Plymouth to Penzance

A journey with a sense of occasion throughout, crossing the Tamar, through Bodmin and quintessentially Cornish villages, past majestic and then a coastal denouement - dramatic and delightful!


Advance fares from £11.90 and off peak at £14.00

Travel Type:


No. of Attractions:

14 places to visit

View journey Attractions
Journey Duration:

1 hour 50 minutes, though times may vary.

Route Frequency:

Half hourly on Great Western Railway services and 3 trains daily on Cross Country Trains

Starting point:

Plymouth Railway Station

How to get here

Journey fact:

Penzance was the first town in Britain to be lit by gas. In 1814, gas lighting was introduced to Penzance by the inventor William Murdoch, who had connections to the town through his work in the Cornish mining industry.

Journey Overview

Leaving Plymouth, the train crosses the iconic Royal Albert Bridge over the River Tamar, offering stunning views of the estuary and naval dockyards. The bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, marks the border between Devon and Cornwall.

Shortly after, the train arrives at the pretty station of Saltash, a quaint town with panoramic views of the Tamar and its serene surroundings. Rolling hills and lush landscapes begin to dominate the scenery. As the journey continues to St Germans and then Liskeard, the countryside unfolds with patchwork fields, hedgerows, and ancient woodlands. The historic buildings and rural charm of these stations add to the pastoral beauty.

Approaching Bodmin Parkway, the landscape becomes more rugged with views of Bodmin Moor’s dramatic tors in the distance. The station is set in a wooded valley, providing a tranquil and green backdrop. Onto Par, where the scenery transitions to coastal glimpses and china clay country, with heaps of white clay dotting the landscape. St Austell offers rolling hills and views towards the coast, as well as the old town below, known for its gardens and historic brewing heritage.

Arriving in Truro, the train passes the city’s stunning cathedral with its triple spires piercing the skyline. The landscape here is a mix of urban charm and river views as the Truro River meanders through the town. Then, it’s on through Redruth and Camborne and the industrial heritage of Cornwall becomes evident with remnants of old mining structures amidst green fields. The area tells tales of the tin and copper mining boom.

As the train reaches Hayle, the scenery opens up to expansive estuaries and sand dunes, signalling the proximity to the sea. St Erth, a picturesque station, acts as a gateway to the coastal beauty of West Cornwall.

The final leg to Penzance is perhaps the most spectacular. The train skirts along the coast, offering sweeping views of St Michael’s Mount, a tidal island crowned with a medieval castle. The sparkling waters of Mount’s Bay and the rugged coastline create a breathtaking panorama.

Arriving at Penzance, the view is dominated by the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean and the picturesque harbour, with boats bobbing gently and the distant outline of the Penwith Peninsula.


A Fab Day Out!

Start your day in Plymouth, a vibrant maritime city rich in history and culture. Begin with a hearty breakfast at one of the local cafes near the historic Barbican area. Once fuelled up, hop on the 25 bus for a whistlestop tour around the Barbican and the Hoe. The Barbican, with its cobbled streets and picturesque harbour, is where the Mayflower Pilgrims set sail for the New World in 1620. Explore the Elizabethan House and the Mayflower Steps before heading to the Hoe.

The Hoe offers breathtaking views of Plymouth Sound, a natural harbour that has played a crucial role in British naval history. Don’t miss the iconic Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse and the Royal Citadel. If time permits, visit the nearby National Marine Aquarium, home to the deepest tank in the UK.

After soaking in the maritime atmosphere, catch the train to Truro. If there is no Cross Country Trains service available, then you can travel on Great Western Railway services, with an anytime, peak or off peak ticket. The journey takes about an hour, giving you a chance to relax and enjoy the Cornish countryside. Upon arrival in Truro, head straight to the magnificent Truro Cathedral with its stunning Gothic architecture and serene atmosphere. Stroll around the quaint city centre, exploring its independent shops and cafes.

Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of Truro’s charming eateries, such as the Old Grammar School, known for its eclectic menu and historic setting. Post-lunch, wander along the riverbanks or visit the Royal Cornwall Museum to delve deeper into Cornwall’s rich history.

Next, take a short train ride to Redruth – either on Great Western Railway or Cross Country Trains services. This town is steeped in mining heritage, a crucial part of Cornwall’s history. Explore the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and Heartlands, a free visitor attraction offering insights into the mining era, beautiful gardens, and an adventure playground.

Finally, board the train to Penzance, on either Great Western Railway or Cross Country Trains services. As you approach, the views of Mount’s Bay and St Michael’s Mount are stunning. Upon arrival, take a stroll along the promenade, perhaps visiting the Jubilee Pool, an iconic Art Deco lido.

For dinner, head to a local seafood restaurant like The Shore, renowned for its fresh, locally-sourced dishes. Finish your day with a walk along the historic Chapel Street, admiring the Georgian and Regency architecture, before settling into one of the cosy local pubs for a nightcap.

This itinerary offers a delightful mix of historical exploration, scenic beauty, and culinary delights, providing a comprehensive snapshot of some of Cornwall’s most charming locales.

How to get here...

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Visit the National Rail Enquiries website to discover train routes that will lead you to this magnificent scenic adventure.

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