The Journey from London to Edinburgh by Train Is Seriously the Best

London to Edinburgh by train

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.

London to Edinburgh by train London to Edinburgh by train London to Edinburgh by train

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.

London to Edinburgh by train London to Edinburgh by train London to Edinburgh by train London to Edinburgh by trainLondon to Edinburgh by train

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

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.

39 Comments on The Journey from London to Edinburgh by Train Is Seriously the Best

  1. Stacey
    May 5, 2015 at 12:07 am (2 years ago)

    I haven’t been but was thinking Edinburgh might be just the place for a little get-away over New Years this year. And after seeing your photos I’m sold! Just hope the boyfriend agrees. :-)

  2. Neeta
    May 5, 2015 at 9:36 pm (2 years ago)

    We are a family of 5, with three daughters, ages 17, 15 and 7. We are visiting England in mid June and are planning to travel to Edinburgh from London. I am convinced now, after reading your blog of course, that train is the way to go. Thank you!

    • Marie-Eve
      May 28, 2015 at 9:56 am (2 years ago)

      This is definitely the way to go! A journey that becomes an attraction, especially on the last leg. Enjoy your holiday in the UK! :-)

  3. Alexandra
    June 6, 2015 at 11:47 pm (2 years ago)

    Hello! Thank you for a lovely post that has been very helpful to my fiancé and I as we plan our honeymoon!

    Where would you suggest to buy train tickets from London to Edinburgh? There are many sites and I am unsure what would be the best.

    Thank you kindly!


    • Marie-Eve
      June 7, 2015 at 2:58 pm (2 years ago)

      Hey Alexandra,
      I always buy my train tickets via I like how you can easily the price change depending on the schedule, it’s so easy to use! Thank you for your kind words and enjoy Edinburgh!

  4. Fon P.
    August 20, 2015 at 5:57 am (2 years ago)

    If traveling from London, which side of the train you recommend? And should I leave from Kings Cross or Euston? Thank you :)

    • Marie-Eve
      August 23, 2015 at 1:39 pm (2 years ago)

      Always the right-hand side of the train, as you’ll be zooming past the sea once you get to York. I would suggest leaving from King’s X if possible, but in the end it doesn’t make much of a difference. Safe journey!

  5. McKenna
    December 23, 2015 at 8:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Marie-Eve! I am planning a trip for London and Scotland for next summer, and I just had a few questions. I want to take a day trip to Oxford and Stratford upon Avon, and I was wondering what your advice for the best way to do that is. We will be staying by Hyde Park with no transportation (besides our trusty Oyster card). Any advice on the best way to do this would be awesome! Thank you!
    P.S. I follow you on Instagram, and I love all your photos. Plus this blog will probably help save my life while planning this trip.

  6. McKenna
    December 23, 2015 at 8:21 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh, I forgot! How soon in advance would you recommend getting tickets for the train from London to Scotland?
    Thanks again!

    • Marie-Eve
      December 24, 2015 at 6:22 am (2 years ago)

      As soon as you can! Train tickets get increasingly expensive as you get closer to your travel date.

  7. Elizabeth Ferrari
    May 12, 2016 at 3:21 pm (1 year ago)

    Which train do you prefer the one that goes on the East side of the country or the West? Thank you!

    • Marie-Eve
      May 17, 2016 at 4:39 pm (1 year ago)

      The East side for sure!

  8. Karen
    July 10, 2016 at 2:33 am (1 year ago)

    Hey. Thanks for the great article. I’m traveling to Edinbourough by train in August. Which is the best train line to take East or West .

    • Marie-Eve
      July 13, 2016 at 11:30 am (1 year ago)

      Definitely east! I think National Express trains does that route; just make sure you travel via York and you’ll be on the right route.

  9. Nancy
    September 9, 2016 at 8:44 pm (1 year ago)

    Thank you for this. Planning this trip now. Would you recommend first class? Or is standard class pretty good? In your opinion of course…I know it’s subjective. Thanks

    • Marie-Eve
      September 10, 2016 at 10:17 pm (1 year ago)

      Standard class isn’t bad, but if you can afford first, do it! You won’t regret it.

  10. Carol
    September 21, 2016 at 10:43 pm (1 year ago)

    We are arriving at Gatwick airport and want to take the east coast train to Edinburgh. From what we can figure, we must get to Kings Cross to take the Edinburgh train. How difficult is it to get to kings Cross from Gatwick? It looks like 2 changes and about 2 hours. Does this make sense?

    • Marie-Eve
      September 22, 2016 at 1:53 pm (1 year ago)

      Hi Carol, you will need to take the Gatwick Express into Victoria (30 minutes) and then take the tube (Victoria line, 20 minutes) or a taxi to King’s X. I’d say you’ll be there in an hour tops!

