How To Get To Scotland From London

How To Get To Scotland From London

Ever dreamt of exploring ancient castles perched on windswept cliffs, or witnessing the majesty of the Scottish Highlands? A trip from London to Scotland unlocks a world of breathtaking scenery, rich history, and vibrant culture.

But how far is this adventure, and how do you get there? Fear not, intrepid traveller! This guide will be your compass, answering your questions about the distance between London and Scotland and outlining the most efficient travel options to suit your needs.

Imagine traversing the iconic Forth Bridge, a marvel of Victorian engineering. Picture yourself strolling through the charming streets of Edinburgh, steeped in history.  Envision yourself surrounded by the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Ready to embark on this unforgettable journey?  Read on to discover the best ways to travel from London to Scotland, ensuring a smooth and stress-free transition from the bustling city to the captivating landscapes of Scotland.

Option 1: Fly 

For those seeking the fastest and most convenient option, conquering the distance between London and Scotland by air is the way to go. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

Popular Routes:

  • London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton) to Edinburgh: This is the most popular route, offering frequent flights throughout the day.
  • London (Heathrow, Gatwick) to Glasgow: Another popular option, with regular flights connecting the two major cities.
  • London (various airports) to Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee: While less frequent than Edinburgh and Glasgow, there are still connections to other Scottish cities.

How long is a flight from London to Scotland?

  • Flights from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow typically take approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Flights to other Scottish cities may take slightly longer, ranging from 1.5 to 2 hours.


  • Flights between London and major Scottish cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow are plentiful, with departures available throughout the day.


  • Ticket prices can vary depending on the airline, time of booking, and season. However, you can expect to find budget airline options starting around £30-£40 (around $36-$48 USD) for a one-way trip to Edinburgh or Glasgow if you are flexible with your travel dates and times. Generally, prices increase for last-minute bookings and peak travel seasons. Prices are also generally higher for travel to smaller airports, such as Inverness, Dundee, and Aberdeen, or from London City airport.

Here are some additional things to consider for air travel:

  • Airport Transfers: Factor in the cost and time for getting to and from the airport in both London and Scotland. Public transportation options like trains and buses are available, or you can pre-book a taxi or rideshare service. You’ll also have to arrive at the airport around 2 hours before departure, so flying sometimes isn’t much quicker than taking the train. 
  • Luggage: Be sure to check the baggage allowance for your chosen airline. Budget airlines often have stricter baggage restrictions, so you may need to pay extra for checked luggage.

Ready to book your flight? Numerous online travel booking platforms and airline websites can help you compare prices and find the best deal for your trip. Google Flights and Skyscanner will allow you to compare routes and prices.

Option 2: Train

For those who relish scenic journeys and a comfortable travel experience, venturing from London to Scotland by train offers a fantastic alternative.

Popular Routes:

  • London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley: This is the most popular route, offering frequent services throughout the day.
  • London Euston to Glasgow Central: Another popular option, connecting the two major cities with regular departures.

Travel Time:

  • Train journeys from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow typically take between 4 to 5 hours.


  • Trains between London and major Scottish cities are plentiful, with departures available throughout the day.


  • Train tickets can vary depending on the time of booking, day of travel, and the class of service you choose. Budget-conscious travelers can find fares starting around £100 (around $120 USD) for a one-way trip if booked well in advance. However, prices can go up significantly for last-minute bookings, peak travel seasons, and first-class compartments. 

Here are some additional things to consider for train travel:

  • Comfort and Scenery: Train journeys offer a more relaxed experience compared to flying, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful English and Scottish countryside landscapes as you travel.
  • Luggage: Train travel is generally more luggage-friendly than flying. You’ll typically have no restrictions on the size or weight of your luggage.

Ready to embark on your train adventure? National Rail Enquiries and train operator websites like LNER can help you compare prices, book tickets, and plan your journey.

Option 3: Coach (Bus)

For the cost-conscious traveler, or those seeking a more immersive experience, venturing from London to Scotland by coach (long-distance bus) is a viable option.

Popular Routes:

  • Several national coach companies operate frequent services between London and major Scottish cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Travel Time:

  • Be prepared for a longer journey compared to flying or trains. Coach trips from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow typically take between 9 to 12 hours.


  • Coaches between London and major Scottish cities are plentiful, with departures throughout the day.


  • Coach travel is the most budget-friendly option. Tickets can start as low as £20 (around $24 USD) for a one-way trip, especially if you book well in advance.

