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Travel, Edinburgh to London

We are looking at 3 nights in London and about 10 nights in Scotland next May. The most economical travel to/from Virginia seems to be roundtrip Heathrow. But we'd need to get back to London: is it best to fly? or take the train?

Thank you!

Posted by
1316 posts

Pro’s and con’s for both really. You’ll probably find there is more choice by rail. If you choose to take the train, ‘Advance’ tickets are your friend. You need to commit to a specifically timed train and buy in advance (hence the name) though or you’re faced with more expensive tickets. I think the the specific ‘Advance’ tickets are released twelve weeks before day of travel - check the internet to be certain. You can book online and collect from your departure station, but you must, I believe have the same credit card you purchased the tickets online with. Book (reserve) seats because these trains get very full and you don’t want to end up sitting on your suitcase in some rocking vestibule between carriages.

Flights are on the surface quicker, but you have to get to and from airports and be at the airport way before your flight leaves. The trains will depart from central Edinburgh (Waverley station) and deposit you in north central London (King’s Cross I think) with immediate access to the tube to even more central London or an hour’s trip to Heathrow from King’s Cross.

Posted by
6113 posts

You are going to waste a day getting back to London, so the best option would be to fly open jaw. Failing that, I would head to Scotland first - fly from Heathrow then take the train back to London to end your trip.

There are bank holidays on 2 May and 2 & 3 June, when places will be busier and more expensive.

Posted by
210 posts

In 2020 we had booked the RS Best of Scotland and air much cheaper in and out of Heathrow. We had planned to take the train to Edinburgh from Kings Cross London because we had heard the scenery was fantastic. We had booked a cheap flight on BA from Glasgow to London Heathrow late evening and planned to spend the night at Hilton at the terminal at Heathrow. Then fly to US next morning. Didn’t get to do because of Covid but seemed easier to fly in and stay at airport and not have to fight transport on day of travel home plus hotel 1/2 the price of hotel in London.

Posted by
3060 posts

British Airways has a flight departing Edinburgh at 6:50 AM arriving at LHR at 8:25 for $68. There’s also a direct train from Edinburgh to London’s Kings Cross station (4h 30m) where you’ll have to connect to London’s Paddington station to get to Heathrow.

Posted by
11488 posts

But we'd need to get back to London: is it best to fly? or take the train?

Assuming you are unable to do either of the options Jennifer suggested, then knowing what time your flight from LHR back to the US is has a bearing on what "better" is.

Unless your US bound flight is late in the day, not being in London the night before has its perils, which many would choose to avoid.

Posted by
1338 posts

Remember to include the cost of getting from Edinburgh to Heathrow when you compare roundtrip cost to openjaw cost. This probably makes openjaw a bit better.

If you are going from Edinburgh to Heathrow and don't want to spend time in London after your trip to Scotland, then you should compare travel time from Waverley to Heathrow. NOT from city center to city center. This probably makse roundtrip a bit better.

Then compute what that extra time in Edinburgh will cost. Only you can decide if the time is worth the money.

Posted by
104 posts

Again, many thanks to everyone. After sleeping on it, I'm pretty certain we'll do open jaw, leaving for home out of Edinburgh. It does just make more sense.

Best wishes,

Posted by
1836 posts

My suggestion: use the train. Get off in York for one night, then head on to Edinburgh. If necessary, take one night off Scotland. We had first class tickets for the train and they were only a few pounds more than second class. Seats were more comfortable and some food was included.

Posted by
1664 posts

I would second trying to break in York. It is a fascinating historic city dating back thousands of years, and also has in the NRM one of my favourite museums.

I would also add is if the price differential is where you are comfortable go 1st class rather than standard. I travelled Glasgow to Birmingham for £20 extra for 1st class over standard. For that extra £20 I got unlimited WiFi, if I wanted a bottle of wine, a meal, snacks, a really comfy seat, and a seat I could actually look out the window from.

However the return was standard on a different operator, so I just put on an audio book and fell asleep.