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Brighton is an amazing city in the south-east of the United Kingdom. It has a wonderful seafront and one of the coolest royal sights I’ve ever seen- the Royal Pavilion. It is so easy to get from London to Brighton and from Brighton to London that there is no excuse not to go!
Whether you take a day trip from London to Brighton or spend a few days relaxing in the city, you’ll have to get back to London at some point.
This post will help yo decide how best to get from Brighton to London. It covers all the major transportation methods, so you can pick your own route from Brighton to London.
I’m not going to cover cycling because so few people would choose that route, but it is a possibility. It is approximately 75km from Brighton to London, so a fit, cycling enthusiast could make that journey. But, let’s be honest, most of us aren’t that fit.
This post covers the three major transportation options: train, bus, and car. It gives you all the information you need to choose how you want to get from Brighton to London.
Option One: Taking the Train from Brighton to London
This is by far the most popular way to get between the two cities. It is quick and convenient, so it is perfect for every kind of traveller. The train is also the fastest way to get from Brighton to London.
The train covers approximately 90km, but it doesn’t need to compete with traffic. This means it is nearly always on time, and the trip only takes about an hour and a half!
The Southern and Thameslink operate trains from Brighton to London. These are two of the main train operators in the United Kingdom and are very reliable. They normally depart and arrive on time with very minor delays if any.
The main difference between the two train companies is that Thameslink does not have dedicated luggage storage at the front of the cars and The Southern does. This isn’t normally an issue for people but can cause a few issues if the train is very busy.
If you take a Thameslink train, you either need to be strong enough to lift your luggage overhead onto the racks above the seats or stand near the door with your luggage.
Standing isn’t too big of an issue because it is such a short journey, but it is always nice to have a seat and rest your feet for a while.
Where to Trains Depart From in Brighton?
Trains from Brighton to London depart from Brighton Station. It is the only train station in Brighton and really easy to find!
If you’re near the Brighton seafront, the Lanes, or the Royal Pavilion, you simply walk up Queens Street (one of the major streets in Brighton) until you get to the station. You don’t need to worry about turning onto another street once you’re on Queens Street.
This makes it super easy to get from anywhere in central Brighton to Brighton Station. I promise it is very difficult to get lost. If you do manage to get lost, keep walking up away from the water, and you should eventually come across street signs pointing you towards the station.
Where do Trains Arrive At in London?
Obviously London is far larger than Brighton and has many more train stations. This means you have the opportunity to decide what major London train station you get off at.
The London stations you can get off at are:
- King’s Cross/St. Pancras Station
- London Victoria
- London Bridge
- London Blackfriars
You can also get off the train at Gatwick Airport, which is a huge plus! You don’t even need to transfer. The journey to Gatwick Airport takes approximately 45-50 minutes, so it is very quick!
How to Choose What London Station to Get Off at?
The London station you alight at will depend on where you’re staying in London and what is most convenient.
You’ll want to get off at either:
- A station you can walk to your accommodation from or
- A station where a nearby Underground station has a line that goes to your accommodation without needing to transfer
By getting off at a station that is either near your accommodation or has a direct Underground line to your station, it will be very easy for your to get to your next accommodation.
For example, if you’re staying in Earl’s Court (my favourite area to stay in London), you will probably want to get off at King’s Cross/St. Pancras because the Piccadilly line is right there.
If you’re staying in The City (the one mile radius of central London), you’ll want to get off at London Victoria because you can most likely easily walk to your accommodation.
Be sure to do a little research before you purchase your train ticket to figure out what London station you should get off at.
Everything You Need to Know About Train Tickets
There are so many different different trains you can take and websites online trying to sell you train tickets that it can be a bit confusing.
I know I’ve fallen victim to a third-party site selling train tickets at an inflated price. These websites look like they’re legitimately a website for the train company, but they aren’t. They charge you an inflated ticket price and a booking fee.
It is really easy to get confused and spend too much money on a ticket by booking through sites like these.
Where Should You Purchase Tickets From?
There are a number of places you can purchase tickets from and get a fair price:
You may still have to pay a booking fee if you purchase your ticket online, but at least you know you aren’t overpaying for the ticket itself.
When it comes to purchasing tickets in person at Brighton Station, you can either purchase them at a ticket counter or at a ticket machine. Both options are convenient, easy to use, and normally pretty quick. There may be a short queue during peak hours, but they move pretty quickly.
If you’re purchasing your tickets at the machine, remember these helpful tips:
- Not all machines accept cash. Make you go to a machine that accepts cash if you don’t want to use your credit card.
- Double check whether you’re purchasing the correct ticket type. I was in a rush last time I purchased a ticket from Brighton to London and ended up purchasing a same-day return rather than a one-way ticket.
