Trains to Exeter
"Well-heeled and comfortable, Exeter exudes evidence of its centuries-old role as the spiritual and administrative heart of Devon.” Lonely Planet
Exeter is Devon’s county city and the administrative capital of the United Kingdom's southwest peninsula. This historic cathedral city is known for its good blend of culture, education, retail, arts, and history. Today, Exeter serves as the commercial and service centre for the largely agricultural hinterland. The city has excellent facilities for tourists, although the tourist scene does not really dominate. Yet, it gets voted regularly as among the top 3 cities in the UK to live.
Tip 1: Book in advance and purchase the cheapest fares
Lower priced tickets are usually made available for you to buy by train companies for journeys up to 12 weeks ahead of the time of your journey . These train tickets sell out fast so make sure you buy them as soon as you can although it is possible to purchase an advance fare as little as 1hr before you depart if they are still available.
Tip 2: Forget about booking fees
Trainline charges up to £1.50 flat rate per booking and other companies charge booking fees but we do not charge a booking fee or for the use of credit cards. At Split My Fare we only charge if you make a saving by splitting your train tickets, we will then take only 10% of the saving you make, so no split fare = no fee.
The Exeter St. Davids railway station is the principal stop for trains to Exeter. It lies along the line of London Paddington to Cornwall, with an hourly train service coming from the London Paddington station most of the day. In addition there are several smaller train stations in Exeter serving local and regional services, including St. James’s Park, St Thomas, and Central. The city centre is only a 5-min walk from Exeter train station station.
Tip 3: Delayed Trains? Apply for a refund
Delay Repay is a scheme that means you can claim a partial or full refund is on your train tickets when your train journey is delayed. The compensation starts from delays as little as 15 minutes but can vary depending on who you're travelling with or who you buy tickets with. Avoid confusion by checking with your train operator as to what there policy is and apply for your refund through them.
The central area of Exeter is fairly small and can be easily explored on foot. Begin your tour at the Exeter Cathedral, the city’s top attraction. This magnificent Gothic-style cathedral is said to possess the longest unbroken stone of roof beam in the world. The Powderham Castle is another historic building in Exeter that was built in 1391 and used to be the home of the Earl of Devon.
Tip 4: Popular Destinations at Busy Times Cost More
There are often cheap trains outside peak hours - meaning you're best not travelling during weekends, rush hour and during holidays. Instead, when you search, try to buy tickets on a weekday and you'll likely grab yourself a bargain. This is because train fares are based on demand and cheaper tickets can be found at these less busy times.
Another historical building that’s worth a visit in Exeter is the Guildhall, which is said to be the oldest municipal building in the entire England that is still being used for its original purpose. The Historic Quayside of Exeter that includes the Custom House built in the 17th century has been recently renovated and is now the headquarters of the Exeter archaeological service. There are also medieval churches featuring remarkable architecture and are scattered within the city centre. Among these are the St. Mary Arches, St. Martin’s, St. Olave’s, and St. Mary Steps.
Tip 5: Book As A Group
National Rail tickets are subject to a group save discount, so if you're journeying in a group of 3 to 9 people and looking for cheap train fare for your journey you can get 1/3 discount during off-peak hours if you book together. Mobile E - tickets are also valid using this group save and savings will be automatically added at the checkout when you book together.
Other famous attractions in Exeter are the Parliament Street, said to be the world’s narrowest street, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, the St. Nicholas Priory, and the Rougemont Castle.
Tip 6: Singles and Returns Can Be Misleading
Rather than booking one-way travel tickets for your journey it can be worth comparing the prices of a return journey versus the cost of two singles to find a cheap train at the best price. Sometimes two singles can be cheaper when you book and sometimes the fully flexible open returns can work out as better value. Split My Fare automatically finds you the cheapest way and recommends those options to you.
Tip 7: Use Slower Trains
If you don't need to get there fast, use a slower service. The less direct service often saves you money, although we'll show you both the cheapest and fastest ways to arrive at your destination depending on your requirements.
In-the-know travellers to Exeter cite the local restaurants and eateries as a fantastic reason to visit the city. The Pig and Pallet is a delicious independent American style BBQ eatery, using only locally grown and reared produce from Devon. Not only is the food delicious, the atmosphere and staff are well worth a visit but make sure to book early enough in advance to get a seat.
Tip 8: Check Standard Class & First
Often a lower demand for first class tickets can mean that the cost of these rail tickets are reduced to the same or less than standard class. You will then get the extra amenities of more room because of bigger seats and includes the availability of food and drinks. This can help your journey to be more enjoyable.
Tip 9: If You're Travelling Regularly, Get A Railcard
Get 1/3 off train tickets with different railcardsGet 1/3 off train tickets with different railcards.
Most railcards cost just £30 - the Two Together card, for example, allows two adults to save 1/3 on most fares.
The Family and Friends card provides 60% off fares for children and 1/3 off almost all adult fares for up to 4 kids and 4 adults.
The senior card offers the same discount, but at a reduced cost of £70 for three years.
Disabled passengers are also able to have discounts on their train tickets with the Disabled Persons card - £30 for this one and 1/3 off most tickets.
Other Railcards available include the Network Railcard, 16-25 card and 26-30 card.
The railcard website has more details and cards can be found on sale at a National Rail Ticket Office.
Tip 10: Travel with Flexibility
Please use our journey planner to find the cheapest day to travel and stay flexible for the best price. If you compare different dates and times and are willing to change your travel plans there are many great savings to be made. The more changes you are willing to do the cheaper the fare you can buy.
Main stations in Exeter
- Exeter St David's
- Exeter St Thomas
- St James Park
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to Exeter?
The fastest way is to take the train to Exeter St. Davids from London, it takes just over two hours to get from London Paddington to Exeter on GWR's fast service. Alternatively, you can take the West Coast mainline from Birmingham or the North of England - times will vary depending on where you are but typically express services all stop in Exeter.
How many train stations are there in Exeter?
There are four major train stations in Exeter. Of these, Exeter St. Davids is the main station where intercity services stop.