Overnight trains between London and a range of Scottish stations offer remarkable savings in time and money. Every night (except Saturdays) a Caledonian Sleeper departs Euston just before midnight, with sections for both Edinburgh and Glasgow, arriving shortly after 7am.
For those planning Highland adventures, however, the more attractive departure is mid-evening – with destinations including Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William. By noon the next day you could be atop Ben Nevis, cycling across the Black Isle or exploring Deeside.
Because ScotRail has to compete with low-cost airlines, it offers some very low fares. The one-way Bargain Berths are the best value, sold only online at ScotRail.co.uk for £19, £29, £39 or £49. Pairs can book two-berth compartments, but solo travellers may have to share with someone of the same gender.
The key is to buy early; the “booking horizon” is around 11 weeks ahead. The lowest fares are snapped up quickly, but it’s possible to pick up £39 or £49 tickets. Even when these have gone, there may be good-value advance tickets – starting at £53.50 each way from London to either Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Besides 400 miles-plus of transportation, you get a night’s sleep and even tea and biscuits in the morning.