Fastest journey1hr 25m
It is very easy to travel by train from London to Margate. With the fastest trains taking under 90 minutes, the Kent coastal town is a good choice for a day trip from London. There are two direct high-speed routes from London St Pancras to Margate, one via Chatham and the other via Canterbury. The latter is faster, so that’s the journey we describe here.
Tickets for this route normally go on sale about 12 weeks prior to travel. But there is no advantage in booking long in advance. The fares do not increase as the travel date approaches. The cheapest fares are for travel on weekend days and at off-peak times during the week. Bear in mind that a return is usually cheaper than two singles. Indeed for a day trip from London to Margate and back you can – if you stick to off-peak trains – get a return ticket for the same price as a single.
Alternatively, there is also a slightly slower route from London Victoria to Margate.
London to Margate
Take time to explore the beautifully restored station at London St Pancras before joining the train. The direct high-speed Javelin trains on this route travel east through Essex, diving under the Thames to reach Kent. After speeding over the Medway Viaduct, the route then tunnels through the North Downs. Enjoy glorious Kentish scenery on the second half of the journey. Trains on this line usually make five or six intermediate stops between London and Margate. Sit on the right side of the train for good views of Canterbury Cathedral and the Stour Valley wetlands downstream from Canterbury.
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Image credits: Ian Woolcock