Types of Tickets
There are variety of different types of tickets you can purchase. Most of them are generic anytime, peak, or off-peak tickets that allow you to get on any train from Brighton to London within a given time period.
Peak hours are when the train is expected to be busiest, and you need an anytime ticket to ride them. Off-peak hours, on the other hand, are sold when the trains are pretty quiet and are less expensive.
There are also super off-peak tickets that are sold for either quite late at night or very early in the morning. These tickets are very inexpensive and great for people who tend to be awake outside of standard human hours.
When you purchase tickets online, you normally have to choose a specific departure time. However, when you pick up your tickets at Brighton Station, it normally says either off-peak or anytime on the bottom right-hand corner.
You can hop on any train that matches that description even if it is a bit earlier or later than the train you booked.
Overall, the types of tickets you can purchase for your journey from Brighton to London are pretty straightforward. You can get on any off-peak train if you have an off-peak ticket and on any train if you have a anytime ticket.
Price of a Ticket from Brighton to London
There is a large variance between how much tickets can cost. It depends on what type of ticket you purchase, the day of the week you’re travelling, and the time of year.
Typically, weekend trains in the middle of summer departing during peak hours are going to be the most expensive. Weekday trains leaving at off-peak hours during the off-season/shoulder season are going to be less expensive and super off-peak trains will be the cheapest.
Whether you purchase a single journey ticket or round-trip ticket will also impact the cost. You tend to get a bit of a deal if you purchase a round-trip ticket versus purchasing two single journey tickets.
For a general approximation of how much tickets can cost (please don’t quote me on this!), tickets from Brighton to London can cost anywhere between £5 and £25.
Can You Use Your Oyster Card to Travel from Brighton to London?
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Oyster card while travelling from Brighton to London. It would be very convenient if you could, but Brighton is outside the Oyster card fare zone.
Do You Need to Purchase Tickets in Advance
I don’t think you necessarily need to purchase tickets in advance. You can easily show up at Brighton Station when you want to leave, purchase a ticket, and hop on the next train.
Of course this may not work in the peak of summer, and you may need to purchase tickets in advance during that time of year.
But, in general, you don’t need to worry about purchasing tickets in advance. You can purchase tickets in advance if they make you feel more secure, but it isn’t mandatory.
Advantages to Taking the Train from Brighton to London
There are a number of advantages to taking the train from Brighton to London. Here are a few advantages to help you decide whether taking the train is the right transportation method for you:
- It is reliable and rarely runs behind schedule
- You can be flexible and hop on whatever train works best for you
- The trains are spacious and clean
- You can get off at multiple station in London
Disadvantages to Taking the Train from Brighton to London
There aren’t many, but there are a few disadvantages to taking the train between the two cities:
- There isn’t always dedicated luggage space
- The trains can be busy, and you might have to stand
- The price of the ticket is mid-range. It is cheaper than taking a car but more expensive than taking the bus so may not be the best option for budget travellers
Option Two: Taking the Bus from Brighton to London
The National Express runs buses from Brighton to London. They depart from the Brighton Coach Station and arrive at London Victoria.
The bus is less expensive than the train, but the journey normally takes at least an hour longer. Most buses between Brighton and London take 2.5 to 3 hours, but if you’re not in a hurry, buses are a great option!
Buses have dedicated luggage space under the bus, so you don’t have to worry about wrangling your luggage like you do on the train. You simply give your luggage to the driver when you’re boarding and forget about it until you arrive in London.
Buses depart from Brighton to London every 30 minutes (less often during the middle of the night). You shouldn’t have a problem finding a bus that departs for London that fits your schedule.
Where do Buses Depart from in Brighton?
Buses depart from the Brighton Coach Station. The coach station is located near the Brighton seafront so don’t go to the train station thinking you’ll catch a bus there!
The coach station is located on Pool Valley just off of Grand Junction Road (the main road running east to west near the seafront). It is a two-minute walk from the Brighton Pier towards the Royal Pavilion.
Use those landmarks as a guide, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the Brighton Coach Station.
Where do Buses Arrive at in London?
Buses arrive at London Victoria. London Victoria is the main bus station in central London as well as a major underground station.
No matter where in London you’re staying, it will be fairly easy for you to get from London Victoria to your accommodation. Whether you walk, take a city bus, or ride the underground, you should have a fairly direct route that doesn’t require many, if any, transfers.
Because London Victoria is a large bus station, it can be easy to get turned around and get a bit lost. Make sure you follow the signs inside the station, so you get where you want to go.
There are signs that point you towards the underground and local buses as well as maps on the wall of central London to refer to if you’re walking to your accommodation.
Everything You Need to Know About Tickets
The National Express is the only bus company operating buses from Brighton to London, so it is pretty easy to navigate purchasing a bus ticket.
Where Should You Purchase Tickets From?
There are two ways you can purchase bus tickets from Brighton to London: online or in person at the station.
