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London to Edinburgh

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Ukvisitor77

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Hello

Am visiting the UK soon and was thinking of spending August 10-13 in Edinburgh. My options are fly, take train or Caledonia sleeper. I am thinking for two if would be a more scenic route to go via train or the sleeper, I am trying not be spend too much. What would you recommend would be my best option? What is the difference between the first and standard on the train as far as comfort goes? I am open to doing one way by train and the other by sleeper (could leave Friday night from Edinburgh)

Thanks for the helpful suggestions in advance :D
 
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30907

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The cheapest fares are usually Advance tickets when you must travel on the train shown on your ticket. However, it is a busy time of year (and Edinburgh Festival too) so you MAY find that an off-peak return fare (valid on most trains but not all, exact restriction depends on the route) is as good value - I would still recommend getting a seat reservation on your preferred train!

If you are under 26, over 60, or two of you are travelling together, it may be worth buying a Railcard for about £30 giving 34% discount.

There are two direct routes to Edinburgh as well as the sleeper. From London Kings Cross via York, faster; from London Euston via Birmingham, less frequent but Advance fares are often cheaper.

In both cases, First class gets you inclusive drinks (alcoholic included) and a meal (not at weekends) or snacks, plus 50% more space, and can be very good value.

I'm not up to date with sleeper fares, sorry, but I suspect you wont find many bargains.

You can look at possible train times and fares on the National Rail Enquiries website.

Someone else may have time to look in more detail for you.
 

SickyNicky

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As you're not from the UK, you might also like to look at the options offered by BritRail who will sell you a relatively inexpensive pass that's valid on any train you like (although there's a supplement if you want to use a sleeper berth).

That would mean that you could just turn up and go on any train at any time, although I would recommend that you reserve seats if you can (BritRail can help with that) - and sleepers must be reserved in advance.

I suggest you compare the prices of buying a pass versus buying "normal" tickets. The pass will be better value if you'd like to explore our countries by rail a bit more whilst you're here.
 

AlterEgo

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Hello

Am visiting the UK soon and was thinking of spending August 10-13 in Edinburgh. My options are fly, take train or Caledonia sleeper. I am thinking for two if would be a more scenic route to go via train or the sleeper, I am trying not be spend too much. What would you recommend would be my best option? What is the difference between the first and standard on the train as far as comfort goes? I am open to doing one way by train and the other by sleeper (could leave Friday night from Edinburgh)

Thanks for the helpful suggestions in advance :D

British Airways will get you there and back for £89 each on those dates.

The sleeper is not scenic and is poor value for money as a tourist on that route. It passes the nice parts of the route (Lake District etc) at night; you will, or should be, asleep for 90% of your time on board. Think of it as a moving crash pad and not much else. The London-Edinburgh trip is short and will deposit you in Edinburgh in time for breakfast, but you won't be able to get a hotel room that early.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The standard class "super off-peak return" fare from London to Edinburgh is £135.50.
This is the cheapest flexible ticket, valid on trains after about 0930 (no restriction at weekends).
It is also valid via both East Coast and West Coast routes, and with any operator, and on any train after the peak period.
You can sometimes do better than this by booking Advance fares, but these are restricted to a particular seat on a particular train and cannot be changed.
You can book any fare on any train operator web site, eg Virgin Trains. https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/

As noted above, there are 34% discount railcards available if you qualify and buy one in advance.
Looks like a Two Together railcard might work for you. http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/46540.aspx
Both main routes to Edinburgh are operated by "Virgin", but there are subtle differences in the services.
As an example, you can upgrade to First Class on the West Coast route at weekends from the above fare for £15.
The web site will give you all the options.

Scenerywise, the sleeper is poor!
Opinions vary, but the West Coast route via Carlisle is in my opinion more scenic, with proper mountain views.
On the other hand, the through trains to/from Edinburgh on that route also travel via Birmingham which is longer and definitely not scenic!
You can avoid the loop via Birmingham by changing into a direct London train at Carlisle or Preston.
But services via the East Coast route are more frequent and quicker.

I'd recommend reserving a seat (free) as all trains into Edinburgh will be very busy in August.
If you can't get a seat on a direct train, go to Glasgow instead (West Coast) and use a local train across to Edinburgh.
That also applies to hotels by the way. It's perfectly possible to stay in Glasgow and commute into Edinburgh.

