Traveling by rail is the most convenient way to reach the historic Devonshire town of Exeter. Trains to Exeter from London take around two and a half hours and from Bristol to Exeter, the journey is approximately one to one and a half hours. Exeter is home to three railway stations: Exeter St David's, Exeter St Thomas, and Exeter Central.
The main train station for the town is Exeter St David's Railway Station, which is located to the northeast of the town center, about a 20-minute walk from the main shopping area and a 12-minute walk from the University of Exeter. Trains from London, Bristol, and Birmingham all arrive at Exeter St David's. There are two smaller stations in the town, Exeter St Thomas and Exeter Central, which are used by trains arriving from suburban locations.
Trains to Exeter are operated by South Western Railways, Great Western Railways, and Cross Country Rail. Great Western operate hourly trains from London Paddington, which take between two and three hours to reach Exeter. South Western also operates hourly trains departing from London Waterloo, with a longer journey time of three to four hours.
Train travel is a considerably faster way to reach Exeter from major cities such as London when compared to driving. Direct trains depart London Paddington hourly, with a journey time of around two to three hours. Exeter also enjoys excellent rail links with much of the southwest region, so onward travel to Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset is usually simple. Some of the train routes coming into Exeter, notably from Exmouth and Newtown Abbot, are considered so scenic that some passengers only board a train journey in order to take in the views.
Exeter is full of historic attractions and landmarks, but visitors should also take the time to discover some of its secret gems. Walk down one of England's smallest streets, Parliament Street, or head underground to the city's medieval passages. Alternatively, take a train out of the town to discover the region's famous myths, folklore, and fairytales in places such as Lydford Castle or to the English Riviera towns of Torbay, Paignton, and Brixham for a day on the beach.