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Leeds to Edinburgh

from £20.50
Visiting the historic city of Edinburgh? Here’s our handy guide on what to expect on your journey from Leeds.

Available train operators on this journey

  • CrossCountry
  • TransPennine Express
  • Avanti West Coast

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What are my Leeds to Edinburgh train options?

There are four options when it comes to making a Leeds to Edinburgh train journey. You could take a direct CrossCountry service, you can change at York for an LNER service, or you can take a train across to Preston for an Avanti West Coast or TransPennine Express service. Finally, you can take TransPennine Express via Manchester. Let’s take a look at each option more closely.


This is the most simple option for a Leeds to Edinburgh train trip. You’ll find a roughly hourly CrossCountry service. This is their typical calling pattern:

    • York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Morpeth*, Alnmouth*, Berwick-upon-Tweed*, Dunbar* and Edinburgh (3h - 3h10m)

The calling pattern between Newcastle and Edinburgh can vary, and the trains don’t stop at every station. Here are the fares that you can expect to pay on the day. As LNER sets the fares on this route, there are only single tickets:

    • Anytime Single - £75.50
    • Off-Peak Single - £66.10.

The Off-Peak Single is valid after 09:30 on weekdays. There aren’t any restrictions on weekends and Bank Holidays.

LNER via York

This is your next option for a Leeds to Edinburgh train journey. Usually, you’ll either take a Northern or TransPennine Express service to York before joining an LNER train. This is an option roughly once per hour.

The stopping patterns of trains can vary, but you can expect this to take between 3h and 3h15m.

As for the fares on the day, they’d be the same as if you took CrossCountry. They’re ‘Any Permitted’ fares, so you can use any operator.

Avanti West Coast or TransPennine Express via Preston

Finally, if you’d prefer to take a completely different route, then you can take a Northern service to Preston before joining Avanti West Coast (or TransPennine Express). It’s a bit of a slower route, as you can expect the journey to take between 4h20m and 4h45m, depending on the connection time in Preston.

Again, the ‘Any Permitted’ fare we’ve listed above is valid this way, so the fare on the day is the same as any other route.

TransPennine Express via Manchester

This is a fairly long route, but there can be some cheaper fares if you don’t mind going via Manchester. It takes around 4h20m to 4h30m, and you’ll need to change at Manchester Piccadilly.

Both trains will be operated by TransPennine Express. The fare on the day will be the same as if you take any other route listed above.

How do I get the best Leeds to Edinburgh train fare?

You can get the best Leeds to Edinburgh train fare with Railsmartr. Let’s take a look at the options one month in advance:

leeds to edinburgh train fares via york on railsmartrleeds to edinburgh train fares via preston on railsmartr

As you can see, taking TransPennine Express via Manchester is the cheapest, but going via LNER on the East Coast isn’t far behind. It’s the direct CrossCountry service that’s actually the most expensive!

What are the trains like?

Let’s go through the trains that run on the Leeds to Edinburgh route and what their features are.


You’ll have a Voyager train if you’re taking CrossCountry on a Leeds to Edinburgh train trip. They have four, five, eight or nine carriages. You’ll find a power socket at every window seat and free WiFi. Seating in Standard Class is in a 2+2 layout:

You’ll find a trolley service of drinks and snacks. If the train is too busy, then it’ll usually be ‘static’ and act like a small buffet. It’s worth noting that luggage space on these trains is fairly limited and they’re liable to being extremely busy. You’ll also find a film on the windows, which makes it difficult to get a reliable internet or phone signal.

In First Class, seating is in a 2+1 layout. You may get complimentary drinks, snacks and sandwiches:

TransPennine Express

If you’re using TransPennine Express on your Leeds to Edinburgh train trip, then you’re likely to have a Nova 1 and then a Nova 2. They have five carriages and have seats in a 2+2 layout in Standard Class:

You’ll find a USB port and three-pin socket at every seat as well as free WiFi. There’s also a catering trolley on every train (only until 7:30pm between Leeds and Manchester on some trains), with free refreshments if you’re in First Class. First Class seating is in a 2+1 layout.

The trains themselves are slightly different (the Nova 1 has more seats packed in) but the on-board experience will be very similar.


If you’re using LNER, then you’ll have an Azuma train. The vast majority of the trains on this route have nine carriages, though a couple will have five or 10. In Standard Class, all of the seats are in a 2+2 layout:

You’ll find power sockets under every seat, as well as a cafe bar. It’s also possible to order food and drink directly to your seat by scanning a QR code on the seatback. In First Class, you’ll also have access to USB ports under your armrest. Feeling peckish? There’s a complimentary menu on every train. You can expect, at minimum, sandwiches, snacks and hot and cold drinks (including alcohol after 11am). On many trains, you’ll get hot food, as well. 

When it comes to seat comfort, the seats in both classes can be a little firm. However, the legroom is pretty good, so there’s a bit of space to stretch out.

Avanti West Coast

Taking an Avanti West Coast train? You’re likely to have a Pendolino train. They’re currently being refurbished and have either nine or 11 carriages. The refurbished ones have a power socket at every seat:

Meanwhile, Standard Premium and First Class have seats in a 2+1 layout. Wondering what the difference is? We’ve taken a trip to compare them.

Feeling peckish? There’s a shop in Coach C. If you’re in First Class, then you’ll get complimentary food and drink served at your seat.

As for seat comfort, we’d recommend the refurbished trains. They have more legroom, winged headrests and generally more space to stretch out.

Is there anything else I should know?

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your Leeds to Edinburgh train tickets. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ when it comes to rail fares!

Don’t forget that we don’t charge any fees, either. That includes if you change your mind and want to travel on a different day. If your ticket is refundable, we’ll refund it fee-free, too.

All fares stated on this page are for ONE adult with no Railcard discount and were correct at 13:00 03/10/2023. All information is issued in good faith. They’re subject to change at any time and Railsmartr are not responsible for any loss or disappointment incurred as a result of the information provided.