Edinburgh to Exeter by train

How to travel by train from Edinburgh to Exeter

CrossCountry operates the only direct trains between Edinburgh and Exeter
Though they do take a somewhat indirect route as they travel along the East Coast via Newcastle.
However, when looking up this journey it's worth paying close attention to the connecting times between trains on the alternative indirect journey options.
The transfer time between trains, particularly at Birmingham New Street, can be less than 10 minutes, so making these connections cannot be guaranteed.

Connect in Exeter for other destinations in Devon including Barnstaple, Torquay and Teignmouth



From Edinburgh Waverley to Exeter St. Davids

Travel Information

Final Destination: Plymouth or Penzance

All trains also call at: Taunton and Tiverton Parkway

Trains usually depart from Edinburgh hourly, but due to the length of the journey the final departure of the day typically leaves Waverley station at 15:08

A mix of 125 and Voyager trains are used on this route, but there is no means of working out which of these trains will be used on the departure you will be travelling by.

10 x trains per day


Book Early and Save: Yes

Online Bookings Usually Open: From 12 weeks ahead of travel

Booking Advance Tickets

If you want to travel at the cheapest possible price, look for the 'Advance tickets', though the three key things worth knowing about booking and using 'Advance' tickets are:
(1) Your ticket(s) will only be valid on the departure you selected when making a booking.
(2) But when travelling by CrossCountry trains, you can amend your ticket free of charge, regardless of when it was booked and when you will be travelling from 2 hours after purchase and up to 15 minutes before your train is due to depart, as long as the stations are the same.
(3) If the train you are booked on is delayed, you cannot then just hop on an alternative train operated by a different company.


When you book an Advance ticket for this train journey, you will be automatically assigned a seat(s), but if you book the other types of ticket ahead, you can request a complimentary reservation
However, if you buy Off Peak or Anytime tickets just prior to boarding at the station, a seat reservation WON'T be automatically included with your booking.

Though CrossCountry now offers a service by which holders of Anytime and Off-Peak tickets can book reservations up to 10 minutes prior to departure time.

Travelling on Monday - Friday

Tickets are usually available 12 weeks ahead of the travel date.
However, when you look up a journey you may see dates further ahead on the calendar, but you'll be informed that tickets aren't yet available for those dates.

Travelling on Saturday-Sunday

Tickets are usually available 12 weeks ahead of the travel date, but maintenance work on the route is periodically undertaken at weekends and if it is scheduled on your travel date, it can affect when tickets will be released for sale.

If you're looking up a journey less than 12 weeks ahead and Advance tickets aren't available, it can be a good indication that works will be impacting on your travel date - a fairly common occurence on a journey as long as this.
It can be worth checking this on the National Rail website

Finding a late deal

CrossCountry atypically offers the ability to book Advance tickets until up to 15 minutes before departure.

However, because of the length of this route, you may be able to save money by splitting the tickets across separate sections of the journey.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
National Rail *

National Rail Guide

In Great Britain each Train Operating Company provides its own booking service for journeys by its trains, but many of their websites also sell tickets for nationwide journeys, regardless of which company operates the trains on the routes you wish to travel by.

The National Rail website is plugged into all of the train operator's booking services, so when more than one of these companies offers tickets for a route, it in effect offers a price comparison service.
It isn't a ticket agent, so you will be connected to the website of your choice in order to make a booking.

Rail Europe *
CrossCountry *

CrossCountry Guide

If you will be buying tickets last minute for CrossCountry trains so won't have received a reservation, you can arrange reservations up to 10 mins before departure by using the 10 minute reservation service.

Another aspect of how CrossCountry offers tickets for sale outside of the norm is that if you book any type of ticket ahead, you will automatically receive a seat reservation.
If you book Off-Peak or Anytime tickets you can transfer them to a different departure.

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesCoastal views

Good to Know

If when you board, you discover that your assigned seat(s) are on the right-hand side of the train, when facing the direction of travel, see if you can find available seats on the left of the train.
If you move to a different seat(s) it won't affect the validity of your ticket.

The sea views on this journey are on the left.
If your ticket(s) don't include reserved seats, then try to choose seats on the left, when facing the direction of travel.

Journey description:

The scenic highlights of this journey all occur within the first two hours, but it's a route with four distinct phases.

(1) Most of the journey between Edinburgh and Alnmouth is beside the coast

The sea views kick in before the train has even left Edinburgh behind; and they initially continue until south of Dunbar.

To the north of Berwick-upon-Tweed the train will travel across the clifftops as it crosses the border into England, these are the most dramatic coastal views on the journey.

Minutes after the train has passed through Berwick-upon-Tweed, the next highlight is the view from the majestic Royal Border Bridge.

Between there and Alnmouth there are views on the left over the dramatic Northumberland coast.

(2) Between Alnmouth and Darlington the railway snakes its way through the towns and cities of north-east England, and just before Newcastle station on the left there are views of the city's iconic Tyne Bridge.

The next highlight of the journey is the passage over the River Tyne, as the train departs from Newcastle Central station and heads over the King Edward VII Bridge.

Looking to the left, five other bridges that span the river can be seen; and there are also some great views of the Tyne Bridge as the train arrives in Newcastle station.

Around 15 mins after leaving Newcastle comes the final highlight of the journey, the stunning views over the city of Durham.

Over on the left before and after the station, the town's stunning castle and cathedral can be clearly seen in all their glory.

(3) The train will attain the highest speeds of the journey as it races across the flat landscape between Darlington and York.

(4) From York to  Exeter the train will pass through a series of cities and large towns, which are separated  by farm land; though north of Derby the railway travels through the foothills of the Peak District.

Sadly there is no guarantee of rainbows as the train leaves Edinburgh behind Sadly there is no guarantee of rainbows as the train leaves Edinburgh behind
Look out on the left for the view of the Bass Rock Look out on the left for the view of the Bass Rock
By the coast to the south of Dunbar By the coast to the south of Dunbar
Heading south from Berwick Heading south from Berwick
Passing the village of Alnmouth Passing the village of Alnmouth
Arriving in Newcastle Arriving in Newcastle
Looking down on the River Tyne as the train departs Newcastle Looking down on the River Tyne as the train departs Newcastle
The stunning view over the city of Durham The stunning view over the city of Durham
Travellling through Derbyshire Travellling through Derbyshire
Heading west from Taunton Heading west from Taunton
Looking left on the Royal Border Bridge just after departing Berwick Looking left on the Royal Border Bridge just after departing Berwick
A glimpse of the ruins of the smugglers bothy at Lamberton Skerrs south of Berwick A glimpse of the ruins of the smugglers bothy at Lamberton Skerrs south of Berwick
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