Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Travel

Travel in 18th Century England

Travel in 18th century Britain was slow and uncomfortable, particularly at the beginning of the century before the majority of the turnpikes were built. The following represents the information I have been able to find about fares and travel times.

For more information see also London Coaching Inns.

Travelling around London

The following information comes from William Stowe's Survey dating to 1722.

Hackney Carriages and Chairmen
For one Day of 12 Hours10s. 0d.
For one Hour1s. 6d.
For every Hour after the first1s. 0d.
From any of the Inns of Court to any part of St. James's, or City of Westminster, except beyond Tuttle street1s. 0d.
From the Inns of Court, or thereabouts, to the Royal Exchange1s. 0d.
From any of the Inns of Court to the Tower, Aldgate, Bishopsgate, or thereabouts1s. 6d.

Don Manoel Gonzales, writing in 1731, states that a hackney will carry you a mile and a half for 1s. but for a chair the cost is 1s. 4d.

From London Bridge to Limehouse, New Crane, Shadwell Dock, Bell Wharf, Ratcliff Cross1s. 0d.0s. 6d.
To Wapping Dock, Wapping New & Old Stairs, the Hermitage, Rotherhith Church Stairs0s. 6d.0s. 3d.
From St. Olave's to Rotherhith Church Stairs, and Rotherhith Stairs0s. 6d.0s. 3d.
From Billingsgate and St. Olave's to St. Saviour's Mill0s. 6d.0s. 3d.
All the Stairs between London Bridge and Westminster0s. 6d.0s. 3d.
From either side above Bridge to Lambeth and Vauxhall1s. 0d.0s. 6d.
From Whitehall to Lambeth & Vauxhall0s. 6d.0s. 3d.
From the Temple, Dorset, Blackfriars Stairs, and Paul's Wharf, to Lambeth0s. 8d.0s. 4d.
Over the Water directly betwixt Vauxhall and Limehouse0s. 4d.0s. 2d.

Travelling around the Country

For towns serviced by coaches and other vehicles see London Coaching Inns.

Fares for Hired Coaches

VehicleExample and DateCost
HighflyerLondon to York 1790£2 10s. inside the coach; £1 5s. outside
Mail CoachLondon to York 1790£3 3s. inside the coach; £1 11s. 6d. outside
Mail CoachLondon to Ipswich 1796£1 1s. inside the coach; 10s. 6d. outside
Post Chaise4 wheels, 2 horses 1757-17819d. per mile
Post Chaise4 wheels, 2 horses 1793-17991s. per mile
Post ChaiseOxford to Castle Cary, Somerset 1774£1 18s.
Post CoachLondon to Exeter 1781£1 18s.
Stage Coach2d.-3d. per mile

The Stage Coach was not as cheap as it sounded. Passengers were expected to tip the guards and the coachmen and to pay for their own food and lodging. Sir Walter Scott, travelling from Edinburgh to London, spent nine times the basic fare on these extras.

Source: Olsen, Kirstin, Daily life in 18th-century England Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999


The 18th century saw a massive development in privately run toll roads or turnpikes. At the beginning of the century there were virtually none (the first toll road in England was authorised in 1663, the second in 1695). By the end of the century there were more than 500 turnpike trusts administering approximately 13,000 miles of road. Travel times were slashed.

Destroying a tollgate was made a capital offense around 1735.

To/FromIn 1700In 1800
Bath50 hours16 hours
Bristol2 daysless than 12 hours
Edinburgh256 hours60 hours
Manchester90 hours28 hours
Newcastle6 days3 days
Norwich50 hours19 hours

Source: Olsen, Kirstin, Daily life in 18th-century England Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999