London to Glasgow by train

How to take the wonderful rail journey from London to fabulous Glasgow

There are two options available for taking the train from London to Glasgow:
1: Taking the scenic journey by day,
2. Travelling overnight on one of Europe's smartest night trains.

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Routes

Option 1: travelling by day

Travel Information

Final Destination: Glasgow

All trains also call at: Preston and Lancaster and Carlisle

Some trains also call at: Oxenholme - The Lake District or Penrith-North Lakes and Motherwell

On Board - Summary

More information is available by clicking the on the 'train details', but the key things worth knowing when taking the Pendolino trains used on this route, are:

(1) These trains achieve their high end-to-end journey speed by tilting around curves in the railway line.
So if you are prone to motion sickness, taking preventative medication prior to boarding can be a good step to take.

(2) Also once the train has commenced its journey, if you have a seat reservation, you don't have to spend the duration of the train ride in the seat(s) you have been assigned, for your ticket to be valid.
If for any reason you want to move seats and the train isn't exceptionally busy, check whether alternative seats haven't been reserved during your journey - and if that is the case, you can transfer to them.

(3) Coach C on these Pendolino trains is usually set aside for travellers without reservations and this coach can often be less busy than the other coaches on the train.

The alternative overnight train

Travel by these daytime trains and you won't arrive in Glasgow until after 10:30, but the overnight train is scheduled to arrive Scotland's largest city at 07:30.
The overall journey time will be around three hours longer, but you will be travelling on Europe's newest overnight train service.

Monday-Friday = 15 x trains per day
Saturday = 13 x trains
Sunday = 11 x trains

Between 07:30 and 18:30 on Mondays to Saturdays these fast trains depart at least once per hour - on Mon-Fri there is an additional departure at 16:57.

Tickets

Book Early and Save: Yes

Tickets Available From: 24* weeks ahead for travel on Mon-Fri; up to 12 weeks ahead for weekend travel.
*This booking ahead period is longer than that offered by the majority of British train operators.

If you want to travel at the cheapest possible price, look for the 'Advance' tickets - though be aware that this type of ticket can't be refunded if you subsequently change your travel plans.
(Though the T&Cs of using Advance tickets have been made more flexible for journeys taken before September 30th).

Though something to be aware of when booking tickets, particularly for journeys by Avanti West Coast with its extended booking periods, is that the more expensive Off Peak and Anytime type of tickets can be placed on sale before the Advance tickets will be available.
If that is the case, it won't mean that the 'Advance' tickets have sold out, instead you won't see them, because they haven't have been placed on sale yet.

Though you won't typically have to book months in advance to obtain the cheapest possible price for a London to Glasgow train journey, particularly if you won't be travelling at business hours.

Travelling on Saturday-Sunday

Maintenance work on the railway is periodically undertaken, particularly 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 around 10 - 12 weeks ahead and the cheaper 'Advance' 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 Avanti West Coast website.

Making an end-to-end journey will still be possible, though you MAY ultimately have to take a substitution bus service for part of the trip.
It's the confirmation of these alternative travel arrangements which can hold up the release of the tickets for sale.

Choosing a Departure:

There are likely to be significant differences in prices between departures on your travel date, it's often possible to save more than £30 by taking an earlier or later train.
When heading north, the trains which depart London in the middle of the day tend to be cheaper.

If you can be flexible with your travel times and dates, it's a good idea to use the Best Fare Finder service on the Avanti West Coast website.

Reservations (pre-pandemic):

When you book an Advance ticket for a London to Glasgow journey by Avanti West Coast trains journey online, you will be automatically assigned a seat(s) - because you will have to travel by that specific departure.

Because Off-Peak and Anytime tickets (usually) allow the freedom to choose between departures, you can request complimentary reservations when booking these tickets - find out more about this.

However, if you buy Off Peak or Anytime tickets just prior to boarding at the station, seat reservations won't be available

That's because reservations at stations need to be booked at least a couple of hours ahead of departure - so also keep that in mind if you will be using a rail pass, including a Britrail or Eurail pass.

Receiving Your Ticket(s)

If you book with Avanti West Coast, you will have up to four options for receiving and using your ticket(s) are:

(1) Using e-tickets: 
Book a ticket online and you will receive an e-ticket attached to your confirmation email.
Avanti West Coast allows multiple options for using these e-tickets, you can print them off OR download them to your mobile device, so when boarding you can access your ticket(s) on your phone and use it to open the ticket gates.

(2) Using m-tickets:

If you book using the Avanti West Coast trains app, you can activate your ticket within the app and use your mobile device to open the ticket gates.

(3) Collecting from the 'Fast-Track' ticket machines at the station.

You will receive a booking reference number on your order confirmation email and you can use this reference number to collect ticket(s) from a 'Fast-Track' ticket machine.
You will need to enter your reference number into the machine, so make sure you'll have easy access to it when you are using the machine.

You will also need to insert the specific credit or debit card you used when making the booking, so have that with you too.

Showing the email you have received to staff at the ticket gates won't get you on to the train, nor will this be valid if you can only show the email to the conductor when you are on the train.

If you forget to bring your ticket(s) with you to the station, but do have the card with you that you used when booking, you can use the machines to collect your ticket(s).
Take your time and take care that you have picked up all your ticket(s) and seat reservations.

(4) Opt to pay an additional charge to have your tickets posted to you.

More information is available here.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Avanti West Coast from £30

Avanti West Coast Guide

Avanti West Coast only operates long-distance trains so it offers discounted Advance tickets on all of its routes.
It's booking engine doubles up as a 'Best Fare Finder' service, with the aim being to ensure that the cheapest tickets are offered for journeys by its trains, particularly when making return trips.

National Rail from £30

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.

