Days out by train with a Devon and Cornwall Railcard

It’s no secret that regional train travel in the UK is cheaper than longer distance travel. Especially if your journey necessitates you travelling though certain cities.

But exploring your local area can be great fun.

In June 2023, GWR became the first train company to take their regional railcard digital. I applied for mine online, and now have a Devon and Cornwall Railcard stored safely on my phone.

Local train adventures

Falmouth Docks Station, Fi Darby

There’s nothing like exploring your own region. Here in Devon we have train lines that take us in a couple of hours to the most amazing seaside and countryside locations. From family beach days by train to solo wild camping adventures on Dartmoor, Devon and Cornwall’s train stations have plenty to offer.

Sea swimming by train anyone?

Although it’s the more sustainable travel option and often more relaxing, train travel isn’t always as cheap as car travel. My Devon and Cornwall Railcard helps keeps my bank account as well as my conscience happy, and as I whizz around the Southwest in style, I try hard not to laugh at everyone else stuck in holiday traffic.

If you’ve visited Devon or Cornwall in August, you’ll understand.

Where can I buy a Devon and Cornwall railcard?

Topsham Ferry from Marsh Barton station, Fi Darby

You can buy your Devon and Cornwall railcard online. There’s plenty of instruction on the GWR website but if online doesn’t work for you, or you feel the need for a bit more information, do ask at your local ticket office (we need to support them by using them).

To buy your Devon and Cornwall railcard, you’ll need:

  1. A valid credit or debit card
  2. Proof that you’re a permanent resident of Devon or Cornwall e.g. a utility bill with your name and address.
  3. A passport style photo

Numbers 2 and 3 need to be in digital format if you’re applying online but a good quality smartphone photo of yourself and your utility bill will be all you need.

How much does a Devon and Cornwall railcard cost?

Teignmouth to Dawlish station to station walk, Fi Darby

As if living in the Southwest wasn’t enough reward, your Devon and Cornwall railcard will only cost you £12 for a year (March 2024).

The price is similar but not exactly the same for other Regional Railcards around the UK.

What can I get with a Devon and Cornwall Railcard?

Family train adventure, Newton Abbot station, Fi Darby

A Devon and Cornwall Railcard doesn’t just make train travel cheaper for you, it also allows you get get discounts for some of the people you’re travelling with.

Making family days out much more affordable. 

When you buy your Regional Railcard you’ll get:

  1. A third off the cost of your Standard Class Anytime or Off-Peak train ticket (for journeys after 08:45 and wholly within Devon and Cornwall).
  2. A third off the cost of one accompanying adult ticket.
  3. Journeys for just £1 for up to four accompanying children.

Here’s an example of a journey and the saving my Devon and Cornwall Railcard gives me.

A family day out at the seaside

  • Torquay to Par – 1 adult, 2 children
  • Standard Class – Single – April 2024 – Depart 10:25
  • Fare without railcard – £29.00
  • Fare with railcard – £16.10

The differences in fares varies according to which service you choose but you can see that in just one journey I’ve already saved the cost of my Devon and Cornwall Railcard.

That has to be worth the £12 spend!

Who can buy a Devon and Cornwall Railcard?

Walking across the Severn Bridge from Severn Beach station, Fi Darby

The Devon and Cornwall Railcard is for residents of Devon and Cornwall only and you need to be aged 16 or over to buy one.

When you buy your Devon and Cornwall Railcard, you’ll need to prove you’re a permanent resident in Devon or Cornwall.

Which regional railcards are available in the UK?

The Ribblehead Viaduct from Ribblehead station, Fi Darby

If you don’t live in Devon or Cornwall, I’m sorry.

I recommend coming on holiday down here as often as you can, you won’t be able to buy a Devon and Cornwall Railcard, but you might want to consider a different type of railcard or a Devon Day Ranger or Cornwall Ranger ticket.

There are also other regional railcards available for people who live near these train lines.

There are also three student (Thameslink, Great Northern and Valleys lines) and one senior (Valleys line) Regional Railcards available.

Where can I go with my Devon and Cornwall Railcard?

Now you’re asking the kind of question I love to answer!

As you might expect, your Devon and Cornwall Railcard will offer you discounts on any journey that’s entirely within Devon and/or Cornwall.

Top train tip: If you’re using an app that offers ticket splitting or ask at your local ticket office, you may also be able to use your Devon and Cornwall Railcard on the Devon and/or Cornwall section of your journey.

Devon and Cornwall might be bigger than you think.

Travelling West

St Michael’s Mount from Penzance station, Fi Darby

Chase the sunset all the way down to Cornwall’s Penzance station. From here you can explore St Michael’s Mount, walk to beautiful Mousehole or hop on board the Scillonian to follow the setting sun all the way to the Isles of Scilly.

Following Cornwall’s rivers

Gyllyngvase beach from Falmouth station, Fi Darby

Most people know about the mainline between London and Cornwall but the quieter Maritime line to Falmouth and Looe Valley line to Looe both take you on river journeys through history to the sea. Great for beach days, coast path walks and quieter exploring.

Visiting Falmouth by train

Surf lessons by train

Newquay in Cornwall has to be one of the go-to destinations for UK surfing. Especially if you want to learn from the experts. And for those who want something a bit quieter than Newquay’s seaside hustle and bustle, stations on the Atlantic coast line have a few surprised up their sleeves.

Beaches, beaches and more beaches

Beacon Cove from Torquay station, Fi Darby

Did you know Torbay has over 20 beaches and two train stations? From Torquay train station you can walk to seven different beaches in under an hour (and the others are on bus routes). Sea swimming along the Riviera line from Exeter should be on any train adventurer’s bucket list.

Discover a new Long Distance Walking route

The River Tamar from Saltash station, Fi Darby

The Tamara Coast to Coast Way is easy to pick up from Plymouth train station and actually uses Calstock and Bere Alston stations to cross the Tamar before heading to Gunnislake station. If you’ve only experienced the River Tamar from Brunel’s bridge in Plymouth, you really haven’t got to know it well enough.

Two sides of the same estuary

The Exe Estuary from Marsh Barton station, Fi Darby

The Exe estuary is a beautiful place to be and you can enjoy both sides without even leaving the train. You would miss out on a whole host of walking opportunities though. I loved my station to station walk between (then newly opened) Marsh Barton station and Starcross station but you can also walk down the other side of the Exe estuary between Topsham and Exmouth stations. And, in the summer, you can even join the two routes up with ferry rides.

East Devon by train

As far as the train line is concerned, Devon’s most easterly reach is Axminster station. It could be said that East Devon’s biggest asset is that not so many people know about it. While the hordes rush to South and North Devon, exploring East Devon by train can be a relatively peaceful experience. Especially if you want to avoid the beaches and enjoy the East Devon National Landscape (AONB) or walk on the East Devon Way

Devon and Cornwall both have amazing locations to explore. I’ve been adventuring by train for over two years now and I still have so many places to see. My Devon and Cornwall Railcard helps keep the ticket prices down, which of course means I can embark on even more train adventures.

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