Taking a scenic train journey in Scotland is a relaxing travel experience that will give you an even greater appreciation of the Highlands countryside. There’s nothing quite like sitting back in a comfortable seat, watching the world go by and being lulled into a state of restful bliss.
Naturally, it’s all the better if the view out of your window is awash in green. Lucky for you, such a trip is just a train ride away. And a Highlands train will let you take in some breathtaking views on your way to the best Scotland has to offer.
Getting to Scotland by train
For the full train experience, consider taking a sleeper train from London to Glasgow on the Caledonian Sleeper. It takes about eight hours and lets you off at Glasgow Central, refreshed and ready for your next adventures.
If you’d prefer a faster journey, daytime trains will get you to Glasgow or Edinburgh in about four and a half hours.
Glasgow to Fort William
From Glasgow, the route to Fort William takes you along the western part of your Scotland train journey. It lasts about three hours and 45 minutes.
Just over two hours from Glasgow, be sure to stop at Bridge of Orchy, a tiny village named for its 18th Century bridge. Explore the military roads built during the Pacification. You can also wave at passing hikers on the nearby West Highland Way long-distance trail.
Fort William is an unmissable stop on your holidays in Scotland by train. If you love history, prepare to be steeped in it here. You’ll want to visit Old Fort William and the Inverlochy Castle ruins.
If you’re more interested in the outdoors, you’ll love the many hiking trails in the area. You can even climb to Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK. Loch Linnhe is right there and offers plenty of activities.
Edinburgh to Inverness
Once you’ve had a chance to enjoy all that Edinburgh has to offer, what better way to continue your Scotland train trip than a slow train to the Highlands? A three-and-a-half-hour journey will take you to Inverness along the east coast of Scotland.
Just 50 minutes from Edinburgh, be sure to stop at lovely Stirling, and while you’re there, visit the 14th Century Stirling Castle. Kids and kids at heart will enjoy visiting the Old Town Jail.
Perth is one and a half hour ride from Edinburgh on your tour of Scotland by train. Climb up Kinnoull Hill to see a majestic view of Perth and much of Perthshire. Or you can get some retail therapy on trendy George Street.
The Kyle Line
Quite possibly the most photogenic train journey in Scotland, the Kyle line runs from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh. The trip lasts two and a half hours. The route is punctuated with tiny villages nestled against the lochs.
Kyle of Lochalsh is best known for being the gateway to the Isle of Skye. Once in Kyle, you can take a scenic train tour of the Isle of Skye or stay on Skye for a few days at one of its many cosy inns.
The Far North Line
When it comes to Scotland train trips, the Far North Line is hard to beat. Untouched vistas and tiny villages abound.
On your way north, you might enjoy stopping at Dunrobin Castle for a visit (summer only). On the Cromarty Firth, the village of Invergordon is just one hour’s ride from Inverness. Once there, you can feast on oysters and watch the cruise ships on their way in and out of the port.
As the train makes its four-hour and 20-minute journey to Wick, be sure to look out for Insta-ready views of Skibo Castle, Carbisdale Castle, and the Balblair wood.
If you’d like to catch a ferry to Orkney Island, hop off at Thurso, which is just under two hours from Inverness. Or you can stay on until you’ve reached Wick, an old herring port and former Viking outpost.
Booking your train trip to Scotland
As you've discovered, Scotland's diverse landscape and rich history can be best appreciated through its picturesque train journeys. With Avanti, you can experience the captivating beauty of the Highlands, the charm of the Isle of Skye, and the untamed vistas of the Far North Line.
To ensure a seamless and enjoyable journey, book your tickets in advance and take advantage of the best fares and discounts. The Avanti West Coast app is your essential travel companion, making it easy to access train schedules, find competitive prices, and manage your tickets.
Embark on a memorable Scottish adventure with Avanti, and let the awe-inspiring landscapes leave you with memories to cherish.