Travelling to Cardiff
Last updated: 09/11/2023 13:08
There are a number of ways you can travel to Cardiff. It is important you plan your route in advance.
It is approximately 150 miles (240 kilometres) from London to Cardiff, and 50 miles (80 kilometres) from Bristol to Cardiff.
Transport to Cardiff
Depending at which airport you arrive at, there are a number of ways to travel to Cardiff from UK airports.
We have arranged a 20% discount with National Express coaches from London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Bristol airports for travel between 18-30 September.
Travelling from London Heathrow
In September, the university offers a free Coach Collection service from London Heathrow.
Coach travel is the cheapest form of travel in the UK. The two main companies to run routes from most of the major cities to Cardiff are National Express and Megabus. Both run direct services to Cardiff from London Heathrow. Both companies use Sophia Gardens bus station as their main stop-off in Cardiff.
Train travel is more expensive than travelling by coach, and you'll have to change trains.
Take the Heathrow Express train from Heathrow Airport to Paddington station in London. Trains leave every 15 minutes from all terminals at Heathrow to London. Once at Paddington, you'll take the train to Cardiff via Great Western Railway. On weekdays, the train to Cardiff from Paddington leaves every 30 minutes.
A single journey from Heathrow to Cardiff will be £65–£205, and the journey time is two hours. You can buy tickets online (it’s cheaper in advance) or at the ticket office at the railway station at the airport.
A taxi to Cardiff from London Heathrow will cost in the region of £200. Although this is an expensive way to travel, it is the most direct way to get to your accommodation. It can take anywhere between 2.5 hours - 3.5 hours to travel from London to Cardiff in a taxi/car.
Travelling from Bristol Airport
Bristol International Flyer bus service is a dedicated bus service that runs every 10 minutes from the airport to Bristol Temple Meads train station.
Once at Bristol Temple Meads, the train service to Cardiff Central train station runs every 30 minutes.
The Bristol International Flyer also stops at Bristol bus station, where you can catch the National Express coach service to Cardiff.
Travelling from Cardiff Airport
A taxi from Cardiff Airport will cost around £33 and can be hired from the Flight Link taxi office inside the arrivals area or booked in advance by phoning +44 (0)1446 728500.
Arriving at Cardiff Central train station or Sophia Gardens coach station
The train will take you to Cardiff Central train station, and National Express coaches will drop you off at Sophia Gardens.
From here, it is recommended you take a taxi to your accommodation. There are taxis easily available from outside the train station and Sophia Gardens.
Always find out the price of the journey before you get in the taxi. Always pay for the journey when you have reached your destination, never at the start of the journey.
Coach Collection Service
Our Coach Collection service is full for this year and we are not able to take further bookings.
Every year we offer a free coach collection service for new international students.
Here is important information about the service, including dates and times of collection, along with terms and conditions.
Dates of collection
Coach collection will be running from London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5, over the following dates:
- Wednesday 20 September
- Friday 22 September
On each of the days above, coaches will depart London Heathrow at the following times.
- 12:00 (midday/noon)
The University reserves the right to amend these collection times based on booking numbers and vehicle availability.
We will not be collecting any later than 14:00 on any of the advertised dates. We would recommend you give 3 hours between your flight landing at the airport and the coach departure time.
For example, if your flight arrives at London Heathrow at 07:00; you would need to book onto the 10:00 or 12:00 (midday/noon) service. If your flight lands any later than 11:00, you are advised to find alternative transport to get to the university.
Who can use the coach collection service
This year we will only be able to collect you if you are a new student. We are unable to transport your parents and/or guardians and extended family members (such as cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents).
If you are travelling with your partner, spouse, or children, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bookings are now closed for both the 20 and 22 September dates.
If you can no longer use this service, contact email@example.com at your earliest convenience.
Collection point at London Heathrow
The collection point at London Heathrow Airport will be at Terminal 5 Arrivals at Costa Coffee. Our welcome team will be at the collection point 30 minutes before your coach is scheduled to depart.
Your journey to Cardiff
Your coach will take you from London Heathrow airport direct to the Centre for Student Life on Park Place. The journey will take between 3-4 hours to get to Cardiff dependent on traffic.
You will alight at the Centre for Student Life, where you will wait for your onward transport to take you to your accommodation. As this may take around 45 minutes you are also welcome to find your own way to your accommodation. We will dropping off at:
- University owned accommodation including Talybont (all sites), University Hall, Senghennydd Hall/Court, University houses
- Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA's) including West Wing, Bridge Street Exchange, The Neighbourhood.
If you are based in Cathays or the area surrounding the main university campus, we might ask you to walk to your accommodation, as often it is quicker to walk than to be transported via a vehicle.
Unfortunately, we are not able to transport any students to locations outside of Cardiff, and we will not be able to divert the route of the coach, even if the location of the accommodation is on the way.
All passengers are able to bring two suitcases for the hold, and an additional bag (such as a rucksack, handbag or laptop bag) with them on the coach.
Due to the size of the vehicles, storage restrictions and safety, we are unable to transport more than the advertised luggage per person. We reserve the right to refuse any passenger who does not follow these rules.
If you have any questions about the coach collection service, email us along with your student number and use 'Coach Collection 2023' as the subject title.
Coach collection service
Arriving early or late
Your room in university accommodation may not be available before the recommended date of arrival. If you intend to arrive in Cardiff before this date, you will need to contact the Residences Office. If you are likely to be arriving after the recommended date of arrival please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are arriving late or out of hours you need to log onto your Cardiff Student Portal (SIMS), select ‘late arrival’ and choose your specific arrival date/time. You will receive a confirmation email which details what to do when you arrive.
Arriving out of working hours
If you are staying in university-owned accommodation and you arrive unexpectedly late in the evening or early in the morning and you have not been able to inform Residences of your arrival time, you should go directly to the Security Office next to the Psychology Tower opposite 51 Park Place, or contact them via the details below. The Security Office will then arrange for you to be let into your university accommodation.