Transport links between London and Cranfield via Milton Keynes
It is one thing finding directions on the website, or on google maps, but a little local knowledge can also help. Fares go up annually, and changes happen, so always check the latest information online before you travel.
Cranfield campus is situated in a beautiful location and is worth the trip to get to. When people come here for the first time they are always stunned at the size of the campus and the incredible facilities we have here, such as our very own research airport with airline status and working planes. See the below photo of me trying out a plane on one of our staff tours – don’t worry, I didn’t take off!
The campus is not easy to find your way around, as the building numbers are not in order, so use the Virtual Tour on our website prior to arrival to find your location, and download a campus map to bring with you.
Trains to and from London and Milton Keynes
A good place to plan is www.nationalrail.co.uk. Trains leave about every 30 minutes from London Euston station to Milton Keynes Central. There are two types of train – Avanti West Coast which are national trains with Milton Keynes Central as the first stop (these fast trains take about 40 mins) and West Midlands, which run a few direct trains (40 mins) as well as “stopping trains” (about 1 hour 10 minutes to Milton Keynes). You can also go from London St Pancras International to Bedford but I am not familiar with that route so am not covering it here. When you buy your ticket you will need to choose:
- ‘Any train’ tickets, allowing you to jump on a fast or slow train, whichever comes first.
- ‘Avanti West Coast trains only’ or ‘West Midlands trains only’ tickets, which are cheaper but will restrict you to a specific train provider. (Note Avanti West Coast trains don’t stop at Milton Keynes between 4-7pm).
Scheduling your appointments later in the day saves money
When you buy a ticket it is worth remembering that it is cheaper to travel off-peak (any direction after 9.30am, and not from London between 4- 7pm). If you are going to do this journey a few times it is worth buying a Network Railcard for £30, which will give you 1/3 off travel for a year, but note you will have to travel after 10am. You can then get a pay-as-you-go Oyster card to use in London.
If you are buying a same day return, you can also get a combined London Travelcard with your train ticket, which makes tubes and/or buses in London more cost-effective.
If you are planning to travel from London to Milton Keynes between 4pm and 7pm on a weekday you will have to travel on a West Midlands train, which will be very busy as this is peak time.
Transport to and from London and airports and Milton Keynes
You can take a coach from London to Milton Keynes – these are run by National Express and leave from Victoria Bus Station to the Milton Keynes Coachway. The National Express bus is slightly cheaper than the train, but takes 1 hour 30 minutes (and can be much longer, depending on traffic) and runs about every 30 minutes.
London Luton airport:
There are excellent bus links to and from airports too. From London Luton Airport you can take a Stagecoach bus to Milton Keynes Station or a National Express coach to Milton Keynes Coachway. These run about every hour and the bus takes about 40 minutes.
London Heathrow airport:
There are National Express coaches from London Heathrow Airport to Milton Keynes Coachway. Check the times online as they do fast and stopping services. Or you could take the Heathrow Express to London Paddington, a tube to London Euston and then the train to Milton Keynes Central train station. (The new Crossrail Elizabeth line will open in 2021 so check that too).
Taxis between Milton Keynes and Cranfield campus
Milton Keynes Central train station and Coachway is about 8 miles or a 20 minute taxi ride to Cranfield.
There are black taxis outside the station (on the left) which cost about £30 for the journey. Better to ring one of the local taxi companies such as Skyline, Eezy Cabs or Speedline and book a taxi which will be about £15 (you will get a text message with the registration number).
Milton Keynes has an excellent private taxi network – they are quick, send you text messages so you can track your driver (similar to Uber). Uber is not generally used in the Milton Keynes area. You can pay cash for taxis – if you want to pay with a credit card check with the taxi company whether they accept them when you call to book (it may be necessary to download their app to pay by card).
Before you arrive at Cranfield it is worth checking the information you have been sent about where you need to be on the campus and instruct the taxi driver accordingly. This is important because it is a very big campus, and taxis often stop at the main reception, which could be some way from where you need to be.
Buses between Milton Keynes and Cranfield campus
There are also buses from Milton Keynes Station and Coachway to the University – see the Uno bus timetable. These leave about every 30 minutes and take about an hour. The fare is about £6 (or if you have a Cranfield staff or student card about £1.50).
Just reverse the guidelines here if you are travelling in the other direction (ie Cranfield University campus to London or to an airport). There are a few really useful links as well as the ones already included above, such as The Trainline, National Rail, and Transport for London journey planner
Happy travelling! We look forward to welcoming you at our beautiful campus.
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