Steam Trains From Edinburgh: A Day Trip

Becky blog author avanti social team

By Avanti Web Team

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6 mins read | June 27, 2023

If you’ve always imagined kicking back on a steam locomotive as you glide through rolling countryside, a trip on a steam train from Edinburgh should be on your bucket list.

Scotland is renowned for its stunning scenery and offers some of the best train journeys in the world. Many of these are on a traditional steam train.

Steam train going across the Glenfinnan Viaduct

In this guide, we’ll share our favourite Edinburgh steam train trips detailing where you can go, how to get there from major UK cities, and what you can expect to see on your railway journey.

Find the best steam trains from Edinburgh

Taking a steam train from Edinburgh can be a great day trip, no matter what your destination. Whether you’re keen to spend most of the day on the train or simply want to get from A to B while travelling in style, here are some of our favourite steam train trips from Edinburgh.

Edinburgh to Glasgow

Avanti West Coast operates several services between Edinburgh and Glasgow, with a convenient journey time of just one hour. But travelling by steam train offers a unique experience and enables you to really take in the scenery en route.

If you’re not in Edinburgh already, Avanti West Coast can get you there quickly with multiple routes from major UK cities.

Rail travel between Scotland’s two largest cities will take you through the Central Belt, which is the country’s most densely populated area. Look out for Glasgow’s high-rises as you approach the skyline here.

Once you get to Glasgow, there is plenty to see and do, from shopping and sightseeing to visiting the medieval Glasgow Cathedral and exploring the city’s museums.

Edinburgh to Pitlochry

Located just two hours from Edinburgh, Pitlochry is one of Scotland’s most scenic and vibrant places to visit, and it’s totally doable in a day. Your trip here will be made all the more perfect when travelling on an Edinburgh steam train, especially if you have a love for traditional rail travel.

Along the route, you’ll travel through Falkirk, Stirling, Dunblane, and Perth, taking in plenty of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery.

When you get to Pitlochry, there are lots of things to do. For families, visit the Enchanted Forest or the Black Castle Ruins while you’re there. If it’s an adults-only trip, consider a stop at Blair Atholl Distillery and learn how they make their famous single-malt whiskies.

Known as the gateway to the Highlands, Pitlochry is home to a renowned theatre, and can also be considered a fishing village thanks to the great salmon fishing here.

Steam train in scotland

Edinburgh to Fife

The route from Edinburgh to Fife is truly breathtaking if you’re travelling by train. After leaving Edinburgh Waverley station, you’ll cross the iconic Forth Bridge. This was the first major steel structure built in Britain and the enabler for a continuous east coast railway route between London and Aberdeen.

From here, you’ll journey along the Fife coast looking out to the North Sea.

Once you arrive in Fife on your day trip, you can visit St Andrews Cathedral or the ruins of St Andrews castle. You can even take a trip to Lomond Hills Regional Park or walk along the Fife coastal path when the weather is warmer and enjoy the impressive views.

Edinburgh to Aberdeen

Journeying on a steam train from Edinburgh to Aberdeen is a great way to experience the Scottish countryside, especially if you can do a day trip on The Aberdonian pulled by the iconic Tornado engine.

With large windows for panoramic views and a restaurant car to really make the most of your time on board, this is a great trip for all the family.

Your route will begin in Edinburgh before you cross Forth Bridge and travel up the Fife coast. From here, you’ll travel onwards to Aberdeen via Montrose and Stonehaven, taking in sensational views from the clifftop.

Once you reach Aberdeen, there’s plenty to do before you return to Edinburgh, from museums and art galleries to stunning gardens and castles.

Edinburgh to the Highlands

The Scottish Highlands offer breathtaking views, whether you enjoy them from a train window or on foot. While many train journeys can take you through the Highlands, there is nothing more magical than a trip on the Jacobite steam train, otherwise known as The Hogwarts Express.

For fans of the Harry Potter films, this Edinburgh steam train journey is a must-do. From Edinburgh, you’ll embark on a round trip taking in the sights of the Forth Bridge, Glenfinnan Viaduct, Glen Coe and the fishing port of Mallaig.

Depending on your route, you might even travel via Fort William and glimpse Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. Even if the Wizarding World isn’t your thing, the views of the Highlands are not to be missed.

Edinburgh to London

Our guide to steam trains from Edinburgh wouldn’t be complete without mentioning The Flying Scotsman. This iconic train started taking passengers in 1923, travelling the route between the capitals of Scotland and England.

While it was taken out of service in 1963, there are multiple day trips across the UK each year that steam train fanatics can experience. Be sure to keep an eye out for trips departing from Edinburgh.

Edinburgh day trips with Avanti West Coast

Edinburgh Waverley station features on many of our routes in Scotland, no matter where you’re travelling from. You can reach Edinburgh in around five hours from major UK cities including London, Birmingham and Manchester. From Leeds, it’ll take you just three hours on a direct route.

Whether you’re travelling to Edinburgh to take a steam train trip elsewhere in Scotland, or you’re visiting the historic city itself for a weekend, travelling with Avanti West Coast is a no-brainer. Book your tickets in advance and make the most of your savings for your journey.

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