Edinburgh to Leeds by train

How to travel by train from Edinburgh to Leeds



From Edinburgh Waverley to Leeds

Travel Information

Final Destination:
Penzance or Plymouth or Bristol or Birmingham - the CrossCountry trains.
Leeds - the LNER train

All trains also call at: York

The final departure of the day comprises an Azuma train operated by LNER, but it is the slowest service of the day as it has a journey time of 3hr 45mins.

Which company and train is used on each departure won't particularly impact on ticket prices, travel at quieter times and you'll be more likely to find cheaper Advance tickets, irrespective of which train is being used for a departure.
The train you will be travelling by also doesn't particularly impact on the journey times, as they all follow the same route.

Aside from environmental considerations there are two very good reasons for opting to take the train from Edinburgh to Leeds:

(1) Edinburgh Waverley station has a fabulous location in the heart of the Scottish capital, and Leeds station also offers easy this route, there are now more departures than ever before to choose from, when travelling by train between these cities.

(2) Very few routes taken by trains between cities are as fabulous as this journey!
Because for the majority of the train ride between Edinburgh and Leeds the railway lives up to its name of the 'The East Coast Mainline'.

1 or 2 x trains per hour


Book Early and Save: Yes

Online Bookings Usually Open: from 12 weeks ahead of the travel date (u

Choosing a departure

As there are multiple perators which provide the trains on the Edinburgh to York route, the recommendation is to use the National Rail booking service when looking up this journey.
By doing so you'll have an overview of the ticket times and prices of all departures, no matter which company is operating each departure, and you will also avoid any booking fees.

One company doesn't always offer the cheapest fares on this route, so it's worth making an easy comparison across all departures.

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 in usual circumstances 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.

The potential to save by splitting tickets on Trainline

It can be worth looking up this journey on Trainline.

It can be possible to save money by using split ticketing, with the booking process being no more complicated than booking conventional tickets - find out more.


When you book an Advance ticket for an Edinburgh to Leeds 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 - more info on this
Discounted Advance tickets will in theory be available until 10mins prior to departure on the CrossCountry trains and up to 5mins prior to departure on the LNER train; though they will have sold out on the most popular trains.

Though, 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.

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 tickets aren't available, it can be a good indication that works will be impacting on your travel date.
It can be worth checking this on the National Rail website

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
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.

Trainline (UK) *

Trainline (UK) Guide

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 *

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesCoastal views

Good to Know

TransPennine Express had also introduced an hourly service to the Edinburgh to Leeds route (which also continued beyond Leeds to call at Huddersfield)
Meaning that the typical train service from Edinburgh to Leeds had never been more frequent with two or three trains per hour during the day.
However, due to the reduction in timetables, as a consequence of the pandemic, TransPennine Express has withdrawn this service.

Journey description:

It's a journey of three phases:
It's a journey of three 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 and the on to the outskirts of Leeds

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.

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

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
Passing by the town of Alnmouth Passing by the town of Alnmouth
The view of the Tyne Bridge as the train arrives in Newcastle The view of the Tyne Bridge as the train arrives 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
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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