How to Travel to Scotland From London, England


From London, it's roughly 300 miles to the Scottish border and about 400 miles to the nation's capital, Edinburgh, via the historic Great North Road -- now the A1. The number of methods of transportation available on this route vary in price and duration: rail, bus, plane and car. The one you take depends on whether you need to get there quickly, or prefer to take in some scenery and sights along the way.

Hop on a Train

  • Traveling by train is the most common and convenient option. There are two routes: The East Coast line, heading for Edinburgh then onward to Aberdeen and Inverness, and the West Coast line to Glasgow. Both lines can be expensive; book well in advance to take advantage of saver deals. The direct, high-speed East Coast train departs from London King's Cross, calling at Peterborough, York and Newcastle along the way before arriving in Edinburgh four and a half hours later. This is the famous Flying Scotsman line that has been running since June 1862, and it was also the name of the famous engine that took passengers along the route in luxury from 1923 to 1963. The West Coast line, operated by Virgin Trains, departs from London Euston and calls at Crewe, Preston and Carlisle, taking five hours to reach Glasgow. Sleeper trains, increasingly being scrapped throughout Europe, remain popular on this route, and massive investment has been channeled into brand-new trains and a five-star service, scheduled for 2018, on the Caledonian Sleeper line.

Going by Bus

  • Traveling by bus is the cheapest option, though it also takes the longest. The U.K.'s largest coach operator, National Express, run several services a day, all departing from London Victoria coach station. It will take you between nine and 12.5 hours to reach Edinburgh, and between eight and 11 hours to get to Glasgow. As with the train, the cheapest tickets are bought well in advance. Stagecoach also operates a service, the Megabus Gold, that runs both a daytime and a sleeper service to all Scotland's major cities. At night, the seats of these double-decker buses convert to bunk-beds.

Fly Across the U.K.

  • Traveling by plane may be the fastest option in actual transport time, but once you've factored in the time spent traveling to and from the airports at both ends, going through security and check-in, and baggage reclaim, the train comes out about as quick. However, you can sometimes find cheap flights and it can prove handy, especially if you have a meeting to make. All the major London airports, including the central London City airport, fly to Edinburgh and Glasgow. The average flight time is one hour and 10 minutes. British Airways, as well as budget airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair, fly this route.

A Scenic Drive

  • You can also drive to Scotland from London. It will take you approximately seven hours, depending on traffic, to reach either Edinburgh or Glasgow by the quickest route -- via the M1 and M6. A more scenic route, if you're not in a hurry, is along the A1 through the North York Moors and Northumbria, a little more than 400 miles. The A1 has been around since Roman times and is one of the oldest roads in Britain. The sight of the "Angel of the North," a dramatic, 65-foot-tall steel sculpture by artist Antony Gormley, helps break the monotony of the journey near Gateshead. Another sight -- and perhaps a place to stop -- is the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, site of the priory ruins and Lindisfarne Gospels. The island is connected by a causeway that's cut off twice daily by the tides.

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