Widely regarded as one of the prettiest cities in the UK and Europe, Edinburgh is a city full of beautiful gothic facades, vibrant creative energy, and incredibly rich historical treasures. It is also a major rail hub, with 4 stations serving the city and connecting with dozens of destinations around Scotland and the UK. Edinburgh Waverley, in the heart of the city centre, is the centre of Edinburgh’s train network, connecting downtown Edinburgh directly with Glasgow, London, Liverpool, Aberdeen, Carlisle, and many other major cities across the UK.
Scotrail is Scotland’s national railway provider, and Edinburgh Waverley is one of their biggest and busiest operation points along with Glasgow Queen Street and Glasgow Central. Scotrail provide services from all of Edinburgh’s main train stations to destinations all over Scotland, from as far north as Inverness and the Highlands as well as Ayrshire and the southwest, plus long-distance services to England, Wales, and Ireland (via ferry).
Avanti West Coast run a large number of services to Edinburgh from a range of different West Coast and central cities in Scotland, England, and Wales. Most services connect with Edinburgh Waverley as the main endpoint, although Avanti West Coast serve other stations in Edinburgh including Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh Gateway, and Edinburgh Airport. They have long-distance services from as far south as London.
Virgin Trains operate a complex network of services emanating out of Edinburgh Waverley. Some high-speed Virgin services connect Edinburgh with London in as little as 4 hours and 30 minutes or Glasgow in as little as 45 minutes.
Edinburgh Waverley is part of the developing HS2 high-speed rail network, which aims to significantly cut the time to take a train to Edinburgh from cities such as London and Birmingham.
Edinburgh Waverley is the primary railway station for a range of services by train to Edinburgh. It is the city’s biggest both in terms of facilities and in terms of train services. Waverley is by far the most conveniently located station in Edinburgh, located right in the middle of the city between the Old Town and the New Town, a stone’s throw from Princes Street and just a short walk from the Royal Mile. It has an excellent range of goods and services, including luggage storage, car hire, cash machines and currency exchange, accessible toilets, and a wide range of shops and eateries. The station has step-free access and passenger assistance services are available for disabled passengers. Edinburgh Gateway is a much smaller station, which is largely utilised for connecting the city and regional trains with Edinburgh Airport. Edinburgh Park station is another major station in the west of Edinburgh, receiving trains from Glasgow and the West Coast and convenient for business travellers for events at the nearby business park. Brunstane, Slateford and Kingsknowe are some of the smaller local stations, with very limited services and facilities, that are useful mostly for local connections.
There are many methods and tips for finding a cheap train to Edinburgh. However, a few of these stand out about the rest – first and foremost, book in advance and be flexible! Prices usually only always go up, so booking as early as possible will help you save money. Also, being flexible not only on what day and time you can travel but also where you travel (think smaller towns and breaking the journey up into multiple connections) could make a significant saving when it comes time to booking. In all cases, it makes sense to shop around and have a look at different options. Omio, which collates hundreds of different fares and ticket types from dozens of different providers in one place, makes it easy to do just that.
Edinburgh is a city full of world-famous monuments and events as well as plenty of pleasant surprises and under-the-radar delights. Although the Edinburgh Fringe is one of the world’s biggest cultural events, it is by no means the only thing worth visiting Edinburgh for – take the train to Edinburgh and see it from a different angle from atop Arthur’s Seat, the knobbly hill overlooking the city that provides better views than from Edinburgh Castle, without the ticket entry price! It’s worth having a walk around Edinburgh’s grand old streets, but don’t forget to take a stroll along the sleepy Water of Leith, too. Lined in parts by beautiful gardens, this eventually leads all the way to the sea with sensational views. Wherever you end up, it’s easy to get back to the city centre thanks to Edinburgh’s great network of public buses and trams.
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