Transport in and around Plymouth
Despite not having a motorway linking to Plymouth directly, all the transport links to and from Plymouth are excellent. This is due to several historical factors not least the importance of Plymouth as a strategic military location for the Royal Navy.
Getting to and from Plymouth:
The main road into Plymouth is the A38 which, in the easterly direction, connects Plymouth to the national motorway system, the M5, at Exeter. Carrying on northward on the M5 at Bristol you can then either continue northwards on the M5 to Birmingham or use the M4 going west into Wales or head east on the M4 towards London. Heading west out of Plymouth on the A38 you quickly cross the border into Cornwall and would eventually reach Bodmin Moor where the A38 terminates. From here you could join the A30 all the way down to Penzance and Lands End beyond it. The A386, which runs across Devon from Plymouth to Bideford, can also be used to reach the A30 at Launceston.
Plymouth has several railway stations in and around it. The main station for Plymouth is located very close to the city centre. Plymouth railway station is on North Road at the northern end of Armada Way. From here you can get direct trains into the midlands and the north as far as Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow, taking about 9 hours) on Virgin trains or using First Great Western trains into London, Paddington station, which takes about 3 hours. Devonport railway station is close to the Devonport naval base in the west of Plymouth and there is a Dockyard station nearby for the civilian docks. About 1 mile further on westwards is a suburban station at Keyham. St Budeaux Victoria Road is where the railway line splits heading west across the River Tamar to Saltash and Penzance or north, on a branch line, to Gunnislake. The branch line is known as the Tamar Valley Line.
Plymouth has a small airport that operates daily services to other UK airports namely; Bristol, Jersey, Cardiff, Leeds-Bradford and London Gatwick. The flight operating company is Air Southwest, which offer prices that are highly competitive. The Plymouth to London service takes about 1 hour and its well worth considering as a means of transport to or from Plymouth. The airport is also used by cargo planes.
National Express coach services operate out of the main Plymouth bus station on Exeter Street. Journey time from Plymouth to London Victoria is about 5 Ã‚Â½ hours on a direct journey. However, the coach service is considerably cheaper than even the most competitive train or air fares. There are direct services to Scotland but be warned! The service linking with Edinburgh takes 15 hours!
You could arrive in Plymouth from continental Europe on a Brittany Ferry, who run services to and from Plymouth. Their 'Ro-Ro' ferries operate to Roscoff in France and Santander in Spain from the 200m West Wharf at Plymouth harbour.
There has been a passenger ferry across the River Tamar since the thirteenth century.
So, you could arrive in Plymouth by boat having used the Cremyll Ferry, which journeys between Admirals hard at Stonehouse in Plymouth and Cremyll, or the Torpoint Ferry, which is a chain ferry capable of carrying motor vehicles between Torpoint and Devonpoint on the lower River Tamar. There are several other seasonal ferries that operate to cater for the tourist trade, crossing Plymouth Sound at various points. eg between Plymouth and Kingsand, Cawsand, Saltash and finally Calstock. There is also a water taxi service between the Barbican and Mountbatten.
Travel in and around Plymouth:
Several rivers meet at the estuary where Plymouth is located and over time the estuary has become both long and wide. There are two main ways of crossing the estuary, one by the Tamar Toll Bridge at the north end of the estuary or to the south end there are two ferries. There has been passenger ferry services across the River Tamar since the thirteenth century. The two main ferries are the Cremyll Ferry, which journeys between Admirals Hard at Stonehouse and Cremyll, or the Torpoint Ferry, which is a chain ferry capable of carrying motor vehicles between Torpoint and Devonpoint on the lower River Tamar. There are several other 'seasonal' ferries that operate to cater for the tourist trade, crossing Plymouth Sound at various points. eg between Plymouth and Kingsand, Cawsand, Saltash and finally Calstock. There is also a water taxi service between the Barbican and Mountbatten. The Tamar Toll Bridge is operated by the same company that runs the Torpoint ferry. So if you're driving and want to avoid a long detour around the estuary, you'll have to pay them some money. Fares on the ferry and bridge are usually kept in line with each other. ie Ã‚Â£1 for normal car or Ã‚Â£2 with a trailer. If you're on a motorbike you can cross the bridge for free or pay Ã‚Â£0.20p on the ferry.
Plymouth CityBus is the main local route bus operator in Plymouth. Although it is run as a company, it is wholly owned by Plymouth city council. Its services meet both resident commuter needs and those of tourists visiting the city. Another part of the company is Plymouth CityCoach which organises coach trips to local, national and European destinations. The bus station in Plymouth city centre is at Bretonside opposite the Drake Circus shopping centre.
For drivers Plymouth is fairly easy to navigate around but, obviously, expect delays and congestion during the main holiday periods. There are over 6000 car parking spaces across 55 locations in the city.