Not sure where you are from, but there are also Britrailpass tickets which are aimed at visitors, giving you unlimited travel over 3 days or more.
Only available outside the UK. https://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/britrail-pass/index.html
 

cuccir

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People have dismissed the sleeper a little, though outward fares on the evening of the 9th, to arrive on the 10th, are currently at £50 (seat only); £130 (bunk-bed which may be shared, hostel-style); and £160 (first class, single occupancy room with breakfast and access to shower facilities at the station). These fares also mean that you're not paying for a hotel room that night, so the seat only ticket offers the cheapest way to do the journey in some form of comfort.

There is no Saturday night sleeper, so not an option on the 13th to arrive in London on the 14th; return prices on the Friday night sleeper are currently the same as the above prices for the 9th.

For flights, you can compare Easyjet, Ryanair, British Airways and FlyBe, who all do the route from various airports in the London area to Edinburgh - this means there's a wide range of fares, so it depends when you want to travel and also where in London you're heading too: remember to factor in travel time & cost in getting to the London airports though! FlyBe fly to/from London City, which may be an attractive option if time is important to you.

A final note - the absolute cheapy cheapest way to travel is via coach: the overnight Megabus from London to Edinburgh is £19 on the 9th. It takes 9 hours and is not comfortable but if you're really pushing the budget....
 
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Clip

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If you have a look on www.skyscanner.net you can find flights for 2 from £108 all in rtn.

However you still have to get to stanstead and the flight times are quite por so play around with the sliders to find whats best for you.

But get a britrail as others have said and go up the East coast - once oyu pass Newcastle(the best city in the world) then the coastal route is simply stunning.
 

Phil.

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London City airport to Edinburgh.
Quicker than the train.
Cheaper than the train (in that you don't have to buy a ticket days/weeks in advance and hope that you're on the right train else you're penalised).
As a previous poster has stated, think of the sleeper as a mobile crash pad. Despite the advertising it's not a travelling hotel.
 

LexyBoy

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Cheaper than the train (in that you don't have to buy a ticket days/weeks in advance and hope that you're on the right train else you're penalised).

Do you not get penalised if you get on the wrong plane then?

A quick look on Skyscanner quotes me £180 for a flight today, coming back tomorrow. I guess it must be cheaper if I just turn up and ask for a ticket on the next plane though.
 

Bletchleyite

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Do you not get penalised if you get on the wrong plane then?

No, they just won't let you.

A quick look on Skyscanner quotes me £180 for a flight today, coming back tomorrow. I guess it must be cheaper if I just turn up and ask for a ticket on the next plane though.

Nope, the same or dearer. Cheap "last minute" tickets went out with the ark. Buy a plane ticket on the day and it will cost you.
 

Tetchytyke

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Cheaper than the train (in that you don't have to buy a ticket days/weeks in advance and hope that you're on the right train else you're penalised)

ITA Matrix says the cheapest air ticket flying out today and back tomorrow is £174 return (though ITA Matrix doesn't hold Easyjet fares). The most expensive on BA is £458 return. And that's tied to a specific plane.
 

Bletchleyite

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A final note - the absolute cheapy cheapest way to travel is via coach: the overnight Megabus from London to Edinburgh is £19 on the 9th. It takes 9 hours and is not comfortable but if you're really pushing the budget....

Don't forget the not-all-that-much-more-expensive Megabus Gold, which has longitudinal beds that are surprisingly comfortable.
 

Ukvisitor77

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Thank you all for the amazing suggestions!

I already ordered the Two for 1 railcard and it has been dispatched, but hasn't arrived yet. I was told that if I book discounted travel online before it arrives, I might have to pay full fare when I go to collect the tickets (of if the card does not arrive)

I ruled out airports because it is costing me the same as the train or more (getting to the airport from central London ex stn)

Also, the main reason for the train is not the cost but the scenery. How do I book the train that provides me with the best scenery.

I have ruled out the sleeper based on the suggestions here.

Thanks
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The east coast route I found is

Reservations availableFirst and Standard ClassCatering service
Milton Keynes Central11:1311:13
Coventry11:4211:42
Birmingham International11:5311:53
Birmingham New Street12:0812:15
Sandwell & Dudley12:2412:24
Wolverhampton12:3712:37
Crewe13:0713:09
Warrington Bank Quay13:2613:27
Wigan North Western13:3713:38
Preston (Lancs)13:5113:53
Lancaster14:0714:08
Penrith14:4214:43
Carlisle14:5914:59
Haymarket16:1616:18
 

47271

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If scenery is your main thing then I'd suggest out one route and back another on daytime trains, King's Cross to Edinburgh is particularly attractive north of Newcastle, and north of Lancaster is great on the Euston line. If you can afford it First Class is a lot more spacious and comfortable and, as others have said, you'll get complimentary food and drink in First on both routes.