RailEurope from £30

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesMountain views

Good to Know

LNER also operates a daily train from London to Glasgow, one of its London to Edinburgh has its journey extended to Glasgow.
It typically departs from London at around 15:30 and has a journey time of just under 6 hours, so it is slower than these trains from Euston; and it can be more expensive too.

Though it can be worth considering if you will be connecting on to Glasgow from a Eurostar arrival, or the Southeastern or Thameslink trains to St Pancras International , particularly if you will have luggage.
That's because Kings Cross station, which is where the LNER train to Glasgow will depart from, is just across the street from St Pancras International, so it saves the bother of having to make an awkward transfer over to Euston station, which is where these faster trains to Glasgow leave from.

The fleeting glimpse of Morecambe Bay from the left The fleeting glimpse of Morecambe Bay from the left
Heading towards Oxenholme Heading towards Oxenholme
To the north of Oxenholme-Lake District station To the north of Oxenholme-Lake District station
Low Gill Viaduct is on the left just before the Lune Gorge Low Gill Viaduct is on the left just before the Lune Gorge
The best views of the Lune Gorge are on the right The best views of the Lune Gorge are on the right
This views is on the left looking towards The Lake District This views is on the left looking towards The Lake District
Between Penrith and Carlisle Between Penrith and Carlisle
Into Scotland and through the Scottish Uplands Into Scotland and through the Scottish Uplands
To the south of Motherwell To the south of Motherwell
Crossing the River Clyde at journeyu0027s end Crossing the River Clyde at journeyu0027s end
Between Shap and Oxenholme Between Shap and Oxenholme
Between Carstairs and Lockerbie Between Carstairs and Lockerbie

The initial 2hr 25mins (ish) of the London to Glagow train journey is pleasant, but unremarkable, but north of Lancaster the railway passes through a glorious landscape, pretty much until it reaches the outskirts of Glasgow.

Around five minutes north of Lancaster, the West Coast Main Line, briefly lives up to its name with a fleeting glimpse of Morecambe Bay, the only sea view on the journey.

Between Lancaster and Carlisle the railway takes a route between The Lake District to the west and the Pennines to the east - so there are great views to be enjoyed from both sides of the train towards distant mountains.

Approximately 10 minutes north of Oxenholme comes one of the highlights of the journey when the railway travels through the Lune Gorge - though here the best views are from the right (when facing the direction of travel).

A beautiful landmark to look out for on the right, just before the train enters the gorge, is the spectacular sight of Low Gill Viaduct, on a now abandoned railway.

North of Carlisle once the train has crossed the border into Scotland, it will travel through the beautiful Southern Uplands.

After the train has passed through Lockerbie station, the views as the railway climbs and then descends over Beattock summit, are particularly special.

Option 2: travelling overnight

Travel Information

Final Destination: Glasgow

All trains also depart from: Watford Junction

All trains also arrive at: Carstairs and Motherwell

When departing from Euston, these Caledonian Sleeper trains are available for boarding from 22:30 (10:30 pm) which is more than an hour ahead of departure.
Then in Glasgow passengers can remain on board for 38 minutes after arrival.

This train is usually scheduled to arrive in Glasgow at 07:23, while the first of the daytime trains isn't due into Scotland's largest city until after 10:30 on Monday - Saturdays.

On Board - summary:

More information is available by clicking the 'train details', but if you make this journey you will be travelling on Europe's most modern overnight trains.
You can opt to choose from three different types of sleeping cabin, one of which offers the opportunity to travel in a double bed, OR you can travel in reclining seats.

The shorter journey time applies to Mon-Fri departures

There are no departures on Saturday evenings

Tickets

Unusually for UK train tickets, you can book journeys on the Caledonian Sleeper up to twelve months ahead.
If you want a full choice of accommodation in the summer months or around holiday times, it's best to book at least a month in advance.

When making a journey by these Caledonian Sleeper trains, you can choose from three types of sleeping cabin, or you can opt to travel in reclining seats - If you want to travel in the reclining seats, you will in effect only be paying the journey costs.

In common with how tickets are sold to travel in sleeping cabins on other European night train services, there are two elements to the total cost of the sleeping cabin ticket price;

  • the cost of making the journey, and
  • the accommodation costs of travelling in the cabin.

On these Caledonian Sleeper trains the sleeping cabins  have a fixed price, so how the total costs are calculated is dependent on how the sleeping cabins will be occupied.

If you will be making an individual booking you will have sole occupancy of a Club Room or Classic Room - booking a Caledonian Double isn't an option for solo travellers.
Although the total cost per person is more expensive if you will be travelling individually, because if you travel solo you pay the cost for the Club Room or Classic Room, plus a cost for making the journey.
But two people travelling together pay the same charge for the Club Room and Classic rooms, and the additional cost comes from having to purchase two journey tickets.

Paying a higher price for single occupancy of a sleeping cabin is the norm on European night trains, but this particular pricing methodology makes the sleeping cabins on a Caledonian Sleeper service, a comparatively expensive option for solo travellers.

Travelling as a family group:

The costs of adults and children travelling together will be calculated during the booking process - here is the relevant information.

Using Rail Passes:

If you will be using a valid rail pass you can travel in a reclining seat at no additional charge, but you must reserve a place prior to boarding, by calling the Guest Service Centre on 0330 060 0500.

If you want to travel in a bed in a Club Room sleeping cabin, you need to pay a 'Room only supplement' of £170 if you will be travelling solo, or £200 if two people will be travelling together.
If you want to travel in a Classic Room sleeping cabin, the supplement is £120 for solo travellers and £140 if two people are travelling together.

These 'Room only supplements' can be booked online.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Caledonian Sleeper from £45

On this journey

Journey Features

Night

Good to Know

On departure from London the coaches heading to Glasgow are attached to another part of the train which will be heading to Edinburgh.

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