Purchasing tickets online is a great option during peak season because it ensures you have your ticket and don’t risk missing the bus you want. You can purchase your tickets online quite easily.
If you purchase your ticket online, you will need to show the ticket to the driver when you board the bus. You can either print out the ticket or load it on your smartphone to show your driver.
Screenshots of the ticket are not accepted. You need to be able to pull up the reservation and show them the full ticket they sent you. You’ll need internet access to do that, so you may want to load it at your accommodation or a cafe before you head to the bus station.
Please note there is a small service fee if you purchase your ticket online.
You can also purchase your tickets at the station either with a representative or directly from the driver. This is a great option for spontaneous travellers who want to have the flexibility to head from Brighton to London whenever they feel like it.
The downside of purchasing your ticket at the station is that you may not be able to get on the exact bus you want to. This is especially true on the weekends during peak season.
You may have to wait for the next bus for there to be room for you. This isn’t too bad considering buses travel every thirty or so minutes and the bus station is close to the seafront and lots of cafes.
Price of a Bus Ticket from Brighton to London
The good news is that bus tickets from Brighton to London are very affordable even if you purchase them last minute!
Tickets range from £2.50 to £5! That is a really good price for a train within the United Kingdom! The more expensive tickets tend to run during peak hours and the less expensive tickets are normally for buses leaving during off-peak times.
Advantages of Taking the Bus from Brighton to London
There are a number of advantages of taking the bus from Brighton to London:
- It is the least expensive way to travel between Brighton and London
- Your luggage is underneath the bus, so you don’t need to worry about lifting it overhead or standing because there is no where to store it
- You won’t ever have to stand because they don’t oversell buses
- The seats are comfortable
Disadvantages of Taking the Bus from Brighton to London
Similar to taking the train, there are a number of disadvantages of taking the bus from Brighton to London:
- The bus takes longer than any other method of transportation
- Your journey could take longer than expected if there is a traffic delay
- It is not as accessible as the train, and people living with disabilities may have more of a struggle boarding and alighting the bus versus the train
Option Three: Driving from Brighton to London
The third option you have is renting a car and driving from Brighton to London.
The drive takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. This is, of course, dependant on traffic and what route you decide to take. There is a main highway from Brighton to London, so it is fairly easy to drive between the two cities.
There are a number of logistical things that need to be considered before deciding to drive from Brighton to London:
The Price of a Rental Car and Gas
You need to consider whether it is worth spending the money renting a car versus taking the train or the bus. This will depend a lot on your entire travel plans.
If you’re doing a multi-week driving tour through the United Kingdom and going to rural areas that are difficult to access via public transportation, then a car may be worth the additional price.
However, if you’re just driving from Brighton to London and nowhere else, a rental car probably isn’t worth the additional cost.
Driving on the Left-Hand Side of the Road
People in the United Kingdom drive on the left-hand side of the road. It can be difficult for people from countries that drive on the right-hand side of the road to adjust to it.
Be sure you’re comfortable and confident driving on the left-hand side of the road before you consider renting a car and driving from Brighton to London.
Pro Tip: It is always easier to adjust to driving on the left-hand side of the road if you have a passenger. The passenger can help you read signs and let you know if you’re getting too close to the curb on their side of the car.
Advantages of Driving from Brighton to London
As with the other methods of transportation, there are a number of advantages of driving from Brighton to London:
- You have complete freedom. You’re able to choose when you leave, what route you take, and where exactly you arrive.
- It is the quickest way to get from Brighton to London
- You’re able to stop and visit other smaller communities during the drive if you want
Disadvantages of Driving from Brighton to London
I personally think driving from Brighton to London has the biggest disadvantages. It may not have the most disadvantages, but the disadvantages it does have are pretty hard to overcome.
- It is by far the most expensive way to get from Brighton to London
- You have to drive on a side of the road you may not be familiar with
- The journey could take longer than anticipated if there is a traffic jam
- There is a chance you could get lost. You could take a wrong turn somewhere along the way and have a difficult time finding your way back on track
I always believe you need to choose whatever transportation method works best for you and your style of travel. My preference may not be your preference, and that is okay.
That being said, I personally think the train is the best way to get from Brighton to London. It is very convenient, and I appreciate that there are multiple station is London you can get off at.
My second choice would be the bus with driving my last choice.
I hope this post illustrated that it is easy to get from Brighton to London and that there are multiple different ways you can make the journey.
Each transportation method has its pros and cons, so you’ll need to choose whatever one works best for you. It is hard to go wrong with any option, but I would encourage you to think seriously before you rent a car and drive from Brighton to London.
No matter how you choose to travel between Brighton and London, I hope you’re able to experience everything both cities have to offer! They are both amazing cities and two of my favourite United Kingdom cities.