Be careful of ticket prices to and from Edinburgh during the Festival, be sure to shop around on train times throughout the day, the main thing is to avoid leaving London in the late afternoon and Edinburgh early in the morning.

If you can collect from a station ticket vending machine with the credit card used to make the booking (there's no reason why you shouldn't) then you may as well book all of your travel through virgintrainseastcoast.com, but don't ask for tickets to be mailed to you.

Any other questions, keep asking us!
 

Ukvisitor77

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It looks like if I stay in Glasgow, coming in and going out from Edinburgh could be a 90 min journey. How expensive are those tickets for scotrail?
 

IanD

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The east coast route I found is

Reservations availableFirst and Standard ClassCatering service
Milton Keynes Central11:1311:13
Coventry11:4211:42
Birmingham International11:5311:53
Birmingham New Street12:0812:15
Sandwell & Dudley12:2412:24
Wolverhampton12:3712:37
Crewe13:0713:09
Warrington Bank Quay13:2613:27
Wigan North Western13:3713:38
Preston (Lancs)13:5113:53
Lancaster14:0714:08
Penrith14:4214:43
Carlisle14:5914:59
Haymarket16:1616:18

That's actually the West Coast route - I'd say it's more scenic that the East coast route (despite going via Birmingham) but others on here would argue the opposite.

But as 47271 it's a good idea to go North one way and South the other. The best bit on the East Coast is between Edinburgh and Newcastle so if you're on a lateish train you can still enjoy the view before it gets dark if starting from Edinburgh.
 
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robbeech

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I think they both have their merits scenery wise, it would be nice for you to see both i guess. Go up one way and back the other.

One thing i would be concerned about if you haven't already got it sorted is your accommodation whilst you're up there. its BUSY, and most of the regular hotels that are likely slightly overpriced are either full or any remaining rooms are twice the price they normally are, which is twice what they should be.

Don't get me wrong i love the city but it can be a little pricey.

As others have suggested, staying a short train (or bus) ride from the city might help keep costs down, and might improve availability.

Remember the first class offer of food and drink (including alcoholic) is only in the week. At weekends there is a more limited food menu and only soft drinks are provided (You can purchase alcoholic ones of course).
 

Bletchleyite

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I think they both have their merits scenery wise

They do, but to me the WCML is interesting near enough throughout - stereotypically English rolling hills, canals and the likes at the southern end, industrial interest in the Midlands and North West, and beautiful mountainous scenery north of Lancaster. While the ECML is tedious beyond belief until you get to Newcastle.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
It looks like if I stay in Glasgow, coming in and going out from Edinburgh could be a 90 min journey. How expensive are those tickets for scotrail?

You can check on nationalrail.co.uk. There are also buses which are a bit cheaper.

If you're in Edinburgh during the festival book your accommodation very early, it fills up.
 

Ukvisitor77

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That's why I bought up Glasgow--- In Edinburgh I am booked at Pollock Halls (student housing) and in Glasgow I can get a 4 star for the same price. I am mainly wanting to do the Royal Mile, the tattoo (tickets booked) and the yacht so trying to decide if staying in Glasgow might become too much of a travel nightmare

By the way, you all are great with suggestions. Much appreciated!
 

Bletchleyite

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There's no harm in booking before you get the Railcard, and if the fare is good you might as well grab it now, but you MUST ensure you have one before you travel. One way to do this is to purchase one at any staffed station (warning: this does not include Heathrow!).
 

LNW-GW Joint

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You seem to be planning on using the ticket I mentioned above, which will cost £178.90 return for two, with a Two Together Railcard.
Valid on trains from London to Edinburgh from 0930 on a Wednesday, and any train back on a Saturday, within a month.

This is a Super Off Peak Return walk on fare.
You don't have to book it in advance, you can buy it from any mainline ticket office at any time, up to departure time.
They will also book seats for you, both ways, at the same time if you wish (recommended, free).
You can also use one route to Edinburgh and the other one back to London, and break your journey en route.
You can also change/refund the ticket if needed, for a fee.

If you want to book ahead, you can use any train operator's web site to buy the tickets.
They will either post them to you or give you a booking reference to pick them up at your departure station from an ATM.
To check times you can use Virgin Trains East Coast web site https://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/
Simply put in London and Edinburgh and the dates/times of travel, and your railcard details.