Here are some additional things to consider for coach travel:

  • Budget-friendly: By far the cheapest option, ideal for those on a tight budget.
  • Onboard Amenities: While not as luxurious as trains, some coaches offer basic amenities like toilets, reclining seats, and sometimes even onboard Wi-Fi.
  • Longer Travel Time: Be prepared to spend a significant amount of time on the coach. Consider bringing entertainment like books, movies, or music to help pass the time, or consider travelling overnight.
  • Rest Stops: There will be scheduled rest stops along the way for bathroom breaks and to grab refreshments.

Ready to embark on your budget adventure? National Express and Megabus are some of the major coach companies operating routes between London and Scotland. Their websites allow you to compare prices, book tickets, and view timetables.

Option 4: Drive

For the independent traveler seeking a road trip adventure, venturing from London to Scotland by car offers a unique way to explore the sights at your own pace. Having a car is also more convenient if you plan to travel to more remote parts of Scotland (although it is possible to get around Scotland without a car with some careful planning).


  • Distance: The distance between London and Scotland varies depending on your final destination city. It’s roughly 400 to 560 miles (640 to 900 kilometers).
  • Driving Time: Expect a long journey, typically taking between 7 to 11 hours depending on traffic, road conditions, and planned stops.
  • Route Options: Several motorways (highways) connect London to Scotland. The M6 is the most popular route, but consider exploring alternative scenic routes like the M1 and A1 along the east coast.
  • Costs:
    • Fuel costs will be the primary expense.
    • There are no tolls along the route.
    • If you’re renting a car, factor in rental fees, insurance, and parking costs.
  • Driving Regulations: Ensure you understand UK driving regulations, including driving on the left side of the road. An international driver’s license may be required depending on your home country.


  • Flexibility: Explore hidden gems and charming villages along the way.
  • Scenery: Enjoy the beauty of the English and Scottish countryside at your own pace.
  • Multiple Destinations: Ideal for multi-city itineraries, allowing you to stop and explore various locations in both England and Scotland.


  • Google Maps is a valuable tool for planning your route, checking traffic conditions, and estimating travel times.
  • Websites like the AA (Automobile Association) provide comprehensive information on UK driving regulations, road maps, and petrol station locations.

Remember: Driving is a great option for a flexible and adventurous journey, but be sure to factor in the time and potential costs involved before deciding if it’s the right choice for you.


For the independent traveler seeking a road trip adventure, venturing from London to Scotland by car offers a unique way to explore the sights at your own pace. However, both London and Scotland have their own driving challenges to consider:

London Driving Challenges:

  • Congestion: London is notorious for heavy traffic, especially during peak hours. Be prepared for delays and consider using a satnav (GPS) to navigate around congested areas.
  • Congestion Charge: Central London operates a Congestion Charge zone, where drivers must pay a fee to enter the zone during specific times. Factor this into your budgeting and route planning if your journey takes you through central London.
  • Limited Parking: Finding parking in central London can be difficult and expensive. Consider alternative options like park-and-ride schemes on the outskirts of the city, or using public transportation within London itself.

Scotland Driving Challenges:

  • Single Carriageway Roads: Many scenic routes in Scotland, particularly in the Highlands, are single carriageway roads with passing places. Be prepared for slower speeds and adjust your driving style accordingly.
  • Remote Areas: Mobile phone signal can be patchy in some remote areas of Scotland. Download maps and plan your route in advance in case you lose signal.
  • Animals: Be aware of sheep and other animals that may wander onto the road, especially in rural areas.

In all of the UK, you’ll be driving on the left!

Which Method Is Better?

The best method of travel from London to Scotland depends on your priorities! Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of each option:


  • Pros: Can be the fastest and most convenient option, good for tight schedules.
  • Cons: Often the most expensive option, limited luggage allowance (unless you pay extra), doesn’t offer scenic views of the journey.


  • Pros: Comfortable and relaxing journey, allows you to enjoy the scenery, generally more generous luggage allowance than flying.
  • Cons: More expensive than coach travel (and sometimes more expensive than flying), not as fast as flying (although it can be just as fast if you consider the time spent waiting at the airport). 

Coach (Bus):

  • Pros: Most budget-friendly option, good for those on a tight budget.
  • Cons: Longest travel time, limited legroom and amenities compared to trains or planes.


  • Pros: Most flexible option, allows for spontaneous stops and detours, ideal for multi-city itineraries.
  • Cons: Requires planning the route, fuel costs, and potential parking limitations in London. Driving in both London and Scotland can be challenging for unfamiliar drivers (congestion, single-carriageway roads).

