Traveling From London to Edinburgh? Take The Train. Seriously.

Posted on 28. May, 2013 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, United Kingdom

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I like to believe that there is a time and place for everything. A time for being rushed, and a time for taking things at a leisurely pace. A time for a get-to-the-goddamned-point mood, and another for contemplation.

And after years of traveling around Europe, I tend to prefer the epicurean journeys to the expeditive cheap flights across the continent. Train travel immediately springs to mind - few things are more enjoyable in Europe than sitting back and enjoying the scenery.

I recently had to travel from London to Edinburgh for a press trip, and while I was looking at my options, something became clear: I’m not sure who in their right mind would pick the plane over the train when traveling from London to Edinburgh. It really is a no-brainer:

  • No invasive security checks;
  • A similar journey length when you factor in the airport hassle;
  • No queues;
  • City center to city center;
  • Comfortable seats;
  • Magnificent views;
  • And, most importantly, no getting to the station hours in advance.

Did I mention the views?

The first half of the London Edinburgh train ride

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 sheeps. Lots of them.

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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.

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The second half of the London Edinburgh train ride

As the train gets closer and closer to the coast, the rolling hills make way for panoramic vistas, rugged coastline and castle ruins, in what turned out to be a very good glimpse of what Scotland is like. Rugged, dramatic, and incredibly beautiful.

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This last part of the journey is definitely the best part, and is the sole reason why I chose to travel by train. The seaside towns, the rugged coastline - you can almost smell the sea from your comfortable seat inside the train.

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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!

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Have you been on the London Edinburgh train? Is it also one of your favorite rides in the world?

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26 Responses to “Traveling From London to Edinburgh? Take The Train. Seriously.”

  1. Andrea

    29. May, 2013

    I’d always choose train over plane!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Katherina

    29. May, 2013

    I’m a big fan of train rides… and this is one that is on my list. I’ve been already told by a few people that it’s beautiful - and your pictures support their point!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Michelle

    30. May, 2013

    I’ve travelled from London to Edinburgh on the train twice (well, they were return journeys, so technically four times, but you know what I mean) and loved every minute of it. You are right, the scenery (especially around Berwick) is breathtaking and you can sleep and no one loses your luggage.

    Much better than flying there.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Laurence

    31. May, 2013

    I’ve done this trip lots of times, and the part from Newcastle to Edinburgh is my favourite - fantastic views of the Northumbrian coastline :)

    Reply to this comment
  5. Wynne

    01. Jun, 2013

    I’ll be taking this exact trip in October. Your story and photos make me even more eager to do this - thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Jenna

    03. Jun, 2013

    Beautiful. This is why train is my favorite travel mode in Europe by far. I haven’t been to Edinburgh. Can’t wait to go one day.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Denise L

    03. Jun, 2013

    Beautiful. How does the train compare in price to the plane?

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      05. Jun, 2013

      It’s often very similar - except that for the train you don’t have to pay transfers to get to the airport. I paid 40 pounds for a one-way ticket to Edinburgh from London King’s X.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Angie

    05. Jun, 2013

    I am taking this trip in July and your pictures have made me even more excited for it! Question: Looks like you have to boost your luggage up to go overhead, correct?

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      05. Jun, 2013

      There is overhead space for hand luggage but as all trains (or the majority of them) in Europe, there is a compartment near the door where you can store your big suitcase.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Michael Hodson

    06. Jun, 2013

    Haven’t done. Need to. Love me some trains. Maybe can do this in September.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Megan

    06. Jun, 2013

    I took the train from London to Edinburgh last summer and absolutely loved it. You’re totally right about the gorgeous views! And there was also something magical about rolling into Edinburgh for the first time and seeing it out of a train window rather than from above in a plane.

    Reply to this comment
  11. eemusings

    14. Jun, 2013

    Austenesque indeed!

    Will bear this in mind if we end up going to Scotland. THe nice thing about trains is they usually stop in the city centre, unlike airports.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      18. Jun, 2013

      Good point there - not only is the journey nicer, but trains have the advantage of not having expensive and long transfers!

      Reply to this comment
  12. Steph | A Nerd at Large

    15. Jul, 2013

    This is good to know! I need to get from Edinburgh to London this autumn, and I think you’ve just helped me decide that the train is defo the way to go. Such amazing scenery!

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      06. Aug, 2013

      It really is, such a beautiful ride. Window seat, of course!

      Reply to this comment
  13. pattirose

    02. Sep, 2013

    how many hours is the ride?

    Reply to this comment
  14. Alice

    12. Sep, 2013

    hi, i love your pictures ! I am planning to take the train from London to Edinburgh. Do you have suggestions what are good places to see between London and Edinburgh?
    Do you recommend to stay overnight in Edinburgh or somewhere in between?
    Which side of the train did you sit from London to Edinburgh?
    Where can i buy tickets for multiple stops?

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      14. Sep, 2013

      Hey Alice! Between London and Edinburgh: York and Durham come to mind. Google those lovely little towns for images. I recommend staying in Edinburgh for a couple of days, there are so many things to see and do! You best ask a rail officer for multiple journeys like this one — I think you’ll have to get a ticket for each stop. I recommend sitting on the right-hand sight, going forward to Edinburgh. Best sea views :)

      Reply to this comment
  15. Mo Riddiford

    24. Sep, 2013

    Taking the train is such a no-brainer.
    I love telling people that the night train from Berlin to London is faster than the plane, PLUS you get a good night’s sleep, PLUS you get a restaurant car meal PLUS you arrive right in the middle of London. Fresh and ready for any meeting. Yes the price at short notice is a lot but plan ahead and the difference all things considered (London transport plus hotel) can mean the difference is small.
    AND environmentally much better!!

    Reply to this comment
  16. Logan

    17. Jun, 2014

    Is there a specific train line or company you recommend?

    Reply to this comment

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