Trains from London to Scotland: How to Plan Your Trip

speeding train

Written by our web team

6 min read | 15 November 2023

From wild glens to remote lochs, Scotland’s scenery is both diverse and stunning. Visitors travelling to Scotland from London come here to hike and fish, as they roam the valleys and hills on hiking holidays and walking routes.

In the main tourist towns, many historic buildings and museums offer guided tours. Here you can also pop into a whisky distillery or take lunch in a local pub if the mood strikes.

Travelling is convenient as Avanti runs a speedy train service that departs from London's main stations, as well as from other major cities. Use this guide to plan your trip and maximise your visit.

Why visit Scotland?

For those who love to travel, London to Scotland via train is a great route. Visitors to this loch-filled land fall in love with the beautiful scenery and bustling towns.

For comedy and entertainment fans, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe draws huge crowds every August with performances and street acts.

If hiking is more your thing, walkers of all ages and fitness levels come here all year round to ramble across the many routes.

The trip from London to Scotland is quick and straightforward. Avanti West Coast trains go to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and beyond.

Things to do in Glasgow

The turrets and towers of Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, bathed in sunlight
Situated towards the east coast, Glasgow is bigger than the capital Edinburgh. The name translates in Gaelic to “dear green place,” and Glasgow has plenty of green spaces to visit. A city of this size also has lots of attractions.

  • The Mackintosh House: The home of Glaswegian designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh is a great place to start your visit to Glasgow.

The reassembled house gives a fascinating glimpse into the artist’s home life. The Mackintosh House is in the Hunterian Art Gallery, which you can also explore.

  • Glasgow Botanic Gardens: These gardens house the glass Kibble Palace and its collection of tree ferns. Visitors can take a guided tour to find out how they thrive.

Children are free to be let loose in the play area. You can then fill your plates with a slap-up afternoon meal in the Tearooms.

  • Riverside Museum: This striking steel building sits right beside Glasgow’s iconic Tall Ship Glenlee. The museum echoes the city’s connections with manufacturing and engineering.

Inside, you’ll find a recreated street scene, a steam locomotive, and a sizeable collection of vintage vehicles.

  • Bus tours: The Glasgow Tour allows you to hop on and off a bus and see plenty of sights from up high. The trip starts at George Square in the centre of town.

A running commentary covers Glasgow Cathedral, the Riverside Museum, and the shopping district.

Things to do in Edinburgh

Given that Edinburgh is Scotland's capital city, it's a thriving hub of activity and visitors where you can curate the perfect itinerary for your trip.

In summer, visitors pack out the streets for the Fringe Festival. As for the rest of the year, there are walking routes, visits to historical locations, and whisky and gin-tasting tours.

Here are just a few examples of some of the sights:

  • Edinburgh Castle: This iconic historic building is a 10-minute walk from the train station.

Chalked up as the most besieged place in Britain, most of the Castle’s visitors are now tourists. Take the uphill walk from the city centre and then go on an audio tour, or make your way around.

  • Fringe Festival: Make sure you book early for this annual homage to dance, comedy, and drama that takes place all over the city town.

With big names and new faces on the show list, it’s a colourful and exciting event that lasts for weeks. Be sure to get your tickets well in advance.

  • Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park: Anyone expecting a hill walk will be shocked to discover that this popular natural attraction is actually a volcano. It’s also an ancient hill fort, giving beautiful views across Edinburgh.

At 40 minutes on foot from Edinburgh Waverley Station by foot, it should be easy to fit this into your route.

  • Scotch Whisky Experience: A city centre distillery with a great malt collection. Take a tour to widen your knowledge about this popular tipple. A trip to the shop, bar, or restaurant will help enhance your overall experience.

Travel from London to Scotland by train

A train travelling through the Highlands of Scotland during the daytime
In under six hours, you can go from London to sitting in a Scottish whisky bar. Avanti West Coast trains travelling from London to Scotland stop at both Edinburgh and Glasgow.

There are also trains to Motherwell, Haymarket, Lockerbie, and other Scottish locations

Trains to Edinburgh

A trip from central London to Edinburgh allows you to take in the scenery going by, catch up on work, or read your book. During the week, the first train of the day is 05:18, and during the weekend, the first train is at 07:48. The journey takes just over five and a half hours.

Trains to Glasgow

The direct trip from London to Glasgow’s city centre takes approximately four and a half hours, a reasonable time considering the distance.

Weekend trains start at 08:47, while weekday trains start at 05:31, with the last one of the day departing at 00:39.

How long does it take to travel from London to Scotland?

Travelling from London to Scotland can take as little as four and a half hours. Trains leave London Euston for Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley.

The Caledonian Sleeper takes seven and a half hours to reach Glasgow or Edinburgh, but is a more relaxed journey.

Travelling to Scotland from London with Avanti

A train pulling into Euston Station
With a First Class train ticket, you can enjoy the First Class Lounge at Euston station. It has a shower, complimentary drinks, and free WiFi.

With Standard Class tickets, you can still use the First Class Lounge at the end of your trip. Simply ask the train manager for a voucher.

While Avanti trains offer a scenic route to Scotland, if you prefer, you can snooze your way there on the Caledonian Sleeper. A First Class Sleeper ticket also gives you access to the First Class lounge at Euston Station.

If you book in advance, you can often find special deals on train journeys. Remember, a Railcard could save you one-third when you book your tickets. The savings are as much as half for passengers aged 16 and 17.

Buying an Advance ticket also gets you savings. If you download the Avanti West Coast app for iOS and Android, you can manage the whole thing on your phone.

Buy train tickets for your next journey

Buying through our website or app saves you money because we never charge booking fees.

To take a look at more ways to save including using a Railcard, booking in advance, and booking as a group, visit our ways to save page.

Avanti West Coast App