Here’s a quick recommendation based on your priorities:

  • Speed & Convenience: Fly/Train
  • Comfort & Scenery: Train
  • Budget: Coach
  • Flexibility & Multiple Stops: Car

Ultimately, the best way to travel from London to Scotland is the one that best suits your travel style and budget.  

How Many Miles From Scotland To London?

The distance between London and Scotland depends on the specific city or location you are traveling to in Scotland and the mode of transportation you choose. 

Here are some examples based on popular destinations:

City Distance (miles, km) Approx. Driving Time
Edinburgh 398 / 641 7 hours
Glasgow 403 / 649 7 hours
Aberdeen 523 / 842 9-10 hours
Inverness 560 / 901 10-11 hours
Isle of Skye 630 / 1014 12 hours


Documents Required

If you are travelling by car, bus, or train, you won’t need any special documentation as there are no borders between London and Scotland. 

If you are flying:

For UK Residents:

  • No passport required: As Scotland is part of the UK, you technically don’t need a passport for domestic travel.
  • Photographic ID recommended: While not mandatory, it’s always a good idea to carry some form of photographic identification, especially if you’re flying. This could be:
    • Valid driver’s license (provisional or full)
    • Valid EU national identity card (restrictions apply after Brexit)
    • Valid armed forces identity card
    • Valid police warrant card or badge

For Non-UK Residents:

  • Valid Passport: You will need a valid passport to travel from London to Scotland.
  • Visa (possible): Depending on your nationality, you may also need a visa to enter the UK. You can check the UK government website for the latest visa requirements.

Additional Considerations:

  • Airline requirements: Always double-check the specific requirements of the airline you’re flying with for both UK residents and non-residents. Their website or customer service department will have the most up-to-date information on what forms of ID they accept.
  • Medical documents (if applicable): If you have any specific medical conditions or require medication, consult with your doctor for any necessary documentation or prescriptions you might need during your trip.

Remember: It’s always better to be safe than sorry! Having the proper documentation will ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.

When is the Best Time to Travel Between Scotland and London?

The best time to travel between Scotland and London depends on what you prioritize for your trip. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of different seasons:

Spring (March-May):

  • Pros: Pleasant weather with longer daylight hours (especially in May), fewer crowds compared to summer, beautiful spring blooms.
  • Cons: Weather can be unpredictable with occasional rain showers, some attractions or accommodations may not be open yet.

Summer (June-August):

  • Pros: Warmest weather and longest daylight hours (perfect for exploring!), peak season for festivals and events, most attractions and accommodations are open.
  • Cons: Most crowded and expensive time to travel, possibility of rain showers.

Autumn (September-November):

  • Pros: Beautiful fall foliage, comfortable temperatures, fewer crowds compared to summer, good deals on travel and accommodation may be available.
  • Cons: Days become shorter with less daylight, some attractions or accommodations may have reduced hours.

Winter (December-February):

  • Pros: Least crowded and potentially the cheapest time to travel, festive atmosphere in December, possibility of snow creating a winter wonderland landscape (though this can also disrupt travel plans).
  • Cons: Coldest weather with the shortest daylight hours, some attractions or accommodations may have limited hours or be closed entirely, higher chance of flight cancellations due to snow.

Here’s a quick recommendation based on your priorities:

  • Pleasant weather & fewer crowds: Spring (May) or Autumn (September)
  • Warm weather & long days: Summer (June-July, but expect crowds)
  • Festive atmosphere: Winter (December)
  • Budget travel: Winter (February) or shoulder seasons (Spring & Autumn)

Additional factors to consider:

  • Specific events or festivals: Scotland has a vibrant festival scene throughout the year. If there’s a particular event you’d like to attend, plan your trip accordingly.
  • Accommodation availability: Popular tourist destinations can book up quickly, especially during peak season. Book your accommodation well in advance, particularly if you’re traveling during the summer months.

How to Get to Scotland from London: Example Routes


  • Classic City Break: London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley. This is the most popular route, offering a comfortable and scenic journey through the English and Scottish countryside. Spend a few days exploring Edinburgh’s historic sites, charming streets, and iconic castle.
  • Highland Explorer: London King’s Cross to Inverness. This route takes you deeper into Scotland, with a stop in the charming university town of Aberdeen along the way. Inverness is the gateway to the Scottish Highlands, offering stunning scenery, outdoor activities, and historical sites like Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield.


