With its soaring mountains, glimmering lochs and endless wilderness, Scotland seems a different world away from London, yet it’s super easy and not as pricey to get there from the capital as you might expect. We look at the different options for extending your travels upwards to the bonnie Highlands.
1. By train
Scotland is well-connected with London thanks to the UK’s excellent, extensive rail network. For example, the train journey from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh can take as little as 4 hours 20 minutes and cost as low as £40 one way if you book in advance. Regular rail services also run to Glasgow (4hrs 30mins), Dundee (5hrs 50mins), Aberdeen (7hrs), Inverness (8hrs), with connections to regional stops, too.
Useful websites for booking train tickets to Scotland
2. By sleeper train
Yes that’s right – there is a way to travel in the UK where in the evening hub-bub of London you can board a train, wine and dine in a sedate lounge car that echoes of yesteryear before retiring to your cosy compartment for a restorative night’s sleep. You wake up the next morning with a cup of tea brought by your steward, then look out the window to see you’re in the Highlands with deer running beside the track. The Caledonian Sleeper train runs from London Euston to the heart of Scotland every night of the week apart from Saturdays, and there are reclining seats for a cheaper alternative to the compartments. A most civilised way to travel! The sleeper train takes 13 hours from London Euston to Fort William – a great spot from which to explore the Highlands. There are also services to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen.
Useful websites for planning your snooze cruise
See the Caledonian Sleeper website, also read London to Scotland by sleeper by the Man in Seat 61. You can also book tickets on the National Rail website and The Trainline, as well as at any railway station in Britain.
3. By car
Maybe the more laborious option, but you’ll have the freedom to stop where you like and could break up the journey taking in some other amazing areas of the UK. The Lake District serves as a perfect mid-way stopping point and will warm you up for the mountains of Scotland. This could also work out as the cheaper of the options if you share the journey with others and split the cost of fuel. The drive from central London to Glasgow takes around 7hrs; to Edinburgh around 7hrs 30mins; and to Inverness around 10hrs 30mins.
4. By coach
National Express runs from London Victoria Coach Station regularly throughout the day with journey times of 8hrs 15mins to Glasgow, 9hrs to Edinburgh, and 12hrs 35mins to Inverness. Budget provider Megabus operates routes to Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Perth and also offers a sleeper coach with beds on the Glasgow route.
5. By plane
Possibly the quickest – and often cheapest – option; though remember to take into account any travel to and from the airport, additional luggage charges and so on. Budget airline easyJet has regular, daily flights leave from London’s Gatwick and Luton airports to Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh; and from London Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow. British Airways has regular, daily flights leave from London’s Gatwick, Heathrow and City airports to Glasgow and Edinburgh; and from London’s Heathrow and City airports to Aberdeen.
6. By foot...
Maybe not such an easy way...it would take 115 hours to walk the 403 miles (650km) from London to Glasgow – without a break…
Find out more about travelling around Britain by bus, train or car.