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Train from Edinburgh to London

I am asking people to share their experiences with the trains from Edinburgh to London. What is the most reliable/cheapest resource for purchasing tickets? What stations are the best travel in and out of? How long does the trip generally take from beginning to end? And anything else we may need to know.

I’ve done a bit of research online but I’d like to hear from people who have done it...Any advice or insight would be helpful, this will be our first time traveling overseas! ...thank you in advance :-)

Go to to check times and prices and that will link you to the actual company that runs the trains in order to buy tickets.

Do not go to BritRail, Trainline, Rail Europe, Eurail or any other spurious provider.

The fastest servce runs between Edinburgh Waverley and London Kings Cross and takes around 4.5 hours. There’s a slightly longer route via Glasgow from London Euston.

The cheapest tickets are called Advance (with a capital A) available around 12 weeks in advance. If you can buy first class tickets at a price you like, go for it - but standard class is fine too. Tickets labelled Advance can only be used on the specified train.

It’s a nice journey - city centre to city centre.

From Edinburgh, if travelling to Kings Cross, try to sit on the left for great views of the coast, Berwick on Tweed, Durham & Newcastle.

Posted by
23465 posts

We made that run last summer. Comfortable and convenient. Bought advance tickets for 49 pounds. You really do not have a choice of stations. I think we made three, maybe four stops along the way.

Posted by
101 posts

I took the Virgin East Coast train from Edinburgh to London Kings Cross in October. It was about five hours. Though after requesting a window seat on the left side of the train for the best view, I realized on boarding that I was at a table (set of four seats, facing each other), and I was sitting backwards! Not what I'd envisioned, but it turned out to be fine. If I had to do it again I would have looked at the seat map more carefully and gotten a conventional forward-facing seat.

The food aboard the train was decent (better than Amtrak food in the U.S., IMO). The conductors were pleasant and it was overall a good experience, though unremarkable. I'd seen such beautiful scenery in the Scottish Highlands the week before that everything from the train window paled in comparison.

I bought my advance ticket online, directly from Virgin, prior to leaving the U.S., and picked it up at the Edinburgh station from a ticket machine. It was a pretty easy process overall; I just needed to have the reservation number, and the same credit card I used to buy the ticket. The only other thing worth pointing out, which would have helped me to know, was that you need your ticket to exit the station in London, so keep it and have it handy.

Oh also: when collecting tickets from a machine, make sure you pick up every bit of cardboard it spurts out. One will be your ticket but you may have a seat reservation on a separate card - and if you’re traveling on an Advance ticket you’ll need to show both to the ticket inspector.

If you can get first class for around £50, that’s a good deal and I would snap it up. Personally I’d be prepared to pay maybe a £20 premium on top of the standard price for first class on this route, but standard is perfectly comfortable too.

Posted by
4064 posts

Trainline is not spurious, in my experience, but instead is efficient and easy to use. The National Rail service is more complicated but also does a good job.

Trainline is not spurious, in my experience, but instead is efficient
and easy to use.

You’re right, it’s not spurious. In fact it uses the same software and information and process of booking as many of the actual train companies do; and supplies the same range of tickets.

And then it adds on an additional booking fee, just for the hell of it. Which is why I always suggest starting with National Rail then transferring to one of the actual train companies to book your tickets: no extra fee.

My company makes us use Trainline for booking business trips. I booked a £6 train ticket the other day - and once Trainline had added the booking fee and also a fee for picking up the ticket from my company’s machine it ended up costing £8. For personal use, I’d always opt not to pay a booking fee!

Posted by
2559 posts

This is the only website you need

Advance tickets for weekday travel go on sale about 6 months before your travel date (12 weeks for weekend and Bank Holiday travel).

Southbound sit on the left side for the best views.

Posted by
9862 posts

Trainline is not a spurious provider.

In continental Europe it sells tickets for the exact same prices as the rail companies do. It certainly could be at a disadvantage in the UK if it adds a fee to a ticket, as indicated above.