Welcome To Wessex

Via London's Four Airports

Its proximity to London means that most visitors to Wessex arrange to arrive via London, usually via one of London's four airports. Of these, much the most popular among visitors to Wessex is Heathrow, not only because of its unrivalled choice of service from all points abroad but also because of its extremely convenient location on the west side – the Wessex side -- of London. For motorists this means easy and uncongested road access to Wessex. For those choosing public transport, Heathrow offers direct rail and coach service to all points in Wessex.

Visitors using one of London's three other airports -- Gatwick, Luton and Stansted -- usually choose to travel via London. Central London can be avoided by using London's orbital motorway, the M25, although this can be heavily congested. Travel between central London and either Gatwick or Luton involves a journey time by rail of about an hour (both airports offer excellent rail connections). But road travel into London will often take longer, thanks to traffic congestion. Stansted lies well to the north of London, adding to the cost of airport access, although for many visitors this inconvenience is balanced by the presence of many low cost airlines.

Each of London’s four airports are fully served by international and national car rental operators.

Via Wessex Airports: Bristol, Southampton, Bournemouth, Exeter

Reflecting the growing popularity of Wessex as a tourist destination, and also the problem of congestion in London's airports and roads, a rapidly increasing number of visitors are choosing to travel direct to Wessex from abroad. This is why the region's airports are now the fastest growing group within the United Kingdom.

The following sections provide details on each of our four regional airports – Bristol, Southampton, Bournemouth, Exeter – and on their air services. Flight details are for winter 06/07. Summer 07 schedules will be put on this site as soon as they become available.

Car rental can be reserved in advance by international operators at each of the four Wessex airports. Several operators also provide service desks at specified airports.

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Bristol International

In 2002 Bristol International Airport handled three million passengers. By 2006 its traffic had doubled to six million passengers. Most of this growth has come from low-cost airlines, easyJet in particular. 2005 saw the arrival of Bristol’s first direct trans-Atlantic connection, a daily service by Continental from New York (Newark) that offers extensive onward links across North America.

Except for Scandinavia, almost all European centres are linked direct to Bristol. This extensive 30-point scheduled network serves visitors not only from Europe but also from points beyond in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. The most extensive network is offered by easyJet which serves a score of European points (usually on a once daily basis) and the main cities of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Most frequently served points are Paris (BA Connect, four or five flights daily; easyJet, once daily), Amsterdam (KLM, four daily; easyJet twice daily) and Brussels (SN, three daily). Germany is specially well served with flights to Bristol from Berlin, Bremen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hanover and Munich. Other key European cities served are Geneva, and Zurich, Milan and Rome, Barcelona and Madrid.

Ireland is also very well served from Dublin (Ryanair three or four services daily; Aer Lingus, once daily), from Shannon (Ryanair, once daily) and from Cork (Aer Arann, once daily). Britain’s other major low-cost airline, flybe, at present operates only Bristol/Toulouse (once daily). However, this airline is planning to absorb BA Connect’s entire network in spring 2007.

Bristol Airport lies a short half-hour's drive south of down-town Bristol. The only access is by road. A regular express bus service (the Airport Flyer, every twenty minutes) links airport and town centre. A comprehensive network of scheduled road and rail services extends from downtown Bristol throughout Wessex. Bath is less than half an hour away. All Wessex lies within two hours travel time from Bristol.

Airline contacts: BA Connect phone 0870 850 9850 or visit
  Continental phone 0845 607 6760 or visit
  easyJet phone 0905 821 0905 or visit
  flybe phone 0870 567 6676 or visit
  KLM phone 0870 507 4074 or visit
  Ryanair phone 0906 270 5656 or visit
  SN Brussels phone 0870 735 2345 or visit

For full flight details phone 0870 121 2747 or visit www.bristolairport.co.uk/flight_information/destinations.aspx

Car rental on-airport service is provided by the following operators:

Car rental contacts: Avis phone 0870 606 0100 or visit
  Europcar phone 08707 607 5000 or visit
  Hertz phone 0870 599 6699 or visit
  National Alamo phone 0870 4000 4560 or visit


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Southampton Airport

Southampton shares with Bristol the distinction of being one of Britain's fastest growing airports. This reflects its selection as main operating base by one of Britain's most dynamic low cost airlines, flybe. Because of operating restrictions (the airport is located in a heavily built up area of the town), only regional-type aircraft can use Southampton. This has not stopped flybe from building up an extensive European network of services linking Wessex mainly to regional centres throughout France and Spain. Until recently, Air France was the only foreign airline serving Southampton (three services daily from CDG). The main European cities currently served, in addition to Paris, are Amsterdam, Berne, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Geneva and Hanover. Scheduled newcomers now include Eastern Airways (Brussels, three daily) and Aer Arann (Cork, four a week).

