London to Edinburgh
Available train operators on this journey
- Avanti West Coast
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What are my London to Edinburgh train options?
You have three different options for a London to Edinburgh train trip. The most frequent one is LNER from London King’s Cross, but you can opt for low-cost Lumo as well. The third option is a little more unconventional. At some times of the day, it can be cheaper to take a slower Avanti West Coast service from London Euston. Let’s have a look at each of the options and how long they take.
LNER is certainly the most common option. You’ll find two trains per hour on their London to Edinburgh route, so there are plenty of trains to choose from. Normally, there’s a ‘fast’ one and a semi-fast one. Here are their normal stopping patterns and journey times:
- York, Darlington, Newcastle, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh (1x per hour - 4h20m - 4h30m)
- Peterborough, Newark Northgate, Doncaster, York, Northallerton*, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Alnmouth* and Edinburgh (4h35m - 4h45m)
Trains usually stop at either Northallerton or Alnmouth. At the start and end of the day, they may call at both stations, as well as other stations between Newcastle and Edinburgh.
Here are the maximum fares that you’ll pay on the day. LNER has ‘single-leg pricing’, so they only offer single fares:
- Anytime Single - £193.90.
As of February 5, 2024, LNER is trialling a new way of doing fares. As a result, the only flexible fare available is the Anytime Single. Instead, you'll find a 70 Min Flex fare, which is an Advance ticket that allows you also to use trains 70 minutes on either side of your booked train. You can find out more information here.
Your next option for a London to Edinburgh train journey is Lumo. They run up to five trains per day in each direction.
The typical stopping pattern for each train is Newcastle, Morpeth and Edinburgh. Some trains also stop at Stevenage. The journey time can vary (as these trains are slotted between slower ones) but it’s usually between 4h20m and 4h30m.
While it’s highly recommended that you book in advance (as there are very few unreserved seats on board) it’s possible to buy these fares on the day:
- Anytime Open Return - £158.00
- Anytime Day Single - £79.00.
Avanti West Coast
Finally, you can take Avanti West Coast. This is a much slower option, but it can make for a cheap London to Edinburgh train journey if you time it right. There are usually up to six direct trains in each direction. This is their typical calling pattern:
- Watford Junction (pick-up only), Milton Keynes Central, Rugby, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Sandwell & Dudley, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme Lake District*, Penrith North Lakes*, Carlisle, Haymarket and Edinburgh.
Not all trains stop at Oxenholme or Penrith. The usual journey time for this trip is around six hours, but it’s also possible to get a faster train to Crewe and change there to save around an hour.
There aren’t any ‘on the day’ fares that are valid on this route. You’ll only find cheaper Advance tickets, which we’ll explain in the section below.
How do I get the best London to Edinburgh train fare?
You can get the best London to Edinburgh train fare with Railsmartr! We’ll show you all of your options, so you can choose the best one for you. Here’s what we found a month ahead:
So, it is indeed true that Avanti West Coast can be one of the cheaper options for a London to Edinburgh train journey. Lumo takes the award for the cheapest service on this particular date and time, though! While there isn’t a huge difference with Avanti West Coast, this difference becomes much bigger during the evening peak:
So, if you have to travel in the evening peak, the 16:40 London Euston to Edinburgh (as seen above) could be a great money-saving option. As for the trains that say split single, what are they all about?
Split tickets are new to Railsmartr and they're as simple as giving you multiple tickets for a single journey in order to help you save money. You don't need to do anything extra and you'll still be able to use the train that you pick without any extra fuss. How does that work? Take a look at our dedicated page.
Our top tip for saving money when taking a London to Edinburgh train is pretty simple. Pick a quieter time to travel! Mid-week, on a Friday morning or a Saturday early morning, can be a better time to go. As LNER are now trialling their 'simpler fares', it isn't quite as easy as saying to avoid traditional 'peak' times. Friday evenings and most of the day on a Sunday can now be one of the more expensive times to travel with them.
That said, Lumo and Avanti West Coast aren't a part of this, so their fares are still a little more predictable.
What are the trains like?
So, we have three different types of trains to choose from on our London to Edinburgh train trip. What are they like? Let’s take a look.
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.
Chosen Lumo for your London to Edinburgh train trip? You can expect a power socket and two USB ports under every pair of seats. All the seats are in a 2+2 layout and every train has five carriages. There isn’t any First Class, so this is what it’s like throughout the train:
It’s possible to pre-order food using the LumoEats service if you’re boarding in London or Edinburgh. If you don’t pre-order anything, then a trolley with drinks and snacks will run up and down the train.
Taking luggage? Be careful. You’re only allowed to bring a certain amount with you. Only the middle three carriages have full-size luggage racks, so we wouldn’t recommend bringing the kitchen sink.
As for the seats, they’re a little more comfortable than on LNER. The headrests have wings as well, so it’s a bit easier to have a quick nap on the move.
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.
Are you 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?
Looking to go further afield once you reach Edinburgh? We’ve written a guide to day trips that you can take from the Scottish Capital.
The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your London 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 12:00 21/02/2024. Information was added to this page regarding LNER Simpler Fares on 16/02/2024. 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.