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Trains to Edinburgh can whisk you to the Scottish capital from all over the UK, so you'll be enjoying this truly fascinating and beautiful city in no time. A major tourist destination, Edinburgh is famous for its Fringe Festival, the iconic medieval Edinburgh Castle, and The Royal Mile, which leads from the castle to Holyrood house Palace – the Queen's official residence when visiting Scotland. Teeming with shops, restaurants, and pubs, there's no shortage of fun to be had in Edinburgh – that's without even mentioning the city's vibrant theatre, gallery and music scenes!

Ready to book? Start a search in our Journey Planner for trains to Edinburgh and we’ll show you times and tickets. Keep reading to find out more about train companies, how to find cheap train tickets to Edinburgh and what to do once you get there.

How to find cheap train tickets to Edinburgh

If you want to bag yourself some cheap train tickets to Edinburgh, there are several convenient methods you can make use of. Whether you’re travelling to the Scottish capital on business or to explore and take in the sights, we’ll share our top tips for knocking the pounds off your rail fares.

Our top tips for finding cheap train tickets to Edinburgh:

  • Get a Railcard: Save up to 1/3 for a whole year
  • Book tickets to Edinburgh in advance: Scotrail, LNER, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry and TransPennine Express usually release tickets 12 weeks in advance
  • Travel Off-Peak: Tickets are usually cheaper during quieter times on weekdays and weekends
  • Use GroupSave: If you're travelling in a group of 3-9 people you could save 34%

1. Get a Railcard

One of the best ways to save money on your train journeys is to equip yourself with a Railcard. If you travel to Edinburgh or other locations by train more than a couple of times a year, it’s well worth shelling out for one, since you’ll be looking at saving up to 1/3 off the price of your train tickets*. There are some eligibility requirements though, so head on over to our Railcards page for a quick guide. Railcards cater to different age ranges and circumstances so, from the Senior Railcard to the Disabled Persons Railcard and the newly-introduced 26-30 Railcard (Millennial Railcard), you'll be sure to find your match.

2. Book tickets to Edinburgh in advance

Another tactic that can help you secure cheap train tickets to Edinburgh is to purchase your tickets as far ahead as possible. In many cases, the earlier you buy an Advance ticket, the cheaper it’ll be. Most train companies release their tickets 12 weeks before the departure date, but we have a handy tool known as Ticket Alerts that can email you as soon as they become available for your preferred route. Sign up, and we’ll do the work for you, just in case you forget to check!

Want to learn more? Head over to our Advance train tickets page for additional info.

3. Travel during Off-Peak times

To stand a good chance at saving even more money, make sure to book your Advance ticket for an Off-Peak time. Off-Peak trains require you to travel at certain times of the day, certain days in the week or via a particular route, offering good value for money. If you then add your Railcard discount to your Off-Peak train ticket, you’ll be well on your way towards cheap rail travel.

For more details, check out our Off-Peak train tickets page.

Before you book your tickets, have a quick check that your Return tickets are cheaper than two Singles. At times, it’s possible that one way can be cheaper than the other.

4. Travelling as a group? Use GroupSave

Last, but not least, there are discounts available for those travelling in groups of three to nine. Perfect if you’re going on a family trip or heading to Edinburgh with friends, you could save up to 34% thanks to GroupSave, a type of free discount that can be applied to your Off-Peak tickets if you book for the correct amount of people. Please bear in mind that GroupSave is not applicable for all journeys by the different train companies and will be applied if valid for your journey and selected in the Railcard dropdown. All tickets must be purchased in a single booking, and all passengers must travel together on the day of departure.

For even more hints on how to save money on your rail fares, check out our cheap train tickets page.

*Conditions and peak travel time exclusions may apply on some Railcard types.

London to Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line

Trains from London to Edinburgh are operated by London North Eastern Railway, who run services on the East Coast Main Line (ECML). All services depart from London Kings Cross, calling at several major stations on the ECML – including York, Doncaster and Newcastle.

The fastest services take just 4h 20m to reach Edinburgh Waverley – the city’s main railway station. You’ll travel on an Azuma train. These are LNER’s high-speed, modern trains capable of speeds of 125 mph – they've taken over former rail operator Virgin Trains East Coast on the East Coast Main Line Free WiFi comes as standard and all seats have access to power sockets.

If you want to travel in comfort from London, consider upgrading to First Class. When booking just a day or two ahead, upgrading to First Class can cost as little as £10 more than Standard Class tickets. You’ll enjoy reclining seats, extra space, morning papers brought to your table and a complimentary menu. LNER are currently offering fewer options on their menu as catering is phased back into the service; you can view the updated menu here.

How to find cheap tickets from London to Edinburgh

The cheapest tickets from London to Edinburgh are Advance Singles. These are usually found well in advance of the day of travel, but on quiet services, they are available up to the night before travel. The next cheapest tickets are Super Off-Peak singles. The Super Off-Peak window for this route usually falls between 11:00 and 15:00, so if you can spare the time to travel in the middle of the day, you can make big savings. These discounted tickets can be available the day before travel or even on the day, so you don’t always have to book weeks in advance to find the cheapest fares.

Railcards can also save you a third on trains to Edinburgh from London. You can buy Railcards directly through Trainline and store them in app – so you can do away with those easily-forgettable paper Railcards. Buy a Railcard in minutes online.

