Scotland on Track
Scottish rails operate much like their UK counterparts, and are easy to navigate. The language—accented by pure Scottish charm—is the same, and trains are frequent, comfortable, and unhampered by mandatory add-ons or reservations. Of course, If you’re traveling with a pass at peak times, it’s always sound advice to book your seat in advance. Just do so through Rail Europe or locally, depending on when you’re ready to make your plans. If you’re traveling with a ticket, it’s nice to know that all tickets sold by Rail Europe include a pre-assigned seat whenever the carrier offers it.
Edinburgh, Scotland’s showcase capital and rail hub, is an easy and frequent ride from London (about 4 ½ hours). Glasgow—just a short 45 minutes away—is also well worth a visit. But above it all (literally), Scotland is best known for its scenically rugged and mountainous Highlands and hundreds of freshwater inland lochs. Inverness, nestled in the north and the capital of the Highlands, is accessible by train from Glasgow or Edinburgh in about four hours. The train line continues towards seafaring Wick, almost at the north end of Scotland, and home to the “world’s shortest street” (a scant two-plus yards). Other popular destinations like Aberdeen, Perth, or Kyle of Lochalsh are also easily reached by train.
If you’re considering traveling with a pass, review the BritRail Pass options, which have a variety of money-saving geographical choices. So you can shed as few (British) pounds as you’d like.
For more information on Scotland contact the Scotland Tourist Board.