I like to believe that there’s a time and place for everything. A time for being rushed as well as a time for taking things at a leisurely pace. A time to get-to-the-goddamned-point and another for contemplation. After years of travelling around Europe, I find that I tend to prefer epicurean journeys to expedited, stressful cheap flights. Train travel immediately springs to mind – few things are more enjoyable in Europe than sitting back and enjoying the scenery especially when travelling from London to Edinburgh by train.
I recently had to go up to Scotland from London for a press trip, and while I was considering my options, something quickly became clear: I’m not sure who in their right mind would fly instead of taking the train. Come to think of it, trains really are a no-brainer:
- No invasive security checks;
- A similar journey length when you factor in the airport hassle;
- No queues;
- City centre to city centre;
- Comfortable seats;
- Magnificent views;
- And, most importantly, no need to get to the station hours in advance.
Did I mention the views?
London to Edinburgh by Train: the First Half
Almost as if you stepped into a Jane Austen novel instead of a high-speed train, the ride takes you through the green rolling hills and valleys of England, from Hertfordshire to Yorkshire and Northumberland. And yes, there are sheep. Lots of them.
No time to stop for sightseeing along the way? No problem!The train goes right through the beautiful town of Durham and its notorious cathedral (who goes by the name of The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham, to keep it short and sweet, you know), famous for being one of the best examples of Norman architecture and well known for its highly strategic position over the River Wear.
The train goes right through the beautiful town of Durham and its notorious cathedral (who goes by the name of The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham, to keep it short and sweet, you know), famous for being one of the best examples of Norman architecture and well known for its highly strategic position over the River Wear.
London to Edinburgh by Train: the Second Half
As the train advances closer and closer to the coast, the rolling hills make way for panoramic vistas, dramatic coastline and castle ruins in what turned out to be a very good glimpse of what Scotland is like. Rugged, intense, and incredibly beautiful.
This last part of the journey is definitely the best one and perfectly embodies the various reasons why I chose to travel from London to Edinburgh by train. The seaside towns, the rugged coastline – you can almost smell the salty air from your comfortable seat inside the train.
And as if the ride itself wasn’t pretty enough, you get rewarded with this beautiful view the minute you step out of the train station. The dark stone buildings of Edinburgh surround Waverley Station and welcome you into their history-filled alleys and closes.
Welcome to Edinburgh… welcome to Scotland!
London to Edinburgh by Train: A Few Tips
- If you are travelling northbound, book a seat on the right-hand side of the train and vice versa.
- Tickets can be booked up to 12 weeks in advance.
- Several companies operate this route with different stops along the way. I travelled with Virgin Trains because it was the simplest and most straightforward itinerary.