride, BH1 4NN

The journey time from London to Bournemouth varies depending on starting point and season. Expect gridlock, delays and no parking during peak periods.

I’m going to tell you a story before getting into directions to Bournemouth and where to park. Because it’s a very relevant and cautionary tale! The message of which is – do NOT drive to Bournemouth during the weekend when there’s a heatwave. Even outside the busy school summer holiday period.

My bestie and I planned to go and see a major film I’d not yet had the chance to watch. She picked me up in plenty of time (this is a woman who’s at least 15 minutes early for everything) and off we went. As we reached Southbourne – which is about four miles from Bournemouth town centre and the pier – we began to encounter slower traffic. Still, we had plenty of time to spare.

We then crawled into Bournemouth at a snail’s pace. The film would have started by the time we got to the town centre, but we thought we might make it if allowing for ads. But we could not find a parking space anywhere in town. Even though both of us are long-time residents, and between us, we’re confident we know all the car parks.

In the end we returned home, and I haven’t seen the box office blockbuster yet. There was a heatwave, you see, so everyone seemed to be en route to Bournemouth to enjoy a bit of beach life. (Well you can’t blame them. Brighton has pebbles, while we have many miles of golden sands. Sorry Sussex!)

So. Bring the car if it’s not a sunny weekend, Friday evening or at any time during a heatwave. Otherwise, I really wouldn’t bother! You not likely need it once you’re in Bournemouth, anyway, as you canwalk or catch a train or bus anywhere. There’s a yellow taxis rank close to Bobby’s department store in the town centre too. Buses also leave from that area.

If you do travel from London to Bournemouth by car, then plan where you’re going to park. I’ve given the postcodes for some of the car parks we use above, in the bullet points under the section heading. These are all centrally located. A Park and Ride option is included in case you need it.

Top tips:

  • Avoid driving down during heatwaves, Fridays after midday or summer holiday weekends
  • Plan where to park (there’s a list of SatNav postcodes above)
  • Bear in mind that journey times vary a lot according to starting point and traffic levels

High points:

  • Just jump in the car and go
  • You can drive to other areas nearby or en route
  • Driving can be cheaper when there are more passengers

Low points:

  • Traffic is gridlocked in Bournemouth at peak times
  • Don’t expect to find parking anywhere during a heatwave
  • Parking all day in the town centre can be expensive

Check the local council’s car park finder here

London to Bournemouth | FAQs

Where is Bournemouth?

Bournemouth is on the south coast of England, by the sea. It’s part of the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole local council area and conurbation. The town is in Dorset, between Southampton and Poole, and the Isle of Wight is close to the coast here.

Bournemouth is sometimes said to be in south west England, or can be classed as belonging to the south east. In reality it’s about midway along the south coast stretching between Kent in the east and Cornwall to the west, hence the confusion.

How far is it from London to Bournemouth?

How many miles from London to Bournemouth? There’s around 110 miles – or 175 kilometres – of road between London and Bournemouth.

So how far is London to Bournemouth as the crow flies? The distance is less – about 95 miles or 155 km.

Where does the train from London to Bournemouth go from?

London Waterloo is the train station you want to reach Bournemouth. This is just south of the Thames and on the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City tube lines.

Trains that make lots of stops take longer, but a train making minimal stops should take about an hour and 45 minutes to get there. There is normally at least one or two trains per hour.

How long from London to Bournemouth by car?

It takes around two hours or more to travel via private vehicle or taxi from London to Bournemouth. The time taken depends on the departure and destination points, and of course traffic levels.

Due to congestion, travelling at peak periods such as Fridays after midday and summer weekends can take a lot longer. Parking may also be limited – or even impossible to find – during a heatwave. How long the drive from London to Bournemouth takes thus varies hugely!

How can I find cheap tickets from London to Bournemouth?

For cheap travel from London to Bournemouth, coach tickets are generally the most affordable. But this is less comfortable and more time-consuming option.

If you want to get cheap train tickets from London to Bournemouth, book as far in advance as you can for the best fares, and avoid peak times if possible.

How do I get from London Heathrow to Bournemouth?

If you’re wondering how to get from Heathrow to Bournemouth, then the drive should take about an hour and forty minutes when traffic is light. Set your SatNav to BH1 2EW for a car park by both the town and beach. (There are others signposted very close by if this one is full.)

Alternatively, take the Heathrow Express to Paddington, then the tube to Waterloo to catch a Bournemouth to London train. You could also get the underground from Heathrow into central London to reach Waterloo, then travel to Bournemouth by train. Or book onto a Megabus from the airport to Bournemouth.

Are there any flights from London to Bournemouth?

So can you fly from London to Bournemouth? No. There are no direct flights, and changing somewhere makes no sense either time or money wise. Trains from London to Bournemouth take around an hour and 45 minutes, so this is the quickest option.

How will you get from London to Bournemouth?

Whether you book London to Bournemouth train tickets, opt for a cheap coach fare or decide to jump in the car, Bournemouth and its beautiful beaches are well worth visiting! I hope you love this area as much as I do 🙂

Polly x

Find out more about the area in the following guides:

Note –  This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy via these, I may earn a small fee. This has absolutely no effect on the price you pay. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.