To select trains via the East Coast route, enter "Via York" in "Route Options". 1-2 trains an hour.
To select trains via the West Coast route, enter "Via Preston" (1 train an hour, usually involving a change at Preston to avoid the loop via Birmingham).
You should then see the £178.90 fare, and the trains it is valid on.
Click on the trains you want and complete the booking process to reserve a seat and pay.
You don't have to have your railcard to hand to buy tickets, but you do need to take it with you on the journey.

Note you don't have to stick to the trains you have booked if things change, except you can't leave London before 0930.
You just won't have a specific seat booked on other trains.
Web sites don't support booking one route out and another back, so if you want to do that you can book a seat on the other route separately, without buying a new travel ticket.

I hope this is useful for your trip, and that I have included the appropriate options for your dates.
A very similar fare/details apply to London-Glasgow.
Glasgow-Edinburgh off-peak return is about £15 with your railcard, buy on the day.
Trains every 15 minutes, takes 45 minutes.

PS I should also say that you start from London Euston for the West Coast route, and London King's Cross for the East Coast.
One stop between them on the tube, or a 10-minute walk along Euston Road (impressive in itself, past St Pancras station and the British Library).
All trains stop at Waverley station in Edinburgh.
Glasgow has two main stations: Central (from London) and Queen Street (main service to Edinburgh), another interesting 10 minute walk between the two.
 
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me123

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It looks like if I stay in Glasgow, coming in and going out from Edinburgh could be a 90 min journey. How expensive are those tickets for scotrail?

Glasgow to Edinburgh is a great train service. A train every 15 minutes from Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh Waverley. For off peak trains (09:15 departure onwards), it's only £12.60 return for an adult and a railcard will bring that down to £8.30. 52 minutes in each direction.

Of course, Glasgow at this time of year lacks the atmosphere that you'll get at the Edinburgh festivals. Glasgow is still a fantastic city, and you would have a good time there, and it will probably be considerably cheaper (even with travel costs between the cities). The last train back from Edinburgh is at 00:30, so you would get most of the day in Edinburgh. If you wanted a later night, you'd still be able to enjoy the nightlife in Glasgow.

Glasgow is a brilliant city and I love it - but if you're going for the experience of the Edinburgh Festival (as I suspect that you are) you'd get the best out of your trip by staying in Edinburgh.
 

Flying Snail

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That's why I bought up Glasgow--- In Edinburgh I am booked at Pollock Halls (student housing) and in Glasgow I can get a 4 star for the same price. I am mainly wanting to do the Royal Mile, the tattoo (tickets booked) and the yacht so trying to decide if staying in Glasgow might become too much of a travel nightmare

By the way, you all are great with suggestions. Much appreciated!

There is a very frequent service between Glasgow and Edinburgh, trains every 15 minutes, journey time around 1 hour. A day return £12.60 with some restrictions (cannot be used in the busy morning period before 09.15 or afternoons 16.40-18.10 weekdays), that is a walk-up fare that does not need to be pre-booked.

If you are not going to be there for the nighttime Edinburgh Festival then staying in Glasgow instead to avoid the inflated hotel prices is probably a good idea.
 

Bletchleyite

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You don't have to book it in advance, you can buy it from any mainline ticket office at any time, up to departure time.

It is probably also worth adding to this that it will be sold in unlimited numbers - with the odd exception (e.g. the Scottish Sleeper) trains in the UK do not *require* reservations, and can not "sell out" - you can always turn up at the station and buy a ticket for the next train if you wish. However, at busy times you may find it difficult to find a seat and may have to stand, which is why reservation is a good idea for such a long journey.

Only tickets of type "Advance" (and a few other obscure ones) can sell out; the Anytime, Off Peak and Super Off Peak tickets are unlimited in number.
 
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sheff1

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While the ECML is tedious beyond belief until you get to Newcastle.

I would say the view of Durham Cathedral and Castle is one of the best from a train anywhere in England. It certainly always seems to get the cameras clicking when tourists travelling between York and Edinburgh suddenly see it.


To Ukvisitor77. For the best views on the East Coast route sit on the east side of the train - right hand side in direction of travel going north, left hand side going south.
 
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Agent_c

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I wouldn't take the sleeper as a "Scenic" route, except maybe on the Fort William leg, and even then, I'd suggest getting a regular train to Fort William, and the Steam train to Mallaig would be better.

The advantage in taking the sleeper is less "wasted time". Rather than wasting a half a day getting to/from your airports and in the air you show up at Euston at about 11pm, and go to sleep - the travel takes up time you couldn't really use elsewhere.
 

paddington

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Would the sleeper be worthwhile as a scenic route if my body clock was set to wake up at 4am (say because I have just flown in from Asia) and I took it in June when nights are at their shortest?
 
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