Azuma train in Lincoln Central
First Class in the Azuma

Popular train journeys to Edinburgh

Trains to Edinburgh from England come up the East Coast mainline. Other services come from Glasgow, or from Inverness and Aberdeen in the north of Scotland, including:

  • London to Edinburgh
  • Newcastle to Edinburgh 
  • Glasgow to Edinburgh 
  • Aberdeen to Edinburgh 

Have a look at our table below with some of the most popular routes to Edinburgh, or you can search for other stations in our Journey Planner at the top of the page.

Route Fastest journey time Train operator
London to Edinburgh 4h LNER, Avanti West Coast
Glasgow to Edinburgh 42m CrossCountry, ScotRail, LNER
Aberdeen to Edinburgh 2h 17m CrossCountry, ScotRail, LNER
Inverness to Edinburgh 3h 15m ScotRail, LNER
Manchester to Edinburgh 2h 56m TransPennine Express
York to Edinburgh 2h 22m CrossCountry, TransPennine Express, LNER
Newcastle to Edinburgh 1h 22m CrossCountry, TransPennine Express, LNER

 

London North East Railway is replacing most of the current fleet of trains serving the London to Edinburgh route with new high-speed Azuma trains. These trains are now whisking passengers from London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley in just four hours – making your journey north sleeker and faster than ever!

Traveller's top tip

When booking your train tickets to Edinburgh, reserve a seat on the right-hand side of the train on the way to Edinburgh. Between Newcastle through to Berwick-upon-Tweed, you'll enjoy fantastic views of the coastline.

 

Why not try First Class?

Did you know you can travel to Edinburgh in First Class without breaking the bank? That’s right! You can knock the pounds off even the most expensive of train tickets when you book through us and make use of our top tips for saving money on your rail fares. From booking well in advance to using a Railcard, there are so many ways you can save on UK train tickets. Try searching for First Class tickets during Off-Peak hours in our Journey Planner right now! And don’t forget, if you don’t already have our app make sure to download it. You’ll be able to buy mobile tickets while on the go and take a big deal of the stress out of travelling. Whether you want to travel like a rock star or treat that special someone to a First Class experience, we’ve got you covered.

To book First Class, simply search for your route as usual in our Journey Planner and look out for the First Class tickets (they'll appear to the right-hand side of the 'Standard' tickets). Heading to Edinburgh from London? Check out our guide to travelling First Class from London to Edinburgh.

Learn more about First Class train tickets, including what awaits you on board.

 

Visiting Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a popular city with tourists all year round. The famous Edinburgh Castle is a magnificent monument to the past, dominating the city from its volcanic crag and offering stunning views of the metropolis, the surrounding countryside and out over the Firth of Forth. Attracting over one million visitors a year to explore its fascinating history, it's a good starting point for exploring Edinburgh.

A very popular visitor attraction is Edinburgh Zoo, situated to the west of the city not far from Edinburgh Airport. With around 80 acres of parkland to explore, visitors can see about 127 different species of animal and over 1,000 animals in total. The most popular attractions are Giant Pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang, otherwise known as Sunshine and Sweetie.

The Royal Botanic Garden has an extensive collection of plants from all over the world set in beautiful gardens and is ideal for a peaceful stroll and a picnic while enjoying the riot of colours during the season.

Taking a stroll along the Royal Mile reveals a world of quaint shops, atmospheric pubs, and restaurants in which you can take a well-earned rest.

If it's your first time in Edinburgh or even Scotland and you're looking to taste some of the worlds most renowned Scotch whiskies, along the Royal Mile you'll find The Scotch Whisky Experience, one of the many 5-star attractions here.

 

Frequently asked questions

What's the main train station in Edinburgh?

The main train station in Edinburgh is Waverley station, located between Edinburgh New Town and Old Town in the city centre. Depending on where you’re travelling from, you’re likely to arrive into Waverley station or Haymarket – the other stations in the city.

Which train companies run trains to Edinburgh?

There are a number of trains companies in the UK that operate trains to Edinburgh, including ScotRail, LNER, Avanti West Coast, Caledonian Sleeper (sleeper train) and Transpennine Express.

How can I get cheap train tickets to Edinburgh?

It’s easy to grab yourself cheap train tickets to Edinburgh. We’d recommend using a Railcard, buying your ticket in advance or travelling during Off-Peak hours if you can. Read our cheap train tickets guide to find out more.

Are trains running to Edinburgh?

Trains run frequently almost every day to Edinburgh, although there may be less services during the weekends and bank holidays. Check our live train times for up-to-date information on trains to Edinburgh.

Can I use my Railcard to save up to 1/3 on my trip to Edinburgh?

Yes, there are several types of Railcards you can use to save up to 1/3 on your trip to Edinburgh, these include:

  • Two-Together Railcard (Great for couples and friends who always travel together)
  • 16-17 Saver (You can save up to 50% with this one)
  • 16-25 Railcard (Ideal for students)
  • 26-30 Railcard (Also known as the Millennial Railcard)
  • Senior Railcard (For those aged 60 and over)
  • Friends & Family Railcard (Great for families of up to 4 adults with up to 4 kids)
  • Disabled Railcard (If travelling with another adult they can save too)
Average savings on fares booked prior to day of travel vs full price fares on day of travel in . Subject to availability. Excludes coach.

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