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Cheap trains to Edinburgh

The Scottish capital has so much to offer. Whether you’re hiking up Arthur’s Seat or soaking up history at Edinburgh Castle, everyone loves a visit to Edinburgh. We all love getting value for money as well though, so here’s our guide to finding cheap trains to Edinburgh, including the Edinburgh to London train price.

What are the cheap trains to Edinburgh from London?

It’s well-known that you have two operators competing to offer cheap trains to Edinburgh from London. LNER are the main operator, while low-cost Lumo entered the scene in 2021. We’ve even produced an LNER vs Lumo guide and compared the two operated on everything from seats to sustenance.

So, is Lumo really cheaper? Let’s take a look at the Edinburgh to London train price when we book a week in advance:

So at a glance, yes, Lumo will offer a better fare on a mid-week midday train a week in advance. If you look even further in Advance, that price is likely to drop further.

However, as we found in our comparison between the two companies, it isn’t necessarily all that simple. If you’re travelling as a family group, then LNER have their own (much cheaper) return tickets. Even when you’re travelling alone, there’s often little price difference at some times of day.

There is another option if you want cheap trains to Edinburgh, though. For this example, we’re looking at a month in advance, as at the time of writing (May 2023), engineering works are taking place on the route we’re interested in.

Instead of looking at trains from King’s Cross, try Euston instead and travel with Avanti West Coast. As you can see here, the difference in the Edinburgh to London train price is quite stark:

As the direct Euston to Edinburgh train runs via Birmingham, it’s quicker to take a Glasgow train and change at Carlisle. So long as you don’t have lots of heavy luggage though, it’s probably worth the saving. Just keep an eye out for the snail symbol and Avanti logo (a triangle) on the Railsmartr site when you book.

How about if I’m coming from Newcastle?

You actually have a choice of four different companies if you’re looking for the cheapest train tickets to Edinburgh from Newcastle. The bad news is that there often isn’t much pricing-wise to differentiate them!

Lumo and TransPennine Express tend to have better prices. As you can see, they’re the best options here if you’re booking a week in advance:

In terms of flexible return tickets, TransPennine Express are the cheapest option. It’s £46 if you want a return that’s valid to come back within a month, so long as you travel after 9am.

You might also find that you can save by booking from Newcastle to Carlisle then onwards to Edinburgh. You’ll need to change and it’s a lot slower, but one to consider if prices on direct trains are much higher.

What are the cheap trains to Edinburgh from elsewhere in Scotland?

If you’re travelling from elsewhere in Scotland, your main operator is going to be ScotRail.

For travel from Glasgow, there is just one cheap train, which is the 06:48 LNER service from Glasgow Central (Monday to Saturday only). It’s not running at the moment (May 2023) so we’ve taken a look at June. As you can see, it’s a good way to get a cheaper fare in the morning rush hour:

It comes back at 20:19 (Monday to Friday) and 21:20 (Sunday) with prices being roughly the same. So yes, that does mean it isn’t any good for a weekend day trip, as it doesn’t come back on a Saturday and doesn’t go out on a Sunday.

On other routes, such as from Inverness and Aberdeen, ScotRail do offer cheap trains to Edinburgh. They’re typically aimed at less busy trains and those that run with more carriages. For example, the 10:50 from Inverness to Edinburgh is often very busy, so Advance tickets tend not to be sold for it. At weekends, you’ll find that fewer long-distance trains have cheaper fares available.

Just remember that ScotRail often stops selling Advance tickets around 24 hours before departure. This means that LNER might be a better bet if you need to do a last-minute one-way trip.

The good news is that ScotRail will be temporarily abolishing ‘Anytime’ fares from October 2023 for a six-month trial. This means that there’ll be no such thing as a ‘peak’ train. So, if you want cheap trains to Edinburgh from elsewhere in Scotland, it might be worth making plans for the Autumn!

I want cheap trains to Edinburgh from Birmingham!

You have a choice of two routes from England’s second city to Edinburgh. So, which route has the cheap train tickets to Edinburgh? Let’s take a look:

No question really, it’s Avanti West Coast. Not only is CrossCountry slower, but long-distance fares are incredibly high.

In fact, if you’re coming from Derby, it’s cheaper to take a train to Crewe and then change onto Avanti West Coast rather than attempt to go direct:

Don’t use CrossCountry if you can help it, is pretty sound advice for getting cheap trains to Edinburgh from the Midlands.

Is there anything else I should know about the cheapest train tickets to Edinburgh?

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your cheap trains to Edinburgh. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ when it comes to rail fares. Not only that, but we’ll show you the slower, but cheaper options that some websites won’t.

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 14:00 16/05/23 and are for travel on 23/05/23 unless otherwise stated. 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.