A strong point for Southampton Airport is its ready accessibility for all points in Wessex. It is very conveniently sited for both road and rail (the airport is just off the M3 motorway and its railway station is a regular stop on all lines serving Southampton Central). Bath can be easily reached in two hours; Salisbury is only half an hour away; Winchester is reached in a few minutes.

Airline contacts: Air France phone 0870 142 4343 or visit
  Eastern Airways phone 0870 366 9100 or visit
  Flybe phone 0871 700 123 or visit

For full flight details phone +44 (0) 870 040 0009 or visit www.southamptonairport.com

Car rental on-airport service is provided by the following operators:

Car rental contacts: Avis phone 023 8061 6061 or visit
  Enterprise phone 023 8065 3700 or visit
  Hertz phone 0870 850 2690 or visit
  National Alamo phone 023 8065 2059 or visit


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Bournemouth Airport

The twin towns of Bournemouth and Poole are experiencing rapid population growth. Their local airport concentrates on serving booming demand for holiday travel from Bournemouth and the surrounding area. The airport is also now starting to benefit from the growth of Wessex as a tourist destination. Its traffic climbed to one million passengers in 2006, almost half of these being carried by low-cost specialist Ryanair on its services from Barcelona/Gerona, Dublin, Glasgow and Madrid (all daily) plus Pisa and Shannon. In addition, EasyJet fly to Bournemouth from Geneva, with Wizz Air from Crakow/Katowice and Air Berlin from Paderborn/Lippstadt.

A striking recent development at Bournemouth is the entry of “seat only” services by operators that have until now restricted their business to inclusive tour traffic. Already well established is thomsonfly with regular links from over a dozen centres in Europe, including Amsterdam. New in 2007 is Palmair, the airline operation of long established Wessex travel specialist R E Bath, with services linking Bournemouth with ten points in the Mediterranean (typically two or three a week each).

Bournemouth has become a focal point in Britain for language study. Many foreign students arrive on charter flights from points in France and elsewhere in Europe. Language study specialists will advise how to get students on low-cost charter flights to Bournemouth.

Airline contacts: Airberlin phone 0870 738 8880 or visit
  EasyJet phone 0905 821 0905 or visit
  Palmair phone 01202 200 700 or visit
  Ryanair phone 0906 270 5656 or visit
  thomsonfly phone 0870 1900 737 or visit
  Wizz Air phone +48 22 351 9499 or visit

For full flight details phone +44 (0) 1202 364 000 or visit www.flybournemouth.com/destinations/

Car rental on-airport service is provided by the following operators.

Car rental contacts: Budget phone 01202 577429 or visit
  Europcar phone 0870 607 5000 or visit
  Hertz phone 0870 846 0004 or visit
  National Alamo phone 01202 577194 or visit


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Exeter Airport

Lying on the south-west edge of Wessex, Exeter is well placed to serve this most unspoilt corner of the region. Lyme Regis and its Jurassic Coast are within an easy half hour drive. Dorchester and Weymouth lie within the hour. The area is well served by rail and road. With a relatively small local market, Exeter has only recently started to earn its official title of Exeter International. The impetus here has again come from flybe which now serves Paris (twice daily), Amsterdam (once daily), Dublin (once daily) and Geneva. During 2007 flybe intends to introduce an extensive network of new services linking Exeter to points in Europe and UK; details of these flights have yet to be announced. Exeter also offers a unique service for visitors from Canada. Two major Canadian “seat only” operators, AirTransat and Globespan, will each in summer 2007 be flying once a week into Exeter from Toronto.

Airline contacts: flybe phone 0871 700 0123 or visit
  AirTransat phone 020 7616 9187 or visit
  Globespan phone 0131 466 7612 or visit

For full flight details phone +44 (0) 1392 367 433 or visit

Car rental on-airport service is provided by the following operators:

Car rental contacts: Avis phone 01392 360214 or visit


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