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How to Get From London to Edinburgh by Train

Updated: November 3, 2023

This post covers how to take a direct, high-speed train from London (and vice versa), average ticket prices, duration, and what you can expect along the way. 

We are local tour guides based both in London and Edinburgh and regularly take the train with tour groups between both cities.

It's also one of the most asked questions on our tours, so we decided to put our expertise and experience to use and create a guide to help answer some questions.

But here are some quick answers.

Ticket prices range from £42-£50 on average, with some of the cheaper train tickets as low as £20!

You can expect the journey to take approximately 4-5 hours during the day and 7.5 hours overnight.

Trains are usually faster, cheaper, and more comfortable than flying between both cities, and the scenery is much better.

And while trains are more expensive than buses, they are almost always faster and more comfortable.


How to Get From London to Edinburgh by Train

There are a lot of different ways to get to Edinburgh from London (bus, car, organized tour, flights), but probably the best and easiest method is simply to take the train.

And if you are visiting the U.K. on holiday/vacation, and if you are anything like travellers who take our tours, then time and comfort are probably important factors for you.

There are currently 3 train companies offering services from London to Edinburgh: LNER, Avanti, and Lumo.

LNER is the most popular option, but Lumo is often the most affordable.

Each of these companies offers direct service to Edinburgh, so you won't have to get off the train for any reason.

These services are typically cheaper than a flight, but not as affordable as a bus ride.

Although the journey takes longer than an airplane, it's faster than taking the bus.

London King's Cross Station. Image source: Pixabay user bukkywanderlust0.
London King's Cross Station. Image source: Pixabay user bukkywanderlust0.

Most trains from London to Edinburgh depart from Kings Cross Station, which is one of the biggest train stations in the city.

Avanti trains operate out of London Euston, which is quite close to Kings Cross Station, so you'll have to travel to this area one way or another.


Tickets

Ticket prices range from £42-£50 on average, and you can expect the journey to take approximately 4-5 hours.

At times, some of the cheaper train tickets can get as low as £20!

For the best prices and seating, we highly recommend booking your tickets well ahead of time, as last-minute tickets can be quite expensive.


Hours

The first train service from London to Edinburgh usually begins around 5:30 AM or 6:00 AM.

The last train generally pulls out in the later part of the evening, around 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM.

However, please check the specific departure times for your travel date as the train schedule can vary.

The later trains are literally overnight services, allowing you to sleep on your way to Edinburgh, and some travelers actually prefer that option.


Amenities

Most of these trains have modern amenities such as wifi, charging stations, air conditioning, and a cafe where you can grab a quick snack.

If you choose to get a first-class ticket, you can look forward to more legroom and often free food or drinks.


Tips From Tourists:

While some members of our London Travel Tips Facebook Group suggest traveling light due to the limited amount of space for luggage on board, others note that you can technically bring as much as you wish.

Each carriage of the train will have luggage racks, and it's entirely possible to bring multiple large suitcases if necessary.


LNER Train From London to Edinburgh

One good choice for a journey from London to Edinburgh is to use LNER (short for London North Eastern Railway).

This train has two main paths, and the quickest one goes through two cities, York and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

You'll start your trip at the well-known King’s Cross train station in London.

The train has comfy seating, free Wi-Fi, and designated spots to charge your gadgets.

Starting from London King's Cross, the journey can connect passengers to bustling cities like Edinburgh, Leeds, York, Glasgow, Inverness, and Aberdeen.

If you choose a first-class ticket, you'll get extra complimentary food and snacks brought right to you.

The ticket price can change. It depends on when you book it and if you pick a standard or first-class lounge.

  • Duration: 4h 30m
  • Constant Availability
  • £50/Standard Class Lounge | £91/First Class Lounge
  • Book Now or learn more.

Tips From Tourists:

If you're wondering how to find your train once you get to Kings Cross Station, this member of our London Travel Tips group has you covered.

As they note, although this is a massive train station, it's pretty well signposted and there is an information desk if you get lost.

Nonetheless, if you're coming to this station via the tube, these directions should help you figure out where to go in order to avoid missing your train.

In addition to this advice, multiple travelers on our Facebook Group recommend getting a ticket on the right-hand side of the train, as it offers some of the best views traveling north.

It should also be noted that LNER is the most frequently recommended train service to Edinburgh on our Facebook Group.


Avanti Train From London to Edinburgh

This train goes through Preston and Carlisle. It's not as straight as the other path but goes through a beautiful city center.

Starting at London Euston station, you'll arrive at Edinburgh Waverley station at the end of the trip.

Luggage storage is available at London Euston station, but there is also space for your bags or suitcases on the train.

It's right between the old town and modern Edinburgh, and it's close to Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle.

This path can make your trip more exciting. The things you can find on this train are similar to those on LNER services.

You can expect comfy seats, free Wi-Fi, and more.

The ticket price can change. It depends on what class you travel to and when you book your seat reservations.

Booking early can also help you to get cheap train tickets. We will list the cheapest prices.

Some tickets, called super off-peak, off-peak, and anytime tickets, always cost the same.

And the good news is they never run out! You can use them on any train they work for, with or without booking a seat.

  • Duration: 4h 20m
  • Constant Availability
  • £49.80/Standard Class Lounge | £122.50/First Class Lounge
  • Book Now or learn more.

Tips From Tourists:

Sadly, members of our London Travel Tips group actually don't recommend this service, indicating they have had a lot of issues recently.

If you want to avoid any problems, consider one of the other trains to Edinburgh.


Lumo Train From London to Edinburgh

This is arguably the most affordable train from London to Edinburgh, and it goes through Stevenage, Newcastle, and Morpeth.

Despite being a cheaper service, it's about as fast as all the other trains.

Like the LNER trains, this service runs from London Kings Cross station to Edinburgh Waverly station.

One unique thing about Lumo trains is that they run exclusively on electricity, while other trains can switch to diesel if necessary.

This is great for the environment, but it can cause issues that limit how often they can operate the service.

The other potential downside to this service is that it doesn't stop at as many stations along the way as either LNER or Avanti trains.

That said, if you don't plan to get off the train much during your journey, this shouldn't be a problem.

Another issue is that they do not offer first-class seating, but they do have free Wi-Fi and on-board entertainment.

Tips From Travelers:

Many of our Facebook Group members feel that Lumo actually provides a pretty good service for the price.

Although they don't have first-class and their service isn't as frequent as what LNER offers, you might find the lower price is worth having a slightly less comfortable ride to Edinburgh.

As you can see, it is also recommended to board as soon as possible in order to secure the best possible seat, as there is no first class and seating is first come-first serve.

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: November 3rd, 2023
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