  11. Lauren Green
    October 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm (11 months ago)

    How much is a typical ticket for this route?

    • Marie-Eve
      November 4, 2016 at 4:11 pm (11 months ago)

      It really depends on how far in advance you book. If my memory serves, I believe I paid £40 for my ticket.

  12. Laura Griffin
    December 29, 2016 at 12:21 pm (9 months ago)

    We are traveling from Scotland to London by train and have the option of leaving from either Glasgow or Edinburgh. I think they both take about the same amount of time but wondering which route is more scenic and interesting? Do both routes arrive right in London? Thanks for your help Marie-Eve.

    • Marie-Eve
      December 30, 2016 at 9:14 pm (9 months ago)

      I would say the ride will be most scenic from Edinburgh as you ride along the coastline for the first hour or so. Both routes will arrive in London granted you book the right ticket (i.e., with London as destination!) The route from Edinburgh is direct and doesn’t require changes.

  13. Erick Alvarado
    March 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm (7 months ago)

    I Will be travelling vía Virgin EC from London to York, where I will stay 1 night and then continue the journey to Edinburgh. May I ask what camera you used? Was it easy getting good pictures during the ride?

    • Marie-Eve
      March 14, 2017 at 1:37 pm (6 months ago)

      It wasn’t hard at all to get great photos of the ride, granted you are sitting on the right-hand side of the train going to York. I used the Olympus OMD EM10 with a 25mm lens.

  14. Phillip Albano
    March 20, 2017 at 1:45 am (6 months ago)

    If we travel from Edinburgh to London, would we then want to sit on the left hand side of the train to get the best views? In other words, opposite the side you would want if going from London to Edinburgh? In the States, the answer to that question depends on the train line.

    • Marie-Eve
      March 24, 2017 at 5:50 pm (6 months ago)

      Absolutely! You will get the best views on the left-hand side of the train going south.

  15. Taylor
    April 19, 2017 at 8:00 pm (5 months ago)

    I will be traveling from London to Edinburgh in May! I am looking at possibly going London to Oxford and then Oxford to Edinburgh. If I take the train from Oxford will the train still route me up the coast? I don’t want to miss out on these amazing views!

    • Marie-Eve
      April 26, 2017 at 4:42 pm (5 months ago)

      There are no direct trains from Oxford to Edinburgh. Your options are to either go through London or York, both trains will take you along the coast on the last hour of the journey.

  16. Ron
    May 15, 2017 at 2:33 am (4 months ago)

    Hello, Thanks for your well-written article. I am travelling from London to Oxford & then onto Edinburgh. I want to visit Oxford at a leisurely pace, are there group tours to Cotswold, Warwick Castle, Stradford from Oxford. Or do you suggest doing a day trip from London . I’m heavily dependent on guided tours and public transport as i don’t plan to drive.

    • Marie-Eve
      May 15, 2017 at 10:27 am (4 months ago)

      Yes there are group tours to the Cotswolds from Oxford but you will have a lot more options departing from London and visiting as a day trip. Many options here:

  17. Jugal
    June 28, 2017 at 9:17 am (3 months ago)

    Hi Marie,

    Traveling seated on the right side of the London – Edinburgh train right now and after reading your blog, looking forward to what’s in store once we cross York! :)


    • Marie-Eve
      August 15, 2017 at 3:00 pm (1 month ago)

      Hope you had some nice views on the way to Edinburgh!

  18. Florence
    July 9, 2017 at 9:12 am (3 months ago)

    Hello, Thanks for your article ! We are a French family of 4 and would like to travel from London to Edinburgh by train. If I am not mistaken, we can take Virgin trains or Hull Trains, which one would you recommend ?

    • Marie-Eve
      August 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm (1 month ago)

      I’ve only ever been on Virgin trains so can’t speak for Hull.

  19. kristin Viemeister
    August 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm (2 months ago)

    Any options to stop along the way and hop on a different train later in the day?

    • Marie-Eve
      August 15, 2017 at 2:36 pm (1 month ago)

      Absolutely! Just make sure you book the appropriate tickets for the different legs of your journey.

  20. Callie Klinghagen
    September 15, 2017 at 2:37 pm (1 week ago)

    Hi there!

    A few friends and I are planning trip to Scotland in January. Flights are much less expensive into London and we plan on getting a Britrail pass so we can tour around Scotland. A lot of people have told us that it was a bad idea and that the trains were long and boring, but after seeing your post, we are excited to experience some new scenery along the way! Thanks!


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