  • The Coastline Wanderer: Take the A1 route north from London, hugging the eastern coastline. This scenic route allows you to stop and explore charming seaside towns like Bamburgh, with its dramatic castle, and St Andrews, known for its historic university and world-famous golf courses. Continue north to Edinburgh or explore further north to Aberdeen and the whisky distilleries of Speyside.
  • The Lake District Detour: Head northwest from London and explore the Lake District National Park, known for its beautiful lakes, mountains, and charming villages. Continue north through Carlisle and into Scotland, following the M6 motorway. This route offers a chance to experience the beauty of both England and Scotland.

Coach (Bus):

  • Budget Explorer: Traveling by coach allows you to explore multiple destinations on a budget. Consider a route that stops in major cities like Birmingham and Manchester in England, then continues to Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland. This option allows you to experience the cultural diversity of both countries.
  • The Historical Wanderer: This route takes you through some of England’s most historic cities like Oxford, famous for its prestigious university, and Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Continue north to Edinburgh, with its impressive castle and rich history.

Things to Remember When Going Between The Two

  • While both England and Scotland are part of the UK, Scotland does have its own set of banknotes. Coins are the same throughout the UK.
  • Most places will accept both English and Scottish banknotes, as well as card payments.
  • You can exchange currency at airports, train stations, and bureau de change locations in both London and Scotland.

Mobile Phone Coverage:

  • Mobile phone coverage can be patchy in some remote areas of Scotland, especially in the Highlands.
  • Download maps and any offline resources you might need for your trip in case you lose signal.
  • Consider purchasing a local SIM card if you plan on relying heavily on your mobile phone for data and calls during your trip.

Power Adapters:

  • Scotland uses the same three-pronged plug (BS 1363) as London.


  • The weather in Scotland can be unpredictable, especially in the mountains. Be prepared for rain showers and wind, no matter what time of year you visit!
  • Pack layers of clothing so you can adjust to changing weather conditions.


  • Tipping is not expected in most restaurants and pubs in Scotland, but a small gratuity is always appreciated for good service.

A Last Word…

Whether you dream of exploring ancient castles perched on dramatic cliffs, or yearn for the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands, this guide has equipped you for an unforgettable adventure. From the speed of a flight to the scenic comfort of a train, you now have the knowledge to choose the perfect travel option. So, pack your bags, brush up on your basic Gaelic greetings (optional, but appreciated!), and get ready to discover the magic of Scotland.  A world of adventure awaits!


What is the cheapest way to get from London to Scotland?

The cheapest way to get from London to Scotland generally involves taking a coach (long-distance bus) or a budget airline flight. Bus tickets can start as low as £20 (around $24 USD) for a one-way trip, especially if you book in advance. Flights can be around £30-£40 (around $36-$48 USD) for a one-way trip, if you are flexible with travel dates and times and book well in advance.

What is the easiest way to get from Scotland to London?

The easiest way to get from Scotland to London depends on your definition of “easy.” Train travel is generally considered a relaxing and comfortable way to travel, especially for long distances. You can sit back, enjoy the scenery, and avoid the hassle of traffic.

Flights are generally the fastest way to travel between London and Scotland.

What station in London goes to Scotland?

You can catch a train directly from London to Scotland’s two biggest cities. London King’s Cross offers direct trains to Edinburgh Waverley (some also stop at Haymarket), operated by LNER and Lumo. For Glasgow (Central Station) and other more westerly destinations, Euston is the better station in London to use. These services are operated by Avanti West Coast.

Both routes take around 4 hours 30 minutes.

London King’s Cross also offers trains to Inverness (8 hours), Aberdeen (7 hours), and Dundee (6 hours). 

How much does the Caledonian sleeper cost? 

The Caledonian Sleeper train offers a range of accommodation options, so the cost can vary. Prices start from £50 for a Comfort Seat (similar to a reclining airline seat) and go up from  to £400+ for an en-suite double room. Prices can be slightly higher for destinations beyond Edinburgh and Glasgow, such as Inverness, Aberdeen, or Fort William. Generally, tickets are cheaper the further in advance you book your travel date. Railcards and special offers like Flexipass or Family Tickets can sometimes provide discounts on Caledonian Sleeper fares.

Can you fly within the UK without a passport?

UK citizens can fly within the UK, including from London to Scotland, without a passport. BUT, photo ID is still needed – for example, a driving licence – if you are over 16. 

Non-UK citizens will generally require a passport for the journey, and possibly also a visa, depending on where their passport was issued.

Owner and author at Scotland in a Week, born and raised in Scotland. Emily has travelled extensively across the country and is eager to share her knowledge with everyone planning a trip to this magical country.

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