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Going on a Coldplay concert with my wife at Wembley in London in August on a Friday, and going to Edinburgh on Saturday/Sunday. We have not decided how to travel from London to Edinburgh. To see some of the countryside would be nice. We have checked that we can travel by train and rental car of course.

What is the best way to travel from London to Edinburgh? The hotel we will stay in Edinburgh is close to the train station and we are taking the train to Glasgow on Monday. Is it fairly easy to drive from London to Edinburgh if we take a car? Only been driving on the right side of the road in my life, but been driving in big cities like Rome, Madrid, Berlin, etc. with no problem. Price-wise, the rental car is also more expensive than the train, and I will probably drain more energy to drive.

Any suggestions on what we should do to experience and have the best trip and travel experience from London to Edinburgh? (And if there is any must stop by and watch places on the way which do not include driving into big cities since it will be to time-consuming on a transfer trip like this).

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    Stack Exchange sites do not do recommendations for travel and stops. Besides, we do not know what you like.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 18:13
  • no-one can tell you which is better (especially with no information about what you value). You could ask smalller questions: how long does the drive take? how long does the train take? How much of a detour is it to get off the highway and see [X]? How long does it typically take to "do" or see [Y]? Gather the details you need to make your decision, one question per detail, leaving useful resources for others. Then make your decision yourself. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 18:16
  • The choice between train and car is a clear one, you can give details for each of them. The choice for stops is not, too many options and each has good points to them.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 18:37
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    You could also not go see Coldplay, and travel across Europe for 2 months with the saved money! Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 7:57
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    You can fly ... and see the countryside from above. Note that if you drive, beyond Newcastle the road is definitely inferior: there are long stretches of single carriageway road. The A1 highway wasn't built as a motorway. It is an ancient road that has been upgraded piecemeal to motorway standard in sections. Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 8:13

4 Answers 4

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Google maps expects you to need about 6:40 to 8:50 hours to drive.
The train will take less than 5 hours, and if you book early you should be able to get train tickets for £36.00 each. If you wait with booking till the day you will pay a lot more, likely comparable to the rent of a car and the petrol needed. I used this planner, it will show you which company you travel with, you can buy the ticket from that site or from the site I used to look.

On a 7 hour car travel you will want to use motorway, otherwise your journey will be longer still, way longer most likely.
Not all the motorways will be boring but many are.
View out of a train is often more varied.

I would go for a train journey, but for me the choice is obvious as I do not even have a driving license.

You will also need to consider your return journey and/or drop-off costs for a car if you do not return to London. For the train tickets you can often find a good price for journeys both ways, that same site allows you to fill out details for the return journey.

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  • Thanks! We are headed towards the train and we have approx same research as you have done. Unless there is anyone that will recommend any "need to stop by" place which will be reachable by car. But since the price difference will be quite high will that "need to stop by" place be quite worth it.
    – Bjørnar
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 18:12
  • If you feel you need to stop, buy two train tickets, one to and one from that place and rent a car locally for a few hours if you feel the need to drive. But mostly you can find good stops on the train line. UK train tickets do not allow you to stop and take a later train, but two shorter tickets can be cheaper than one long distance one.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 18:15
  • @Willeke More expensive UK train tickets do allow you to stop and take a later train, but the cheap advance tickets that you have (quite rightly) recommended don't.
    – djr
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 18:35
  • @djr - you can stop somewhere and get on a later train if the ticket type allows 'break of journey'. Lumo (a new operator) is offering one-way Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley for £24.90 on March 1st (no break of journey, no refunds, valid only on booked train). Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 19:58
  • Thank you for the suggestions @Willeke! The train trip was nice, with lovely sceenery and both of us was not tired when we arrived at Edinburgh.
    – Bjørnar
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 8:05
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I recommend the train.

Don't underestimate the energy drain of driving on the left side for the first time and then for 7 and a half hours straight. This will NOT be a relaxing experience, you will quite likely be exhausted after this drive.

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The sleeper train leaves from Euston at 23:50, arriving into Waverley at 07:23. (It leaves at 23:30 on Sunday evenings). However, it costs £205 for a bunkbed sleeping 2, travelling on Fri 5 Aug. Additionally, getting to there from Wembley at the end of the gig might be tight.

https://www.sleeper.scot/timetable/london-edinburgh/ https://new.sleeper.scot/?children=0&destination=9328&males=2&origin=1072&outDate=2022-08-05

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There are also busses from London to Edinburgh. Typically they are much less than half of the rail fare. The Megabus website says fastest journey is 9 hours and shows prices starting at £9.99. The National Express website offers overnight travel for £14.90. There may be other companies.

I recommend against driving yourself.

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  • Nice to know! The bus trip is probably also comfortable since it is mostly highway driving and not too many stops?
    – Bjørnar
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 7:19
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    As boring as looking out of a car on the motorway.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 9:07
  • Not many people consider sitting in a bus for 9 hours comfortable, I think. Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 20:55
  • @BernhardDöbler The question does not ask for "comfort", it asks for best without giving any criteria for determining best. The bus websites emphasise that their coaches are comfortable and list various amenities to ease the journey.
    – AdrianHHH
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 21:15

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